The chemical that is added to the pond is not harmful in dilution.The same chemical is used in dilute solutions to decontaminate vegetables,purify water for back packers in wilderness areas and even decontaminate aquariums with the fish still in the tank using a small amount of the crystal(Potassium Permanganate) If you would like pink water you can create it at home by putting a few crystals in a glass of tap water.
The pink salt ponds have created a lot of interest for visitors to the Rio Lagartos Bio Reserve.The ponds have a naturally occurring pinkness that comes from an organism in the water.We see the naturally occurring color on our flamingo tours. The very bright pink/red color is not the natural color. In the salt production just before they harvest the salt they add a chemical for purifying the salt.The chemical is Potassium Permanganate. When added to the water in the last pond before harvesting it turns the water red. This helps to decontaminate the salt and the darker color helps speed evaporation of the water.
Some visitors come to this area only to see the Pink water and miss an opportunity to experience the remarkable beauty and and Bio diversity of the Ria Lagartos Bio Reserve. There are 395 species of birds that are possible to see,100 reptiles,50 mammals....
Remember that the ponds are private property and you are not allowed on the roads and you can see them only from roads in the village.The outer ponds with the naturally occurring redness can be seen from our Flamingo tours.
You never see flamingos in the bright red pond.The reason is the chemical added to purify the salt.Flamingos are seen in the ponds with naturally occuring redness .
Copyright Rio Lagartos Adventures 2010-2017. All rights reserved.All photos copyright Jim Legault(unless noted by watermark) Diego Nuñez 9am-9pm
The salinera is very important to the flamingos.The salt factory maintains and protects the barrier between the Gulf of Mexico and the salt marshes.The flamingos need the highly saline water for the food it provides(artemia-
brine shrimp) and the habitat for nesting. The salinera needs the extra salty water to start the salt making process.Without the barrier the number of flamingos would be greatly reduced. Nearly all of the Yucatan’s flock of 40,000 flamingos nest here. It is also the most important feeding area.
Respecting the rules of the salinera helps to protect the flamingos. A healthy and prosperous salinera is necessary for the flamingos.
Social media has created publicity but has generated false ideas that this is a natural phenomen.As the interest in the pink water has increased the Salinera has needed to close the access roads to the ponds. Possible contamination to the ponds and problems with vehicles being driven on the separations between the ponds has forced them to do this.
Please do not enter or drive on the separations between the ponds.These are private property and you are endangering your vehicle and you can be fined! Don’t enter the water and be careful not to contaminate.Suntan lotions,repellents and cosmetics can have a harmful effect. In the last pond the chemical in the water can cause effects on the skin.
On our boat trips for Birdwatching and Flamingos we can only reach the outer ponds of the Salinera (salt factory). Here we see the natural Pink color of the salt ponds.The natural color is not as intense as the final pond before harvest where they add the chemical for decontamination
When planning your tours do the flamingo or birding tours early in the morning or late in the afternoon Los Colorados is a company town and all the property is owned by the Salinera (salt factory)and leased to the inhabitants who mainly work at the Salinera. There are 60 kilometers of beach in Bio reserve but only few kilometers of buildings in the villages the Bio reserve surrounds.
The water is slightly pink in the outer ponds but is at its reddest closest to the Salt factory. The salt ponds are a series of connected ponds used to evaporate water as it is moved closer to the salt factory. The water they start with is already twice as salty as the Gulf of Mexico. The salt ponds are 30 kilometers from the nearest opening to the gulf of Mexico. Because of this the water is not easily exchanged with the Gulf waters and is much saltier. Much less effort is needed here produce dry salt .This is the reason the area has been producing salt since the times of the ancient Mayas
The intense red color of the pond is caused by a chemical introduced to help decontaminate the salt.The color is not caused naturally.
The ponds are not alwaysbright pink and at times are dry. They are reddest just before the salt is harvested after the salt factory adds the purifying chemical.