The 4 most beautiful natural reserves in Tulum

The surroundings of Tulum are rich in protected areas allowing to discover a varied fauna and flora. Do not miss these treasures!

The Sian Ka’an Reserve

Both a Biosphere Reserve and a Unesco World Heritage Site, Sian Ka’an is a small paradise of biodiversity that is a must-see in Tulum.

It is located in front of the sea and contains mangroves, tropical forest and swamps. There is a rich fauna and flora including more than 300 species of birds.

The two main access points are Muyil and Punta Allen which offer two very different experiences:

1 – Punta Allen is on the coast, so it is the perfect destination to enjoy the beach, saltwater lakes, dolphin watching and snorkeling in the coral reefs.
The way from Tulum to Punta Allen is more complicated, you need a jeep.
The best way to visit Punta Allen from Tulum is definitely to take a guided tour!
You can book on : Get your guide or Viator.
I recommend to take this round trip transfer from the hotel, boat tour (3h) to watch dolphins and turtles, swimming and lunch in Punta Allen.

2 – Muyil allows you to explore the interior of Sian Ka’an, on the jungle side, with swamps, fresh water lagoons and Mayan ruins.
Muyil is easier to reach than Punta Allen and the visit is a half day trip from Tulum.
On the program: turquoise water, jungle, mangrove and breathtaking landscapes!

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Laguna Kaan Luum

Only 15 minutes from Tulum, close to Sian Ka’an, lies one of its best kept secrets in the middle of the Mayan jungle: the Laguna Kaan Luum.

It is a lake with green and blue tones that contains a cenote of more than 80 meters deep.

It is not possible to swim in the cenote because it is reserved for diving, but all the part which surrounds it is very pleasant because the water is not very deep (max 1m50)!

Kaan Luum is a must-see in Tulum because it is a place still preserved, and not very well known compared to other attractions of Quintana Roo.

The entrance fee is 150 $MXN.


  • Remember to bring food and drink (non-alcoholic) as there is nothing on site, except for a small snack stand at the entrance.
  • There are no lockers to keep personal belongings so people just leave them along the dock: do not bring valuables.
  • There is no beach or other space to lie down, so either sit on the dock, swim or walk in the water.


The seaside resort of Akumal, north of Tulum, is one of the most famous beaches of the Riviera Maya.

It is known for its white sand, its transparent water, its coral reef, and especially for the presence of turtles that come to reproduce there.

It is an ideal bay to swim with turtles in their natural habitat, observe multicolored fish, manta rays, etc.

You have to pay an entrance fee of $100 MXN to the local cooperative which also gives access to toilets and showers.

Tips :

  • Take advantage of your visit to Akumal to swim in the Caleta de Yal-Ku (3km from the entrance) and visit the caves of the Aktun Chen park!
  • As the turtles are protected it is mandatory to do the activity with a guide.
  • You can take the service from the beach or take a pick-up tour from Kiki Tulum. The guide will provide you with all the snorkeling equipment (snorkel and mask), life jackets and fins.
  • It is forbidden to touch the turtles or to get closer than 3 meters and it is not allowed to go further than 10 meters from the guide.

Punta Laguna

Only 20 minutes from Coba is the nature reserve of Punta Laguna, or “Otoch ma’ax yetel kooh”, the home of the puma and the monkey in Maya.

Here, Mayan communities have developed responsible tourism.

The visit of the reserve is done in several stages:

– The immersion in the daily life of the inhabitants: This is an opportunity to discover the Mayan culture, traditions, gastronomy and beekeeping.
– The second part is dedicated to the discovery of the jungle and allows to see spider monkeys in their natural habitat.
– Finally, the experience continues with outdoor activities: zip-lining over the lagoon, canoeing and swimming in a sacred cenote…where there are several human skulls!

This is a park to do in the Tulum area because it is much more authentic than other sites and can easily be combined with the visit to Coba!

Tips :

  • Open from 8am to 5pm but the best time to see the monkeys is between 3pm and 4pm.
  • Price: $350MXN for all activities, $70MXN to watch the monkeys, $300MXN for the guide.
  • How to get there? 60km from Tulum, take the 109 towards Coba, then at the traffic circle take the 1st exit to Quintana Roo Nuevo Durango-Coba
  • Without a car, you must first go to Coba (bus $100MXN or cab $550MXN) and then take a cab to Punta Laguna and return.