Perhaps you have never heard of this little island located in the Mexican Caribbean, and that is because Isla Contoy is a real hidden gem: A completely uninhabited island with beautiful lagoons, lush jungle and idyllic beaches that look like paradise… It is located 18 miles away from Isla Mujeres, where the waters of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico meet.
According to historians, the name “Contoy” refers to the shallow waters surrounding the island that served as a refuge for pirates and sailors.
This dreamy island, habitat of several flora and fauna species, has a 5-mile-long extension; 70% of it is covered by impressive mangroves. It is also the most important bird sanctuary in the Mexican Caribbean. More than 210 species have been registered here, including frigates, double-crested cormorants, herons, sea swallows, frigates, and brown pelicans and you can also see crocodiles, sting rays and three different types of sea turtles –hawksbill, loggerhead and white– which are endangered species.
Some of the experiences that you can do on the island are:
Snorkeling at the Ixlaché reef
A beautiful place where you will see different coral species, fish and lobsters among others.
Walking up to the viewpoint.
From this point you can appreciate the different types of birds in their natural habitat as well as enjoy the majestic view.
Enjoying of 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.
Visiting the museum
Here you will get to know more about the flora and fauna that inhabit the island.
Explore the island and amuse yourself with the sounds of nature its lush vegetation.
Some cooperatives offer fishing as a complementary activity of the tour to Isla Contoy, which is a big plus, since at the end you can delight with what you caught.
Isla Contoy is a Natural Protected Area decreed National Park for its exceptional natural conditions; in addition to being one of the few Caribbean islands that keeps its ecosystems intact. Also, the surrounding seawater is an important breeding site for some endangered marine species. As you will notice, it is a real hidden gem and for the same reason we must take good care of it, which is why the number of daily visitors –200 people – is controlled and only authorized boats can reach its port.
Visiting Isla Contoy is a day trip that you can add to your travel itinerary, departing from Cancun, Puerto Juárez or Isla Mujeres. The estimated journey time is one hour, depending on the type of boat and weather conditions.
Usually, all the tours to Contoy start at 9:00 hrs and end up 17:00 hrs.
Remember to be a responsible traveler and take a bath before diving into any of our cenotes to remove any chemicals from your body that may affect water quality and/or the species (body lotions, sunblock, makeup, deodorants, etc.). Do not touch the stalactites and stalagmites because the oils on our hands will stop the growth and kill them. Do not hang yourself from the roots of the trees and do not feed or bother the species that are there. Help us take care of our paradise and preserve it for the next generations.