Manatee Sanctuary

Manatee Sanctuary

Meet manatees in this protected habitat for endangered species.

The Manatee Sanctuary, in the municipality of Othón P. Blanco in Quintana Roo, was declared a Natural Protected Area on October 24, 1996. It aims to preserve the most important manatee habitat in Mexico, an area with remnants of subtropical semi deciduous forest. In addition, it is home to a diverse range of wildlife, both commercially and culturally valuable. Learn more about this ecotourism attraction.

The Importance of the Manatee Sanctuary

Chetumal Bay brings together the conditions that foster manatees’ presence. Factors include  the aquatic vegetation they feed on, extensive shallow water, and various sources of freshwater, including Siete Esteros, Caleta Calderas de Barlovento, Río Hondo, and the impressive Guerrero lagoon system. 

In this lagoon, it’s common to observe young manatees, females with calves, and groups of manatees resting, feeding, or engaging in courtship. The Guerrero lagoon system is considered a critical habitat for manatees within the Manatee Sanctuary. However, it’s under pressure from development projects involving the destruction of wetlands and mangrove areas.

Male manatees marked with satellite transmitters by ECOSUR show that they enter this lagoon system in search of females for mating. Weeks later, these same males have been spotted more than 200 km away in another lagoon system south of the city of Belize for the same purpose. Thus, Mexico and Belize are strategic areas in terms of protecting the reproductive cycle and the habitat of this species. 

If you’re in Chetumal and want to end your vacation on a high note, you must visit the Manatee Sanctuary. Here, you can meet Daniel, the main protagonist of the site. However, we urge you not to lose sight of the fact that this sanctuary in Chetumal is much more than just a tourist attraction; it’s a place that sparks reflection and awareness about the importance of doing more to protect our environment.

If you plan to visit the Sanctuary, keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Entry is free to the public but consider food and souvenir shop expenses.
  • It is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Bring high-SPF biodegradable sunscreen, as you’ll be out in the sun all day, and it’s crucial to protect your skin.
  • Wear comfortable clothes, a swimsuit, and bring your camera to fully enjoy the trip.
  • Within the manatee reserve, it’s important to protect the manatees and other animals. Avoid littering and throwing food into the water. 



Santuario del Manatí, Laguna Guerrero, Q.R., México

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