The state of Yucatán is known for beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and many Mayan ruin sites. Mérida is the capital and cultural center of the Yucatán Peninsula. The city looks back on an interesting Spanish colonial history. Excursions to the Mayan sites of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal as well as to see the flamingos in the lagoon of Celestún start from here. The small fishing village and the UNESCO biosphere reserve of the same name are located on the northern west coast. The reserve is a natural paradise and is known for its mangrove forests and a lagoon that is home to Central America’s only colony of pink flamingos. Yucatán is home to other interesting places such as Izamal or Valladolid, as well as many beautifully restored haciendas.