Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve



Description of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Map

Sian Ka’an is a biosphere reserve in the state of Quintana Roo situated on the eastern shore of the Yucatan peninsula. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique and rear wildlife. Sian Ka’an encompasses 526,000 hectares of tropical forest, savannah, mangroves as well as coral reefs in the lagoons down its coast. Besides its also has many cenotes (sinkholes) and 23 known Mayan ruins who settled first in the region. Some charges apply in some parts of Sian Ka’an biosphere. The best time to visit Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve the is probably from November till May. After rainy season that usually lasts from August to November the forest is blooming. Sian Ka'an occupies an area, which belong to the Quintana Roo municipalities of Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Tulum. The ejidos that border the biosphere are Pino Suárez, Chunyaxché, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, X-Hazil Sur and Andrés Quintana Roo.


The Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve (whose name in Mayan means Gate of Heaven) is part of the geological province of the Yucatan Peninsula, whose main feature is the flatness of its relief and its surface is mainly made of stone limestone, which prevents the formation of surface water currents and favors the outcrop of wells known as cenotes in Mexico. Off the coast of Sian Ka'an, in the Caribbean Sea, is a complex of coral reefs that constitute the second largest of its kind, after the Great Barrier Reef, east of the coast of Australia.

On the coast of this Biosphere Reserve there are large white sand beaches, small bays and mangroves, among other ecological systems. Each of these spaces houses different types of fauna. The climate is warm subhumid, and the rainy season occurs during the summer. Due to its location off the Caribbean coast, Sian Ka'an is exposed to hurricanes that take place in the Caribbean Sea between the months of June and November. Due to the deficient natural drainage of the area, in the rainy season a good part of its surface remains flooded in the summer. You can find 4 types of mangroves that are the red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove and gray mangrove.

A very peculiar ecosystem in the wetlands of Sian Ka'an is that of the so-called petenes, a masses of trees that can measure up to thirty meters high and that rise among the grass of the marshes. These plant formations are almost unique in the world, because outside the Yucatan peninsula, they exist only in the US state of Florida, where they are known as hammocks, and in Cuba, where they are called cayos de monte. They are mostly oval or circular in shape and their size varies from a few tens of meters to almost two kilometers in diameter. They are generated due to the presence of springs of fresh water, which sprout in the middle of brackish water marshes and allow black growth of large trees.

There are 23 archaeological sites in the reserve, including Muyil and Tampak, among others.

In 1993, the reserve management program was published, which includes various components to be executed, as well as its rules of use and zoning. Among the main components we can mention the conservation that includes inspection and surveillance, prevention and combat of forest fires, as well as ecological restoration. The one of sustainable social development that includes the handling of natural resources; the one for public use divided into local participation, archaeological and cultural heritage, recreation and environmental education and promotion. As well as the promotion of scientific research and administration.

The Reserve is administered by the federal government of Mexico through the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas that collaborates very closely with non-governmental organizations, producer organizations, research institutions and private initiative.

Rules and recommendations for your visit
Follow the instructions of the ANP staff and specialized guides.
Use telescopes or binoculars to avoid approaching wild animals.
Take photographs and never take home "memories" such as plants, animals, corals or any other species of the place.
Do not collect or damage flora and fauna.
Do not introduce animals or plants outside the region.
Do not make noise in nesting areas of birds or other species.
Do not wear clothing too bright colors.
Do not feed wild animals
Do not throw objects or liquids in rivers, lagoons or bodies of water.
Try to take the trash generated during the visit, or deposit it in a place intended for it.
Use only biodegradable sunscreens.
For no reason acquire plants or animals in danger of extinction.
Use the marked trails.