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3 Reasons This Gorgeous Area Near Cancun Is Trending With Tourists Right Now

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As Cancun’s resorts become crowded with travelers, a growing number of visitors are seeking new exciting destinations to explore in the Mexican Caribbean.

One region in particular has seen its popularity skyrocket in the last few months. Known for its rich Mayan history, verdant nature, and vibrant culture, Sian Ka’an is becoming a mainstream attraction for Tulum visitors.

Traveler walking in the Sian Ka'an reserve

The upcoming completion of the Maya Train and Tulum’s new international airport means that Sian Ka’an will only continue to climb in popularity with travelers.

With just over a month to go before the official launch of Quintana Roo’s flagship infrastructure projects, here’s why travelers are keen on exploring this underrated destination.

mangroves at the sian ka'an reserve

Sian Ka’an – A Nature Lover’s Paradise

Sian Ka’an is a massive nature reserve located just south of Tulum. A growing hotspot for day trips from Cancun and the Riviera Maya, Sian Ka’an is both a nature lover’s paradise and home to a stunning cultural heritage that has developed over the centuries.

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sian Ka’an has enjoyed remarkable popularity for a long time. But in 2023, visitor numbers to the ecotourism hotspot are skyrocketing as travelers seek to add new experiences on their Mexican Caribbean vacation. 

According to new travel number reports, Sian Ka’an is on track to welcome up to 180,000 visitors this year. Such astonishing visitor figures were only recorded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s very likely a new record could be broken this year. 

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The completion of the Maya Train and Tulum’s huge new international airport means that hundreds of thousands of travelers will flock to southern Quintana Roo to enjoy the region’s splendid natural and historical beauty.

Although officials are optimistic about Sian Ka’an’s growing popularity, experts have stated that prioritizing quality over quantity is more important than ever. With skyrocketing visitor figures, authorities want to preserve the destination’s unique ecology. 

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Travelers can visit Sian Ka’an by booking one of many guided tours and excursions. This 10-hour day trip from Tulum has earned Viator’s Badge of Excellence. The $211 per person tour provides an excellent overview of the UNESCO World Heritage site’s main highlights, including the elusive manatees.

Maya Ka’an

Much like Sian Ka’an, Maya Ka’an, a sub-destination in the Sian Ka’an biosphere, is seeing its popularity soar as travelers flock to experience the destination’s combination of Mayan heritage and nature. 

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The historical Mayan hotspot is home to an array of archeological sites – in addition to exotic wildlife – including Muyil, where travelers can admire the 56-foot-tall el Castillo pyramid. 

One village that has seen its popularity grow wildly is Punta Allen, a picturesque fishing village with just 469 inhabitants. The quaint destination is a hotspot for fishing trips as well as dolphin-watching.

This top-rated 10-hour tour combines some of the best sites in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere in addition to a culturally immersive lunch in Punta Allen. Although pricy at $181 per person, the length excursion is the perfect choice for adventurous travelers looking to mix culture with nature.

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With travel numbers set to explode over the coming months thanks to the launching of the Maya Train, locations like Maya Ka’an and Sian Ka’an will surge in popularity thanks to their off-the-beaten-path location and unique tranquility. 

And with cultural travel increasingly ranking higher on travelers’ wish lists, Tulum is an excellent alternative to resort hotspots like Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

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