The canal tours offer stunning views of the reserve's natural beauty.
The Centro Ecologico Sian Ka’an, or CESiaK, is located just south of Cancun and is an example of eco-tourism at its best. CESiaK has created a haven for those who want to appreciate the Yucatan Peninsula’s beauty in its most unaltered state. The reserve also presents the opportunity for travelers to see that the combination of low-impact tourism and conservation can work.
The reserve itself operates on wind and solar energy. The various activities available to visitors help to fund the educational programs and conservation of the Biosphere Reserve. Sian Ka’an was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 and is home to a stunning array of exotic wildlife as well as 23 known archeological sites that date back almost 2300 years.
Sian Ka’an offers several options for exploring the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean (about 1.3 million acres). Canal tours, bird watching tours and kayaking are among the ways to really get out and explore this locale. Guided canal tours take visitors to an ancient Mayan temple, cenotes and beaches via an ancient Mayan trade route. Mid-tour, everyone straps on a life jacket and floats in the canal’s freshwater current. The tour is capped off with a meal at the reserve’s restaurant, which offers local specialties.
The sunset bird-watching tour takes visitors out to a sea inlet where they can view brown pelicans, egrets and other bird species in their natural habitat. The tour also provides an opportunity to go swimming and snorkeling in the stunning cenotes, or natural underground wells. Call CESiaK or visit the website to book tours in advance.
For the fishing enthusiast, CESiaK offers fly-fishing excursions in the saltwater lagoons of the reserve. Peak season for fishing is between March and August, but these tours are available year round. No fishing trip would be complete without a few cold ones, alcoholic or otherwise. Soft drinks, water and beer are available. Take the opportunity to explore the wetlands with a guided tour in a kayak. A crash course is also offered for the inexperienced kayaker.
Feel like staying the night? Sian Ka’an offers deluxe cabins with views of the ocean and lagoon. The double tent cabins offer a private patio as well as ocean-side views. The tent cabins are raised off of the ground to reduce the impact on the environment. With the exception of drinking water, a rainwater collection system supplies guests with their water needs. Tent cabins vary in price based on type and how many people will be sleeping in the tent. Prices range from $60 to $120. Check the website for specific pricing.
Low-impact tourism is a great alternative for those looking to get away. CESiaK is a place where adventure enthusiasts and conservationists alike can appreciate the natural beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Federal Road (307)
Cancun-Tulum, Q. Roo, Mexico
Hours: Daily 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.