Isla Contoy Day Trip: Snorkeling At Ixlache Reef And Eco-Paradise Tour - Cancun

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Cruise on a comfortable vessel north of Cancun and soak up the beauty of Ixlache Reef and Isla Contoy. At Ixlache Reef, snorkel near coral, sea turtles, and fish of every color. Then join the privileged few allowed to visit Isla Contoy, a national park and wildlife refuge to various turtles and more than 150 species of birds. A certified guide takes you on a tour of the island, after which you have plenty of time to wander on a trail, visit a nesting lagoon or lounge on the beach. A continental breakfast and domestic open bar on the boat, along with a buffet lunch on the island, ensure youll have the energy to enjoy the day.

Know More about this tour

Meet your guides at the Scuba Cancun Marina on Kukulcan Avenue in the Hotel Zone, across the street from the Vacation Club International Hotel and the Casa Maya Hotel. Plan to arrive by 8:30am, as the boat will leave at 9am. Make sure to bring biodegradable sunscreen, most hotels in the area sell it, which is necessary to protect the marine life in the waters youll be swimming in during the tour. A comfortable vessel transports you to Ixlache Reef, north of Cancun. If you missed breakfast, there will be some on the boat for you!

Grab a pastry or whatever strikes your fancy from the continental breakfast offered between 9am and 10am. Savor your morning coffee as you take in stunning blue waters and bask in the warm air. After about a 90-minute ride, youll arrive at Ixlache Reef on the northern end of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest reef system in the world. Your guides will provide a safety briefing on snorkeling. Pull on your provided gear and jump in!

Pick a color, any color, and youll likely spot a fish sporting that hue flash by you. The clear and shallow water typically no more than nine feet (three meters) deep makes it easy to spot swirling schools as they dance around the coral and queen conchs attached to the sea floor. Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles, too!

After about an hour of snorkeling, get back on the boat and cruise to Isla Contoy, where youll arrive around noon. Stretching five miles (eight kilometers) long, tiny Isla Contoy is home to more than 150 species of resident and migratory birds, such as the frigate, brown pelican and double-crested cormorant. Leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles use the beaches as their nesting grounds.

Because of the islands protected status as a national park, theres a limit to how many people can visit per day, and only a few tour companies are allowed to bring visitors here. You are one of the privileged few! A certified expert guide takes you on a 45-minute tour of the park, pointing out the wildlife and noting the importance of its preservation.

After the tour, enjoy the island on your own at the nesting lagoon, nature museum or lighthouse. Watch your step, an iguana could be sharing the trail with you. To unwind, meander to the beach and spread out your towel, and marvel at how the soft white sand doesnt stick to your skin.

In the early afternoon, a buffet lunch is served, with beer and soft drinks. Try the regional specialty tikin-xic Mayan for dry-wing" fish. The whole fish is prepared butterfly-style and cooked over a wood or charcoal fire.

After lunch, hop back on your vessel to arrive back at the Scuba Cancun Marina around 5pm. Time flies on the ride, as youre probably busy scrolling through the dozens of pictures you took of this unique day.

Inclusions for Isla Contoy Day Trip: Snorkeling At Ixlache Reef And Eco-Paradise Tour

  • Continental breakfast
  • Buffet lunch
  • Domestic open bar
  • Local guide
  • Use of snorkel gear
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (if option selected)

Exclusions for Isla Contoy Day Trip: Snorkeling At Ixlache Reef And Eco-Paradise Tour

  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (if option not selected)
  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Dock fee / park admission (US$10 per person)
  • Child life jackets not provided

Additional Info

Confirmation will be received at time of booking

Please bring biodegradable sunscreen. You can purchase it at your hotel shop, the Marina or the shop at Isla Cotoy

Note: If you choose the 'Tour with Transport' option, please specify your hotel upon booking 

Child life jackets not provided

Cancellation Policy
  • If you cancel within 3 calendar days (72 hours) of the scheduled departure time, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the undiscounted tour price.
  • If you cancel between 4 to 7 Calendar days before scheduled tour departure,the cancellation charge will be 50% of the undiscounted tour price.
  • If you cancel at least 8 calendar days in advance of the scheduled departure time, there is no cancellation fee. You will receive Full Refund for the paid amount.
  • Please note that in case of No show, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the listed tour fare.
  • Please note tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.

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  • The trip and the visit to Contoy was good/fun. However, the snorkeling was poor as we actually snorkeled for only 25 minutes and not in the Ixlache Reef as promised in the promotional material. Following the snorkeling, we motored for almost one hour to the island of Women which was an absolute waste of time given that this island has now been overtaken by small scale sellers. These sellers are everywhere and the commercialization of this island is not a model to follow. To echo one person who was with us, this is one of the worst beaches he has ever been to in the world because it has become so commercialized. It would have been best to spend more time at Contoy and/or snorkel rather then rush to the Island of Women which is clearly designed to fill time, an hour motoring there and one hour on the beach or shopping takes two hour out of the day. On the bright side, the crew on board was great. Might be a good idea to have a microphone when providing briefings so everyone can hear properly when the briefings are conducted on the boat. Motors are roaring, music is blaring so it can be hard to hear the guide if he or she is standing in the front of the boat and one is sitting at the back. Also, when walking on Contoy, with the guide, one has to make sure he or she is close by the guide so to hear comments and explanations. Finally, the food for lunch was good but, the continental breakfast was not great. Best is to have breakfast before leaving where ever one is staying.

