Sian Ka’an Mexico

Sian Ka’an (pronounced “see on con”) means “origin of the sky” in the language of the Maya people who once inhabited the region more than 1,000 years ago. This is a fitting name for this gorgeous biosphere reserve that contains unique flora and fauna.  Located near the small town of Tulum, Sian Ka’an was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean, comprised of more than 1 million acres.  Sian Ka’an offers a relaxing alternative to other overtly “touristy” destinations in Mexico. With environmental preservation in mind, visitors can feel good about supporting an area rife with extraordinary natural beauty.

Sian Ka’an ecosystem:

  • Over 379 species of birds.
  • Home to 115 species of mammals, 90 species of native bees, 47 species of dragonflies, 74 species of beetles, 276 species of crustaceans, 310 species of mosquitoes, and 318 species of butterflies.
  • The barrier reef is made up of over 84 species of coral.
  • It is visited by hundreds of species of fish.
  • There are 1048 species of flora.
  • Visitors can expect to see creatures that are rarely found elsewhere.
  • Sian Ka’an has 150,000 hectares of deciduous and semi-evergreen forest.
  • The petens, which can grow up to 30 meters tall, can only be found here, in Florida and in Cuba.
  • There is a variety of marine grass, inlets, mangroves, marshes and coastal and in-land lagoons.

For a detailed description of all the beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya, visit here. Sian Ka’an vacation planning is simple, just read on and find everything you need for your Sian Ka’an Mexico vacation.

Sian Ka’an Weather – When to Visit

The best time to visit Sian Ka’an is between November and December. Temperatures fall to around the low 80s as the hurricane season slides away.  Plan a trip for the early part of the this season if you want to save money.  You’ll get the benefit of post hurricane-season breezes, and hotel prices are reasonable. Not to say that it’s hard to find good room rates at other times of the year – this small pocket of the Yucatán has one of the widest ranges of price points on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. If you’re concerned about crowds, though, avoid the region from January to March.

Sian Ka’an Attractions

Muyil Sian Ka'an, Sian Ka'an Mexico, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, things to do in Tulum, best beaches of Tulum, best beaches of Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Yucatan Peninsula beachesMuyil

The Muyil Ruins archaeological site is an exceptional place to visit. Located in the northwestern border of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, this historical site is will provide you with a relaxing tour around the fascinating Mayan ruins. Since the lush grounds are simple to navigate, the ruins are a terrific place to explore for nearly all ages and abilities. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve contains the ruins of 22 pre-Hispanic settlements, but the Muyil ruins are certainly the most noteworthy.

Paradise Beach Sian Ka'an, Sian Ka'an Mexico, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, things to do in Tulum, best beaches of Tulum, best beaches of Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Yucatan Peninsula beachesParadise Beach

This majestic, untouched stretch of sand is surrounded by looming palm trees and rugged cliffs. A popular place for yoga enthusiasts and iguanas, the beach is large enough to ensure that it’s never overrun with people. There are also plenty of restaurants on site to buy food and cocktails and boats offering snorkeling excursions in the warm sea.

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Laguna de Kaan Luum, Sian Ka'an,Sian Ka'an Mexico, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, things to do in Tulum, best beaches of Tulum, best beaches of Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Yucatan Peninsula beachesLaguna de Kaan Luum

What makes Laguna Kaan Luum special is the color of the water and the fact the center is a deep cenote. Some say the center is about 80 meters (262ft.) deep. You can tell the color contrast between the center of the lagoon and the sides. This is also a not very well known location to go swimming since many of the other cenotes in Tulum are move visited and well advertised.

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Escondido Cenote, Sian Ka'an, Sian Ka'an Mexico, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, things to do in Tulum, best beaches of Tulum, best beaches of Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Yucatan Peninsula beachesEscondido Cenote

This cenote adventure can be an all day affair or a quick tour. It is surrounded by the jungle, and you feel you are in your private paradise.  This cenote is best for swimming and snorkeling. Siestas are also a perfect activity in this location. Bring what you need, snorkel equipment, snacks and water as there are few services, which makes this cenote idyllic.

