Many people come to Mexico looking for adventure, a memorable vacation and great outdoor activities. From scuba diving and extreme sports to relaxing by birdwatching and visiting ancient Maya ruins – Mexico has it all.
One of the most visited places on the Yucatan Peninsula, when it comes to exploring the local wildlife, is the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. The reasons why one should visit this place are many, and just to mention a few: the lovely and unspoiled natural surroundings, the Mayan ruins with their rich history, and last but not least – the beautiful flora and fauna.
The secret of why Sian Ka’an offers so rich a diversity of wildlife lies within the habitats that the birds and animals make their homes. We have prepared a list that will tell you a little something about each of the habitats found in Sian Ka’an:
Sian Ka’an reserve has a barrier reef of over 100 kilometers in length within its boundaries. The reef that borders this beautiful area of the Yucatan Peninsula extends even further, past Belize and Honduras to form the second largest coral reef in the world. Coral reefs are home to many colorful species of marine life – corals, fish, crustaceans and other species.
Beaches and Dunes
Beaches are important for the wildlife of Sian Ka’an, as they form excellent nesting grounds for many species of birds, and also provide a place for four endangered sea turtle species to lay their eggs. The turtles that come to nest in Sian Ka’an are endangered because a lot of their previous nesting ground areas in the Caribbean are lost to them due to the increased human population inhabiting the area.
Dunes form a natural barrier between the land and the ocean, and help many inland creatures to retain their habitat during bad weather. Stormy seas would be devastating for inland areas if it were not for the dunes. The coastal vegetation features many interesting species of flora such as Seagrape, Sea lavender and many more.
Fresh, brackish and salty waters form the wetlands in Sian Ka’an reserve. These areas are a buffer between the land and the ocean and are home to biological diversity on a large scale. There are many endangered species that inhabit the wetlands.
The Cenotes are basically sink holes, where the water from the surface is filtered underground and contained. Some cenotes are connected with other cenotes through a series of underground caves, passageways and rivers. These areas are home to many species of fish, insects and other creatures that live in the water or inside the caves.
Lagoons, Hummocks and Low Tropical Forest
Whether the lagoons are fresh water, salty water or brackish water, Sian Ka’an ahs it and they are home to a large number of species of flora and fauna. These species are seldom found in the bordering coastal zones and thus can only be seen in the lagoons.
Hummocks are very interesting areas of forest in Sian Ka’an and other places in the world, such as Cuba and Florida. These areas are isolated by swamps or inundated land. This creates a unique opportunity for nature to create some unique endemic species – insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.
The tropical forest of Sian Ka’an is home to many species of mammals, birds and insects. Some of the most interesting species are tapirs, pumas and black leopards, to mention just a few.
Visiting Sian Ka’an
The diversity of natural habitat in Sian Ka’an is very impressive. There are few places like this on earth where the traveler can see all kinds of birds, mammals and other species of aquatic and terrestrial fauna. Visiting this reserve is a breathtaking experience and definitely one of the best adventures one can have!