Sian Ka’an Biosphere Information
Ocean Water

Located only a few minutes from Tulum. The Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an contains around 23 known archaeological sites hidden amongst emerald jungle and meandering mangrove forests. This ecological wonder is one of the shouldn’t be

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve was initially established in 1986, a year later in 1987 the reserve was recognised as UNESCO world heritage site.

Located only a few minutes from Tulum. The Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an contains around 23 known archaeological sites hidden amongst emerald jungle and meandering mangrove forests. This ecological wonder is one of the shouldn’t be missed. Follow in the steps of the ancient Mayans through four unique ecosystems.

The Sian Ka’an reserve covers a total area of 2,797 km2 (1,080 sq miIes) and is home to many diverse species. A host of different birds call the Biosphere home all year round. However, keen bird watchers and wildlife lovers, will want to visit during December to February in order to catch all the migratory birds that visit the area.

While visiting Sian Ka’an you’ll be able to venture through lush jungle and marvel at architectural wonders created well over 1,000 years ago. You can take a float through the timeworn canal systems and be picked up by boat on the other end.

Not so keen on the water? Not to worry, Sian Ka’an offers something for eveyone! Follow a professional local guide through the local conservation areas. The guides will lead you on an exploration of the origins of Chewing gum. You’ll learn how the gum was (and still is) extracted from the local forest and then see how its processed and out to practical use.

The four main ecosystems of Sian Ka’an include Mangrove Forests, Tropical Jungle, Lagoons and Wetlands. All of these unique environments harbour some of the most fascinating wildlife on the planet. A diverse population of birds, fish insects and snakes live in and around the conservation areas. Not to mention wild Manatees, that you may be lucky enough to grab a glimpse of.

Various tours run daily into the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. We’ve recommend some of our favourites here.

The road that runs through Sian Ka’an from Tulum to Punta Allen is an adventure in itself. A 56km dirt road through the jungle, with the lagoon on one side and the ocean on the other. The road maintenance is only generally carried out once or twice a year. Although it is possible to hire a car and drive through Sian Ka’an at your own leisure. We highly recommend taking a guided tour of the area. Trust me, I’ve driven this road at its worst and it took me 4 hours to complete the 56km stretch. This was in a Jeep, supposedly designed for that kind of off road driving. It was not an experience I would like to repeat, while being in the driver’s seat.

A couple of things you should consider, when heading into Sian Ka’an. As always, take a good supply of water. Biodegradable sunscreen and mosquito repellent are a must. Many sunscreens and insect repellents can cause damage to the local ecosystem and are discouraged.

All visitors to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere will ned to pay a small entrance fee at the entrance. This is generally no more than MXN 74 per person.

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Charlie Baker
One of the original authors of Tulum Knows. A well travelled reviewer with a nose for what travellers want to know.

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