5 Breathtaking Photoshoot Spots You Must See
5 may 2022 - travel
As Riviera Maya Photographers, it is our job to know the most scenic spots in the area. Exploring these locations is one of the best ways to come up with photoshoot ideas, and we always leave them feeling refreshed and inspired.
These are some of our favorite destinations on the Yucatan Peninsula, and where we’ve had the most fun taking pictures. A grand tour of jungles, lagoons, cenotes and islands, a great adventure is to be had from visiting these locations. Even if you are not into photography, they are still well worth a visit.
Get Lost in the Sian Ka’an Reserve
An hour south of the ancient city of Tulum, lies the massive Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean, and it has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An area dedicated to sustainability, there are many tours in operation here who aim to limit their environmental impact, in order to protect this incredible natural reserve.
It’s very easy to get lost in this reserve’s natural beauty. With so much to explore, you could easily find yourself floating down a mangrove canal while marveling at Mayan temples. At the end of the Punta Allen, there are also indigenous towns to discover, if you can brave the treacherous sandy road to get there.
It is common to see crocodiles and tropical birds in the lagoons, and there are even reports of jaguar sightings in the jungle. In addition to the reserve’s untouched sands, you can also snorkel along some of the most fantastic coral reefs in the Caribbean. The lagoon is famous for its sparkly clear waters, and the many exotic butterflies could add a real pop of color to the soft, natural colors of the Sian Ka’an reserve. Watch the incredible footage taken by our pilot, Olivier, above.
Heaven on Cozumel: El Cielo
On the small Caribbean Island of Cozumel, you’ll find a sandbar only accessible by boat, named ‘El Cielo’, translating to ‘Heaven’ or ‘Sky’. There are many tours available from the island offering the El Cielo experience, but the limited accessibilty means it never gets too busy.
One of Cozumel’s top snorkeling destinations, the marine life in these waters includes sea turtles, friendly stingrays and coffin fish. Not only that, but you’ll also see hundreds of specks of color, that upon inspection are actually starfish. The starfish covered sands give this expanse a semblance of the sky, which might be a hint at the origin of its name, ‘El Cielo’.
While not the best destination for a photoshoot in the traditional sense, the bright blues of the ocean against the skies would make for some exciting monochromatic effects. And, if you bring a GoPro, or any other camera with submarine capabilities, the clear waters allow for some interesting underwater photos, of you or of the diverse aquatic sea life.
The Yellow City: Izamal
The next stop on your photography tour of the Yucatan Peninsula is Izamal. 72 kilometers east of of Merida, Izamal is one of Mexico’s many pueblos magicos. The pueblos magicos were named as a way of promoting tourism, and piquing interest in these small culturally revelant towns. Izamal is considered as a place of pilgrimage for the Mayans, and now, the Christians.
Despite the Spanish conquest, the city’s Mayan influence is still clear to see. Most of the locals speak Mayan as their first language, and there are plenty of ancient temples dotted around the city to be found. It is known as the ‘City of Hills’, as it is built on the ruins of old pyramids.
Most importantly, when you arrive, you’ll instantly notice the sea of yellow buildings, which is why it is affectionately known as the ‘Yellow City’. No one really knows when, how or why the city was painted yellow, but the feeling of first entering Izamal is unmistakably unique. The many yellow walls are perfect for taking photos that will have a vibrant colorful background.
The Salt Lakes of Las Coloradas
On the far north of the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll find the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve. Separating the Rio Lagartos lagoon from the Gulf of Mexico, are the Pink Lakes of Las Coloradas. Used as ponds for salt production, they have become a popular destination for their other-worldy pink color, thanks to a viral Instagram post.
The pink hue is caused by plankton, algae and brine shrimp, attracted to the lakes because of the amount of salt in the waters. The reserve is also home to plenty of other exotic wildlife. Amongst the 395 different bird species, you’ll find pink flamingoes, who also get their color from the lakes’ aquatic life. After decades of feeding on the animals who inhabit the lake, their feathers slowly turned pink.
While the lakes of Las Coloradas are no longer the secret they once were, they are still worth a visit for the amazing photoshoot potential. It is best to go in the off season, or early in the day to avoid the many tourists that frequent this area. The blue skies, white sands and pink waters make for pictures with pleasing, lightly contrasting colors, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a flamingo in the background too!
The Cenotes at the Zapote Ecopark
Bathing in the fresh waters of these cenotes would just be scraping the surface of the adventures on offer here: there are ziplines that traverse the cenotes and the jungle, as well as bicycle tours. There are also hammocks to relax while you enjoy traditional Yucatecan food.
Two of our photographers, Josefina and Jesica, actually used the Ecopark for a photoshoot, and the images featured here are from their visit. The resulting album is a stunning collection of photos that highlight the strong shapes of the cenote caverns, as well as the overwhelming overgrowth of the jungle against the cenote waters.
Embark on Your Journey!
We hope exploring these locations brings you as much joy as it brought us. Mexico’s unlimited range of spectacular scenery never ceases to amaze.
Don’t forget to fill in the form below to join the waiting list for the upcoming DreamArt Photography Academy. We’ll teach you how to get the best effect from these scenic locations, whether you intend to use them as your focus, or as the backgrounds in your photography.