What is Sian Ka’an? Discover the ‘Gate to Heaven’ in earth

What is Sian Ka'an

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Mexico is the South American country that receives the most tourism. It is one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world. Did you imagine it as a desert? Well, surprise! And from green to blue waters: its incredible beaches bathe most of its territory and make this destination a magical place. Do you know what is Sian Ka’an. It fits quite a lot of your desires, if you don’t believe us, keep reading.

And after giving you this general information about Mexico, you may already know what to see in Mexico. Enjoying the sun, bathing in its beaches and soaking up the culture is not a bad idea. It seems like Sian Ka’an is waiting for you.

What is Sian Ka’an?

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is the largest reserve in Yucatan. It includes beaches, dunes, cenotes, coral reefs and tropical rainforest. We cannot forget the animals of Sian Ka’an, and this reserve is home to more than 100 species including caimans, turtles and dolphins.

What is Sian Ka'an aerial view

In Mayan Sian Ka’an means ‘place where the sky is born’ and locally Sian Ka’an is known as Gate to Heaven. With this name, you will not be surprised that it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1987.

Where is Sian Ka’an?

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is located in the state of Quintana Roo, between Tulum and the southern Riviera Maya. It is no more and no less than 120 kilometers long and 50 kilometers wide, it is the third-largest ecological reserve in Mexico!

How to get to Sian Ka’an from Tulum?

If you are considering an adventure in Sian Ka’an independently, we tell you how to get there. It’s simple, just follow route QR15 heading south for 11 kilometers. It is a road flanked by hotels, restaurants, eco-lodges, cabins and lodges, you can’t get lost!

If you’ll allow us a tip: what’s really SPECTACULAR is to go by boat and pass through the middle of it all, crossing Sian Ka’an. Going on your own has that point of madness and adventure, it is equally spectacular, but you risk leaving landscapes aside, and that is not so recommendable. After this reflection: the decision to stay on the shores or explore the heart of Sian Ka’an is yours alone.

What to do in Sian Ka’an?

Enjoy. And to specify a little more we can propose to you some other plan, let’s see what you think:

The Mayan Arch

It is impossible not to see it because it is the first building when you enter the reserve, but it is interesting to know that it refers to the classic Mayan buildings. Beyond seeing the Mayan Arch, you can visit the first of the cenotes in the reserve.

The visitors center

It is about 10 kilometers from the entrance and is the ideal place to enjoy the Caapechen Lagoon. You can rent a kayak or take a boat ride, you decide how to tour the Caapechen Lagoon!

Muyil Archaeological Zone

In the reserve, there are 23 archaeological sites and the largest is Muyil, which was an important point on the Mayan trade route. It is undoubtedly a paradise of ruins and turquoise lagoons in the middle of the Mexican jungle.

Pyramid Archaeological Zone of Muyil Sian Ka'an Mexico

Boca Paila Bridge

It is 11 kilometers from the entrance and is where the Caribbean Sea and Muyil Lagoon are located. The combination of fresh and saltwater makes for a great variety of fish. If you like the idea of fishing with a local, just ask!

In Boca Paila crocodiles roam and that is why there are signs prohibiting bathing, a detail.

Cocodrile in the water Sian Ka'an Mexico

Sian Ka’an beaches

They are virgin beaches and much less crowded than those of Riviera Maya. You can imagine how incredible it is to swim in such a paradisiacal environment without people around you and feeling the connection with nature.

Punta Allen

It is 43 kilometers from the entrance, at the end of the road. Being located in the heart of the reserve, Punta Allen is a sanctuary for the reproduction of several species of marine birds of Quintana Roo.

It is offered a variety of excursions: boat tours in the Caribbean Sea, through the mangroves or snorkeling, but the price goes up as you get closer to Punta Allen, but it’s still worth doing it on the way or go with everything hired, of course. Admiring fish, corals and turtles are priceless, but being taken to them is!

Woman snorkelling Sian Ka'an México

Camping in nature

A great idea is camping outdoors, always keeping in mind the recommendations and camping tips. It can be a fun and very intense experience. Enjoy the jungle at night, listen to its silence and watch the sunrise.

Having said all this, there’s no better plan than enter through the Gate to Heaven, don’t you think? So that’s what we wanted to tell you, that if you travel to Mexico you have to discover what is Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and if you had no idea of traveling to Mexico, decide to do it to visit Sian Ka’an. Are you convinced by the plan?


Journalist, nomad and adventurer. Paula would never say no to a camping trip and is an expert in setting up a tent in less than 10 seconds.

Besides that, she loves to dance and maybe that's why she loves Latin America so much. One of her best trips was to Argentina, but she has many more destinations behind her, which she talks about in this blog.

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