You could say one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets – Isla Contoy is the off-the-beaten-path tropical paradise you didn’t know you needed in your life!
It’s no surprise that Mexico has gorgeous beaches in abundance, but if you’re looking for something secluded, away from the crowds, and, more importantly, free from sargassum, then this is your sign to visit Isla Contoy!
@jamievanderwoude You need to visit the most beautiful island of Mexico Isla Contoy 🏝️ #islacontoy #mexico #vacation #mexicotiktok #travel #island #sea #seastar ♬ golden hour – Ruel Remix – JVKE
This tiny island off the coast of Cancun is actually uninhabited. Therefore, there are no residents and no hotels.
It is purely a day trip kind of attraction, and with it being declared a national park in 1998, it is well preserved and maintained for the purpose of its wildlife residents and day tourists who seek to experience the beautiful island.
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It’s basically a nature lover’s paradise – it is home to an abundance of wildlife, surrounded by crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches. What’s not to love?
Wildlife And Marine Life
In particular, bird lovers will be in awe of the 150 species it has to offer, with native and migrant birds, including the great blue heron, snowy egret, and the roseate spoonbill; plus, the mangroves on the island are home to large rookeries of frigate birds, brown pelicans, and double-crested cormorants.
The island offers visitor tours in which you can learn all about them!
The marine life is also just as fascinating, with tropical fish, sea turtles, and maybe even a whale shark if you’re lucky.
You can take up snorkeling and diving on the island as well to witness these magnificent creatures.
Due to the island’s location and small land mass, it’s not very susceptible to sargassum, and as the influx of brown seaweed continues to hit Riviera Maya, this makes for that perfect beach escape you’ve been looking for.
If you’re intrigued about the island’s conservation and ecology efforts, there’s an Isla Contoy Eco-Museum that might pique your interest – it has exhibits on the island’s history, flora and fauna, and its ongoing work to preserve the island’s natural habitat.
The island also has some fascinating history behind it. It was originally inhabited by the Mayan people, who used it as a trading post for goods like honey and salt and then later became a hideout for pirates and smugglers who were drawn to its isolated location.
How To Get There
Isla Contoy only allows 200 people each day to prevent overcrowding and to protect its delicate ecosystem, and is only accessible via a boat tour from either Cancun or Isla Mujeres – most tours offer similar packages, so just find the one that suits you best.
They usually include snorkeling or diving, plus a guided tour of the island.
@elisabethzro Paradise 🌺🐬 #fyp #mexico #islacontoy #cancun #paradise #island ♬ suono originale – Jr Stit
Generally, a tour to Isla Contoy might look a little something like this:
- Costs between $90-150 USD and typically can include Isla Mujeres as well
- Light breakfast, drinks, and snacks on the boat – with lunch included
- Hotel pickups are available in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Riviera Maya (optional for an extra fee)
- You might also visit the Ixlache Reef to snorkel
- Usually lasting from around 9 am – 5 pm (note, this doesn’t include pickup time)
- $15 national park fee, usually not included but payable in cash when you arrive on the island
@cancun__tours Isla Contoy 🏝 🤩 #quintanaroo #mexico ♬ sonido original – Charly
It may be more difficult to reach than some of Mexico’s more popular destinations, but the journey is definitely worth it.
The island’s unspoiled idyllic vibes and a plethora of wildlife really make it a unique day trip for your vacation.
It’s worth noting there are no shops or restaurants on the island, so bring your own food and supplies unless you are catered for on your tour.
Isla Contoy is one of those hidden gems that is still very much hidden – whether you are an avid birdwatcher, a keen snorkeler, or simply just looking for that perfect escape from the crowds, this small island will be much to your delight.
So next time you’re in the Mexican Caribbean, be sure to add Isla Contoy to your bucket list!
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