The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico offers many hidden treasures to its visitors.
If you belong to the group of tourists that don’t want to settle with typical places to visit, Isla Contoy should be one of your must-sees.
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Isla Contoy is located in the northeast end of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is inside the Isla Mujeres. municipality, about 19 miles (30 kms) north of it.
This island is famous for being the home of extensive tropical vegetation, including a wide variety of flowers. It is also the natural habitat of a very diverse fauna.
A true paradise on Earth for nature lovers. 💚 🌿
The island is almost 6 miles long (9 kilometers) and occupies 600 acres (230 hectares) of land and 12,900 acres (4900 hectares) of water.
The name Contoy has two possible Mayan origins. The word kom in Maya means “low” and to’oy means “shelter”. The two words together describe the shallow waters that surround the island and in the past were used as shelters for seafarers.
Another theory says that the name comes from the Mayan word depontó, which means “pelican”, and Isla Contoy is the main location for brown pelicans to nest on the Atlantic coast from Texas to Belize.
The only way to get to Isla Contoy is by boat! 🚢
Only a few tour rcompanies have the license to sail to this highly protected island. The Mexican government wants to preserve the natural habitat of the island and there are many restrictions to limit daily access.
Important! Only 200 people per day can visit the island! If you want to visit Isla Contoy, you must book your well in advance.
The tours depart from Isla Mujeres, Cancun or Puerto Juarez, so you can choose the harbor nearest to your hotel.
The navigation time to reach Isla Contoy is approximately 1 hour. So count around 2 hours for the round trip.
Don’t forget your Dramamine if you tend to get seasick. 🤢
The guided tour of the island lasts all day. Includes a walking tour and a stop to swim or snorkel.
Some companies include Isla Mujeres in the same tour, and almost all of them include breakfast, snacks, drinks, and a buffet lunch.
You should consider an average of $100 dollars per person to take the tour.
Please note: The Isla Contoy National Park admission fee must be paid in cash once you arrive on the island. Set aside at least $200 MXN (about 10 dollars) to cover this.
Isla Contoy is considered a year-round destination for its constant tropical climate. However, there are some other factors that you should consider that vary according to the season.
From January to April, the great weather is guaranteed, however, you won’t be the only one to know it and be around.
If you come to Cancun during the high tourist season, it can be difficult to find a spot in this period and any tour to Isla Contoy you book will be full. So, if you don’t like to travel in crowds, consider other options.
May through October are the hottest and the rainiest months. ⚠️ 🌪️ It’s also the hurricane season so you need to monitor the weather and make sure you have good travel insurance.
However, it’s also the time of the year when the waters are very warm and just perfect for snorkelling and diving, the main attractions at Isla Contoy.
Other benefits of traveling during this period: it is the low tourist season!
If you want a compromise between the two, choose the time between November and December. It’s not rainy, still relatively warm, and it just gets chilly in the evenings.
Isla Contoy is all about nature. 🦜 🐢 🐊 🐒
It’s home to 210 bird species such as shorebirds, migratory birds, herons, frigate birds, cormorants, and of course the brown pelicans.
You can also spot other animals—iguanas, beach lizards, freshwater and saltwater crocodiles, face snakes, hermit crabs, and many more.
Hawksbill, loggerhead, and white turtles swim to the island to lay their eggs there.
👉 Discover our wildlife watching tours in Cancun.
Another Isla Contoy's attraction is the marine fauna and flora. 🦀 🐟 🐠
Ixlaché Reef in the south marks the beginning of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world. You can snorkel or dive in the area and admire colorful corals and other sea species.
The white sand dune beaches are spectacular, ideal for sunbathing.
The waters surrounding Isla Contoy are crystal clear and shallow. Therefore, you can swim there with your family, including small children.
You can also walk around Isla Contoy through marked trails to discover its fauna and flora. You must get to the viewpoint to get the panoramic view of the whole island and admire its birds in their natural habitat.
If you already know your vacation dates to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, don’t wait too long and book your Isla Contoy tour to save your spot.
Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit and sunglasses, and apply biodegradable sunscreen and bug repellent before you get on the boat.
We are sure you’ll love your tour to Isla Contoy!