Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve: Address, Phone Number, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Reviews: 4.5/5

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Read more
About
Sian Ka'an (Mayan for "Where the sky is born") is a 1.3 million-acre biosphere reserve.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Top ways to experience Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
2,024 reviews
Excellent
1,474
Very good
284
Average
112
Poor
74
Terrible
81

product-of-canada
Toronto, Canada2,242 contributions
Mar 2020
This is definitely worth doing, especially on your own.

You have a choice of taxi, ADO, public bus, and collectivo. We took the taxi there, and got dropped off by the Muyil ruins. Since we wanted to ensure getting a boat for the floating experience, we went there first before viewing the ruins.

Pretty quickly, right on the highway, we were spotted by a local who escorted us to the biosphere (whether you want the escort or not). In the end, he was quite helpful and was not seeking any extra payment. To my surprise, he was the one taking the payment for the boat ride (even in front of the captain).

We were the first ones at the boat for the morning, so we got to the floating experience as the only ones there. The canals were beautiful!

Someone in a write-up suggested taking snorkel gear, but I disagree. I used my snorkel, and there is not much to see. Just enjoy the experience and view above water. There is much more to see snorkeling underwater at select cenotes.

They suggest you wear the life jacket like a diaper, and it was a great suggestion. This allows you to just peacefully float along upright. Many parts of the canal is quite shallow, so you do not always want to be verticle.

Afterwards, we walked the boardwalk trail, went up the wooden viewing platform, and checked out the Muyil ruins. There were two different admission fees (one for the biosphere area; and one for the Muyil ruins), plus the cost of doing the boat ride.

Afterwards, I recommend eating at the restaurant for lunch, across from the highway Restaurant Chunyaxche). It is a great home-cooked Mexican meal, and cheaper than eating in Tulum.
Written March 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

abroadwithashley
Minneapolis, MN1,099 contributions
Jun 2021
We accessed the biosphere from the Muyil Ruins. We enjoyed walking through the marsh even though we didn't see any wildlife (other than mosquitoes and spiders!). We made it to the canal and walked back, but if you like boat rides, I would highly recommend hiring a guide. You can get one right off the beach if you don't want to book in advance.
Written August 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mandy May
Leamington Spa, UK9 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
I booked the trip through Tui to Sian Ka’an
The guide Gabriel was great he was knowledgeable and good fun. The journey to the boat by mini bus was about 3 hours from Riu Palace Mexico (rep told us 2 hours) it was a 6.30am pick up. It was good on the boat got to see turtles, dolphins & a crocodile. We went snorkelling saw some nice fish then we went on to an area of shallow beautiful water for a swim. Then we went for lunch which was nice, they catered for me as I’m vegetarian but make sure you tell the guide at the start of trip if you are as they have to order in advance. There was a guy there making crepe’s (crispy) really nice with Nutella and fruit which you could buy. Out door shower there so you can shower and change before food. There were hammocks to chill out in with beautiful views. We then went for a walk through the local village and saw lots of iguanas. It’s hot so on the day make sure you have a hat & shades, something to cover up. On the boat I covered my legs with a towel as it was hot, the journey was approx 90 mins each way on the boat. It’s a long day but enjoyable. It’s a full day. It was worth the money just to see the turtles and dolphins which was amazing. I’ve put 4 stars as it was a long journey with picking everyone up ok the minibus and I didn’t find the seat comfortable. Then the boat seats aren’t comfortable either. If you are like me and struggle to sit for long periods of time due to your back/hips then take extra towel to sit on. Enjoy!
Written May 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Beverley R
Wolverhampton, England, United Kingdom18 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
Booked with tui and I must say very disappointing, over 4 hours to get there from cancun in a cramped little bus with 10 other people picked up on the way, a 20 minute stop to use a filthy toilet and to be told it’s the last place to put sun lotion on, got to Sian and got on the most uncomfortable boat in and out the mangroves saw 1 dolphin and some birds swapped boats to the same uncomfortable type, whizzed around the sea and saw a manta ray and a turtle, one stop to snorkel for 10 minutes with the guide in an area with loads of other boats then off to another area for another 10 minutes before heading for lunch, well that was an experience not, rice, mashed potato, spaghetti and a piece chicken what a concoction only drinks were water or some sweet vile tasting juice, then a 10 minute walk or should say rushed walk through the village, only stopping once to look at some strategically placed rocks with iguanas on then that was it back to the boat and the mini bus,
Overall not worth the £160 each good job we took our own water as given 1 small bottle for the whole day, personally I think they let too many people on the lagoon and coral reef area making it virtually impossible to see wildlife.
The guide was nice very chatty but then that’s what they get paid for and it’s all about tipping everyone.
Not sure where the local fishermen come into it all we saw were the men driving the boats in the same uniform.
Oh and don’t bother spending a fortune on eco friendly coral reef safe lotion you can’t put it on when your on the boat so you either have to cover up or frazzle
So to sum it up £340 down for a mediocre trip that was worth no more than £100 for 2 if that
Save your money
Forgot to say the drivers are like maniacs and a hour spent on a bumpy track of a road not good for your bones
Written April 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Monique D
Boston, MA69 contributions
Apr 2022
These reviews are confusing because there are different tour companies. The one I'm reviewing was with Easy Tours Tulum which was booked through the Tulum info booth on Route 307. Do not take this tour! $160 per person to drive in a cramped van with 10 other people for a total of 4.75 hours (longer for those who got picked up in PDC)! 3.5 hours of that drive was over super bumpy roads where we were being thrown around like 10 rag dolls. The driver called it the 'Mayan Massage' - it was funny the first time, but toward the end of the trip with mild whiplash - not so funny. The driver didn't tell us until after we entered the park that because the water was too low for the boats, we would have to drive 1.5 hours each way (not the 30 minutes we were originally told) and that they were going to cancel but decided not to. That decision should have been up to us, but apparently we had no say in the matter.

