This post was last updated on March 20th, 2015Sian Ka’an Ancient Canals – ‘Where the sky is born’ It’s not everyday you wake up with the realization that you can spend the morning floating down ancient maritime canals, hand-dredged by Mayans nearly 1200 years ago. Unless you’re in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, of course. The ancient Mayan canal system is located in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, just a few moments away from the popular shabby-chic destination of Tulum. It’s the largest protected area in Mexico’s Caribbean, and has been a World Heritage Site since 1987. The biosphere has 23 known archeological sites, shelters hundreds of species of birds and mammals (including two species of endangered turtles), and boasts remains that are nearly 2,300 years old. The 20-kilometer canal system is presumed to be an ancient trade route between Tulum and Muyil, effectively linking Muyil (a village with a land-locked lake) to the Caribbean Sea. It’s absolutely astonishing to think about the human labor that must have been required to dig out the freshwater canal that runs through four different ecosystems. We had the incredible opportunity to experience the canals first-hand with Sian Ka’an Community Tours. The morning began with a boating tour through mangroves and lagoons, where we were introduced to various local birds and plants. We were then dropped off at the start of the canal system. We donned our life vests like diapers to create a comfortable floating device, and then gingerly stepped into the water. The gentle current of the canal produces a ‘lazy river’ effect. We had only to relax in...
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