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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:

Villa Luminosa
Villa Luminosa, Tankah vacation rental
20% discount! For outdoor lovers, this beach front villa has 4 air conditioned bedrooms and a unique pool level breezeway open to the pool. All bedrooms provide a lovely ocean side view. All the...
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Hacienda Paraiso Tulum
Hacienda Paraiso Tulum beach house villa rental, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Luxury Beachfront Tulum vacation villa with stunning beach and Caribbean views. Located right on the beach this luxury villa sleeps up to 16 people and provides a picture perfect vacation.
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Casa Yakunah
Casa Yakunah, Sian Kaan Tulum rental home
This all inclusive villa has it all. The sunrise over the Caribbean Sea, sunsets over the freshwater lagoon, 100 meters of private beach and a rooftop offering 360 degree views of a UNESCO nature...
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Posada Margherita
tulum-hotel-posada-margherita-4085-700x464
This shabby chic eco hotel, perched on the silky white sand of Tulum beach, is perfect for couples. Each of the 8 bungalow-style suites comes with a private bathroom and a big hardwood porch or a...
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Los Tulipanes Casita
Los Tulipanes Casita, Soliman bay Mexico vacation rental
Casita Los Tulipanes is a great 1-bedroom apartment, located steps away from Soliman Bay beach. Besides being pet-friendly, it comes with a full kitchen, a balcony, onsite parking, WIFI, A/C and a...
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Casa Madera
Casa Madera, Tulum beach house for rent, Riviera Maya, Mexico
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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Sueno del Mar
Sueno del Mar, Soliman bay vacation rental home
For those who want to vacation in high style and luxury, Villa Sueno del Mar (Dreams for the Sea) is a perfect choice, right on Soliman bay beach. Enjoy luxurious bedroom in the main house, 1 in a...
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Ana y Jose Hotel and Spa
Ana y Jose Tulum beach hotel
Come to Tulum for the sun, surf and sand. Stay at the family-owned beachfront hotel with its 14 air-conditioned rooms, an elegant swimming pool and a lovely beach restaurant & bar. Embrace an...
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