A couple of hours’ drive South of Playa del Carmen is the biosphere Sian Ka'an, a vast nature reserve founded in 1986 to protect the unique wildlife of the Yucatan. There are coral reefs, mangroves, fresh and salt water lagoons, cave pools (cenotes), sand dunes and wetlands. With over 100 species of mammals including possum, peccaries and jaguars and an incredible diversity of birds, both permanent and migratory, Sian Ka’an provides organized tours and on-site activities to help you discover this beautiful and fragile tropical ecosystem.Alternatively you can visit one of the local ecological theme parks including Xcaret, 10 minutes down the road from Playa, or Xel-Ha, an hour’s drive away. Both provide a wide range of on-site activities including snorkeling in beautiful natural lagoons, floating down a river on an inner tube, horseback riding and swimming with dolphins. At Xcaret they put on a spectacular song and dance show each evening where you can discover traditional Mayan and Mexican culture.