View of a swing on a beach in Celestun Mexico

Celestun Mexico Guide (Best Things to Do & Hotels in 2023)

👉 Jump to: About | Best Places to Stay in Celestun | Things to Do in Celestun | How to Go | Best Time to Visit | FAQ

Looking to travel to Celestun Mexico?

In just five minutes, this quick guide to Celestun will give you all the information you need to make the most of your trip to this quiet beach town on Mexico‘s Yucatan peninsula.

I’ll first introduce Celestun, then cover the best places to stay and the best things to do in Celestun. We’ll then talk about how to get there from Merida and the best time of year to go to see the famous flamingos.

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About Celestun, Mexico

View from the main street in Fishermans village Celestun

Celestun is a small beach town in the Yucatan province is a great place to relax on the beach, explore the Ria Celestun mangroves, and potentially see thousands of flamingos all in the same day (an amazing experience that makes our list of the best things to do in Mexico).

Oh, in case you’re interested, here is a video I did a many years ago on my first trip to Celestun:

This guide will cover practicalities like how to get to Celestun, where to stay if you need a Celestun hotel, and when to visit Celestun.

Best Places to Stay in Celestun

Aerial view of a beach in Celestun, Mexico

If you have an extra night or two, you can stay on the beach to watch the sunset, then here is where to stay in Celestun.

Here are a couple of the best places to stay in Celestun:

  • 🏆 Best Overall Hotel – Castilito Kin Nah – One of the better reviewed hotels in the town itself (rooms from $75 US/night). Please click the links below to check the prices.
  • 💵 Best Budget HotelHotel San Julio – A budget option just one minute by foot from Celestun beach (from $25/night). Please click the links below to check the prices.
  • 💑 Best Hotel for CouplesCasa BreMar 3097 – An adults-only property on the beachfront, with a huge pool. The best place to stay in Celestun for couples.

For longer stays in Celestun, you can also search these top-rated apartment and house rentals.

5 Best Things to Do in Celestun

Playa Celestun (Celestun Beach)

Boats on Celestun Beach
Boats on Celestun Beach

📍 Google Maps

Let’s manage expectations up front: Yucatan state doesn’t have the most spectacular beaches in Mexico. You won’t find the same blue water and white sand in Celestun Mexico that you would in, say, Tulum (I mean, just check out these aerial photos of the Tulum beaches).

With that said, there are a lot of reasons to visit playa Celestun, which I actually prefer to Progresso, the more popular beach option for those doing a day trip from Merida.

Celestun beach is nice and wide, so there is plenty of space to find your own little patch of sand.

Playa Celestun is also westward facing, which means that you can watch the sun set over the water here (not possible in most other Yucatan beaches).

Moreover, the town is small enough that there are plenty of free parking spaces near the beach. Plus Celestun offers a sizeable but not overwhelming number of beach restaurants and shacks serving up freshly caught seafood.

So, sure, the beach in itself isn’t going to win any awards for the most gorgeous beach in the world, but its a quality and relatively crowd-free option if you’re in the area.

Plus, you can combine a trip to the beach with a tour of Celestun’s biosphere!

The Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve

Baots tied up in the Ria Celestun
Boats tied up in the Ria Celestun

📍 Google Maps

The beach isn’t the only reason to visit Celestun! In fact, the most popular thing to do in Celestun is to visit the excellent Ria Celestun biosphere reserve, where you can explore mangroves, look for crocodiles, and visit enormous concentrations of flamingos!

What can you expect to see on a Celestun tour? I’ll go over that in detail below, but if you’re a visual creature you can instead watch this quick three minutes video that I put together about my first trip there:

Looks like a fun time right?

Here’s how to do it yourself:

Visiting the flamingos of Celestun requires taking a boat out into the mangroves that dot the tidal estuary of the Ria Celestun.

If you prefer to have everything arranged for you, you can sign up for a tour of Celestun from Merida here.

While touts on the beach sometimes offer boat tours that leave directly from Playa Celestun, the faster option is to drive or catch a taxi back out to the entrance of the town.

The dock where you can catch the boats is located just south of the bridge between the mainland and Celestun, on the town side. You’ll see large signs for the tourist information center. There are bathrooms and a few little shops where you can pick up supplies.

There is also a ticket window where you can arrange for your boat tour.

You have a couple options here:

  • A private boat costs around 1,500 pesos (about $75), and can fit 6-8 people. Join a public boat and split the cost with others (but you may have to wait awhile for it to fill).

Though the boats rides are annoyingly expensive by Mexican standards, I do think they are worth it. For more information about visiting the Celestun biosphere, see here.

See the Flamingos in Celestun Mexico

Flamingos in Celestun Yucatan Mexico
Flamingos in Celestun Yucatan Mexico

The top attraction in Celestun Mexico is definitely flamingos!

