The islands surrounding Cancun offer great diving and fishing opportunities. // © 2011 Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau
Cancun and its surrounding islands offer a surfeit of vacation activities. With no shortage of things to do, visitors can explore the many beaches and underwater ecosystems that make each island unique. Attractions on land, from ziplining across treetops to visiting Maya archeological sites, are equally as abundant.
Isla Mujeres is known for having some of the Mexico Caribbean’s most beautiful public beaches. Visitors can also explore Garrafon Park where they can discover wildlife from a bird’s eye view, ziplining across treetops. To cool off, the natural reefs south of Island Point offer great snorkeling and dive spots for both beginner and experienced divers. Thrill-seeking, advanced divers might be brave enough to venture to the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks, where sharks appear to sleep completely still due to the salinity of the water.
Near Isla Mujeres, clients will find Isla Contoy, a small tropical island that is considered to be one of the most important nesting places of sea birds in all of the Mexico Caribbean. Protected since 1961 and declared a National Park in 1998, the island boasts more than a 150 migrating and resident bird species. Two sites on the southern part of the island deserve a visit: Ixchale Reef, which marks the beginning of the longest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, and the Great Mesoamerican Reef.
Holbox is an island located northwest of Cancun. This fishermen sanctuary is a great pick for travelers seeking a calm, relaxing spot to enjoy the simplicities of nature. Home to dolphins, pelicans, turtles, flamingos and other exotic birds, Holbox also offers unparalleled sunsets and a number of water activities including windsurfing, kite surfing, snorkeling, sailing or kayaking. For a one-of-a-kind experience, clients can swim with whale sharks or go crocodile watching.
The island of Cozumel is one of the most renowned cruise ship ports in the Americas, receiving countless international cruise ships and passengers throughout the year. The island features ideal conditions for a wide variety of water sports including snorkeling, fishing, kayaking and, one of the most popular activities off the island, diving. The ocean currents surrounding Cozumel’s National Marine Park allow divers to drift along the water and admire, as the early Mayas did, the wonders of the Mesoamerican Reef. Chankanaab Park is another a must-see attraction for any visitor to the island. Here, marine lovers can appreciate one of the most distinctive coral reefs in the world. On land, Cozumel also hosts archaeological sites such as San Gervasio, a commercial and religious center formed by an ancient Maya temple.