Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve - Biosphere reserve in Quintana Roo, Mexico
Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
The Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is a 1.3 million arce nature reserve just south of Tulum beach. Sian Ka'an is translated from Mayan as "where the sky is born" or "gift from the sky". The Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve was established in 1986. The reserve is thought to have been inhabited by the Maya in the pre-Classic and Classic periods as part of the chieftainships of Cohuah and Uaymil. There are twenty-three known archaeological sites inside the reserve. Discoveries of human remains, ceramic pieces, and other artifacts have been dated up to 2,300 years old.
Tulum and Muyil
The northernmost section of Sian Ka'an contains what is thought to be an ancient trade route through lagoons and mangrove channels between the cities of Tulum and Muyil. Parts of what is now the Reserve were once areas of chicle production and trade through the middle of the twentieth century, and the fishing industry is still one of the most important economic activities of the Reserve's population. Common species include spiny lobster (Palinurus espinosa) tarpon, grouper, permit, nurse shark, hammerhead, black tipped shark, and snapper. Tourism is a one of the main sources of income for fishermen in Sian Ka'an, hired to run boat trips to see the reefs and lagoon systems.
Sian Ka'an is approximately 1.3 million acres in size and spans 120 kilometers from north to south comprising almost one third of the Caribbean coast of Mexico.
Sian Ka'an zones
The reserve contains three large core zones where human activity is limited by permission for scientific research. These areas, known as the Zonas Nucleares of Muyil, Cayo Culebras, and Uaymil, cover a total area of almost 700,000 acres. Low-impact human activities and sustainable development occur in the area of the reserve known as the buffer zone. The human population is estimated at 2,000 inhabitants, the majority of which are located in the coastal regions, especially in the fishing villages of Punta Allen and Punta Herrero.
Entering from Tulum
The main entrance is located on the Tulum beach road to the south. There is a stone archway at the entrance where a fee is charged, and sign in required. There are few services in Sian Ka'an. Vacation properties located in Sian Ka'an run on alternate energy and were built to be environmentally conscious. This area is known for it fly fishing, bird watching and other outdoor oriented activities.