Also we were told that we paid extra because in addition to the snorkeling we would be visiting the canals. We did not go through any canals. We were told that in addition to the driver there would be an English speaking guide. There was no guide just a driver who spoke little English. The lunch was inedible - totally disgusting. We had fish which didn't even seem fresh and we were in a fishing village! Why???

So why am I giving this 2 stars? Because Sian Ka'an is absolutely beautiful. We did see a couple of dolphins and snorkeling at the reef was very nice. So, if you want to visit the reserve just do your homework. I wish I had. Not all tours are equal and shame on the the Tulum info booth for promoting this company.

If you want to take a nice boat ride down a couple of the canals in the Sian Kaan reserve, save some money and not waste a whole day, go to Muyil. We went there the next day and it was a really good experience. There are beautiful ruins and no crowds!
Written April 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

2skidivers
Silverthorne, CO360 contributions
Nov 2021
The Sian Ka'an Biosphere is a UNESCO World Heritage site, near Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula. We often stay at the Bahia Principe Sian Ka'an Resort, not too far from the entrance and finally took an excursion to visit it. It is basically a very sparsely inhabited part of the jungle and hopefully will be preserved for generations.
The excursion description said you will see Crocodiles, Birds, Turtles and Dolphin. You will visit a remote village and go snorkeling. Yes, we did all this and saw all that but it was not worth the cost or the 12 hour day.
As divers we have seen all of these before. We thought we would spend some time in the water on a pristine coral reef but the snorkeling was only about 15 minutes over some patch coral with strong currents. It was very disappointing. We spent about 15 minutes watching the dolphins and another 15 minutes watching a turtle come up to the surface a couple of times. We motored past Bird Island and saw birds. We went to a fishing village and had lunch (not very good) and walked to the other side where our boats picked us up to take us back to the cars and bus. We stopped to see Crocodiles on the way back.
We booked the excursion through our rep at Bahia Principe and the excursion provider was PRICE. There were options for driving a Jeep or riding in the bus. We chose the Jeep which was more expensive. There were 2 Jeep Wranglers and the Jeep Renegade which we got. As I drive a 4WD HCV at home in the Colorado Mountains, I didn't care what vehicle I got but the other drivers thought seeing how rough a ride they could get and how deep a puddle they could drive through would be fun wanted the Wranglers. The Renegade is a crossover. We got a much smoother ride than the Wrangler. It was worth the extra money and driving to prevent motion sickness in the bus. It was a very long day and driving in the traffic through Tulum to get to and from the Reserve was not fun. About 7 hours of the 12 hour day was spent driving. The other 5 were in the boat and in the village for lunch,
Been There, Done That.
Written November 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kim P
Puyallup, WA151 contributions
Apr 2022 • Family
We took a spontaneous trip to see the biosphere. We had not researched it prior which was our fault. Once we arrived we had to pay $6 US per person to drive down a very primitive dirt road. It was full of potholes. There were a few places along the road where you could pay to see the biosphere by boat. Because we didn’t the cost ahead of time, we ended up paying $60 US cash only per person (there were 3 of us). We felt like we were taken advantage of. We did see 1-2 manatees, 1 crocs, a lot of birds, 2 huge cenotes and a gorgeous untouched beach. The guide was kind and soft spoken. He pointed out interesting things and did his best to speak English. Glad we saw the area but don’t think we’d go again. It was a “one and done” experience for us. So do your research!
Written April 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Paul B
1 contribution
Jan 2020
This is the first review I've ever written but felt the need to warn others

