Some people believe that you have to make a day trip to Deer Island or further afield to Meseta de Cacaxtla or Teacapan to experience Sinaloa eco-preserves and world-class bird watching.
Not true, as lots of eco-tourists and birdwatchers who have visited Mazatlan can attest!
Located on the same tract of land as Mazagua water park and just across the road from the Playa Bruja and the Riu Emerald Bay Resort in Cerritos, Estero del Yugo is an eco-gem of a nature preserve right in Nuevo Mazatlan.
Measuring just 27 acres (11 hectares), Estero del Yugo is packed full of wildlife, delighting birders and nature trail enthusiasts alike.
The preserve contains both freshwater and a saltwater lagoons, as well as flat dry tropical deciduous forest that is crisscrossed by over 1.5 miles of trails and wooden boardwalks that provide great views of both lagoon and forest birds -- or just a quiet walk in the woods.
Estero del Yugo is an excellent example of flat dry tropical deciduous forest in Mexico and, being located on the coast, is home to over 200 species of birds, both terrestrial and aquatic.
Video about Estero del Yugo in Mazatlán
Beyond birds, a wide range of exotic animals native to Sinaloa can be observed. Turtles make there home at Estero del Yugo and mammals like fox, white-tail deer and ocelots have been observed within the preserve -- as well as crocodile!
Like all coastal environments in Sinaloa, Estero del Yugo changes dramatically from season to season. When the dry months give way to the rainy season in June, the landscape of Sinaloa is transformed from dusty grey-green to a lush deep green landscape with flora and fauna that seem to emerge from nothing.
At Estero del Yugo these changes occur very rapidly, and it is often difficult to recognize that you are in the same location from one time of the year to another.
Estero del Yugo is the brainchild of University of Guadalajara trained biologist Sandra Guido, who has devoted over fifteen years to making sure that Mazatlan properly preserves this lovely remnant of the undeveloped Sinaloa coast for future generations.
Her efforts -- and those of many others -- have resulted in a clean natural preserve with walking trails, signage that explains what you're seeing, and bird blinds that help you get close to the wildlife.
Estero del Yugo is a precious Mazatlan eco resource that educates several thousand children per year and entertains countless birders and those looking for unusual sightseeing in Mazatlan.
All of this has been accomplished with very little money, and visitor fees matter!
CIAD (Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo) -- a joint effort of the Secretary of Public Education, the National Council of Science and Technology, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National Polytechnic Institute and the governments of the states of Sonora, Sinaloa and Chihuahua -- provided the land and CIAD takes a continuing interest in the project.
The entrance to Estero del Yugo is just north of the intersection of Avenida Sabalo Cerritos and Carretera Habal - Cerritos, the northernmost connection within the city to Mexico Federal Highway 15, the coastal toll road. The entrance is gated, and visitors are welcome from 9am - 5pm on weekdays.
Location Avenida Sabalo Cerritos
Admission Day passes $5 USD; Weekly passes $15 USD; Monthly passes $30 USD -- all prices quoted payable in Pesos at the current exchange rate