Less than 30 minutes outside of Tulum, Mexico, there’s an archeological site called Muyil that’s located on the border of a lagoon in the UNESCO-recognized Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Muyil, or Chunyaxché, was one of the earliest Mayan settlements on the Yucatan Peninsula, and it existed for quite a long while. Many travelers visit Muyil as a day trip from Tulum to see the ruins of a once-bustling Mayan port town and perhaps admire the lagoon. What many of these visitors don’t know is that the Muyil Lagoon is also home to a natural lazy river.
To experience the Muyil lazy river, all you have to do is take a bus, taxi, or car to the Muyil Lagoon where you can board a small boat for a two-hour tour that costs approximately $50 per person. The boat ride across the lagoon is almost worth the cost alone as you glide across crystal-clear turquoise waters and through shaded mangrove forests. At one point, the mangrove-enclosed lagoon has a gentle current that’s just strong enough to propel you forward at a leisurely pace, just like a lazy river at a waterpark. The natural lazy river float lasts about 30 minutes, after which you’ll hop back on your boat and be dropped back off at the pick-up spot.
The Muyil lazy river is one of the most fun and unexpected ways to take advantage of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, but you can also enjoy other water activities like swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and even snorkeling in the area. One of the largest protected areas in Mexico, the biosphere reserve spans some 1.3 million acres of land and marine environments, playing host to over 100 mammal species, 300 bird species, 20 amphibians and reptiles, and even more fish. You’d be hard-pressed to see it all on a single trip to Mexico, but if you have some time to spare, a tour of the Muyil ruins followed by a float down the Muyil lazy river is well worth a day trip.