Tulum, Mexico

Float down Ancient Mayan Canals in Sian Ka'an Reserve

Just a few minutes from Tulum, spend the day exploring the Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve and float down an ancient canal made by Mayans approximately 1000 years ago. Your expert local guide will take you on a boat trip passing through four different ecosystems, including mangroves, lagoons, natural canals and tropical jungles. You'll spot lots of incredible wildlife, including a very good chance of getting up close with manatees! Then you'll enjoy the beautiful refreshing water yourself while floating in a canal that is 900 metres of fresh water within a world of natural magic. Finally, end this beautiful day by delighting your palate with some typical Mayan food in the local community center.

Right for You?


Full Day

Travel Style

Active Adventure and Connect with Nature


English and Spanish

Physical Activity

Moderate activity


Wetlands and Rural Communities


Wifi: None
Cell: Limited
Starts at:


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Speaks: English and Spanish


  • Float in a 1,000 year old Mayan canals
  • Spot manatees and other wildlife during a boat tour of the Sian Ka'an reserve
  • Get some culture in with a visit to the Community Museum.
  • Eat a delicious traditional Mayan meal
  • Pick up and drop off at your hotel in Tulum and surrounding area



Tours every day, 7am to 2:30pm.


Flexible Departure Date
All year

What's Included


Bilingual guide




Boat and Private van

Traveler Reviews


Gilberto is amazing!

Where do I start?!? This tour was amazing, from the covid procedures to the activities! Gilberto was extremely personable and knowledge (he also went in between speaking english, spanish and french to accomodate everyone on the tour!) He made the entire experience! We started with the canal tour which was amazing! We were able to float in the canal, which was awesome! After floating, we were taken to see the manatees and crocodile (we were able to see both!) Next, we pulled over to a spot on a small beach to walk and explore. The day ended with lunch at an outside restaurant! Throughout the tour we learned a great deal about Mayan culture and history and appreciated the care taken in telling the history in a thoughtful and conscientious way! We absolutely loved Gilberto and would recommend this tour 1000%!
July 2021

One of Our Favorite Tours

My wife, our 11 yr old daughter and 13 yr old son had a blast. Great host, tons of information and an all around fantastic time. Highly recommend.
March 2021

Excellent! Outstanding!

This was the highlight of our trip to the area. I don’t want to spoil all of the details... but it is magnificent for bird sightings, history, ecology, tranquility and fun! I cannot recommend this tour highly enough! Excellent bilingual guide and driver!
December 2020

5 stars unbelievable value

Amazing experience good food and unbelievable nature sightings. Omar was amazing. Best value I’ve seen in this or any vacation.
January 2021

Floating and Boating Ancient Mayan Canals Far Exceeded expectations

Gilberto and his drivers and boat captains are experts in every aspect. Gilberto’s intimate knowledge of the ancient Mayans, and his experience growing up near Muyil, really made the history of his people come alive for us. He answered our questions about the ancient Mayan ruins we visited, and he floated with our group in the crystal clear and sparkling turquoise waters of the canal connecting the two lagoons. We marveled at the underwater fresh water springs, watched the manatees play and had the time of our lives going with the currents as we saw the mangroves, grasses, fish and bromeliads of the Mayan canals. As our boat approached the opening to the Caribbean, the beauty took our breath away. We had the beach to ourselves and walked around the sandy point. One of the best and most unusual travel excursions I’ve ever experienced. This is a can’t miss, if you love nature and want in firsthand and expert info about the ancient Mayans
November 2020

Wonderful tour with wonderful people

The day started off with a very punctual pick-up at our hostel. Memo, our guide, was energetic, passionate about what he does, and knowledgeable about the biosphere. The group only consisted of 7 people- everyone was friendly and made trip enjoyable. Most of the time was spent on boat, which was smooth and comfortable. We saw a few manatees but not close enough to see their full appearance. The tour provided a small morning snack. I love how they don't use one-time-use plates/cups. Saw many indigenous birds and a crocodile. The float down the canals was lovely, the water was very clear. Lunch options accommodates all dietary restriction. Tour ended with a walk around the tour company butterfly conservatory. Would definitely recommend this tour! They really care about preserving this beautiful natural reserve.
March 2020

Incredible experience

We could not have asked for a better experience. From the moment we were picked up in Akumal before the sun rose to being dropped off, our guide Omar was so informative and kind and fun. The tour was so well organized and everyone who worked there (tour guides, kitchen staff, etc.) were so friendly and willing to share information about this gorgeous place. It was breathtaking and we all were moved to tears. There was so much love for land and culture put into every detail. Highly highly recommend this experience.
February 2020

So fun and informative!

We had a phenomenal time taking this tour! We saw so many incredible animals, including tons of birds, manatees, and crocodiles! Our guides were knowledgeable, professional, and obviously committed to taking care of the bioreserve. They picked up trash on the beach we visited and educated us about safe sunscreen. The food was delicious: the tamale with bananas and beans was some of the best food I ate all week. This tour was the highlight of my week in Tulum!
February 2020

Stunning ecosystem, perfect guide

This tour was perfect. Our guide Memo (short for Guillermo?) seemed to genuinely love nature, Sian Ka'an, and Mayan culture. He was enthusiastic and incredibly positive throughout the tour. He seemed to genuinely love sharing the preserve with visitors. Floating down the canal was easy and amazing. We saw fish, birds, lizards, and many mangrove savanna plants while being carried along in pristine fresh water. As a bonus, the Mayan fish dish we chose for lunch was cooked perfectly. Great guide, great location, even great food.
January 2020

Great tour!

