As we have seen previously, Punta Allen is the area with the most things to do in Sian Ka’an. In this area, you will observe more wild animals than in any other part of the nature reserve. It’s also nice to spend a night there to get away from the hustle and bustle of other destinations in the region. Discover what to do in Punta Allen with our travel guide, a tiny authentic village cut off from the world.
- 1. Snorkeling on the Sian Ka’an reef
- 2. Spend a night in Sian Ka’an
- 3. Taste seafood in Punta Allen
- 4. Observe the wildlife of Sian Ka’an
- 5. Watch stars in Punta Allen
- 6. Watch the sunrise in Punta Allen
- 7. Birdwatching in Punta Allen
- 8. Relax in the Punta Allen natural pools
- 9. Fishing in Punta Allen
- How to pay in Punta Allen ?
- Is there internet in Punta Allen ?
- Is Punta Allen safe ?
- My final thoughts on Punta Allen
- Read more about Sian Ka’an
1. Snorkeling on the Sian Ka’an reef 🤿
Sian Ka’an is home to part of one of the world’s largest coral reefs – it is the second largest in the world. Four countries are sharing this reef: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. Sian Ka’an is home to nearly 120 km of this coral reef. Snorkeling on the Sian Ka’an reef is a must-do activity while visiting the Punta Allen area. You will find this activity on most boat tours in Punta Allen.
On the Sian Ka’an reef, it is rare to see turtles; we mainly observe fish of all colors. With a bit of luck, we sometimes see manatees and rays.
2. Spend a night in Sian Ka’an
The Riviera Maya attracts a multitude of tourists, bringing both its advantages and drawbacks. To escape the tourist frenzy of cities like Tulum or Playa Del Carmen for a night or more, spending a night in Punta Allen is a great option. You will have the opportunity to experience a total change of scenery in a very small fishing village without electricity at certain times of the day… Are you excited about this experience?
👉 Discover our article: Where to sleep in Punta Allen, for a great experience.
3. Taste seafood in Punta Allen
Even though Punta Allen is a small fishing village, you can find about ten restaurants in the village.
Experiencing the seafood in Sian Ka’an is a treat for the senses. Given its location along the Caribbean coast and its rich marine biodiversity, it’s no surprise that seafood is a staple in the local cuisine of the area. Here’s what you can expect when tasting seafood in Sian Ka’an:
- Fresh Catch of the Day: Given its proximity to the sea, you’re likely to find the freshest seafood. Fish such as snapper, grouper, and barracuda might be on the menu, often grilled or fried with local herbs and spices.
- Ceviche: A popular dish throughout coastal regions of Latin America, ceviche is made by curing fresh seafood in citrus juices, typically lime, and then mixing it with diced onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. In Sian Ka’an, you might find variations made with local fish or even conch.
- Lobster: During the lobster season, you might be lucky enough to taste freshly caught Caribbean lobsters, which are often grilled or made into delicious dishes with rich sauces.
- Campechana: A seafood cocktail that mixes shrimp, octopus, and sometimes other seafood in a tangy, spiced tomato sauce.
- Tikin Xic: A traditional Mayan fish dish where the fish is marinated in achiote and citrus juice, wrapped in banana leaves, and then baked or grilled.
- Grilled Octopus: Tender octopus legs grilled to perfection with a touch of garlic and chili, offering a perfect blend of flavors.
- Shrimp Tacos: While tacos are a staple throughout Mexico, shrimp tacos in coastal regions like Sian Ka’an often stand out due to the freshness and quality of the shrimp.
👉 Our team has done a quick guide to help you to know where to eat in Punta Allen.
4. Observe the wildlife of Sian Ka’an 🐬
Sian Ka’an stands out as a unique and vital natural reserve, boasting an incredible diversity of wildlife. Delve deeper to discover the myriad of creatures that call Sian Ka’an their home:
Mammals: The reserve provides habitat for a variety of mammals. Some of the most notable include jaguars, pumas, ocelots, tapirs, and spider monkeys. The dense forests and vast wetlands serve as perfect homes for these creatures.
