Meet the Maya, learn about their lives and timeless traditions during your vacation by going off the beaten track and exploring Maya Ka’an, the state of Quintana Roo’s new ecotourism destination.

Presented at the Tianguis Turístico travel fair, Maya Ka’an encompasses the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the municipalities of Tulum, Felipe Carrillo Puerto and José María Morelos, a little-visited area of natural beauty, history and traditions. This new project will reinforce protection of Sian Ka’an and bring sustainable development to communities in the Zona Maya. With a master plan developed by Amigos de Sian Ka’an and funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, it offers community tourism – all trips and activities will be operated by the villagers themselves, thus ensuring that the communities themselves benefit economically.

Sixteen different tours and activities offered by Mayan community tour operators will take visitors to nine different communities in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the Zona Maya: Punta Allen, Muyil and Punta Herrero in Sian Ka’an and historic Felipe Carrillo Puerto, capital of the Zona Maya, and Tihosuco (site of the Caste War Museum), Señor, Chunhuhub, Noh Bec and Kantemó.

Visitors will watch craftsmen at work and enjoy Mayan cuisine, witness ancient rituals, find out about traditional farming techniques and the healing properties of native plants used since the days of the ancient Maya. They’ll listen to stories and legends told by village elders, learn about the history of the area and chicle, the sap of the chicozapote tree that was once harvested to make chewing gum. Other activities include bird watching, nature walks, kayaking, boat trips through the lagoons and bays of Sian Ka’an, fishing, biking and visits to the famous Cave of the Hanging Snakes in Kantemó, the site of an eerie natural spectacle.

Small group trips are available to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and can also be arranged to Maya Ka’an. Visit