During our honeymoon, we went to Mexico for 9 nights. While in Mexico, we decided to do a tour that would take us to and through the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an. This biosphere reserve is in the Mexican State of Quiantana Roo, on the peninsula of Yucatán. It was established in 1986 and became part of the Unesco World Heritage Site in 1987. More info on Sian Ka’an can be found here.

Our tour would go by bus from the hotel and then to a spot where 12 of us would pick up 3 Jeeps. We grouped with two people who didn’t want to drive, so I drove there and my wife drove us back.

The Jeep Wrangler rode like a charm. First you follow the road (the Mexican 109 highway) and then you slowly enter the Reserve.

Sian Ka'an -01

Here a map, taken with/from Google Earth, where you can see the main road entering and going through a part of the Reserve, towards the southern point, where the village of Punta Allen is located.

The old wooden bridge

A little above the 109 sign, there is a bridge, well an old one which is very much broken, and a new one, suitable for all sorts of traffic. We made a stop there, and saw a lovely bird on the bridge and a bit further away… A crocodile!

White Ibis 
The White Ibis above, the close-up of the crocodile (Caiman) below

Crocodile

As stated on the map, just under the 109 sign, we went into small boats that would take us through part of the reserve to Punta Allen and back after that to the Jeeps.

Our boats

There were many boats on the water of the Reserve. They all have ways of connecting with each other, so when one spots anything, the rest can come as well. This worked out very well since in the end, we saw wild dolphins, a turtle and Spongebob’s friend Patrick. And of course some wonderful birds as well.

First things first. We got into the boats and when ours finally was up and running, we left to see some Mangrove “Islands”, islands that were formed because of the trees’ roots. These islands are very popular for all sorts of bird species, and they also share the islands with other species to breed and live during the winter season.

Coming in

I forgot most of the bird names, sorry, so any corrections are very much welcome! But I will share some pictures I made at one of those mangrove islands. All my pictures can be found online at my Ipernity site. Most of them are geo-tagged on that site as well. Comments/descriptions are still not all available, sorry.

These shots are of a Brown Pelican.

High up in the trees 

After some bird watching we went onward. First towards the “Black Lake”, la Laguna Negra. Due to all the leaves falling into the water, when pictures are made from above, the water has a black color.

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Entrance of the Black Lake


The entrance to the Black Lake. As you can see, it’s only allowed to go a maximum of 10 km/h.

La Laguna Negra

And on our way back, again through the same narrow water road.  

The “captain” of our boat heard something on his radio. We sped forward, we were on course. But to what? We were hoping on dolphins but well… We had to wait and hopefully see…

Hello there!

We were very lucky, as there was a small group of dolphins playing around.

Tail wave 
Playing dolphins

As you can imagine, it was a wonderful sight. Seeing the joy in their play, seeing them follow the boats, going under them, aside from them, giving us nice glimpses into their life. And some good photo opportunities of course.

And then, we went on again. There could be more to see, so our captain went on with the search.

We were very lucky that he spotted a turtle. Turtles have long periods of time spend underwater, so we had to wait for him (her?) to resurface. And that would only be a short time, to get some new air, so we had to keep focused on its movements.

Hello there

The Green Sea Turtle

After all this excitement, it was time to do some snorkeling.

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The water was lovely, I only had a problem with my snorkel. It leaked, so after trying to drink the ocean, my wife gave me her snorkel and brought mine back to to boat to exchange it for a not leaking one. That really helped a lot! Many fishes and coral could be seen. I also made some video’s, which can be found on my Ipernity site.

After the snorkel time, we slowly went to the beach. There we would enjoy our lunch after a walk through Punta Allen. But first, some snapshots were made in/near the gorgeous blue waters of Sian Ka’an.

Love is...well...this!

My love, under a Palm tree

After these nice shots, it was time for food. Lunch was a bit of a let down for me. I am a picky eater so often difficult to please. The things I did like were cold, though better enjoyed hot. So I was happy thinking about our great buffet dinner at the hotel that evening. 

After lunch our walk through Punta Allen began. It was warm, sticky hot and we were glad to be in the shade of the trees from time to time. We saw a small building, which would house the doctor DSCN6894 (2)several times a week. Then we passed a small supermarket. Most was closed, either due to the time (early afternoon, Siesta time) or because it wasn’t open on all days. It’s all relaxed, taking it easy and enjoying life, or so it seems to us busy tourists. We are spoilt with big shops, long opening hours, doctors on call nearby 24/7. Of course we are also “spoilt” with cold beaches, lots of rain, busy demanding jobs…. A palm tree would be very unhappy in our climate, justDSCN6897 as we sometimes are… The walk was nice after the bumpy boat ride, the snorkel time and all. It was a very diverse day and we were enjoying ourselves a lot.

The guide was telling us lots about the town, the habits and the local wildlife. But he missed the croc laying in the water near a boat. Some of us saw it and thought it was a fake one, just for the tourists. Until it moved haha!
DSCN6898 (2)So some of us went a bit closer for a nice snapshot of the sunbathing animal.

The guide told us some more about the salt “growing” on the leaves of the black mangrove trees. Some info, found on this site:

Salt: It is everywhere
Salt in the environment is a stress to mangroves because Sodium (Na+) and Chloride (Cl-), the ions that make up salt, are both toxic to plants. Also, a salty soil makes it harder for the roots of the mangrove to take up water.

If you don’t like the salt, you better get rid of it. The black mangrove can shed salt with small glands on its leaves. Mangroves have several strategies to deal with salt. The black mangrove, for example, can shed salt through its leaves. Others shed salt through the roots or drop leaves that are full of salt, or store salt ions in special parts of their cells.
Although salts cause stress to mangroves and they don’t need salt to live, mangroves are able to grow in salty conditions where other plants cannot.

And then, back into the boats, back to the Jeeps… This day almost came to an end…

DSCN6908 (2)Luckily, this was not our boat

Leaving Sian Ka'an

Leaving Sian Ka’an, entering Tulum

Our tour day was over, we drove to the bus, the bus took us back to our luxury hotel. Our heads and hearts full with great encounters, we enjoyed this day to the max. But a good shower and a nice hot meal with a cold drink on the side, that finished the day perfectly!

I would really recommend this tour, as it shows you some real awesome things that nature has to offer! All natural, as nature intended it.

 

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