  • See previous comments.

  • Snorkeling was great - lots of fish to see! Lunch on the island was really good too. The only part I didn't enjoy was the tour to the other side of the island - flies/mosquitoes were TERRIBLE!! Biting us constantly - I was itching for 4 days!! Definitely bring bug repellent.

  • Great day! Super friendly staff and the most exotic and private little island getaway. We saw turtles from the boat, we say rays, a flamingo flying over and a tiny reef shark. Just a tip - no sunscreen allowed on the island so bring a hat and cover up as much as possible.

  • The trip is about from 9 AM to 5 PM. First we have been taken to a wonderful place for snorkeling, then we stayed half an hour at Isla Mujeres and finally 3 hours in Isla Contoy, which is wonderful. Take into account that snorkeling is from the boat. In isla Contoy there is a magnificent natural beach and also a guided small tour of the island, where you can see frigates from really close. Breakfast was normal fruit and a brioche, lunch was great buffet with roasted fish, rice, vegetables, nachos, pico de gallo, chicken and other options, free bar all the time, with water, juices, beer, tequila and pina colada.

  • The tour we booked was cancelled twice because of rough water, totally understandable and it was rescheduled for Monday, the last day of our trip to Mexico. We were picked up, taken to the pier, and set up up. Once on the boat... told the itinerary... which also included a stop off at Isla Mujeres. We did not book this tour and it seems we were just thrown onto another tour. We had no desire to go to mujeres, and it took more time away from our family on our last day. We were a little taken aback that we were not given an option or told beforehand that we were getting out on this tour.
    Other than that , we enjoyed our time at Contoy, but the tour couldve been a little more extensive. Feels like it was rushed rather quickly, and feel like we missed out on other parts of the island that the other tour guides were taking their groups to.

  • Great crew! At one point we got a huge net caught in our ship's propeller and the crew spent 45 minutes with snorkels, masks and knives cutting us free. That was different! But I think the time it took rushed the rest of our trip. Aside from this anomaly, Isla Contoy was the most beautiful part of my visit to Cancun noisy, dirty, commercial - sorry. We had the beach to ourselves for a little while. We saw thousands of magnificent frigate birds, hermit crabs and even flamingos! The crew fixed us a delicious meal and on the way home kept the cervezas, pina coladas, and sunset drinks flowing nonstop. We made a stop at Isla de Mujeres, which was like a mini Cancun I wouldn't go there again either. The snorkeling was gorgeous but too short and we had to swim fast, nonstop to keep up with our group guides. No time to stop and enjoy the many fish and beautiful coral. Overall, I'd recommend the trip and the company.

  • Paradise Island, fantastic snorkelling, open bar and an amazing crew made this trip one of the most memorable! Highly recommend this tour to everyone, the beaches on Contoy are breathtaking and the wildlife is rich and diverse making it extra special.

    Thank you, we will be back in the future :)

  • Overall, it was a nice trip. Contoy was absolutely beautiful. It does take a solid hour each way on the boat to get there, and the boat was not comfortable. The boat was very crowded and much of the sitting area was entirely closed in with only very small windows to look out and limited air flow. If you are prone to sea-sickness, I would not recommend this trip. Both of my kids got sick on the boat because of the rough waters and long trip. But, the guides were incredibly helpful when that happened. Also, as a general note, the company does not permit children under 12 to snorkel, which wasn't disclosed in the Viator description. This was a bit of a disappointment because neither of my kids were able to snorkel and also an adult from our family needed to stay behind with them. I think the trip is probably best suited for couples or group of adults rather than families. Overall, I'm very glad that we were able to spend time on Contoy, but I probably wouldn't do it again.

  • Our Captain was Himal and our guide is Alexis E Castillo. In total there were about 25 of us in the tour with about half Spanish speakers and half English speakers. The crew was very friendly during the entire trip and seems like they enjoyed the tour themselves . Free flow alcohol the entire trip. Snorkeling was very fun and Isla Contoy was just amazing. We did stop by Isla Mujeres on our way back for about an hour, which to us was a bonus.

    Breakfast was provided when we were waiting for the boat and we had a lunch buffet prepared by the crew on Isla Contoy. The buffet was delicious. My only suggestion would be to come up with a solution for the mosquito situation, as I believe we were not allowed to bring repellent to the island and there was indeed quite a lot of mosquito.

    I would rate 5/5 with our experience with Alexis and the crew and would recommend family, young couple to join this tour!

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