On our recent trip to Soliman Bay and Tulum, we took a new adventure trip down to Muyil for Sian Ka’an’s freshwater river float. We had done the Muyil Maya Ruins before (see previous post link at end) but had not done the float trip. The Muyil Ruins are located about 15 minutes south of Tulum on the main highway and you take the first gravel road on the left just past the Muyil Ruins entrance.
We did not have reservations but there were several boats of adventurers coming and going to the float. There were Sian Ka’an workers next to the boat docks to welcome visitors, however, they seemed to only speak Spanish. As we only spoke a tiny bit of Spanish, this made their tour explanation and costs difficult to understand, along with negotiating price. It would seem there is not a set particular price. We finally decided to pull out the amount we were willing to pay in pesos and tell the captain that is all we would pay. He finally agreed and we headed out on the boat.
As we got under way, our captain suddenly began to speak in perfectly good English. I was very perturbed at this and would recommend to Sian Ka’an that they stress to their workers to speak English when talking to tourists if they want to leave visitors with a good impression of their tour. We almost left because they were asking so much, and we didn’t really understand what the charges were or the tour entailed.
So with that out of the way as a cautionary tale, on to our fun. We traveled out across the bay and into a narrow channel cut through the mangroves and Savannah grass. When we came out into the next part of the bay the captain stopped to tell us about the mangroves and let us walk around in the water a bit.
This was a mangrove “Mayan grape” which he pointed out to us and let us sample. The big plump ones tasted a lot like a sweet grape.
We arrived at a dock and the Mayan Custom House and the captain took us up to it to give us a brief explanation.
The water at the dock was crystal clear and a few fish hung nearby.
Our captain handed us our life jackets and we stepped through the arm holes (basically turning the life jacket upside down) and then buckled it around our stomachs. It was then time to jump off the dock (or go down the ladder) into the water to start our float. The current immediately moved us along for our journey through the mangroves. It was cool, clear and so refreshing on a hot summer day!
The mangroves are covered with wild orchids and the captain said April was the best time to catch them in bloom.
I think we did the short float tour which took a couple of hours. We floated up to a second dock and the young boy from the boat met us at the dock to show us the way back. It was a LONG walk back on the boardwalk which was in the open so it was HOT! You have to have comfortable shoes if you don’t want splinters and fried feet so don’t go barefoot on this tour. I also recommend sunscreen and a shot of bug repellant on your upper body.
You end up back at the Customs House where the captain is waiting with the boat. We jumped in for a quick cool off and then loaded up for the ride back to the dock. It was a wonderful afternoon adventure that I would definitely recommend. Children need to be old enough to walk the long boardwalk trip back (I don’t think you want to carry a child this far!) and not for elderly with health issues for the same reason.
Here is the link to Sian Ka’an’s website for more information about this tour and others you can take in the biosphere. http://www.siankaantours.org/en/muyil-forest-float/#more-28
If you haven’t toured the Muyil Ruins, you should definitely do both of these tours on the same day. You can walk in the front of the ruins and out through the jungle to the docks. Just keep in mind you will have to walk out the road to get back to your car, which is quite a way. Here is the link to my previous blog on the Muyil Ruins: https://busybeetraveler.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/muyil-ruins-tulum-mexico/)