Thursday, 1 August 2013

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve a UNESCO World Heritage

When you are vacationing in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, you just cannot miss the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage. Sian Ka'an means "where the sky is born" in Mayan language and it is the first established Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. It extends within the municipality of Tulum.

A strech of the beach in Sian Ka'an 
This protected area of the Mexican Caribbean comprises approximately 1.3 million acres of tropical ecosystem and is 75 miles long from North to South. Sian Ka'an is home to 23 different archaeological sites of pre-Columbian culture, with relics dating up to 300 AC. One hundred and three known mammal species and 336 known bird species inhabit this unique area. It is also a nesting ground for many species of wading birds and an important nesting site for four endangered sea turtle species. 

The northern section of Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve contains what is thought to be an ancient trade route through lagoons and mangrove channels between the cities of Tulum and Muyil. The boundaries of Sian Ka’an include about 68 miles of the second largest barrier reef in the world, which extends to Belize and Honduras. The reef is habitat to several endangered species.

Aerial view of Sian Ka'an
The beaches of Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve constitute a very important habitat. They are nesting grounds to many species of wildlife, as well as an important transition zone between land and ocean. During May through August, the beach is a nesting site for four species of endangered sea turtles: green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). 

These species have lost important nesting sites along many parts of the Caribbean coast. Wetlands water plays a vital role in the existence of the ecosystems, named mangroves, savannas, swamps and marshes. Wetlands of the costal line of Sian Ka’an function as a protective buffer between the land and the ocean, for they absorb the impact of storms. Wetlands are home to the immense variety of wildlife and vegetation, including the endangered species. What an amazing place to visit during your holidays in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Riviera Maya.

Dolphins in Sian Ka'an
Things to do in Sian Kaaan Biosphere Reserve

If you have time during your vacations in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, just wonder around the area by yourself: rent a jeep, take the Boca Paila road, enter into the Sian Ka'an Biosphere and go directly to Cesiak. 

Spend the day in Cesiak (Centro ecologico de Sian Ka'an), watch the amazing Mexican Caribbean Sea without crowds in their exclusive beach club and have lunch there.

Take a tour from Community Tours Sian Ka'an and discover the amazing mangroves of the area. The tours that they normally offer are: Kayaks trips, fishing and tours to watch the sunset.

Go directly to Boca Paila where you will find more options to make tours such as: watch the dolphins, swim with turtles, snorkel, kayaking and more.

Aerial view of Sian Ka'an

Where to eat in Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve

The only known place to eat in Sian Ka'an is at the CESIAK hotel (30 minutes away from Tulum). Otherwise, in Boca Paila you will find small Mexican restaurants.

How to get to Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve from Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum

Drive south on Highway #307, pass Tulum Ruins and at the traffic light turn left. Follow Boca Paila, Punta Allen and Sian Ka'an signs. After passing all the hotels in Tulum you will enter the Sian Ka'an Biosphere, getting into Punta Allen road which is famous for its holes, sand dunes, floodings...but it is beautiful and with an amazing ocean view.

To get to Boca Paila you will drive for 45 kilometers. To get to CESIAK you will drive for 20 kilometers.

Where to stay in  Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve

There are two hotels in Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

- Xamach DoS, and
- Cesiak (Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an).

Otherwise, just book a hotel in Tulum.

The amazing Caribbean Sea in Sian Ka'an