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Discovering Isla Contoy natural beauty

By Tribune Travel

June 29, 2023

Isla Contoy, a tiny island in the Mexican Caribbean, is a true hidden gem, so it’s possible that you have never heard of it. A completely uninhabited island with stunning lagoons, lush jungle, and picture-perfect beaches. The point where the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico converge is 18 miles away from Isla Mujeres.

Historians assert that the name “Contoy” refers to the nearby island’s shallow waters, which provided a haven for sailor and pirate hideaways.

Where is Isla Contoy?

Sea and beach in Isla Contoy


Isla Contoy is one of the few Caribbean islands that maintains its ecosystems intact and has been designated a Natural Protected Area and National Park for its exceptional natural conditions. Some marine species that are in danger of extinction also use the nearby seawater as an important breeding ground. As you will see, it is a true hidden gem, and as such, we must take good care of it. Thus, the daily visitor limit of 200 is regulated, and only authorized boats are permitted to enter its port.

This enchanting island has a 5-mile extension and is home to numerous plant and animal species. Impressive mangroves cover 70% of it. The Mexican Caribbean’s most significant bird sanctuary is located there as well. Fries, double-crested cormorants, herons, sea swallows, frigates, and brown pelicans are just a few of the more than 210 species that have been recorded here. You can also see crocodiles, sting rays, and three different kinds of sea turtles—hawksbill, loggerhead, and white—that are endangered species.

Some of the experiences that you can do on the island are:

  • Enjoying its beaches

Unparalleled beaches with crystal clear waters and calm waves are perfectly complemented with the lush vegetation. The depth is not even one-meter high, so it is perfect for children to enjoy the sea as well.

  • Walking up to the mirador

From this point you can appreciate the different types of birds in their natural habitat as well as enjoy the majestic view.

  • Visiting the museum

You can learn more about the island’s flora and fauna right here.

  • Trekking

Explore the island and enjoy its lush vegetation and natural sounds.

  • Snorkeling at the Ixlaché reef

A stunning location where you can see different fish, lobsters, and coral species.

  • Fishing

Some operators include fishing as an add-on activity to their tours of Isla Contoy, which is a big plus because you can enjoy your catch when the tour is over.


Isla Contoy jungle and sea

How do you get to Isla Contoy?

You can add a day trip to your itinerary to go to Isla Contoy, leaving from Cancun, Puerto Juárez, or Isla Mujeres. Depending on the boat and the weather, the estimated travel time is an hour. Most Contoy tours begin at 9:00 am and end at 5:00 pm.

Please help prtect and preserve this paradise for future generations. Take a shower or bath before diving to get rid of any chemicals on your body that could harm the species or the water quality (body lotions, sunscreen, cosmetics, deodorants, etc.). Avoid touching the stalactites and stalagmites because doing so will kill them and stop their growth. Do not feed or bother the local wildlife, and do not hang yourself from tree roots.





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