Self-guided Day Trip To SIAN KA’AN & MUYIL, Mexico

Sian Ka’an or Origin of the Sun, as the Mayans used to call this place, is a beautiful natural attraction in Yucatan Penisula. We wanted so much to visit the Sian Ka’an reserve, the ruins and the jungle from Muyil and float through mangroves forest, in a Mayan canal, on a self-guided day trip, but we couldn’t find much information about it.
The tricky part was that nobody seemed to know how to get there, although we asked some locals and one ADO driver. We were sent to book a tour through a travel agency, and I must say the prices were considerably high. After some research, we realized it was quite easy to organize a self-guided day trip to Sian Ka’an and Muyil, not to mention affordable!

self-guided day trip to sian ka'an & muyil ruins, mexico


You can get to Sian Ka’an reserve from Playa del Carmen or Tulum by Colectivo, by bus or by car. Renting a car is a common way to visit the Yucatan Peninsula. We got there by bus, from Playa del Carmen and came back by Colectivo.

Playa del Carmen – Muyil: 83km, about 1hour and 20minutes drive
Tulum – Muyil: 23km, about 20 minutes drive
If you choose to get to Sian Ka’an by Colectivo, make sure the direction is Felipe Carrillo Puerto( 75km south-west) or Chetumal( further south).

We wanted to book tickets online, on the ADO website, but we couldn’t find the destination: Muyil. Later we found out that the bus station calls:  Chunyaxché, which is the name of the Lagoon near Muyil.  At the ADO ticket office, in Playa del Carmen, we were able to buy tickets to Chunyaxché.  

ADO from Playa del Carmen to Muyil/Chunyaxché: 95-pesos (4.86US$, 4.31€) per person


The bus station is just near the entrance. There is also a small parking lot, free of charge. We just crossed the road, paid for the entrance fees and we were on our own. This Mayan archaeological site has not been rebuilt, but it is still well kept. We walked along the trails, saw the ruins, took some photos. The place was so quiet and lovely, no tourists at all but a lot of mosquitoes, so make sure to bring repellent (biodegradable since you are going to float lately).

Muyil Bus Station, self-guided day trip, Sian Ka'an&Muyil, Mexico
Can you spot the dog resting at Muyil Bus Station?
Muyil Zona Arqueológica, self-guided day trip, Sian Ka'an, Mexico
Zona argueológica Muyil
Muyil Ruins, selg-guided day trip to Sian Ka'an&Muyil, Mexico
Muyil Ruins
The Castle(El Castillo), Muyil Ruins, self guided day trip to Sian Ka'an&Muyil,Mexico
The Castle (El Castillo), Muyil Ruins

Muyil entrance fee: 45-pesos (2.30US$, 2€) per person

Time spent: about 30 minutes


Exploring Cobá Ruins on your own, Mexico



Behind the ruins of the Castle (El Castillo), after 4 minutes walk, we came across a gate, which is the entrance gate into Sian Ka’an reserve. We paid another fee and followed the path.

Suddenly everything changed, and we found ourselves in the middle of the jungle. A boardwalk, about 500 meters long, led us to an observation deck. At the top, we were over the jungle canopy, and we’ve been rewarded with gorgeous views of the jungle and the lagoons in the distance. After that, we just followed the path until we reached the Chuanyxche lagoons. 

Sian Ka’an entrance fee of 50-pesos (2.50US$, 2.30€) per person

Time spent: 40 minutes

Sian Ka'an Reserve Map, Self-drive Day Trip, Mexico
Sian Ka’an Reserve Map
The Boardwalk to the Observation Deck, Self-guided day trip, Sian Ka'an Mexico
The Boardwalk to the Observation Deck
Observation Deck, self-guided day trip,Sian Ka'an Reserve, Mexico
Observation Deck, Sian Ka’an Reserve


At the first lagoon, we paid for the boat that took us to the mangroves forest. The price was per person and, not negotiable.

The boat station, self-guided day trip, Sian Ka'an Reserve
Boat Station inside Sian Ka’an Reserve
Heading to second lagoon,Sian Ka'an, Mexico
Heading to the second lagoon inside Sian Ka’an Reserve

After crossing the first lagoon at high speed, we’ve reached a narrow and beautiful canal that took us to the second lagoon.

A narrow canal inside Sian Ka'an Reserve, Mexico
A narrow canal inside Sian Ka’an Reserve


Now comes the highlight of this trip: floating down an ancient Mayan canal, through mangroves, in crystal clear water. The boatman provided us with a lifejacket, and we left our belongings inside the boat. 

Let the fun begin: floating through mangroves on a self-drive day trip to Sian Ka'an&Muyil, Mexico
Let the fun begin: floating through mangroves in Sian Ka’an

Usually, the float takes about 20 minutes, for the 1-kilometre ride. We spent 40 minutes into the canal, grabbing the mangroves, taking lots of photos and enjoying the ride — such a fabulous experience.

floating through mangroves,Sian Ka'an&Muyil, Mexico
Just floating, so much fun…
floating through mangroves, Sian Ka'an&Muyil, Mexico
Hanging on mangroves, Sian Ka’an
floating through mangroves,Sian Ka'an&Muyil, Mexico
Floating in cristal clear water, Sian Ka’an
floating canal, self-drive day trip to Sian Ka'an&Muyil, Mexico
That’s how the floating canal looks like, Sian Ka’an

By now, the boatman was expecting us, looking not so happy, since we’ve spent too much time floating. He took us back to the boat, on a beautiful boardwalk and back to the docks.  

Boat ride: 1.000-pesos (51US$, 46€) per person 

Time spent: 2 hours 

From the docks, it’s about 5 minutes walk on a small road till Muyil bus station. We didn’t buy a return ticket to Playa del Carmen so we waited for a Colectivo to show up. After 5 minutes of waiting, one came and picked us up to Tulum.

Colectivo from Muyil to Tulum: $35-pesos (1.79US$, 1.63€) per person & Colectivo from Tulum to Playa del Carmen: $40-pesos (2US$, 1.86€) per person 

Our self-guided day trip to Sian Ka’an reserve, Muyil ruins, boat tour & float, and transport to/from Playa del Carmen: $1.265 pesos (65US$, 59€) per person.

All in one, our SELF-GUIDED Day Trip To SIAN KA’AN & MUYIL was a great and funny experience, once in a lifetime, easier to do than expected so I strongly recommend doing one when in Mexico!



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