The Riviera Maya region of the Yucatan Peninsula is known for its pristine beaches, fabulous resorts and a plethora of water sports and diving experiences. There is also a rich ecological landscape to be explored around Akumal and Playa de Carmen in the protected jungles of the region. In these jungles, the government has taken steps to preserve the land from development and maintain the integrity of the natural habitats of many species. From toucans to monkeys, you can see them all in their natural surroundings by arranging a jungle tour while you are staying in the area.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve is 1.3 million acres set aside by the Mexican government as an internationally protected natural habitat. In this jungle you will find mangrove swamps, savannahs, tropical forests, coastal lagoons and thousands of species of birds, fish, monkeys and other animals.
You can arrange a tour of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve with one of the many providers in the area. The best way to see this area is by boat, and private guided tours are available with native tour guides. A boat tour will cross two lakes which are connected to the sea by ancient Mayan canals that were once an integral part of the trade routes for this ancient civilization. As you cruise along the guided boat tour, you will marvel at the beautiful flora and fauna such as orchids and other tropical plant life.
You will also have the chance to explore many Mayan ruins located within the preserve. One fun part of the excursion is when you put on a life jacket and float down the canal. The beauty of these tours is that the proceeds go to help preserving this natural wonder. A day spent at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve is educational and fun and you will experience first hand one of the last undeveloped coastal areas in North America.
There are several other wildlife reserves in the region. There is the Xaman-Ha bird sanctuary in Playacar, just 20 minutes north of Akumal. This bird sanctuary is one of the natural wonders of Mexico and is host to hundreds of species of tropical birds. Another place to get the jungle experience is Jungle Place in Chemuyil. It is located 10 minutes from Akumal and is host to toucans and monkeys that you can interact with. It is inland and there is even lodging available if you want to spend some time in the jungle.
They have monkeys in a cage where you can go in and pet them and interact with them and see how they live. This is a unique chance to safely interact with wildlife and learn about their natural habitat and even spend a few days in the jungle to get the full experience. The Riviera Maya region offers many jungle habitats and natural preserves for tourists to truly enjoy one of the last unspoiled, undeveloped jungle and coastline regions in Mexico.