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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 Gaia
Casa Gaia: beach front cabana in Tulum Mexico
This romantic vacation rental faces the Caribbean sea on a beautiful part of Tulum Beach. Surrounded by tropical gardens, palm trees and open blue sky, you will instantly shift from work to life the...
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Villa Lol Beh
Lol Beh, Soliman bay villa vacation rental, Riviera Maya
Bask in luxury and style in this spectacular beach front villa ideal for larger groups or families who seek casual sophistication and luxury on relaxing shores Soliman bay. Be pampered in your own 12...
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Villa Paloma
Villa Paloma, Tankah bay vacation rental, Riviera Maya
April 2018 Savings! 10 days for the price of 7! It’s the picture postcard view that you will see when looking at  Tankah Bay through the two-story high windows of Casa Paloma. This splendid...
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Casa del Corazon Zen Palapa
Zen Palapita, Casa Corazon, Riviera Maya bungalows
Zen Palapita is a budget-friendly bungalow perfect for a romantic getaway. It comes with a king-size bed, a bathroom, a private patio, ceiling fans, a coffee maker and a bar fridge. And did we...
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Casa Orquidea
Casa Orquidea, Tankah bay villa, vacation rental, Riviera Maya
Beautiful, spacious beach front 5 bedroom villa on the northwest corner of Tankah Bay. Fully equipped vacation rental with swimming pool, full kitchen, multiple living spaces inside and out, kayaks,...
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Casa Yamulkan
Casa Yamulkan, Soliman bay villa rental, Riviera Maya
This beach house has 2 air conditioned bedrooms with king beds, additional sleeping areas, spacious living room, kitchen, nice beach, terrace, vaulted palapa roof with interior stone and wood beams....
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KanXuk Luxury Resort
Kan Xuk, Tulum Sian Kaan Luxury Hotel
Spring Special! 20% off! Luxurious Mix of Serenity and Privacy in the Heart of the Sian Ka'an. When sitting on the glorious beach outside your beachfront cabana, you will feel you have stepped onto ...
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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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