But it’s important to remember that the flamingos that live in the Ria Celestun migrate between here and Rio Lagartos (another popular day trip from Merida, Mexico).

So the best time to see flamingos in Ria Celestun is when they are in season, roughly between November and March, with January and February being the best months.

There are flamingos scattered about the estuary, but your boat driver should know where to find the largest concentrations of them. We were taken to an inlet housing probably close to a thousand flamingos!

Flamingos aren’t the only birds in the biosphere reserve though. You’ll like see egrets, frigates, and array of different avian life. There is even a stop at “Bird Island,” which is filled with hundreds of what I think were either egrets or pelicans (watch the above video to see for yourself!).

The Enchanting Mangroves of Celestun

A path through the mangroves of the Ria Celestun
The path near the Ojo de Agua

📍 Google Maps

While the flamingos are of course the highlight of a boat tour through the Celestun biosphere, the surrounding shallow mangroves are worth exploring in their own right.

Your boat will take you on a brief tour of the mangroves. Pay close attention and you might just spot a crocodile or two!

You will then will likely stop at Ojo de Agua Baldiosera, where you can get out and walk around a short boardwalk fronting a little swimming hole (bring a swimsuit if you want to take a dip).

👉 Pro tip: apply insect repellent before taking the tour, as there are TONS of mosquito in the mangroves!

Hacienda Chunchucmil

A building in Hacienda Chunchucmil under the clear blue sky

📍 Google Maps

Hacienda Chunchucmil is an abandoned Hacienda that sits a short drive from Celestun in Maxcanu. It is a desolate attraction that, while open to the public, is essentially just an abandoned site. Still, it is hauntingly beautiful and one of the more unique attractions near Celestun.

Club de Playa Club Celestún

📍 Google Maps | Hours: 24 hours

Club de Playa Club Celestún is a new restaurant and beach volleyball club in Celestun, located near Playa Agua Dom Celestun. The restaurant serves seafood, and many visitors report spending the day hanging out on the beach here. If you are a looking for a relaxing thing to do in Celestun near the beach, this may be a good option.

How to Go from Merida to Celestun

Celestun is best visited from Merida.

There are numerous tours to Celestun on offer from central Merida. Here’s one option for a tour of Celestun that you can book online.

If you prefer to organize your own transport, you can really take some time to soak in Celestun beach and the town.

A dock in the Ria Celestun in Celestun Mexico
A dock in the Celestun biosphere

If you have a car (which can usually be rented for about $40 USD for the day from Merida), it’s a straight shot along a decent highway to drive to Celestun.

Plus, that will allow you to take some stops along the way to check out some of the many cenotes in the Yucatan. Plus, there is plenty of parking both near the beach and at the entrance to the preserve.

Or if you prefer public transportation, you can take a public bus from the corner of Calle 67 and Calle 50 in Merida (leaving on the hour from 6 am to 4 pm). The cost is 70 pesos each way and the trip will take 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

👉 Read Next: Mexico Travel Tips

When to Visit Celestun Mexico

The best time to visit Celestun is January and February, when the most flamingos are most likely to be in the biosphere.

But Celestun playa can be visited year round, and the beach can make for a good break from the hot summer Yucatan sun!

👉 Read Next: Best Travel Insurance for Mexico

FAQs About Celestun

Is Celestun worth visiting?

Celestun is worth visiting if you are looking for a quiet beach town with few tourists. It may not be worth visiting if you require a lot of restaurants and activities.

What is Celestun known for?

Celestun is a Mexican beach town famous for its mangroves, which are seasonally home to many flamingos. Celestun is also famous for its beaches, which serve as a hatching ground for sea turtles.

What is there to do in Celestun?

Popular things to do in Celestun include visiting the beach (Playa Celestun) or exploring the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve.


That’s it for this quick guide to Celestun! I hope I’ve helped you find some fun things to do in Celestun.

I hope you enjoy the beaches and get to see lots of flamingos. If you have any questions, or just want to share your experience in Celestun, Mexico, then scroll down and please leave a comment!

Here are some other useful articles to help you plan your trip to Mexico’s Yucatan: 

Have fun exploring Celestun, Mexico!

(Featured Image Credit: Octavio Hoyos / Shutterstock)

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  1. Hi
    What about the visit Celseton in October ?
    Is it possiblle to see flamingos on this time Also?
    Dose it tour fit fir children’s?

    1. Hey Renana,

      You may see a handful of flamingos but unfortunately, no, the majority of the flock won’t be there during October usually. Still, the mangroves are worth a visit anyway. And, yes, the tours are children friendly.

      Enjoy Mexico!

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