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West of Mérida, Celestún is a sleepy sun-scorched fishing village that moves at a turtle’s pace – and that’s the way locals like it. There’s a pretty-enough little square in the town center and some nice beaches, but the real draw is Reserva de la Biosfera Ría Celestún, a wildlife sanctuary abounding in waterfowl, with flamingos the star attraction.

It makes a good beach-and-bird day trip from Mérida, and it’s somewhere you can kick back and do nothing for a day or two, especially if you’ve become road weary. Fishing boats dot the appealing white-sand beach that stretches north for kilometers, and afternoon breezes cool the town on most days. Celestún is sheltered by the peninsula’s southward curve, resulting in an abundance of marine life and less violent seas during the season of nortes (winds and rains arriving from the north).

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Celestún.


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