The thousands of colors of the Manialtepec lagoon 


The Manialtepec Lagoon is one of the magical destinations that the state of Oaxaca has. Its intense colors make it seem like part of a dream. 

Near Puerto Escondido, in the Oaxaca beach area, is the Manialtepec lagoon, a place that seems to be part of a dream or a science fiction movie. Its intense colors make it unique because, from time to time, its waters look pink during the day and a luminous blue at night. 

This lagoon measures 6km and the blue and fluorescent waters that we can find at night on its beaches impress anyone, thanks to the phenomenon of bioluminescence given by certain microorganisms that inhabit it and that, by having a chemical reaction to defend themselves from predators, give it that unique glow that makes the place so magical and special. 

The thousands of colors of the Manialtepec lagoon  

Visiting the Manialtepec lagoon is a unique experience. The best time to see it illuminated with its impressive colors is in the rainy season (from May to November). The spectacle that we are going to see is something that we cannot easily forget. 

A luminous lagoon full of colors 

Oaxaca is a spectacular place due to its mountains, its people, its beaches and landscapes. There is nothing like swimming in the waters of the Manialtepec lagoon and seeing yourself illuminated by its phosphorescent waters. It is rare to be able to contemplate a lagoon with pink waters during the day and a brilliant blue when night falls. Before our eyes there is a surreal landscape that only a few can boast of having seen. 

 Manialtepec means “water that is born from the hill”, according to Nahuatl (manial – where the water springs and tepec – hill) although they also say that it means “place of the lizards” (from manine – animal that crawls and tepetl – place). 

This magical lagoon is fed by a hot spring and is surrounded by the mangroves of the Oaxacan jungle. In the rainy season its water reaches the sea, and the fresh, salty and thermal waters mix with each other. 

The pink and reddish tones that it acquires during the day are given by the red mangroves that surround it and by some algae that have the same coloration. At night, its bioluminescent waters are given by the dinoflagellate organisms that inhabit it and which are a kind of phytoplankton that comes from the sea. 

Activities in the Manialtepec lagoon 

Manialtepec is a great site for ecotourism. It can be traveled by boat or kayak and the observation of birds and other species such as iguanas, otters and opossums are the order of the day. You can enjoy the presence of these animals in their natural environment. It is a true colorful paradise in the middle of the jungle that deserves to be visited by everyone. 

Nearby are the towns of Bajos de Chila and San José Manialtepec, which are in the midst of the incredible Oaxacan nature and where you can enjoy the rich typical dishes and the great hospitality of this magical state of the republic. 

The lagoon attracts more and more tourists who are impressed by the phenomena of its colorful waters. It is a magical vision that nature offers us and one of the only places in the world where you can observe the phenomenon of bioluminescence, which in Mexico also occurs on the island of Holbox, in Quintana Roo or Xpicob beach in Campeche.  

How to get to the Manialtepec lagoon? 

The lagoon is 15 minutes from Puerto Escondido. From this place, take Highway 200 towards Pinotepa Nacional and then the deviation towards San José Manialtepec. You can also take a taxi or some other means of transport that will drop you right at the place. Nearby you can also find accommodation at affordable prices. 

 Source: Sopitas