Sian Ka'an means “where the sky is born” or “gift from the sky”, in Mayan language. It is the first established Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. Currently, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is highly protected by the Mexican government.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve comprises 1.3 million acres of tropical ecosystems in the state of Quintana Roo, and is considered as the 3rd largest protected area in Mexico. The reserve consists of mangroves, lowland forest, flooded savannas and also a part of the world's second largest coastal barrier reef known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is a home to over 800 plant species and a great habitat for 350 species of birds, and other animals like ocelot, puma, jaguar, crocodiles, howler monkeys and various types of turtles. As mentioned above, it is where the 23 different archaeological sites of pre-Columbian culture are located.
Sian Ka’an’s northern most part was long ago thought to be an ancient trade route through lagoons and mangrove channels between the cities of Tulum and Muyil – which are now a portion of the reserve. Fishing was the primary means of livelihood dating back during the middle of 20th century. The fishing industry during those times was booming owing to common species found and sold such as spiny lobster, nurse shark, hammerhead, grouper and snapper.
Aside from fishing, tourism was their other source of income for fishermen. Vacationers hire fishermen’s boat to conduct boat trips in order to see reefs and lagoons. Visitors also enjoyed bird watching and other sian kaan tours. In the year 2000, record shows that approximately 36,000 tourists visited the reserve. The entrance fee to the reserve per person per day costs 4 USD.
You can find 5 entrances to the reserve and they are located in Santa Teresa, Pulticub, Chunyaxché, Chumpón and in Chac Mool. At every entrance there are guards employed by the governmental SEMARNAP organization to enforce the regulations of the reserve.
Please enjoy these images from this tour.
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