Local Mayan Communities Manage Ecotourism in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Ecotourism has really boosted the economy in Mexico at large, and in Quintana Roo and the Yucatan Peninsula in particular. However, this area was host to some of the premier destinations in Latin America before the influx of eco-tourists.

Alongside the great economic benefits that ecotourism has brought, however, there have been social benefits too, and potential for sustainable development in the region remains increasingly high.


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The Sian Ka’an Biosphere has achieved the coveted status of a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as being a protected nature reserve. The rich history and culture that has been preserved within the biosphere, such as the fishing traditions of Punta Herrero, and the unique ecosystems at play here have much to do with this. What draws in many ecotourists, however, are the virgin coastlines, teeming waters, and fun family activities.

Of all the eco-activities and Sian Ka’an tours to partake in, we highly recommend grabbing a bike from Casa De Las Olas and start pedaling south. The Muyil ruins are also one of the oldest and unfrequented archaeological sites in Riviera Maya. It is a peaceful retreat for anyone wanting to escape tourist crowds and also spend some time alone in nature. Though being so close in proximity to Tulum it feels quite remote and remains an unspoiled bastion of ancient Mayan culture.

However, kayak and boat rides truly are the best ways to see the Reserve, and there are several great guides available, depending on what you’re interested in. Usually there are two different boat trips to choose from: floating down ancient Mayan channels, or bird watching at sunset.

Featured Tours in Sian Kaan