“Float to the Ecstasy” is what our itinerary for the day suggested. We were both a little unsure of what this meant, but since Riviera Maya Tourism hadn’t steered us wrong so far during our Press Trip, we knew we were in for a treat.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
This natural Unesco World Heritage Site spans over 1.3 million acres (652,000 hectares), making it the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Not only is the size of this reserve impressive, the diversity of flora and fauna is truly astonishing. Here you’ll find 375 species of birds, 115 species of mammals (including Jaguars and Manatees), 318 species of butterflies and my least favourite, 310 species of mosquitoes!
We arrived at Sian Ka’an and to our delight, we had a private boat for us, our driver, PR rep and guide. We cruised effortlessly over the glass-like waters and through canals created by the clever Mayan people over 1000 years ago!
- Ready to go!
During our boat ride, our knowledgable guide provided us with information about the different mangroves, ecosystems, animals and history of this area. Not only are there stunning waters, clear lagoons and interesting animals here, there are also 23 known Mayan archeological sites! We were more than happy to be on tour with Community Tours Sian Ka’an, a non-profit company which employs Mayan people and gives back to the community.
- Crystal clear waters of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
We reached the point at which we were to “float to the ecstasy”, which meant that we were to don a life jacket (by putting our legs through it and sitting on it), jump in the water and bob along, while letting the current take us slowly and peacefully down the canal for 40 minutes. We enjoyed the serenity of floating through the clear waters, although, I have to admit I was a bit paranoid about illusive crocodiles pretty much the whole time!
- “Floating to the Ecstasy“
So far on our trip to the Yucatan, we had been able to witness traditional Mayan theater, eat authentic food, visit stunning ruins and now, we were able to drift through ancient hand-built canals. The Mayan civilization truly is incredible.
The Ruins of Tulum
Both the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the Tulum Ruins are near the small beach town of Tulum. This would be our third time visiting this touristy town, but not our last! After enjoying a freshly prepared fish lunch, we made our way to the very popular and precarious, cliff side ruins. We were greeted by hundreds of Iguanas and the intensity of the late day sun.
- Tulum is overrun with Iguanas!
Tulum was strategically built by the Mayans in the late 13th century. Defense was a high priority when choosing this site. Not only were they protected on one side by a sheer 12m cliff, but they built a 5m high/8m thick/400m long wall along the landward sides. I can’t even imagine the effort and time that must have taken them to create. Adding to the security, they built two watch towers at the SW and NW corners of the site.
- Tulum was built in the perfect location
We wandered around gazing in awe at this aesthetically pleasing site before succumbing to the heat of the day. Lucky for us, these ruins are located on a pristine stretch of sand. We followed the wooden stairs down to the sea and jumped into the rolling waves. Definitely bring your bathing suit when visiting Tulum, the beach here is stunning!
It was a great way to end our day in the Tulum area. We said our goodbyes to the Riviera Maya rep, Tania, and were dropped off at our luxurious resort to enjoy one final night on our Press Trip.
Check out this video of Floating to the Ecstasy & the Tulum Ruins!
Can you believe how industrious the ancient Mayan people were? Have you seen any Mayan ruins? Share with us below!