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Eco Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries

SOUTH OF CANCUN

 

El Garrafón National Park, Isla Mujeres , Aquatic and Recreational Natural Park located in Punta Sur in Isla Mujeres, the island’s southernmost tip, is known for its lovely reefs and spectacular cliffs (highest elevation in the Yucatan and home to an ancient Maya temple). These cliffs and their vantage points offer dazzling views of the island, the Caribbean and Cancún beyond.. Open daily 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM.  Carretera El Garrafón 2.2 Km south of Playa Lancheros. Tel: Cancun (9) 884 9422

 

Aktun-Chen Parque The name is Maya for "the cave with a cenote inside." The Aktun-Chen cave system is thought to be at least 5-million years old and is the only grotto discovered that is above ground. Guides take you on a fascinating journey through the cave to explore ancient stalactites and stalagmites ending at the underground cenote with its eerie shades of green. This natural wonder is very popular with children and adults alike. Open Daily: 8:30 AM – 6 PM. Located Hwy. 307, Km 107 between Akumal and Xel-ha. Tel: 98/50 41 90 

 

Crococun The miniature zoo and crocodile farm just south of Cancun is a favorite with children. It houses a collection of reptiles and mammals indigenous to the area. Crococun offers fun, educational tours where you get to handle a baby crocodile, play with reptiles and feed the deer. Open Mon-Sat, 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM. Highway 307, Km 30.     Tel: (9) 8 50 37 19.  For more information visit our www.visitpuertomorelos.com website.

 

Xcaret. This beautiful park is built on the site of the ancient Mayan port of Polé, spectacularly framed by the turquoise Caribbean and the emerald green exuberance of the surrounding jungle. Among the many attractions, you'll find its unique underground rivers, a reef aquarium, a wild bird breeding aviary, the butterfly pavillion and a botanical garden; besides, there are various archaeological sites as well as replicas in the park's own museum. You can also enjoy optional activities such as swimming with dolphins. A variety of restaurants offer authentic mexican cuisine and seafood. Enjoy Xcaret at Night (included in your ticket), a journey through Maya traditions such as the ball game and the new fire ceremony. Finally, enjoy a kaleidoscopic display of folklore at the open air theater. Open daily April to October daily 8:30 AM to 10 PM, November to March, daily 8:30 AM to 9 PM. No evening show on Sundays. Highway 307, Km 72, Tel: (9) 883-3143 or 883-3144. 

Xel-Há – Ecopark  An exquisite, explorable natural wonder to snorkel pristine waters, full of friendly tropical fish. Experience caves and cenotes. Grab a float or jacket and drift down a tranquil, spring-fed inland river past electric-green mangroves to the main inlet. The Tulum-Xel-Ha Tour: a combination of Mayan archaeology and the beauty of the mexican caribbean in a one day trip. Full-service amenities include live music, restaurants and shops. Ask for the 'All Inclusive' option and the Swim with Dolphins Program. See the brochure in your hotel's lobby. Contact your travel agent, or call us in Cancun at 84-9422 or in Playa del Carmen 87 307-01.

Tres Riós There is plenty to do at this nature park: bicycle on jungle paths, canoe along a jungle river, snorkel in the cenotes or kayak on the ocean. The beaches are equipped with beach chairs, palapas and hammocks for those who just want to lounge. Additional tours include guided kayak tours into the specially protected estuary to bird watch, diving and snorkel tours to the reef, horseback riding, and fishing. Open daily 9 AM – 6 PM. Located 40 minutes south of Cancun. Highway 307, Km 60. Tel: Cancun office: (9) 887-8077 or Park Office: 987-8078. 

 

 

Xaman-Há Aviary This 1,800 square meter (5,400-sq ft) oasis is located in Playa del Carmen, 40 minutes south of Cancun. Xaman-Há means "waters of the north" and there are actually three cenotes at this conservation aviary devoted to the preservation of the endangered birds of southeastern Mexico. Trails on a narrow path take you into the jungle where there are hundreds of plants and gorgeous tropical flowers. Most commonly spotted birds are ducks, ibises, egrets, storks, pelicans, frigate birds, hawks and flamingos. A large enclosure called the Flying Cage is home to the more exotic birds such as the scarlet macaw, keel-billed toucan, green parrots and flint-billed woodpecker. Also on the grounds are squirrels, iguanas, raccoons and other small animals. Bug spray and binoculars are a must to make the trip enjoyable. Cameras and video cameras are welcome. Open daily: 8 AM – 5 PM, best time for bird watching is from 9 AM – 11 AM or from 4 – 5 PM. Admission: by donation. Located in the Playacar complex, Paseo Xaman-Há, Playa de Carmen. Tel: no phone. 

Xpu-há Xpu-há is an all-inclusive ecopark featuring the beautiful flora and fauna of Quintana Roo. The beach here wide with clear waters so it’s perfect for a variety of water sports and Xpu-há offers snorkeling, windsurfing, boogie boarding, kayaking and scuba diving. You can also explore the jungle on bicycle or take a kayak through the mangroves to see the wildlife. Guided tours take you through a white deer farm and to the on-site aviary where colorful macaws, toucans and parrots make their home. Tropical food and drink, included in the price of your ticket are offered at the palapa style restaurant. North of the park is Cenote Manatee, one of the largest waterholes in this region and the Xpu-Ha lagoon where, it is said, the endangered species of manatees can still be found. Open daily 8 AM – 6 PM. Located Highway 307, 1.5 hours south of Cancun. Tel: (9) 885-0020

Punta Laguna Punta Laguna is a tiny Mayan community about 15 kilometers northwest of the ruins of Cobá. With the support of the Mexican government (Pronatura – Yucatán), the locals decided to declare their surrounding jungle a reserve and have built a small palapa bar on one side of the lagoon. For a small fee local children or the village leader Don Serapio and his sons will take you along the jungle trails pointing out birds, animals, plants and Mayan ruins along the way. The final destination is a large cave that is home to a band of spider monkeys. The best time to see the monkeys is at dawn or dusk. The lagoon itself is a lovely spot with herons, kingfishers and crocodiles. There are no official tours to Punta Laguna so it’s suitable for travelers who don’t mind venturing out on their own but it does offer you the chance to met some local Maya families and support a growing community. Hours are flexible. You can take a bus to Cobà and ask for directions from there. Located on the Tulum-Cobà-Xcan road, 15 kilometers west of Cobà ruins.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve The Maya call it “where the sky is born” and Sian Ka’an is a perfect name for this 1.3 million acre of unspoiled wilderness where the sky reaches out endlessly over sea and land. First settled by the Maya in the 5th century AD, Sian Ka’an became a biosphere reserve in 1986. A year later, UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site. The reserve constitutes 10% of the land in Quintana Roo, encompassing 100 meters of coast along with freshwater and coastal lagoons, mangrove swamps, watery cays, savannahs, tropical forests, and a barrier reef. It is home to hundreds of species of birds, fish, mammals and plants including the endangered jaguar. Sian Ka’an is one of the last undeveloped stretches of the North American coastline and to keep it that way much of the reserve is off limits to humans. There is a rugged coastal road, ending in the small fishing village of Punta Allen that goes through a mangrove area where many birds can be seen. The best way to see this amazing place is with a guided tour, which includes bird watching, a tour of the mangroves and a visit to one of the 27 Maya ruins in the area. Located 3 hours south of Cancun, past Tulum, on the road to Boca Paila and Punta Allen. For tour information contact: Amigos de Sian Ka'an (Friends of Sian Ka’an). Plaza America, Av. 5 Cobá, Suites 48-50, Cancun. Tel: (9) 884-9583.

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