AAA Editor Notes
Contoy Island National Park (Parque Nacional Isla Contoy) is about 32 km (20 mi.) n. of Isla Mujeres. The uninhabited island is the site of a wildlife reserve and bird sanctuary. Four miles long and half a mile wide, Contoy has nature trails winding through tropical vegetation. Pelicans, egrets, cormorants and flamingos are among the species that nest here. In addition to park rangers, iguanas, turtles and hermit crabs live on the island, and marine life—which includes seasonal armies of migrating lobsters—is plentiful. There also is a fine outdoor nature museum.

Contoy is protected and can only be visited on a guided tour. Tours depart from Isla Mujeres, Cancún and Puerto Juárez. The Isla Mujeres tours are run by people familiar with the island and dedicated to preserving its natural environment, and the boats are smaller. But regardless of the operator, the itinerary is the same: snorkeling en route to the island, time to relax or explore, and a grilled fish lunch prepared Mayan style (tikin-xic), plus an open bar. Activities include visiting an aviary, hiking along protected dunes, snorkeling or simply resting on the beach prior to the return voyage.

Life jackets and snorkeling gear are provided. Insect repellent is advised. The nature museum has restroom facilities.

Tours from Isla Mujeres average around $90 (U.S.) per person. The Kolumbus Tours excursion is $115; $70 (ages 6-12). Reservations are required for all tours.
The boat trip is normally about 45 minutes one way but can take up to 2 hours if seas are rough. Kolumbus Tours offers an all-day trip that departs Tues., Thurs. and Sat. from the Marina Scuba Cancún dock, on Blvd. Kukulcán at Km marker 5 in the Hotel Zone. Daily departures (weather permitting) from Isla Mujeres are usually around 8 a.m. and can be arranged through Delfin Diving or Guadalupana Tours.
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