Sian Ka’an & Punta Allen
Punta Allen, Mexico is located approximately three and one half hours drive south of the Cancun International airport in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo. It is a quiet lobster fishing village south of the “Mayan Riviera” on a narrow peninsula at the northeastern point of Ascension Bay. It is hard to find a more charming and peaceful village in the Caribbean, with gorgeous beaches, friendly locals, a few lively bars and restaurants, and children walking barefoot through sandy streets.
The pavement ends in Tulum, and with it so does the hustle, crowds, and resort development in the hotel zone. This is the authentic, ecologically rich Yucatan Peninsula with dense tropical jungle and 1.3 million acres of the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and genuine old Mayan Mexico. It is a safe little corner of the Yucatan that is remote enough to remain pristine, but easily reachable in a half day with direct flights to Cancun from many U.S. portals including Dallas, Houston and Miami.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Sian Ka’an means “where the sky is born” in Mayan – an apt name for the 1.3 million acres of grass savannas, mangrove lagoons, white sand flats, and 70 miles of the Palancar Reef, second largest barrier reef in the world. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1986 the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is home to a variety of rare and spectacular creatures including ocelots, jaguars, manatees, crocodiles and hundreds of species of exotic birds. Within the depths of the Reserve the mark of the ancient Mayans can still be found. Dramatic temples and hidden tollhouses guard aquatic passageways carved through mangrove lagoons.
Punta Allen Photo Gallery
The Maya rose to prominence in the Yucatán around 250 A.D. Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations they developed astronomy, calendar systems and hieroglyphic writing. The Maya were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories. They were skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizeable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. The Maya also cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive trade networks with distant peoples.
Around 300 B.C., the Maya adopted a hierarchical system of government ruled by nobles and kings. This civilization developed into highly structured kingdoms from 200 to 900 A.D., at which point it started to decline for reasons, which are still largely a mystery. The Maya dynasty finally came to a close around 1200 A.D., although some peripheral centers continued to thrive until the Spanish Conquest in the early sixteenth century.
There have been no less than 22 Mayan archaeological sites identified within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (many still completely unexcavated), and several of these are accessible with the assistance of our local Mayan guides. In addition, we can arrange a tour to the Tulum ruins located only 30 miles north of The Palometa Club at the top of the Punta Allen Peninsula, Mexico.
The Tulum ruins are stunning, a stone fortress perched high on the edge of the Caribbean that should not be missed. A walled Maya city-state, Tulum is a large Postclassic site built in the 10th century that functioned as a seaport. The dominating structure of Tulum is the Castillo (castle), which served as a fortress as well as a temple. Tulum survived approximately 70 years after the Spanish Conquest after which it was abandoned.