Sian Ka’an is located south of the Tulum Beach and is a nature reserve spread over 1.3 million acre. The name Sian Ka’an in Mayan means “gift from the sky” or “where sky is born”. The Biosphere Reserve in Sian Ka’an had been established in the year 1986. It is thought to have been inhabited in the Pre-Classic as well as Classic periods by the Maya as a part of the chieftainships of Uaymil and Cohuah. Within the reserve are 23 known archeological sites. Discoveries of ceramic piece, human remains as well as other artifacts at these sites are approximately 2300 years old.
Muyil and Tulum
The northernmost Sian Ka’an section is what is said to be the ancient trade route through the mangrove channels and lagoons between the Muyil and Tulum cities. What now belongs to the Reserve and had been areas of chicle trade and production once through the middle of 20th century. Even today, fishing is one of the most important industries and the economic activity of the local population of the Reserve. Some of the common species found here include spiny lobster tarpon, snapper, black tipped shark, hammerhead, nurse shark, permit and grouper. For the local Sian Ka’an fishermen, tourism has become a very important income source. These fishermen are hired for running boat trips to take visitors to see the lagoon systems and reefs.
Sian Ka’an is about 1.3 million acres and is spread out over a 120 kilometers which comprises almost a third of Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
The Zones in Sian Ka’an
The Sian Ka’an reserve mainly consists of three main zones where the human activity has been limited by permission to facilitate scientific research. The zones or the areas of Uaymil, Cayo Culebras and Muyil cover an area of as much as 700,000 acres in total. Sustainable development and human activities with low impact take place in the buffer zone of the reserve. The human population in these zones is estimated to be around 2000 inhabitants. Most of these are located around the coastal areas, particularly in the fishing villages of Punta Herrero and Punta Allen.
Visiting from Tulum
The main Sian Ka’an entrance is located to the south, on the Tulum Beach. The entrance has a stone archway where a signature is needed and a fee has to be paid. There are only a few services within Sian Ka’an. The vacation properties located in the reserve had been built as environment conscious and use alternate energy. The area is renowned for bird watching, fly fishing as well as other exciting outdoor activities.