We booked this trip through our Tui rep at a cost of $196 per person

It was cancelled the day we were due to go due to adverse weather conditions. We spend the day around pool and resort as it was a sunny calm day. The trip was re-arranged for the next day with the weather being superb for that day

The trip down to the park from Akumal was fine but a little cramped in the mini bus with the last part of the journey being a little bumpy

We transferred to the boats and began our trip seeing a sleeping (or stuffed) Mexican crocodile and a small pod of dolphins along with sea birds. We then transferred to the open water boats where we saw turtles in the few seconds they come to the surface. The water near the reef was very clear and you could see the bottom. We were then told we couldn't go snorkeling on the reef due to poor visibility there. This was the main part of the trip for us as the rep had told us that the reef was one of the most abundant places in the world for marine life We than went to a shallow lagoon to swim which was devoid of any marine life at all

It would have been better to cancel the whole trip if they knew it was not possible to snorkel on the reef. There was no plan 'B' in place and we were told we could use the extra time on the beach. When we arrived at the beach it was full of debris both in the water and on the beach. Everybody needed to wash their legs as they became caked in seaweed and other debris getting off the boat

The transfer back was horrendous with no functioning A/C unit on the minibus and hitting heavy traffic along the beach to Tulum road

If you like travelling on speedboats for 4+ hours seeing very little in the way of marine life with nice scenery then this trip is for you. There are much more fish in the lagoon at our hotel than we saw on the trip
Written January 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

lschroth
Cobalt, CT96 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
We drove from Tulum and parked by the Muyil ruins, then walked along the boardwalk through the jungle to the place where the boats take you out to the lagoon. The ruins were impressive and MUCH less touristy than the larger site in Tulum. The jungle walk featured an observation tower over the lagoon, but there was a sameness to the view no matter where you looked. The boat trip cost about $40 USD per person, and lasted a couple of hours. At one point we had the opportunity to get off the boat with our snorkel and masks (you need to bring your own) and float down a passage through the lagoon for about 30 minutes. This was enjoyable, but we were all chilled by the end, despite it being a sunny day in the upper 70s, and although we saw a small variety of colorful fish, the snorkeling was much better in other locations in the Tulum area. There was also a curious shortage of water birds - we saw one flamingo and one heron on the whole boat trip and that’s it for birds. All in all, not a bad half day, but not really worth the time or money.
Written January 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ernesto
Lenexa, KS6 contributions
Feb 2021 • Couples
The only reason it was 4/5 is because it was raining but I want to go back without a tour (save $100 USD) on a non rainy day. Awesome lazy river in the middle of the laguna. You can drive any car in there. Don’t listen to info on tour sites.
Written January 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 702
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

We recommend booking Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 51 Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve tours on Tripadvisor

According to Tripadvisor travelers, these are the best ways to experience Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve: See all Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve experiences on Tripadvisor