8 animals you have to see in Sian Ka’an

animales sian ka an

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15The Sian Ka’an Natural Reserve is located in the famous Yucatan peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo. It is mainly known for being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico.

Very close to the beaches of the Riviera Maya and Cancun is this biosphere reserve that stands out for its flora and fauna. As if that wasn’t enough, it was declared a Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

In this post, we tell you all the animals of Sian Ka’an that you can see if you visit this protected natural park.

Bottlenose dolphin in Sian Ka’an

If you make some of the excursions to Sian Ka’an, see the dolphins is one of the mandatory activities.

There are places where it is relatively easy to find them swimming in the wild, and even take pictures with them. This species of dolphin enjoys the waterways of the biosphere of Sian Ka’an, which flow into the Caribbean Sea.

Luckily, the bottlenose dolphins are one of the few species in this post that are not on any list of threatened or endangered species.

dolphins in caribbean sea

Sea green turtle

Another tourist attraction of the excursions in Riviera Maya is that you can see the sea turtles.

They are known as green turtles, but the color does not refer to the shell, but to the color of the turtle’s head and limbs.

As adults, they are the only sea turtles in the world that only feed on seagrass and seaweed. Despite this, don’t make the joke of putting your finger in front of their mouth, or you will be one of those who have taken a good bite as a souvenir.

turtle in sian ka'an

These animals need the beaches to lay their eggs. Although the white sand beaches of Tulum (Riviera Maya) are a big competition, it will be much easier for you to see them in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

Unfortunately, this animal is at latent extinction risk due to the large number of hunters who seek to sell the meat and eggs of these animals.

Caribbean manatee

Manatees are huge mammals that live in water. Because of their size and because they feed only on grass, we could say that they are the swimming sister of cows.

This species has its homes in shallow coastal waters, bays, lagoons, and rivers. Moreover, the grasses they feed on can be found in both fresh and saltwater, so the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a perfect place for them.

Although there are not many of them anymore because they are another species in latent extinction risk, with a little bit of luck you will find them coming to the surface every 15-20 minutes to breathe, since they are mammals.

animal manatee in sian kaan

If on the catamaran trip to Isla Mujeres, you have not been able to see the manatees, we recommend you to visit Sian Ka’an because it is much more frequent to see them.

Central American Tapir in Sian Ka’an

This animal can only be found in this area of the American continent, between Mexico and Ecuador. It is one of the  most exotic of the fauna in Sian Ka an.

It is a mammal that reaches 300 kg with only 1 meter of height. Although they come from the family of horses and rhinos, they look more like a pig than anything else.

The tapir is characterized by living in areas near rivers, where there are large quantities of their favorite food: leaves, flowers, stems, and bark of herbs and shrubs.

They love water and are excellent swimmers and even divers. They are solitary animals, and at best they live in pairs.

tapir couple en sian ka'an

Like many other animals in Sian Ka’an, it is also at latent extinction risk, so you can feel very lucky if you get to see them.

Forest condor or real condor

This scavenger bird is distinguished because it has no feathers on its head and neck. It also has very striking colors, with the orange and yellow neck, and the orange and black beak.

The real condor measures about 70-80 centimeters and has a wingspan of 1.2 to 2 meters.

It is usually found in swampy areas, such as the Sian Ka’an Reserve. Like the dolphins, this bird is widespread around the world and is not at risk of extinction either.

real jungle condor


The jaguar or Panthera onca is the third-largest cat in the world and one of the most beautiful animals in the world.

They live in solitude and feed on any animal they meet along the way. They are even capable of breaking the shell of a sea turtle in one bite.

Although they are mainly known for living in dry areas, these animals adapt to any ecosystem, such as tropical forests, swamps, grasslands, scrubland forests, etc. In addition, they are excellent swimmers and usually hunt at night.

jaguar in sian kaan

In the Sian Ka’an Reserve around 2000 jaguars have been documented. Can you imagine being able to see one?

Howling monkey

These are the most “annoying” animals of Sian Ka’an. Some studies have recorded that their howl is one of the most powerful of terrestrial animals.

It lives mainly on trees, eating leaves, flowers, and tropical fruits. It is not difficult to see them, let alone hear them.

Although it will be one of the best experiences for you to see them, they are often not as friendly. Be careful, because the naughty ones are capable even to throw their poo at you if you catch them on a bad day…

Howler monkeys are distributed throughout Central America, but especially in Mexico, they are at latent risk of extinction. The farming of the area is also causing the reduction of their natural habitat…

howler monkey in tree sian ka'an

Ocelote in Sian Ka’an

Although very similar to jaguars, this is a different cat species. While jaguars belonged to the genus of panthers, the ocelot belongs to the family of leopards.

It lives exclusively in Central America and even in some regions of South America, and is the third-largest cat of the continent, only behind the jaguar and the puma.

Finally, its habitat is very diverse, and it can be found both in tropical regions, and some semi-desert regions.

They look very lovely, but we don’t recommend you to get too close to them if you meet them on the way…

lying ocelot

Although in this post we have talked about the most curious and incredible animals in Sian Ka’an, there are countless species you can find. Are you going to miss the opportunity to visit this wonder of nature?

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