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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 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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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 8...
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Villa Moon Star
Villa Moon Star, Soliman bay vacation rental, Tulum
Perched on the primary dune in the central part of Soliman Bay, this amazing four-bedroom beachfront villa is a dream vacation home for anyone who appreciates the beauty of Caribbean, privacy and...
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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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Villa Tres Delfines
villa-tres-delfines-soliman-bay-700x464
This beach house has a pool with a waterfall cascade and built-in barbecue. Enjoy panoramic sea views from 2 upper decks, private beach tanning & kayak for exploring the bay. Full kitchen,...
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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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Casa Cavu
Casa Cavu, Tankah bay villa vacation rental, Riviera Maya
This is a big sunny beach house with 3 air conditioned bedrooms and a beach side swimming pool. Enjoy 2 double kayaks, great sunbathing by the pool or on the beach, grill, big kitchen, awesome ocean...
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Hacienda Caracol
Hacienda Caracol, Soliman bay villa home rental, Tulum Riviera Maya
Enjoy this magnificent beach front villa perfectly suited for larger groups who seek casual refinement and luxury on soothing Soliman bay. Enjoy spaciousness, luxury and style in your own beach front...
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