The Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is often overlooked and is a relatively unknown destination amongst many visitors to the Mayan Riviera.
In one way this is an advantage because the area has not been overly commercialised. However it's also a shame, because the natural ecological reserve is home to a potential wealth of diverse experiences. It's a place that more people should really get to appreciate.
The wetlands, mangroves, cenotes and savannahs are a hive of activity for the local wildlife. The fauna and flora is diverse and varied. It's important for the area to be protected so the ongoing stability of life can continue to flourish.
There is an educational centre here which runs an impressive outreach program, whilst also investing time, resources and money into ongoing research studies. The educational centre is known as the Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an (CESiaK). There are also many activities to enjoy, including boat trips, guided tours and snorkelling or diving to reach the beautiful Coral Reefs.
Sian Ka'an is located in Tulum, which is the Southernmost point of the Mayan Riviera. The site is situated on the outskirts of the Yucatan Peninsula and falls in the region of Quintana Roo.
The local translation and Mayan name for the site is 'The Origin of the Sky.'
The centre is also know by some as the place 'Where The Sky is Born.'
The biosphere reserve became officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
The site occupies the largest environmentally protected area throughout the whole of Mexico.
Early communities lived in this area a long, long time ago, there is in fact evidence of inhabitants here dating back to in excess of 2000 years.
Many small communities still live within the confines of the reserve. The unique properties of the area play a key role for their everyday livelihoods.
Archaeological remains can be found throughout the biosphere reserve. It is distinctly possible that potentially significant historical sites are yet to be uncovered. It is thought that early trade routes existed between the important Mayan settlements of Tulum and Muyil. It is highly likely that these trade routes would have disected the jungle landscapes of Sian Ka'an.
The landscape of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is set amongst a diverse collection of geographical terrain. The site features a collection of wetlands and mangroves alongside the freshwater lagoons, cenotes, forests and beaches.
The reserve leads to many idyllic snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities.
It is possible to explore a small section of the Belize Barrier Reef here, and observe the unique range of precious marine species.
The preservation and constant care and attention within the ecological site is paramount to the survival and progression of the local Mexican wildlife.
There are over a hundred varieties of mammals living here, and well over three hundred varieties of birds. If you take into account the depth of marine life too, then the diverse scope of the reserve begins to become far more apparent. The mangroves and savannas reveal an infrastructure of complex plant life throughout the constraints of the enticing World Heritage Site.
The journey to the Biosphere Reserve is fairly straight forward from most resorts, villas and condos in Tulum. People also travel to visit the site from the Neighbouring Mayan Riviera areas of Akumal and Playa del Carmen. Others board coach trips from Cancun, or combine activity trips featuring visits to the Tulum Ruins, Muyil, the Gran Cenote or Coba.
If you have a rental car, then you can drive to the site and pay on entry to explore the reserve. if you have a specific activity in mind, then the following tour options may offer the ideal experience for you;
This exhilarating guided tour takes you on a journey through the variable terrain throughout the biosphere reserve. Enjoy jungle hiking, kayaking, swimming and snorkelling as you make your way around the site.
Delve into the wilderness in the ecological reserve, as your tour guide leads you to a collection of remote Mayan settlements. Learn about the biosphere habitat and an exciting boat ride through the wetlands.
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