Rio Lagartos, Wetland Home to 365 Bird Species, including Flamingos.
Rio Lagartos, or Reserva de la Biosfera de Rio Lagartos as it is officially known, is a 60,348-hectare reserve of mangroves, marshes, estuaries, salt flats, dunes, beaches, dry forest and jungle straddling the north coast of the Yucatan. It was the first area of marshland in Mexico to receive global attention and to be included on the UNESCO RAMSAR list of internationally important and fragile wetlands. The Mexican government declared it a biosphere reserve in 1979 to protect its incredible biodiversity: 365 recorded bird species, 58 mammals, including the jaguar, ocelot and spider monkey, 95 reptiles and amphibians and 523 species of plants. This stretch of the Gulf coast is the most important nesting site in the world for the endangered hawksbill turtle or tortuga carey, but the reserve is famous for having the largest nesting colony of American or Caribbean flamingos in the wild.