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“The negative reviews aren't from crackpots”
Review of Espacio Natura

Espacio Natura
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US$140.00*
and up
Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Eco-Adventure Including Muyil Ruins
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US$125.00*
and up
Day Trip to Holbox Island, Yalahau and Bird island
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US$165.00*
and up
Sian Ka'an Jeep Safari from Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Drive a Jeep through the jungle, winding roads in Caribbean Sea within the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka'an, one of the largest reserves in the world. During the trip we stop at Boca Paila to take pictures, coming to punta allen take a snack.Board small boats to go see dolphins, turtles, starfish, migratory birds and do snorkeling. we have a fascinating experience to marine biodiversity, multicolored fish, corals, and other species of this delicate ecosystem leaving a pleasant sensation.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Portland, OR
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“The negative reviews aren't from crackpots”
Reviewed 13 November 2013

You know how you look up reviews on anything and there are a lot of positive reviews with just a few really negative ones you think that the people who are being negative must have a screw loose? Those people, in this case, are the voice of reason.

The summary.

Four hours in a Jeep with many issues and in rather dubious operating condition. Three hours on a boat with no more than ten minutes at a few places where we harassed and stressed the wildlife. Only a few stops but not where we wanted to stop. A guide that did no guiding and caused delays and wouldn't listed to requests by the entire tour group. A cold meal that had been sitting out and the dirtiest beaches I've seen in the Yucatan. From pick up to drop off it was fourteen grueling hours. The upshot was meeting some very nice people who found it as miserable as we did.

The bottom line.

This tour isn't for people who actually love nature, it is for people who want to tear it apart. You will leave a huge carbon footprint by the end of the day and stress the wildlife with the insensitive behavior of the staff. The beaches are covered in trash and debris. Don't kind yourself, this isn't nature or the real Mexico, it is an expensive way to spent a long day to tear our a piece of your soul by putting your desires before the wellbeing of a nature preserve. If you really love nature don't contribute to its destruction by taking this tour; this nature preserve and UNESCO site is looking worse for wear thanks to these kinds of trips.

The details.

We were supposed to be collected at 6:00am and the driver was 20 minutes late, not a big deal, we're on vacation and my friend and I were enjoying each other's company. Then they dropped us off at a meeting point where there were less than half a dozen other people waiting. So far so good. Over an hour passed and soon there were over 30 people waiting for this expedition and most of them were smoking. Yeah, the tour companies can't control their clients and there was a smoking area so I can't hold that against them either.

Then we were divided into Jeeps. This tour company only had nine people in our group so we were a caravan to two vehicles. Ours looked rather new and appeared to be in good condition. We piled in and followed our guide down the highway. Once we left the highway we splashing through potholes so deep the door sills were wet. After a few puddles the power steering would short out and it would take a dry patch for it to kick back in. When I told the guide he asked if it came back on and I told him it did so he seemed to think it was no problem.

So we spent over two hours being jarred by holes in the road and passed more than one Jeep with a flat tire on the way. By the time we got to the docks it was noon and even though the picked us up before the crack of dawn they gave us a banana and water with a couple pieces of tortilla to tide us over.

On the boats, of which there were as many as there were Jeeps, so maybe 15 in our group, we headed out into the lagoon. When a sea turtle was spotted at least half a dozen boats surrounded it idling their engines and creating a massive cloud of exhaust fumes. We going to wait for our turn to see the turtle surface and take in a lungful of fumes before diving. When our group which included a nice couple told our guide we didn't want to stress the turtle and move on he wouldn't listen and insisted we stay.

After we traumatized the sea life they set off to show us the mangroves which were pretty but we barely slowed down so we couldn't watch any of the crabs on the roots to even take pictures despite our request. Then they sped off to show us a few dead trees with cormorants and frigates where we didn't stop, only cruised by.

Hurried past the birds they took us to a more open area of the ocean where we found three dolphins playing. Again there was a large group of boats that surrounded them and even though it was fun to see them play I felt like we were trying to corner them.

After about ten minute they took us to a reef to snorkel for another ten minutes while one of the captains kept insisting we follow him. Initially I thought he might be trying to show us fish or interesting coral formations but it quickly became apparent that all he was doing was keeping us herded so we could leave. Once back on the boat we were taken to a shallow area where were were told we could go for a swim. We just got out of the water! We didn't need to swim in chest-deep water for ten minutes, we would have rather explored the mangroves for another ten minutes at a slow pace. But no, we had a formula to follow and deviations were not to be permitted.

So that was the sum of our boat trip, ten minutes here, ten minutes there, harass the wildlife, you MUST see this. Again, our tour was two groups in two boats, why couldn't it be more tailors to our interests and desires?

Then we went to a roadside restaurant, and by this time it was about 3:00pm, seven hours after we were picked up. The food was bland and already cold, it had been sitting out on the counter covered in plastic for who knows how long. It was rather terrible but at this point we were starving and ate everything on our plates.

Once we ate we went back on the road and it took again more than two hours. There were more flat tires and our guide got a flat on his vehicle and he watched as the folks in his Jeep changed the tire for him. When we arrived back at the original meeting point our guide disappeared only to reappear and stuff us in a van to take us back to our accommodations. The driver of the van was already late for another appointment and drove like a maniac; at one point he slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting a car and we were all tossed around even with seat belts on.

The only good thing is that we met some really wonderful people who also felt tricked into take a terrible tour. By the end we were pretty close and even went out to dinner together to wash the taste of bad food out of our mouths.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
20 Thank vulferius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rochester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
36 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Nature, Thrill and Chills”
Reviewed 29 September 2013

Excellent excursion for thrill seekers - you can drive your own jeep along bumpy water filled trails down to the Sian Ka'an biosphere, then into speed boats to look for tutles and dophins - nature lovers, we saw eagles, dolphins, turtles, fish, birds and insects, as well as the beautiful landscape of the area - chills - we got a lovely buffet lunch and got to chill out on a sand bank.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank mille7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Clemente, California
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“unbelievable experience!”
Reviewed 24 September 2013

loved it all! 4x4 jeep tour thru the jungle with amazing views of the coastline, fast boat in ascencion bay to look at turtles up close, fast boat to the open water to look at dolphins up close, snorkel (couldn't the day i was there due to the weather), swim in crystal clear water, great lunch provided (lobster is additional charge but seriously, the BEST and probably the biggest lobster i've ever eaten), boating thru the mangroves and learned about the floral and fauna of the region, and lots of laughs!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank bryan p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great time - well worth it.”
Reviewed 8 August 2013

Great time! would totally recommend this to anyone. Charge was $129 but please tip the tour guides because they very well deserve it.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank casillab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orange, France
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Pleasant”
Reviewed 28 July 2013

This is a funny adventure, we were lucky as we shared the jeep with the guides, so my husband drove first and I drove to come back. We were just disappointed regarding the time done to see turtles and dolphins, it was short and seems like hunting.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank SBL13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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