Birds: Sian Ka’an is a haven for bird enthusiasts. With over 300 recorded bird species, the area offers sightings of birds like the Yucatan jay, toucans, parrots, and the great curassow. Many migratory birds also pass through or winter in the region.
Marine Life: The coastal and marine areas of Sian Ka’an are just as rich in biodiversity. You can find a variety of sea turtles such as the loggerhead, green turtle, and hawksbill, all of which use the beaches of Sian Ka’an for nesting. The waters are also teeming with dolphins, manatees, and various species of rays and sharks.
Reptiles and Amphibians: The reserve’s freshwater systems are inhabited by crocodiles, various species of frogs, and numerous snakes. Among them, the Morelet’s crocodile is one of the most iconic reptiles in the region.
👉 Learn more about the animals to see in Sian Ka’an with one of the articles in our dedicated travel guide.
To observe these animals you will have to take a boat trip that will take you to the lagoons and to the reef. Some tours are available directly from your hotel for a more practical and comfortable experience. It’s hard to get there on your own. But if you are adventurous and have a 4WD vehicle, you can drive to Punta Allen and take a boat tour through one of the cooperatives on site.
❤️ Exploring mangroves and lagoons in search of animals on a boat is a must-do activity in Sian Ka’an. You cannot miss this during your visit to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve!
5. Watch stars in Punta Allen ⭐
This remote village offers a tranquil setting away from major urban areas and light pollution, making it a great place to stargaze.
Here are some recommendations if you are planning to watch stars in Punta Allen:
- Time your visit: The best time for stargazing is during the new moon phase when the moon’s brightness doesn’t outshine the stars. Also, try to aim for dates when there are meteor showers or other celestial events.
- Get away from lights: Even though Punta Allen is a small village, you’ll get the best views if you move a little away from any sources of artificial light. The beaches can be a good spot, provided you’re safe and aware of the tides. I recommend you to stay at Cielo & Selva.
- Bring the right equipment: While the naked eye is enough to enjoy the beauty of the starry sky, having a pair of binoculars or a telescope can significantly enhance the experience. A stargazing app on your smartphone like Starwalk can also help identify stars, constellations, and planets.
- Stay Overnight: Consider staying overnight, either by camping (with appropriate permissions) or by staying in local accommodations. This allows you to watch the sky evolve throughout the night.
- Check the Weather: A clear night is crucial for stargazing. Ensure you check the local weather forecast to make sure there are no clouds or storms expected.
6. Watch the sunrise in Punta Allen
Watching the sunrise in Punta Allen offers a captivating experience as the sun emerges over the Caribbean Sea. The untouched beaches, crystal-clear waters, and the natural beauty of the surroundings enhance this experience. If you’re considering witnessing the sunrise there, make sure to find out the exact time the sun will rise so you can prepare and position yourself in the best possible spot.
7. Birdwatching in Punta Allen
Birdwatching in Punta Allen is a rewarding experience for enthusiasts and amateurs alike. One of the most prominent features of birdwatching in Punta Allen is the incredible diversity. Depending on the season, visitors might spot flamingos, ospreys, pelicans, frigatebirds, wood storks, and a myriad of tropical songbirds. The early morning hours and late afternoons are generally the most active times for bird movements.
Birds Island 🐦
“Birds Island” or “Isla de los Pájaros” is a well-known spot within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It’s an important sanctuary for numerous bird species, especially during the nesting season.
Here’s what you might want to know about Isla de los Pájaros:
- Biodiversity: The island is home to a multitude of bird species. Depending on the season, you can witness large populations of pelicans, frigatebirds, herons, egrets, and many more.
- Migratory Stop: Apart from the resident birds, Sian Ka’an’s Birds Island also serves as a significant stop for migratory species. This makes the island a bustling hub of avian activity, especially during migration seasons.
- Boat Tours: It is not possible to land on the island because it is made up of only mangroves. The only way to observe the birds is to take a boat tour around this tiny island.
