Celestún is a small fishing village on the northwest shoulder of the Yucatán Peninsula ; it sits on the mainland side of a 22-kilometer (13.7-mile) long inlet-estuary known as the Ría Celestún. The shallow super-salty waters are an ideal breeding and feeding area for phoenicopterus ruber ruber, the largest and pinkest of the five flamingo species.
The peculiar pink birds—along with hundreds of other species of birds—are Celestún’s primary attraction. It has helped to make this inlet one of Mexico’s best bird-watching areas and is known by bird enthusiasts worldwide.
Though tourism is growing, Celestún’s coastal waters teem with fish and octopus, and catching them is still the main industry of locals here. The town has about 8,000 permanent residents but 10,000 fisherman ply the coast from here to Río Lagartos  during octopus season (August–December).
Celestún is also an important salt extraction area, producing 21,000 tons of salt every year. Salt production has been a vital industry since A.D. 600, and fishing goes back even further, of course.
If you’re not a hard-core birder, a trip to the flamingo reserve  is about the only reason to come to Celestún, and the town is just close enough to Mérida  (96 km/59.7 mi) to make day trips possible. Numerous tour operators offer tours here from Mérida, or you can do it yourself relatively easily by bus—either way it’s a pretty long day.
If you have some time and a car, staying a night or even two lets you visit the reserve pressure-free and to check out some additional area tours.
Buses to Celestún leave from Mérida’s Noreste bus terminal every hour every day 5 a.m.–8:30 p.m. (except 7 a.m.). Assuming you’re coming for the flamingo tours , the driver usually stops at the parador (staging area) before going the rest of the way into town.
From Mérida, there are two routes to Celestún: the southern route that goes through Umán, and the northern one that passes through Hunucma. Both routes lead to Kinchil, where Highway 281 leads directly to Celestún.
The southern route is more convenient, as long as you don’t get lost in Umán (which is easy to do!). When entering Umán, you’ll come to a broad three-way intersection, often packed with cars, tricíclos (three-wheeled bike taxis), pedestrians, and an overworked traffic cop. Be sure to bear right at this intersection, and keep your eyes peeled for signs to Celestún. If you end up missing the turn, just loop around the small village and start over again.