What to do In Sian Ka’an

Sian kaan and Tulum Snorkel

Experience the Yucatan’s rich nature and history on this all-day excursion. After a convenient hotel pickup, see Sian Ka’an Biosphere by boat and learn about its mangroves, jungle, wetlands, savannah, and blue lagoons. Visit Mayan ruins at the Muyil archeological site, explore a coral reef with complimentary snorkel gear, and enjoy a delicious lunch—it’s included in the tour price.  Read more about Sian kaan and Tulum Snorkel

Sian Ka’an Deluxe Boat Tour

Discover the beauty of the UNESCO-listed biosphere of Sian Ka’an on a full-day boat tour from Tulum. Sail through mangroves in Campechen lagoon and look for wildlife, then enter Ascension Bay where you may see dolphins and sea turtles, along with colorful corals and natural pools. Lunch, beverages, and transportation are provided.  Read more about Sian Ka’an Deluxe

Sian Ka’an Adventure From Tulum

Discover the remote UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an on a full-day trip from Tulum. Your guide points out the protected area’s immense biodiversity, including coastal and mangrove habitat teeming with marine life. Search for elusive manatees at Boca Paila Lagoon, snorkel on the Mesoamerican reef (weather-permitting) and find nesting birds at Ascension Bay. Boat ride with lunch and free time in Punta Allen is included.  Read more about Sian Ka’an Full-Day Tour from Tulum with Snorkeling 

Early Access to Chichen Itza with a Private Archaeologist

Discover the ruins at Chichen Itza with a private archaeologist guide on this all-day Viator exclusive tour. Skip the lines and the crowds with early morning access and view parts of the ruins that most traditional tours don’t visit.  Learn about Mexico’s past through your guide’s insightful commentary about this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Read more about Chichen Itza VIP Early Access with Private Guide

Day Trip to Chichen Itza, Valladolid with Cenote Swim and Lunch

Journey to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza on this full-day excursion that includes easy hotel pickup and drop-off. Along with seeing El Castillo and learning how this Pre-Columbian city played an important role in the Mayan civilization, visit the colonial town of Valladolida, stop at a cenote for a quick swim, and enjoy a buffet lunch.  Read more about Chichen Itza Tour

Best Rated Sian Ka’an Restaurants (Nearby Tulum)
Hartwood  $31 – 60

Hartwood is a sustainable, organic restaurant where the menu changes daily, based on what the Earth provides. Only local ingredients are used. Solar panels power their lights and music.  They are only open Wednesday to Sunday 6 – 10 p.m. for dinner and they are closed during low season (September and October). They welcome both walk-ins and reservations, but if you really want to dine in this enchanting establishment, make a reservation.  Web:  Hartwood

Arca  $11 – 30

This rustic, open-air restaurant in the jungle, lit with candles and twinkling lights, serves Mexican cuisine using fresh local ingredients. If you’re dining with children, they are happy to create something kid-friendly. On the adult end, one of Arca’s specialties is creative, unique cocktails.  Telephone:  52 984 111 5379  Web:  Arca

Ziggy’s  $11 – 30

Dine with your toes in the sand at Ziggy’s, located right on Tulum’s white sand, aqua blue, Caribbean beach. This hip, funky, friendly restaurant and beach club serves everything from breakfast to dinner to cocktails and everything in between. They also feature live music every single day.  If you want to spend the day at the beach club, get there early or you won’t get a chair.  Telephone:  52 984 871 1145  Web:  Ziggy’s

La Zebra  $11 – 30

This gorgeous beach-side restaurant is casual and welcoming, but at the same time stylish and chic.  They serve authentic Mexican breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Patrons dine in an open-air palapa-roof ambiance, with the Caribbean wind blowing in their hair.  Telephone:  52 984 115 4726  Web:  La Zebra

El Tabano  $11 – 30

El Tabano is a hip Mexican restaurant that serves original dishes inspired by European cuisine. Here, the ever-changing fresh, healthy menu is written on a chalkboard, and the open kitchen allows diners to see their food being prepared.  The candlelit, eclectic, jungle feel and live music makes for an inviting ambiance. Don’t miss the Pollo Rojo, the guacamole with pumpkin seeds and oats, and the Passion Fruit Mojito.   Telephone:  52 984 134 8725  Web:  El Tabano

Best Sian Ka’an Nightlife (Nearby Tulum)

Gitano

Gitano is a mescal bar and is the place to go for cocktails, dancing and lite bites. Tiny lanterns are hung on overhead branches, along with an array of beautiful chandeliers. Two cocktails not to miss are the Mescal Mule and the Stardust. The mule is mixed with Gitano’s own how made mescal, while the Stardust has mescal, dark rum, and a mixture of fruit juices.  Telephone:  52-984-745-9068  Web:  Gitano.

