The Yucatán is home to many beautiful national parks and protected areas, ideal for nature lovers and people who want to spot a diversity of wildlife in their natural environment. Below we list some of these nature reserves which are well worth a visit.
In the Northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula lies the beautiful biosphere reserve of Río Lagartos (Alligator River), which protects nearly 60,000 hectares of forests, dunes, mangroves, estuary and beaches. Within the reserve lie the fishing villages of Rio Lagartos, Las Colorados, San Felipe and El Cuyo and the fresh water spring of Peten Mac. It’s a magical place of mangroves and salt lakes, where fantasy becomes reality when floating on pink water surrounded by flamingos.
The eight vegetation zones support a wide variety of life. The beaches are an important nesting ground for different types of turtles. But mostly, it’s a birders paradise, hosting over 330 species of resident and migratory birds and the largest population of flamingos in Mexico. Depending on your luck you can see a hundred or a thousand of them. If you want to try your luck, then join us on a Birding Tour in Rio Lagartos. Or if you rather watch crocodiles, we also offer an exciting Crocodile Tour.
Punta Laguna (spider monkey reserve)
The 5000 hectares reserve is recommended to nature lovers who want to enjoy the local ecosystems and the Mayan culture in complete respect and harmony. The beautiful nature paths offer a diverse example of plant and animal life, such as the ceiba and guanacaste tree, butterflies and iguanas. It’s also a great place to see spider monkeys in their natural habitat. The small Mayan village has supported over 40 years of monkey research by scientists from all around the world. The spider monkey population includes roughly 600 black handed spider monkey specimens and a smaller group of howler monkeys. Visitors can easily find them. Hint: they are usually hanging out in the tall trees alongside the lake.
Sian Ka’an, meaning “where the sky is born”, was established in 1986 and a year later declared UNESCO World Heritage. With 650,000 hectares it’s the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. The different ecosystems, including forests, savannas and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, host over a 100 species of mammals and over 300 species of birds. The beaches are important breeding areas for sea turtles and the wetlands are home to manatees and crocodiles. The site also registers 23 small archaeological sites.
This beautiful reserve is a must see while on holiday in the Riviera Maya. We can take you on a great day trip combining nature and culture on our Muyil and Sian Ka’an Tour. For bird lovers there is a special birding tour in the reserve. For those who want to explore the reserve to its fullest, we offer a 3-day multi adventure trip.
Xcalak National Reef Park
South on Mexico’s Costa Maya, close to the Belize border, lies Xcalak National Reef Park. The goal of the reserve is to protect its natural resources, which are threatened by local fishing, tourists and the increase in population. The flora and fauna are abundant, hosting an incredible amount of birds, plants and marine life. Located at the center of the Great Maya Reef, it makes an excellent spot for recreational diving, snorkeling, fly fishing and deep sea fishing. The waters are crystal clear, it’s like swimming in an aquarium!
If you would like to visit any or a combination of these reservers on a private tour, please contact us and we can organize this for you.