Celestún is a sleepy sun scorched fishing village located on the sea-facing side of a vast narrow peninsula fringing the Gulf of Mexico, and nudging right up to the Campeche state border. It’s surrounded on one side by the the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve and, on the other, by the Reserva de la Biósfera Los Petenes, the largest protected area of coastal jungle along the Gulf of Mexico.
We drove briefly through this area to reach Celestún, with Jaguar crossing signs popping up along the road. The Biósfera stretches well into Campeche and is home to amazing wildlife – Jaguars, Ocelots, Spider Monkeys, Margays, Jaguarundí, Anteaters and Tapirs. But I’m afraid all we saw were some super inquisitive Mapaches (Raccoons) clearly used to tourists – and maybe their packed lunches.
The beach at Celestún is amazing – super clean and largely devoid of the Sargassum that plagues Progreso and other beaches throughout the Yucatan and indeed the whole Caribbean. The water is crystal clear and warm with a light sea-breeze, with barely anyone here apart from some local fishermen and a bunch of hopeful boatmen ready to pick up Flamingo seekers. They only need to be patient. There are tourists here of course, and most are here for just one thing. Flamingos. Otherwise there’s not a whole lot going on, but that’s its charm. Celestún really does have a sleepy, baked-in-the-sun kinda feel with snoozing dogs in doorways and quiet shady bars and small open-air beach-hangs, with locals enjoying an afternoon siesta before the roasting sun sets over the Gulf.