Batey

Try the expertly mixed mojitos which range from the classic to local fruits like prickly pear, to innovative combinations like cucumber basil. No matter which flavor you order, the sugarcane juice is pressed to order. The kitchen turns out some great Italian snacks to go with your mojitos. Telephone:  52-984-745-4571  Web:  Batey.

Casa Jaguar

This is a favorite of the local business owners. You can get an expertly mixed cocktail and chat it up with the friendly bartenders. The ingredients are fresh. Try the Maria Sandia with mescal, watermelon, lime, and worm salt on the rim. You can eat dinner here as well, with grilled seafood, rib eye, and the catch of the day. This has a picturesque open-air jungle setting. Telephone:  52-998-222-2749  Web:   Casa Jaguar.

Papaya Playa Beach Club

The Papaya Playa Beach Club throws a major party every Saturday with guest DJs. The drinks here include mescal and papaya or the well-balanced cucumber and lime drink. Great place for dancing. Telephone:  52-984-871-1160  Web:  Papaya Playa Beach Club.

Best Nearby Sian Ka’an Hotels

Fisherman Lodge


Punta Allen’s top ranked lodging and dining for anglers and adventurers. Catering to travelers who want modern accommodations and outstanding dining while still experiencing the beauty of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. Rooms include all the creature comforts, including A/C and lots of personal attention. Private beach and fresh water swimming pool.

Nueva Vida de Ramiro

Exotic tropical woods and situated right on the beach facing the Mexican Caribbean Sea.  Superior facilities, grilled to perfection steak or fresh caught fish, natural reefs to explore in crystal blue waters, endless white beaches and tropical forests are just a small sample of the wonders to behold at Nueva Vida de Ramiro.

Alaya Tulum by Ahau Collection


Disconnect from the world and enjoy a full connection with mind and body while staying at this eco-chic beachfront hotel. This hotel features eco-conscious amenities and rustic charm for tranquil, sustainable stays on the Caribbean. Ideal for yoga and wellness retreats, guests can enjoy private beach access and recreational activities that promote inner peace. Sleep well in villas inspired by the raw natural beauty of Tulum and awaken to views of the crystal-blue ocean.

Encantada Tulum


These luxuriously appointed, rustic Tulum cabanas sit on a secluded stretch of white, powder-fine sand where one can enjoy the view from your private deck, steps away from the crystal clear Caribbean waters. Up and down the coastline you will find a natural peacefulness, gentle breezes and the hypnotic sounds of waves crashing against the sand, all in the simple tranquility of Tulum.

Casa Malca


Immerse into a world of art while being pampered by their dedicated staff as you enjoy the glorious sun, bathing in beautiful crystal clear waters & walking on amazing white sand beaches. Relax on their roof top deck where you can enjoy a sunset like no where else in Tulum and later in the night give into the star filled sky.

26 Comments

  1. Amar

    Great article… the tourism just might swarm there now given how informative and comprehensive the article is! Reminds me of the Philippines! There are some pieces worth writing about !

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, there are Amar and I do plan to review the beaches of the Philippines as I know it is beautiful too! Glad you enjoyed reading and thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  2. Ganesh

    Well, no doubt place you mentioned it is beautiful in Mexico. And for sure, sometime in future i would like to visit there, as it has been on my bucket list for quite some time. This is great information for any potential traveler to all the wonderful places you have reviewed. What you think of the immigration process for Mexico from country India ? Any idea?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Ganesh, yes Mexico is beautiful. I started visiting back in the early 90s and have been over 15 times. I actually was very interested in purchasing back then. Boy do I wish I had! Prices were pretty reasonable, and since have skyrocketed out of my price range. I know as an American, I can live there with just my passport. From India, I am not so sure. But, I would check here as this will help you with the process. Thank you for visit BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  3. Matthew

    What a stunning looking place! I especially loved the video that you have about the Mayan Route which really gives you an incentive to go there to experience it.
    Would this holiday to Sian Ka’an Mexico be a place I could take children? As much as I would prefer to just take my wife to this awesome tranquil location.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is a great place for kids Matthew! There would be so much for them to learn and see. I know my son loves this kind of experience. I believe that it has a little something for everyone 🙂 Thanks for visiting Sian Ka’an Mexico.

