On the windy northern shore of the peninsula, sleepy Río Lagartos (Alligator River) is a fishing village that also boasts the densest concentration of flamingos in Mexico, The Biosphere Reserve of Ría Lagartos, is a mangrove-lined estuary that shelters numerous bird species, including snowy egrets, red egrets, tiger herons and snowy white ibis, as well as the crocodiles that gave the town its name.
The Yucatan Times conducted and exclusive interview with one of the organizers of the 2nd Festival of the Octopus (Festival del Pulpo), to be held in Rio Lagartos Yucatan.
Elena Conde, is the manager of the hotel “Villa de pescadores“. Originally from Chiapas she has lived in Rio Lagartos Yucatan for 17 years. She is a member of the “Servicios Turísticos Río Lagartos A.C.” association, and she is also the Festival organizing committee secretary.
Elena is also a “bird watcher” and an enthusiast photographer. Together with the organizing committee she has the purpose of promoting tourism in the area, and help people to learn more about the magic of Rio Lagartos, so they can visit this fantastic destination and fall in love with the place, as she did 17 years ago, when she arrived to Yucatán.
Why was the “Festival del Pulpo” (Octopus Festival) created?
It began when as a group of hotel and restaurant owners joined forces in order to promote tourism in Río Lagartos Yucatan.
This idea of the festival arises from the need to create an event that attracts more tourists during the month of October, which is the lowest during the season. Besides the fact that we are in the middle of the octopus fishing season as well, which goes from August 1 to December 15.
Another reason is that, even when the octopus is a delicious culinary element, there was no festival in Mexico dedicated to this gastronomic delicacy, so we decided to make the idea a reality.
This is our second edition, even though the first time we did not have any support from the government in terms of promotion, with good team work, organization and love for our job, we made it happen, and the 1st Octopus Festival in 2018 was a success and we are convinced that this year it will be a lot better.
What are the activities / events / gastronomic exhibitions / that will take place during the festival?
This year there is a diverse repertoire of events including:
- Yoga classes
- Photography workshop
- Artisanal octopus fishing technique demonstration
- Jarana Classes
- The crocodile and Pink Flamingo Tour
- We will also have, singer Marisol Centeno in her second year at the festival as well as Orlando Nuñez an amazing saxophon player.
Regarding the culinary arts we will have several restaurants that will present diverse dishes such as:
- Octopus in Mole
- Pibihua stuffed with Octopus Pibil
- Octopus Huarache
- Coconut Octopus
- Hawaiian Octopus,
- Octopus Ice Cream
- Octopus Cupcakes
In addition, several artisans from Yucatan will offer their crafts for visitors to buy their beautiful handmade items.
What can you tell us about Rio Lagartos? its benefits as a tourist destination and as a community?
We are the “Biosphere Reserve of Ría Lagartos” the location of the emblematic Pink Flamingo, the Moreletti Crocodile and wide diversity of birds that can be observed during the tours or by the boardwalk. Rio Lagartos is a fishing and tourist port. We have a good quality hotel infrastructure and we have several restaurants specializing in seafood and typical Yucatan food.
Only 20 minutes away we have “Las Coloradas” where you can find the mountains of salt that look like mountains of snow under the heat of the Caribbean and the iconic “pink pools” admired all over the world.
San Felipe, an emblematic place, is 15 minutes away. A beautiful port with wooden houses painted in bright and cheerful colors, a picturesque atmosphere as you enter the neighboring port. As you walk through the streets of the port you can see tourists and locals, as well as fishermen arriving from the ocean, it is a place full of life, flavor, nature and tradition.
What message would you like send to our community of readers?
“The 2nd Octopus Festival is a gastronomic event in paradise, with the objective of encouraging tourism to come and enjoy our traditions and way of life.
Come and enjoy our Yucatecan tropical flavor, our music, our happiness. Come observe and delight yourself with our incredible ﬂora and fauna. We want you to love what we love… the beauty of Rio Lagartos, its sunsets are breathtaking… and to see the sunrises from your balcony while having a cup of coffee.
What are the dates of the festival and where can we read more about it?
The dates are October 18, 19 and 20, 2019 and for more information you can visit our social networks:
The Yucatan Times