The Yucatan Peninsula is not only awesome, but far enough from the violence that often makes the headlines in Mexico. Here, few people are fearful of drug lords and turf wars, so feel free to explore around a bit. The Sian Ka’an (what is Sian Ka’an? click here) area is just filled with things to do which could take a month to really explore it all. Since we don’t have that long, here are three more things to do (in addition to the other three mentioned in this previous post):

1) Visit the Ruins of Muyil (Chunyaxche) (inside Sian Ka’an)

This is a bit of a cheat because I didn’t personally go here. However, it would be foolish to simply ignore this and not mention that it exists just because I didn’t plan my visit with enough time. These ruins are a few kilometers into Sian Ka’an from the west side (from the modern city of Tulum). They are not as big as the famous Chichen Itza ruins, but were also once a Mayan city. They take about an hour to explore by most accounts, and is just fifteen minutes away from the main road (there will be signs).

Related Articles / Useful Links on other Sites:

1) Muyil / Chunyaxche Wiki

2) Muyil (aka Chunyaxche) location

Related Articles / Useful Links on this Site:

1) Sian Ka’an World Heritage Site Evaluation

2) Three things to do Near or Inside Sian Ka’an (pt.1)

2) Visit a ‘Cenote’or Stay in a Hostel/Hotel that has One (outside Sian Ka’an)

Let me start out by saying that I am not a resort person. In fact, I think that the idea of a ‘high end hotel’ while traveling is a misguided attempt to stay in your comfort zone while traveling. Yeah I’ve heard all the excuses on how they are worth it, but I honestly would rather save and spend 200 dollars a night in the country exploring, than lounging around in a hotel that looks like anything I could get in my own home town.

With that said and done, this is different. A ‘cenote’ is a type of sink hole that is geographically unique to the Yucatan peninsula. The entire peninsula has hundreds of these ‘cenotes’ which are lakes that are all connected underground by rivers. It is believed they were formed by the meteor that hit the coast of Mexico 65 million years ago (yes the same one that killed the dinosaurs). As a result of them being moving water and not stagnant, they are usually gorgeous in color, either deep blue or green. Because of their abundance, many private parties happen to own one, including some hotels and hostels. Some of the more famous ones have a set fee for visiting. However, the one I will recommend is “Cenote Encantado” which is a “tent hostel.” The hostel is comprised of many very large tents with a huge ‘cenote’ to use, free of charge (if you stay the night). The owner is a very nature loving and easy going guy who will also lend you his rafts if you’d like. It is not a ‘party’ hostel as it prides itself for its relaxing theme, complete with Yoga rooms, and access to some of Tulum’s private beaches (which are rated as top 5 in the world). It’s is also pretty cheap at about 25 USD a person per night. This particular hostel is 1 km away from the gateway (‘el arco’) entrance to Sian Ka’an and one of the last places to stay outside of the Biosphere Reserve (there are no places to stay inside that I know of).

However, you don’t have to stay here to enjoy a cenote. Just ask around in the area and many people will point to some of the more popular ones. If you rent a car or a scooter, you will easily find more on your own.

Related Articles / Useful Links on other Sites:

1) Cenote Encantado Website

2) Cenotes Wiki

3) Map location of Cenote Encantado

4) Other Cenotes to visit

Related Articles / Useful Links on this Site:

1) Sian Ka’an World Heritage Site Evaluation

2) Three things to do Near or Inside Sian Ka’an (pt.1)

3) Snorkel or Swim in Your Own Private Beach (inside Sian Ka’an)

Driving into Sian Ka’an near the coast, it might seem like the forest is dense on both sides. Fortunately, the side that leads to the beach is rarely dense. If you stop anywhere along the 50 km stretch from Tulum to Punta Allen, you will find some of the most untouched beaches anywhere. I did this quite a bit and in six hours, I didn’t see another human being on any beach. You can rent snorkel gear or life jackets (if you are a terrible swimmer like me) from a number of hotels along the coast near Tulum. I was able to get a scooter and gear from “Hotel Posada Punta Piedra.” The scooter was kind of pricey at 35 USD for a day, but there are other places that can rent or sell gear (I was just kind of running short on time). The coral isn’t the best, but there is still an abundance of life on the shore. Also, the water is warm (I went in January) so you can just swim or lounge around in your own private paradise.

Related Articles / Useful Links on other Sites:

1) Hotel Posada Punta Piedra location

Related Articles / Useful Links on this Site:

1) Sian Ka’an World Heritage Site Evaluation

2) Three things to do Near or Inside Sian Ka’an (pt.1)

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Julio Moreno

Julio is a California native who has lived abroad since 2009 as an expat in South Korea and New Zealand. He is especially passionate about experiencing other cultures and visiting as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible.
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