      Reply
  4. Gigi

    Great information on another destination in Carribean Mexico. I love Cancun and in my next trip there, I would defiitely seek out Sian Ka’an. Do you know how far Sian Ka’an is from Cancun? I tried to Google map it but it says is outside Google’s driving coverage.
    Thanks for your post.
    Gigi

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Gigi, Can I make a suggestion? Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is going to be about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Cancun. I would really recommend visiting Tulum or Akumal for a vacation. They are very comparable to Cancun, with gorgeous beaches, great food and entertainment, and Mayan Ruins. I hope you will consider it. Thanks for visiting Sian Ka’an Mexico.

      Reply
  5. Roger Bynoe

    I would like to travel to Mexico, Barbados and Egypt. Enjoy the sun, beaches and the different foods. I have some relatives in Barbados, so I would probably go there first. But you have given me a lot of food for thought regarding Mexico. The Yucatan Peninsula looks amazing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      All are great places for sure Roger! You cannot go wrong having all three beautiful vacation destinations on your bucket list. Here is the information on my Barbados Island Travel Guide, so you can also plan your time there. Thaks for visiting Sian Ka’an Mexico!

      Reply
  6. Yvette

    Wow great information. Looks like a beautiful vacation spot. You reviewed a lot of different things, making it a great add on for my bucket list!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Yvette, it is a great bucket list item 🙂 I think going for 2 weeks to the Yucatan Peninsula is, in my opinion, the minimum that should be done when you do go. That way you can explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Tulum, the ruins, and of course the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula beaches. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  7. Janani

    Love this article! I had heard of Yucatan peninsula and it is on my bucket list, but this is totally new to me. Thank you for sharing!
    Janani

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed reading about Sian Ka’an Mexico Janani. No visit to this area is complete without visiting the biosphere reserve. It is absolutely amazing with so many activities for all different types of travelers. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  8. Matt

    This looks beautiful! I see to avoid Jan thru March, how are the rates and crowds around June – August?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      That is low season for them, so everything is going to be cheaper…airfare and hotel. Thanks for visiting Sian Ka’an Mexico Matt.

      Reply
  9. MERCY

    It has always been my dream to visit Cancun Mexico and must say I am saving to visit with my family and we were wondering where else we can visit in Mexico, i am happy you have introduced to me another destination Sian Ka’an am hoping we gonna enjoy a tour there. This is a perfect addition to our Cancun vacation.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Cancun is definitely not too far from Sian Ka’an. Tulum is another area that is very close to Sian Ka’an, with a little less crowds and maybe a hair less expensive than Cancun. Yet, it has all the gorgeous beaches, and Mayan ruins to visit. If you are interested, you can visit Tulum here. Thanks for visiting Sian Ka’an Mexico.

      Reply
  10. Peter

    Great information and thank you for sharing. Never seen such an amazing place and not very familiar with this area. But I have heard about Cancun before. This definitely seems worth visiting. I have added it to my bucket list.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Peter! Yes, everyone is familiar with Cancun. I like going to the places less travelled sometimes, just for less crowds. This would be one of them. Sian Ka’an is beautiful and really has so much to offer for everyone. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  11. Mario

    I live in Tenerife, but this is just AWESOME!

    I would like to go to Mexico one day, these pictures are beautiful.

    Cheers!

    Mario

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Wow Mario, I have an aunt in Tenerife and I visited for 3 weeks and stayed with her. I absolutely loved it there. Sian Ka’an is different, more of an eco reserve, but it also has beautiful beaches and all 🙂 Thanks for visiting Sian Ka’an Mexico.

      Reply
  12. Jill

    What a fabulous website and am so impressed by all the information. What a wonderful destination.
    You have inspired me to think about my next holiday.
    Many thanks,
    Jill

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Jill, I am glad I inspired you and that you have enjoyed visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on Sian Ka’an Mexico.

      Reply
  13. KD Forsman

    OMG that looks absolutely amazing. I have never heard of this part of Mexico but if I ever save enough money up, it’s definitely on the bucket list. Thank you so much for your inspirational and informative article. Kind regards, Karen

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is definitely a beautiful place worth visiting if you are in the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico, and definitely a bucket list item. Thanks for visiting Sian Ka’an Mexico Karen.

      Reply

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