Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

#3 in Best Things To Do in Tulum
Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve picture
Fouque/Getty Images

Key Info

Coastal road Tulum- Boca Paila- Punta Allen Km 15.8

Details

Natural Wonders, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.5scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The Yucatán contains an abundance of eco-parks and natural reserves, but few compare to the breadth and natural wonder of Sian Ka'an. Just south of Tulum, the reserve contains more than 1.3 million acres of estuaries, reefs, cenotes and wetlands. Within the park, you can take tours of the local wildlife, take part in a diving or snorkeling tour or simply just walk around the beautiful and expansive park.

Recent visitors remarked that the park is well worth the visit, calling it a must-see experience. Many stayed the entire day, but some even took two days to explore the expansive area. Several visitors recommend taking a boat ride into the wetlands of the reserve. You can rent a charter in the park, go fly fishing or go bird watching. Other tours are also available. If you're visiting later in the day, heed the advice of past visitors and bring mosquito repellent.

Sian Ka'an is accessible by both bus and taxi from Tulum. If you're planning to drive yourself, expect to pay an entrance fee of 35 pesos (which does not cover any of the offered tours inside the reserve), or around $2. For more information on available tours and prices, check out the Visit Sian Ka'an website.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Playa Paraiso

Just south of the Tulum ruins, the wide Playa Paraíso makes a relaxing end to a day exploring the area. With the recent arrival of the Playa Paraíso Beach Club, this stretch of sand has grown extremely popular with Playa del Carmen and Cancún daytrippers, as well as Tulum vacationers. But what it doesn't boast in seclusion it makes up for in activity – you'll find plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving, plus a few hammocks, lounge chairs and umbrellas to choose from (if you get to the ruins early, you'll arrive at the beach in time to secure one), and a few beach bars should you want refreshment.

Reviewers were divided on the necessity of paying for access to the beach club. Some said the price (250 pesos, or about $13 for two beach chairs) isn't worth it, while others found the cost reasonable for the convenience. To save a little money, you can pack your own towels, chairs and snacks. As for the beach itself, some travelers described the shoreline as "beautiful," while others were disappointed with the amount of smelly seaweed.

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