The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve covers more than a million acres, encompassing several wetlands, subtropical forests, mangroves, savannas and coral reefs. The reserve is best known as a home to several Mayan ruins and some of the most immaculate and untouched beaches of the Riviera Maya.
The biosphere is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the best way to explore it is on one of several Sian Ka’an tours. Tours normally include a guided visit to several archaeological sites, a look at the trees and species that are endemic in this area, a boat ride through the lagoon, and you can even try your hand at snorkeling with sea turtles.
The 120,000 hectares of marine area within the reserve protects a valuable part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, as well as seagrass beds in the shallow bays. And it serves as a habitat for a large number of resident and migratory bird species. Idyllic for the avid bird-lover, bird watching typically takes advantage of the magnificent labyrinth of lagoons and natural canals in the sanctuary, allowing for memorable sunrise and sunset kayaking and birding experiences.
The diversity of life in Sian Ka’an is exceptional. The tropical forests are home to Ocelot’s, species of Tapir, as well as different varieties of Toucan. There is a great diversity of marine life, including the West Indian Manatee and hundreds of fish species. And about a third of the property is comprised of highly diverse and productive mangrove communities. Hundreds of forested islands, locally known as ‘Petenes’, emerge from the flooded marshes, some reaching over half a mile in diameter. And a geological particularity within the region are “Cenotes” – deep natural sinkholes harbouring fascinating life forms – which results from collapsing limestone.
With all its natural and unspoilt beauty, and its internationally recognised conservation efforts, Sian Ka’an is an obvious choice for those who want to get out into nature and get away from it all.