If you are looking for how to get to Sian Ka’an, you will first need to choose the area of the nature reserve you want to go to… Muyil or Punta Allen. Indeed, the two access points of the Sian ka’an Biosphere are Muyil and Punta Allen. You can’t visit one from the other, so whether you go on your own or through a tour agency, think about it! In this article we will go through the different ways to get to Punta Allen. Follow the guide!
How to get to Punta Allen on your own ?
You can go to the fishing village of Punta Allen on your own and take a boat tour from there.
Is it possible to reach Punta Allen by car ?
That’s the question on everyone’s mind. What do we think of driving to Punta Allen? Is there any risk involved for the car, and what is the road condition like? ✅ Yes, you can go to Punta Allen on your own. However, before starting your adventure, it’s important to take a few things into consideration.
How long does it take to reach Punta Allen by car ?
You will need 2 hours 45 minutes from Cancun, 1 hour 40 minutes from Playa Del Carmen and 30 minutes from downtown Tulum to drive to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. Once you arrive at the entrance to the biosphere, you will find a dirt track that leads to Punta Allen. The serious part of the journey begins there.
You will need to drive 2.5 hour from the entrance of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere to get to the village in off-roads conditions. The distance is only 42 kilometers (26 miles) but the average speed is about 17 km/h (10.5 mp/h). The reason for such a long travel time is that you will face a rough and very long dirt track. The road condition changes depending on the time of the year.
Can I go to Punta Allen by rental car ?
If you plan on driving a rental car to Punta Allen, it’s important to confirm with the rental company first if they permit the trip. Most rental companies in the region do not allow their vehicles to travel to Sian Ka’an. Although it may be challenging for them to verify if you’re going to Sian Ka’an, if you get stranded or damage the car in any way (such as the suspensions), the insurance won’t cover the repairs, and you’ll be responsible for the costs.
Do I need a Jeep to go to Punta Allen ?
We see many visitors driving there with basic rental cars, and usually, everything goes well. However, if possible, we recommend using a 4×4 vehicle.
👉 My advice: You can go to Sian Ka’an with a standard vehicle like Chevrolet Onix, Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Cavalier… as long as you feel the vehicle is in “good condition”. If you ever feel that the suspensions aren’t at their best, I recommend not taking the risk because on such tracks, a mechanical incident can happen quickly.
📍 If you go there by your own means by car, you will have to go to the village of Punta Allen to catch the boat, where all the boat cooperatives are located. The boarding located before are only docks, and boats only go there for the operations of the agencies.
Punta Allen by colectivo
An inexpensive option to get to Punta Allen is to take the Colectivos. This is a very well-known public transport system in Mexico: minivans that stop on request on a given route.
There is a daily route connecting Tulum to Punta Allen, which is primarily used by workers who commute regularly. The journey typically takes around four hours, and the one-way fare is MXN 200 Pesos or $10 USD. In 2023, this option no longer exists.❌
Punta Allen by Taxi 🚕
Punta Allen can be reached by cab. However, few cabs will accept this trip, and it will certainly be very expensive. There’s no fixed price, but we can estimate that this trip will cost you between 2,500 Pesos MXN and 3,500 Pesos MXN one way.
How to take a cab in Tulum ?
It’s easy to take a cab in Tulum, just stop it on the street. However, be sure to ask the fare before you get in, as cabs don’t have meters.
What to see on my way to Punta Allen ?
Sian Ka’an’s main attraction is its marine life. The road from Tulum to Punta Allen has little of interest, as it is mostly surrounded by vegetation.
📍 Punta Allen from Tulum Directions
From Tulum, get on the main coastal highway, Carr. Tulum – Boca Paila, heading south. Continue on this road for about 42 kilometers (26 miles). This road will take you through the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It’s a mostly unpaved road, so be prepared for a bumpy ride, especially after rain. The road will lead you directly to Punta Allen.
You’ll pass through Tulum’s hotel zone, where you can enjoy its beautiful wooden hotels in hippie chic style.
Where do I take the boat if I’m going to Sian Ka’an on my own?
If you are going to Punta Allen on your own, you will need to go to the village to catch a boat. You’ll find many captains ready to take you on a tour from there.
Guided tour to Punta Allen
The most comfortable option to get to the village is undoubtedly to book a day trip from Playa Del Carmen or Tulum with a tour agency. Once again, be careful that the excursion is a Punta Allen tour and not a Muyil Tour.
Prices for a day trip to Punta Allen range from $120 USD to over $190 USD. The price varies depending on where you will board the boat.
Sian Ka’an Boat Tour
Discover the wild beauty of Sian Ka’an by boat! Sail through turquoise lagoons, spot dolphins and turtles, and explore the mysteries of this preserved natural reserve. An unforgettable adventure in Mexico!
Why can prices vary from one agency to another for the Sian Ka’an tour ?
The duration of the trip by van can range from 30 minutes to over 2.5 hours, depending on where you board the boat.
💰 Taking the boat earlier makes the trip more costly.
The “Deluxe” tours are the most costly but provide the most comfortable experience since they minimize the van travel time by taking the boat at the beginning of the biosphere.
👎 A drawback of Deluxe tours is that they can feel rushed due to captains working double shifts and facing time constraints.
Our agency, Pixan Ka’an, offers an intermediate option that is neither the shortest nor the longest van journey… This allows us to offer a good balance between comfort and price. Here are the three boarding points and their respective journey times by van from the entrance of the biosphere:
- Visitors Center: 30 minute drive from the entrance
- Paso Lagartos: 1.5 hour drive from the entrance (this is where our tour starts)
- Punta Allen: 2.5 hour drive from the entrance
Here is a map to help you see things more clearly:
Note that since all activities take place off the coast of Punta Allen, embarking from either the beginning of the biosphere (visitor center) or Punta Allen won’t affect the number of things you’ll see; it’s simply a matter of comfort! Regardless of where you embark, the activities carried out will be the same: dolphins, turtles, bird islands, snorkeling, and natural pools.
What to expect on your day trip to Punta Allen ?
The itinerary typically followed during the 3-hour boat tour is as follows:
- Crocodile watching in Boca Paila
- Birds Island
- Dolphin watching
- Turtle watching
- Snorkeling on the reef
- Relaxation in the natural pools of Punta Allen
- Lunch and short walk through the fishing village
The excursion lasts the entire day, from around 7:00 am to 5:00 pm when departing from Tulum. If you choose an excursion with embarkation at Punta Allen, the return may be later due to the longer travel time.