Friday, March 23, 2012

Day Trip to Isla Contoy

Approaching Isla Contoy with the reef in the background
Isla Contoy is a small island 30 kilometers north of Isla Mujeres. It's been protected by the government since 1961 and became a national park in 1998. Only 200 visitors a day are allowed on the island, brought by only a few certified guides. We took the tour offered by the Fisherman's Cooperative in Isla. The cost was $65 per person and their booth is just north of the ferry terminal on the same side - sign says Isla Contoy. They picked us up at the Marina dock and then stopped over in Cancun for the rest of the group, all Mexicans. Only four of us went; Joe and Joan Donnaway from "Jamu" and ourselves.
It was a really great day. The trip over was exciting as the water was rough. Despite the big powerful boat, we did a lot of bouncing over the waves and were sprayed frequently. It was fun! The crew were very solicitous and the captain gave us a personal tour of the island in English. We saw thousands of birds; frigate birds, cormorants, osprey, brown pelicans and many more. Most nest in the protected lagoons inside the island. It is 8.5 kilometers long and is the start of the second longest reef in the world, after the great Barrier Reef in Australia. We stopped on the way to the island and snorkeled along the reef. Despite the somewhat limited viability due to the rough water, we saw lots of coral and fish.
The lunch was top notch with excellent BBQ fish and chicken, salad, rice, guacamole, tortillas and chips - all you could eat. And we had worked up quite an appetite. The small museum had a lot of exhibits and explanations in several languages, including English. There are marked walks all over the island. A great day!
Scott, Heather, Joe and Joan just back from snorkeling
Pelicans and osprey nesting along the shore
The boat landing and park headquarters
The fish was marinated with spices and stuffed with
onions and tomatoes, then BBQed
Our excellent buffet, served by our the chefs
Scott, Heather, Joe and Joan enjoying the feast
Juvenile Osprey
Large numbers of Iguanas make this their home - fed by
scraps from the lunches
Thousands of Frigate birds nest here
The red pouch is a mating signal
Large numbers of solar panels provide electricity to the
Park headquarters and museum
Many of the visitors to the park prefer just lounging on the
View from the tower looking south over the island.

1 comment:

Kristy K said...

Hello! Would you be willing to tell me the cost of the trip and how (either in person or via internet) I can find the Fisherman's Coop? Thank you!!!