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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:

Casa Sophia
Casa Sophia, Sian Kaan Tulum beach house rental, Riviera Maya
Luxury houses in the Sian Kaan are hard to find but this 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath beach house is one. Enjoy a swimming pool, incredible beach, deluxe interior, affiliation with CESiak for tours, meal...
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Casa Laura
Casa Laura, Tulum vacation rental house, Riviera Maya
Part of the Hotel Zamas property, Casa Laura is a great option for wedding parties or large groups travelling together. You have all the amenities of their beachfront hotel with the added privacy and...
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Hip Hotel
Hip Hotel, Tulum beach rentals
This beachfront hotel with only 22 rooms is located away from the busier beach road sections of Tulum for a peaceful, tranquil stay for couples and families. Recently opened by the Ana y Jose Hotel...
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Kanxuk Estate
Kan Xuk, Tulum Sian Kaan Luxury Hotel
Luxurious Mix of Serenity and Privacy in the Heart of the Sian Ka'an. Perfect for weddings, family reunions and retreats.  This is an experience, not just a place to...
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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 Aquamarine
casa-aquamarine-yang-soliman-bay-condos-9026
Three beach front condos with shared pool and each is fully air conditioned. These are fully equipped vacation rentals on a lovely part of Soliman Bay beach. Rent one, two or all three units, subject...
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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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Casa Bonita
Casita Bonita, Tulum beach house rental
Cute little beach bungalow, casita right on Tulum beach. This is a rare find as most accommodations are in boutique hotels. The casa can sleep up to 4 people. A cozy little gem for sure. Alternate...
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