Satellite infrared view of the Ria Lagartos reserve
Apr 2024

A Pink Lagoon in Mexico

Satellite infrared view of the Ria Lagartos reserve

Laguna Rosada is located in Las Coloradas, a fishing village in the north of Mexico’s Yucatan region. Although the color and layout of this space can be confusing, this is  indeed water we are looking at, as confirmed by our infrared layer.

The saltwater lagoon belongs to the Ria Lagartos Nature Reserve, an area of ​​478 that is home to a wide variety of animal and plant species and represents one of their last natural refuges.

The region, already mentioned in the stories of European conquistadors at the beginning of the 16th century, is popular today for its seafood cuisine, its spectacular landscape and more particularly for the atypical color of the Laguna Rosada which attracts more and more tourists.

Pink Lagoon color

The pink lagoon of Las Coloradas owes its color to Beta carotene, a photosynthetic pigment (carotenoid) found in certain species of crustaceans. This is for example the case of artemia salina, which look like very small shrimp and live in salt lakes, lagoons and salt marshes. It is also these crustaceans which will transmit their pink-orange color to other species such as pink flamingos or the Parajo Tho, legendary bird of the Yucatan.

Las Coloradas salt culture

If the economy of Las Coloradas depends a lot on tourism, it is mainly driven by salt cultivation. Indeed, the ecosystem is protected but the locals nevertheless have the right to harvest salt from these water points to resell it throughout the country. We can thus distinguish the salty white bands all around the lagoon which also highlight its rare color.

Nimbo Earth Online with modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2023-2024)