Las Playitas – Cuatrociénegas, Mexico - Atlas Obscura

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Las Playitas

A miniature beach in the middle of the desert. 


Finding an oasis in the desert is rare, but what about the beach? Well, anything is possible in the Cuatrociénegas Biosphere Reserve, sometimes called the Mexican Galápagos. It’s a lagoon, but the pristine white sands and the glistening expanse of water that extends beyond what the eye can see, helps explain why it’s named Las Playitas (“little beaches”).

One year, unfortunately, there was a party similar to those you find in Cancún at spring break. This has never been allowed to happen again, and now the Las Playitas are only accessible with a guide, who will personally unlock the gate and drive you down the long bumpy dirt road to the lagoon’s shores. After you’ve admired the beauty from the shores, you can explore the water in a kayak or even take a long walk around the lagoon. Of all the pools in Cuatrociénegas, Las Playitas is the most expansive, ideal for exploring by foot from the shore or traveling through on a vessel. (Poza Azul is ideal for observing the blue hues, and El Río Mezquites is perfect for swimming.)

You’ll find cactuses dotted around the crystalline waters as you explore the lagoon. And if you look beyond the desert, you’ll see the mountains on the horizon. This makes for some bizarre optics. Where else would we find scenery such as this? Maybe in the mind of a surrealistic painter. An aquatic environment in the desert is certainly paradoxical.

Know Before You Go

Report to the municipalities tourist office to arrange for a guide to take you to the Las Playitas. If you want to travel in the waters by kayak, then do mention this, so that they can have this arranged too.

In partnership with KAYAK

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