Our tour guide Joaquen was excellent. We learned a lot about the Mayan people and had a blast floating down the canals. The lunch they provided was excellent as well.
January 2020

We loved this trip!

We are a family with two teenage boys and we all had a fantastic day on the water! We saw crocodiles and tarantulas and herons and a manatee and sting rays and so much more. The time we spent floating in our life jackets in the mangrove canal was magical. Snacks and lunch were delicious. Our guide Memo was warm and enthusiastic and he knew a tremendous amount about the natural world and Mayan history. He and the boat drivers were also very alert to helping the older people on the tour with us who had some mobility issues. Back on land, we loved learning about the unusual bees and the butterflies and hearing offbeat stories about poisonous trees. The whole day was just great!
December 2019

Relaxing trip with experienced guides

My wife and I took Float down Ancient Mayan Canals in the Sian Ka'an Reserve and we really enjoyed it. All off the staff was great, but our guides Manuel and Javier were exceptional. My wife and I primarily rode with Manuel on the boat ride who shared his expansive knowledge of the flora and fauna. It was a great tour! We highly recommend it!
November 2019

Wonderful Experience

Really enjoyed the experience and the food - all the guides were fabulous !
November 2019

Highly Recommend! One of the highlights of the trip!

Loved this experience! The tour guide Manuel was fabulous, so knowledgable, and you could tell he loved doing what he did! The people we ended up on the tour with were so nice to us, especially the two ladies. The day was beautiful and the water was so pretty! My favorite part was floating down the river using our lifejackets as seats :-) It was above and beyond my expectations and definitely worth the price. Would love to do another tour with them if I come back to visit.
May 2019

So glad we booked with Community Tours

Our family of 4 had a wonderful experience with Community Tours. We were so glad to experience this beautiful area, see wildlife, float down the canal, and learn more about the Mayan culture past and present. Our guide, captain, and driver were helpful and accommodating. We were happy to have a chance to support the cooperative after seeing the rampant foreign development in the Tulum area. Would highly recommend and hope to do other tours with them in the future.
March 2019

Tour of the Sian Ka'an Mayan and natural canas

We had a lovely experience in our boat and float trip through the Mayan and natural canals of Sian Ka'an.
March 2019

Sian Ka'an Ancient Mayan Canals

A great guide Joaquin and a great tour in Sian Ka'an. Very glad we chose the company using Lokal Travel. The food was also good and Community tours also took care of bottled water and breakfast.
February 2019

Very disappointed

Too much time was spent racing up and down the lagoons and through the narrow channel at high speed with very little attention to the wildlife and culture of the reserve.
November 2018

Best Tour Guide!

We were very impressed with our tour guide, Nubia and the quality of the tour - Sian Ka'an Mayan canal floating! Nubia (who spoke 3 languages fluently! wow!) was delightful and informative from the moment they picked us up. I was pleased to know that the tour was designed to be very community and eco-designed so as to leave the most minimal impact on the community. It was a really great way to see another aspect of the Yucatan outside of the beach.
May 2018

Excellent tour!

The canal tour was beautiful. The Sian Ka'an is breathtaking. Our guide was very knowledgeable and provided a lot of information about the area and the animals that live there. We saw a crocodile, manatee, and lots of different birds. The boats are quite fast and zip through the canals making it exciting. It seems as if the canals are never ending then you come out into gorgeous open water. The food was very good and they had coolers in the boats with water. Highly recommend taking this tour.
March 2018

Must-See side of Tulum

You might think Tulum is just for partying, but this biological reserve is so precious, peaceful, and beautiful, you cannot miss it! The thing is, Sian Ka'an is easy to miss - you need to book with a good tour in order to see all the best parts, including the manatees, the birds, small Mayan ruins, etc. Our Mayan boat driver had a good eye, and would stop the boat for seemingly nothing, only to point out wildlife, like a crocodile sunbathing, or the snout of a manatee poking out of the water. I can't recommend this tour enough!
January 2018

Amazing experience

This is such a fantastic tour -- it allows you to explore a less-frequented area of Sian Ka'an. The tour is extremely well-rounded, you get a bit of adventure, history and some great food. If you're in Tulum, definitely check this out.
January 2017

Your Local Host

Sian Ka'an Community Tours

Locally Owned Tour Operator

Started by a cooperative of locals passionate about sharing their culture and preserving Mayan heritage, Community Tours Sian Ka'an offers unique ways to experience the nature and history of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. You can explore the Muyil ruins, learn about Mayan history and traditions, float in ancient canals, see manatees swimming in crystal clear waters and more. All tours are personal experiences - small groups led by a local guide with Mayan heritage. Every experience provides a great adventure while educating about the challenges of conservation.

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Getting There

Transport options

Get picked up (included) and Drive
Pick up from all hotels in Tulum is included in the price. If you are staying elsewhere in the Riviera Maya, pick up can be arranged for a small extra price.
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