Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve -WOW!

The heart of sustainable tourism in the Riviera Maya

Welcome to the nucleus of sustainable travel and eco-tourism in the Riviera Maya. Sian Ka’an is a UNESCO World Heritage site and protected biosphere in the southern portion of the Riviera Maya. This protected national treasure is enormous, approximately 1.3 million acres in total, spanning 120 kilometers from north to south and comprising almost one third of the Caribbean coast of Mexico. With a rich historical background, diverse ecosystem and large waterways, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is treasured by locals and visitors alike.

The northernmost section of Sian Ka’an contains what is thought to be an ancient trade route through the 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. The fishing industry is still one of the most important economic activities for the residents in the reserve. Common species include spiny lobster, tarpon, grouper, permit, and snapper. Tourism is one of the main sources of income for fishermen in Sian Ka’an, who are hired to run boat trips to the reefs and lagoon systems with local guides who share the history and environmental richness of this area.

Sian Ka’an visitor and scientific research zones

The reserve contains three large core zones where human activity is limited to permission for scientific research only. 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’. This area is comprised of lagoons, the Caribbean coast and jungle. With the assistance of local guides, visitors can travel by boat or kayak and learn about the flora and fauna indigenous to the area and observe over 300 species of birds, both migratory and local. 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 of the Tulum hotel beach zone. There is a stone archway at the entrance to the reserve where a small fee is charged, and sign-in is required. There are few services in Sian Ka’an other than pre-booked guided tours and a few random small restaurants so come prepared wth water, snacks and lots of gas in your tank. Vacation properties located in Sian Ka’an run on alternate energy and use sustainable building practices. The area is known for its fly fishing, bird watching and other eco-focused activities.

LocoGringo suggests these great vacation spots:

Posada Punta Piedra

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The view is that classic Tulum beach Caribbean view, and an added bonus is this location's convenience to services. This boutique hotel offers rooms on the beach with a private bathroom, balcony or...
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Casa de las Palmas

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One of few beach houses on amazing Tulum beach. This 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom alternate energy house is close to restaurants & beach bars. Each bedroom has a balcony. Multiple living spaces,...
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Casa Canciones

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Casa Canciones an excellent choice for one or two couples (one couple on each level), honeymooners, or a small family. Beautiful beach setting, interior kitchen, terrace grill, kayaks, superb view, a...
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Tropical Evergreens

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This cozy beach house has an open split-level first floor with a king bed and loft bedroom above with 2 queens. Enjoy a beach front patio, full kitchen, living/dining room & beach palapa....
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Casa Los Tulipanes

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This beach house has a great central Soliman Bay location with a beautiful view of the water and lush coconut palms. Big kitchen & living, 2 bedroom upstairs, nice balcony with a sea view....
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Casa Buena Suerte

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This sought-after luxury villa boasts a private location on Soliman Bay beach, 5 elegant bedrooms, a zero edge pool and a beachfront palapa suite. With 5-star service, cathedral ceilings and an...
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Casa Madera

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This windswept beachfront is all about unwinding and getting in touch with nature. Awe-inspiring views of Papaya Playa and Tulum beach, 2 stylish bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, over-sized terrace...
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Behla La Chiquita

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One of 3 houses all by the same owner and on a very nice part of the beach. This alternate energy house has 24 hour electricity, equipped kitchen, rooftop furnished observation deck, cook & spa...
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