Mayan Beach Garden / Mayan Del Playa Jardin


Costa Maya Activities > Sian Ka'an Biosphere

Sian Ka'an means "Gift of the sky" or "Where the sky begins." The word "Ka'an is Mayan for "sky" It the name given by the ancient Maya to South Quintana Roo. Since 1987, it has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO. The Sian Ka'an is not officially part of the Costa Maya, but the southern end of it can only be accessed via the jungle road that parallels the Costa Maya beaches.

boogie board beach - tampalam
Photo of "boogie board beach" courtesy of Mark Handelman

The Sian Ka'an is the third largest protected area in Mexico. Not only does it have Mexico's most spectacular beaches, but it is home to over 300 bird species and includes an extensive variety of ecosystems, such as islands, coastal lagoons, wetlands, coastal dunes, petenes and Mangroves. Two shallow bays, Ascension and Espiritu Santo contain the largest lobster breeding grounds in Mexico. Only a third of the reserve is totally explored, since it is rather inaccessible. Few people live on the reserve, but this is expected to change. Currently there are no hotels in the Southern end of the Sian Ka'an, but Mayan Beach Garden is the closest hotel to the entrance .

Road through the Sian Ka'an

The Sian Ka'an is a natural barrier that signifies the end of the huge hotel developments that span from Cancun to Tulum. The Reserve can be reached from both Tulum from the north, from Filipe Carillo Puerto from the west and from the Tampalam Road that leads from the Mahahaul-Cafetal highway from the south (this is the road you will take from Mayan Beach Garden.) The Biosphere reserve is 528,147 hectares (1.3 million acres).

The Sian Ka'an includes 27 little explored Mayan sites which are hard to find maps to. Maps to a shipwreck are provided to guests of Mayan Beach Garden.

Shipwreck in the Sian Ka'an
Photo courtesy of Tolan Yoga Retreats in the Sian Ka'an

The Sian Ka'an is home to nearly every kind of the region's wildlife: jaguars, jaguarundis, howler monkeys and tapirs; crocodiles, turtles and manatees; millions of birds and many more. When you enter the biosphere, the road is surrounded by huge giant fan palms. Also common on the coastal road is the much prescribed Mayan medicine - Noni, which appears to cure every ailment including diabetes and the chechen tree, with a poisonous sap that can affect humans similar to Poison Oak. Near to it, though there will always be the chakah bush, which produces its natural antidote. Whether or not you see crocodiles, pecary, coatis or any of the rarer Sian Ka'an animals is a matter of luck, but you will always see plenty of birds.

Sian Ka'an activities

As you can see by the map, Mayan Beach Garden is very close to the Southern entrance of the Sian Ka'an. It can serve as a great base to explore the Sian Ka'an. The nearest services in the Sian Ka'an are at Punta Herrera, two hours along a combination of paved and beach road, but well worth the drive. We can pack you a sack lunch for the journey since you can't guarantee service in the little fishing village.