Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a stunning and off the beaten path place located just minutes from Tulum town. It is a huge nature reserve that covers 528,147 hectares. It’s so big that it’s obviously impossible to visit all of its tourist spots in one day. There is a lot of activities to do in Sian Ka’an. The reserve offers breathtaking wildlife with more than 30 species of birds and a lot of animals such as dolphins and turtles. It is without any doubt the wildest place in southeastern Mexico. And it’s right next to Tulum. You can discover this beautiful place through our Sian Ka’an tours. Full day tours from your hotel with certified guides.
As a tour operator we identify two distincts zones in the Sian Ka’an biosphere: the Muyil area and the Punta Allen area. A lot of people are wondering if they can visit both areas in one day.
The answer is obviously NO. Firstly because it would be a very busy day, Muyil is located about 75 kilometers (45 miles) by road, which represents more than 3 hours of driving. Secondly, although the two areas are connected by canals, the boats belonging to the Muyil cooperatives are not allowed to go to the Punta Allen area and vice versa. It is therefore impossible to travel by boat from one area to another… Even if it would have been easier, indeed, there are only 35 kilometers (20 miles) between the two areas as the crow flies.
A tour to Sian Ka’an is a great day trip from Tulum or Playa Del Carmen. If you want to do it from Cancun you will have to get up early as the city is located more than two and a half hours drive to the entrance to the biosphere reserve.
Although Sian Ka’an is less touristy compared to the rest of the Riviera Maya, we can say that the Muyil area is the least touristy of the two main areas of the biosphere reserve. Muyil is easier to access than Punta Allen but offers slightly less activities. The tours in the Muyil area usually last about half a day and combine a flotation canal activity experience, bird watching and a visit to the archaeological site of Muyil. If you are looking for what to do in Muyil, read our detailed article on an authentic place in the middle of nature.
Punta Allen area
Punta Allen is the only village in the biosphere of Sian Ka’an, a village cut off from the world, calm and authentic. It’s a very quiet place with some moments without electricity. It is in the Punta Allen area that we can go for a marine safari to observe dolphins, turtles, crocodiles and other animals living in total freedom in this paradise. It is also a few meters from the coast of Sian ka’an that the second largest reef in the world is located, a good opportunity to observe fish and corals in the utmost respect for the reef! Our detailed article about what to do in Punta Allen is waiting for you, check it out!
It is more difficult to get to Punta Allen than to Tulum. It’s a blessing in disguise because it limits the number of visitors and therefore preserves the beauty and integrity of this place. How to get there is the subject of another article in our travel guide to Sian Ka’an.