8. Relax in the Punta Allen natural pools
The natural pool of Punta Allen is located between the beach and the reef. It is nicknamed “pool” because, thanks to the natural protection of the reef, the sea is often very calm and crystal clear here.
This is the final stop on the boat tours in Sian Ka’an. Right after snorkeling on the reef, visitors come to relax in the natural pools of Punta Allen.
9. Fishing in Punta Allen
Punta Allen, is renowned for its fishing opportunities, particularly fly fishing in its pristine flats. Here’s more information on fishing in Punta Allen:
- Bonefish: Punta Allen is often called the “Bonefish Capital of the World”. The shallow flats surrounding the village are teeming with bonefish, making it a hotspot for fly fishers seeking the thrill of catching this agile fish.
- Permit and Tarpon: Apart from bonefish, Punta Allen’s waters are home to other prized catches for fly fishers, including permit and tarpon. Catching a bonefish, permit, and tarpon all in one day is called a “Grand Slam,” and Punta Allen’s flats offer one of the best chances in the world to achieve this.
- Guided Tours: If you’re new to fly fishing or unfamiliar with the region, numerous guides and outfitters operate in Punta Allen. They provide all the necessary equipment and have in-depth knowledge of the best fishing spots. I recommend you “Pesca Maya” or “Cosme“, two boat cooperatives offering great fly fishing experiences.
- Traditional Fishing: While fly fishing is the primary draw, traditional fishing methods are also popular. The Caribbean waters here abound with species like snapper, barracuda, and grouper.
- Catch and Release: Given the emphasis on sustainability and the protection of the Sian Ka’an reserve, catch and release practices are often encouraged, especially for species like bonefish, tarpon, and permit. This ensures that the fish populations remain healthy for future generations.
- Fishing Tournaments: Occasionally, Punta Allen hosts fishing tournaments that draw participants from all over the world. These events emphasize sustainable fishing practices.
- Best Times to Go: While fishing is available year-round, certain times might be better depending on the species you’re targeting. The summer months, for instance, are typically prime time for tarpon.
- Preparation: Before embarking on a fishing trip in Punta Allen, ensure you have the necessary licenses or permits. Also, be aware of any regional fishing regulations or protected zones within the Sian Ka’an reserve.
In conclusion, Punta Allen offers a serene and biodiverse environment that’s perfect for both novice and experienced anglers. The combination of clear, shallow flats and the abundance of game fish species make it a dream destination for those passionate about fishing.
💰 How to pay in Punta Allen ?
Punta Allen does not have an ATM. If you’re planning to visit, it’s essential to bring sufficient cash with you for the duration of your stay. Ensure you withdraw enough money in larger towns or cities before heading to Punta Allen.
🌐 Is there internet in Punta Allen ?
There is no phone coverage in Punta Allen from any of the carriers. However, some restaurants offer Wi-Fi through a satellite connection:
- Los Gaytanes Restaurant
- Fisherman’s Lodge
🔒 Is Punta Allen safe ?
Punta Allen, being a remote fishing village within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, is considered safe for visitors. Punta Allen is very small; all the residents know each other. There are no incidents of theft or violence.
🚨 However, access to medical care is limited. Punta Allen is an area without phone signal, and emergency access is complicated. So, take precautions when snorkeling and don’t overexpose yourself to the sun.
✅ My final thoughts on Punta Allen
Punta Allen, nestled in the heart of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, is a hidden gem in Quintana Roo, Mexico. This quaint fishing village offers a respite from the bustling tourist hubs of the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Cancún or Playa del Carmen, presenting visitors with an authentic and serene experience.
Its location ensures that nature enthusiasts are in for a treat. With its pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, and rich biodiversity, Punta Allen is a haven for activities like birdwatching, snorkeling, and especially fly fishing, with the flats teeming with bonefish, tarpon, and permit.
It’s an excellent day trip. If you’re looking for peace, zen experiences, or fishing, you can spend a night or more there.