Over 3 ways of reaching Sian Ka'an
Even though my all time favorite adventure was entering via Tulum (read Biking to Punta Allen), I have also mentioned there are 2 other entrances… here I want to share the easiest way of being marveled by Sian Ka’an. Keep in mind each of the entrances has at least 2 ways of using it… Muyil is a no-brainer if you have the chance, you have to take it!
Muyil site contains Mayan ruins from before Christ, only a half-an-hour drive from Tulum. It was an important trading site, although only small sections of it have been uncovered.
After visiting this site go back to the main structure (the castle) and walk behind it, it’s not clear and there are no clear signs or trails but it would lead you to a Sian Ka’an trail. This way, simply by walking for a couple of minutes you will at a checking point and voilà, you are inside one of Mexico’s biggest natural reserves. Keep following the way and when you reach an observation deck then you are extremely close. Still, take some time and climb the deck, it provides a great overview of what awaits you…
At the end of the trail, you will find a lagoon called Chunyaxché, even though it is more popularly known as Muyil’s lagoon. At the border of the lagoon, you will find locals who give boat tours through the lagoon. They offer mainly 2 kinds of tours:
The classic one shows you Mayan structures, man-made (Mayan-made) water canals, and a variety of fauna. Its marvel is the famous floatation on canals surrounded by mangroves.
A longer version takes you through several lagoons, reaching the ones close to the coast to explore the attractions of that area (which are better accessed from the Tulum’s entrance “Último Maya”; however, if time is a restriction, this is a great choice).
When we visited Muyil we had already been to Punta Allen and we knew about this trail, we simply didn’t know where it was so we took some others before finding the right one. Once on track, we enjoyed every minute of that short walk. At the lagoon, we knew we wanted to take the classic tour but we also wanted to share it with more people. We found 2 friends who were also taking it and joined them on this adventure.
Right from the beginning, you understand why Sian Ka’an received this name: where the sky begins. Lagoon water, trees, and the sky blend together in perfect sync. We enjoyed a nice chat while passing a couple of lagoons. We were lucky our 2 companions were biologists and we exchanged several adventure stories on the road. One of them had also been working for the reserve so she knew many interesting details about how they protect it, species found… the right anecdotes and a great time.
There are 2 main stops on the boat ride: an ancient customs isle and the beginning of the floatation. The first one is right as it says, a very old customs checkpoint mounted over a little isle… well, it only remains the structure with its entrances and what’s thought to be storage and other administrative functions. Our guide is who explained to us Mayans used it as customs to trade and connect inland to the sea, which explains the man-made canals connecting the different set of lagoons to the other end of the reserve with a straight connection to the sea. Really impressive!
Many parts of the canals are not deep very deep, and as you approach the floatation canals it lessens even further. Finally, we reached the so expected dive-into-the-water point. In this part, there is about 1 kilometer of a canal with light current which will drag you to the other side of the canal while you enjoy one of the best scenery you can imagine. As it’s shallow, your feet can touch the sand underneath but that’s not the point, you should float and be taken to the other end. Our guide showed us several ways of using our safety vest, being as a normal vest the least advisable. You could also use it as a floating mat where you lay on top or use the arms sections for your legs, as if you were wearing a diaper, and enjoy the ride. As funny as it sounds, the latter one was our favorite.
We didn’t want it to come to an end, so in my mind, I keep coming back… I hope you too can enjoy and live many times this wonderful experience inside Sian Ka’an without the hassle sometimes it seems there is to reach it.