How to get to Sian Ka’an is a question for many travelers. It can be difficult to find up-to-date information on the subject as Sian Ka’an is a place off the beaten path. Whether you choose to take one of the many Sian Ka’an tours on the market or go by yourself, we will enlighten you with this article!
How far is Sian Ka’an?
Sian Ka’an is a nature reserve located in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. Quintana Roo is the famous tourist state where Tulum, Playa Del Carmen and Cancun are located. The Sian ka’an biosphere covers 10% of the total state’s land area, it’s really huge. Sian Ka’an belongs to the municipalities of Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto.
Sian Ka’an is located after the hotel zone. The road to Sian Ka’an crosses this zone and continues to Punta Allen. The road is very nice up to the entrance to the reserve (the “Eco-Chic” town of Tulum on the way is a very original concept). Then the road condition becomes bad and there is a dirt track for more than 40 kilometers.
Access to Sian ka’an is controlled by CONANP, the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas. A tax of MXN 97 per person is payable at the entrance to the nature reserve. You will get a bracelet, you need to keep it until you leave the biosphere.
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!
Two areas : Muyil and Punta Allen
Muyil and Punta Allen are the two tourist areas of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. Visiting both areas in a single day is very difficult due to the different territories of each cooperative in the nature reserve. The number of activities to do on each site makes it impossible to visit Muyil and Punta Allen in one day too. For both areas it is possible to get there on your own or via a tour agency.
As you can see on the map below, the two areas have completely different access from Tulum. To get to Muyil, you will need to head southwest on the road that leads to Bacalar. As for Punta Allen, you will need to head south on the road that leads to the hotel zone of Tulum (the Tulum-Boca Paila road).
Of the two areas, Punta Allen is the most popular because it offers the most attraction and wildlife. In the Punta Allen area, you can observe dolphins, turtles, crocodiles, and many species of birds. Due to its opening to the sea, snorkeling activities are also carried out in the Punta Allen area.
Muyil offers a different approach to the Sian Ka’an biosphere. This area is not open to the sea but consists of three lagoons and mangroves. The visit to Muyil usually involves visiting the ruins, then the lagoons and mangroves. The half-day ends with the famous activity of floating in the ancient Mayan canals.
Different travel conditions between Muyil and Punta Allen!
One thing to consider: Muyil is much easier to access than Punta Allen. Access to Muyil is via a frequently traveled paved road, only 20 minutes from Tulum. On the other hand, access to Punta Allen is via an unpaved dirt road, which is in more or less bad condition depending on the season. The 42km journey generally takes 2.5 hours, and car rental companies tend to prohibit access due to the damage caused by the road to vehicle suspensions.
How to get to Muyil?
It is very easy to get to Muyil. The archaeological site is the gateway to your visit to the Muyil area and its surrounding lagoons. This archaeological site is located 23 kilometers from the city of Tulum on Highway 307 which connects Tulum to Bacalar. Thanks to the ease of access, the Muyil area and the activities offered require a half-day visit only.You might like to read our detailed article about how to get to Muyil from the main cities of the Riviera Maya, by car or by public bus.
How to get to Punta Allen?
Punta Allen is our favorite area. Punta Allen is the area we are visiting on our “Sian Ka’an tour”. Wildlife is more important in Punta Allen than in the other area. It’s also more difficult to access this area, indeed it is a longer trip on a dirt track. But on the other hand, it helps to preserve this protected area.
- Read our complete article with the different options to get there and take the boat: How to get to Punta Allen? →
Note: It is possible to go to Punta Allen by rental car. As mentioned before, make sure that the rental company allows it as sometimes it is not the case. Technically, the rental company cannot know if you go there or not, but in case of an accident or breakdown, the insurance may not cover it.
Regardless of how you choose to get there, Punta Allen is a stunning destination that’s worth the effort to reach.