The beautiful island of Contoy is located where the Caribbean Sea the Gulf of Mexico, about 30km south of Isla Mujeres. Isla Contoy has no inhabitants apart from the wildlife, and is only 8.5Km in length and has a surface area of 230 hectares. Only a few tour companies have permission to bring guests to the island and only 200 visitors are allowed each day as so as to cause minimal disturbance to the wildlife, so when you visit you can enjoy true tranquility and nature at its finest.
Isla Contoy is considered the most important nesting place of sea birds in all of the Mexican Caribbean. Protected by the Mexican government since 1961, and declared a National Park in February 1998. Contoy is a paradise with secluded sandy white beaches and lush palm trees, and boasts more than a hundred and fifty migrating and resident bird species. It is also a nesting place for sea turtles.
The Ixchale reef, with an abundance of beautiful corals and fish, is found to the south of the island and is the beginning of the Mesoamerican Reef which is the second largest reef in the world! The water surrounding Isla Contoy are very rich in nutrients which feed the plankton which is the diet of more than 234 species of fish already identified in the area, including the majestic whale shark, and manta rays which come to feed close to the shores of this beautiful island. If you wish to swim with the whale shark the season is from May to September with the best months being July and August.
Protecting the environment is high on the agenda in Isla Contoy, and there has been a gradual changeover of energy supply from diesel generators to the use of solar and wind power. Contoy has, thus become a showcase for environmentally compatible technology.
Tours depart from Isla Mujeres or Cancun and the trip should take one to two hours. If you plan to visit the island in your own vessel, you are required to apply for permission first which can be arranged at the Park offices in Isla Mujeres or Cancun. Visitors to Isla Contoy disembark in a small bay with a short, narrow beach and are welcomed by the multilingual National Park guides who will inform you about the nature reserve and its role, the different bird species and other animals likely to be encountered during your trip.
Isla Contoy is a must for all nature lovers.