Contoy Island, uninhabited by humans, is a bird sanctuary for large colonies of wild frigates and definitely a wonderful way to enjoy nature's beauty. Located about 45 minutes north of Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy also has a scenic lookout tower with a spectacular panoramic view. Excursions are available daily, although a limited number of visitors are allowed and therefore prior reservations are a must. The day trip usually includes a continental breakfast, snorkeling and lunch on the beaches of Contoy.
Swim with dolphins on Isla Mujeres: It's a memory for a lifetime! This amazing educational experience is safe, fun and available for everyone, even if you don't know how to swim, since Dolphin Discovery has life jackets and a professional lifeguard takes care of guests. The level of interaction with the dolphins varies; it can range from just touching the friendly mammals, to kissing, swimming and even singing with them! Other animals live in Dolphin Discovery as well, like bull sharks, manta rays, titi monkeys, macaws and toucans, all waiting to meet you.
El Garrafon Marine Park
El Garrafon Park is named after an incredible reef formation which is only meters away from the coastline. The reef is the park's major, but not only attraction. El Garrafon is a natural living sculpture, part of the longest reef in the hemisphere and an example of an ecosystem that supports a large number of endangered species. Swimming and snorkeling are a piece of cake here, since the current is extremely gentle. You can also go kayaking, swim in the infinity pool, or experience the four station zip-line that goes from the upper side of a hill, to the sea and finally to the beach. The food at El Garrafon is great, and the impressive landscape seen from the main restaurant will take your breath away.
In pre-Columbian times, Isla Mujeres was a sacred place dedicated to worshipping Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the moon, love and fertility. Back in those days, several offerings were taken to her temple, including clay figurines shaped as women. When the Spaniards arrived at the island and found the figures, they decided to name the island Isla Mujeres (Island of Women). Nowadays, there's only a small temple on the island, in the area known as Punta Sur. Since the landscape is so impressive, the temple is worth visiting.
Mundaca Pirate's Fortress
This fortress-like hacienda was built by a retired pirate whose name was Fermin Mundaca de Marechaga and used to cover nearly forty percent of the Island. During the early 19th century it was surrounded by wonderful gardens. He then proceeded to create a blissful paradise in a pretty, shady spot while making money from selling slaves to Cuba and Belize. Nowadays, only a few parts of the construction remain, and there's a small zoo within the grounds. Mundaca's hacienda has several stories of eternal love; discover them all during your vacation to Isla Mujeres.
Almost 66 feet above sea level, on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres, there's a rocky zone named Punta Sur. This is the best place on the island to observe amazing dawns, since it's the first place in the whole country that the sun caresses with its warm rays. Because of the white sand that surrounds the island the multiple hues of the Caribbean Sea can be seen, as well as the refreshing show given by nature of crashing waves against the rocks at Punta Sur. As an extra bonus, there's a lighthouse in Punta Sur, for a better view of the whole area.
Punta Sur Sculpture Park
This beautiful park was inaugurated in 2001, after the success of the First International Sculpture Encounter, in Punta Sur, and this also happens to be where the first rays of sun touch Mexican soil each day,. A total of 23 artists collaborated in the creation of the park, Mexican sculptors Jose Luis Cuevas and Sebastian were among them. Unlike most art galleries, these masterpieces are outdoors, on a rocky cliff surrounded by the turquoise waters of the beautiful Mexican Caribbean.
The turtle farm is one of Isla Mujeres' main attractions, and the island has been a nesting ground for enormous sea turtles for a very long time. Every year, from May to September, turtles hide their eggs in the soft sand until they hatch. These beautiful animals are now protected by the federal government, for they used to be slaughtered, eaten and their shells sold as souvenirs to tourists. At the Turtle Farm (or Tortugranja, as locals call it) their eggs are kept away from natural predators and hunters, and little turtles are set free only when they're strong enough to survive in the wild. The process of releasing them is performed by local children, and also by tourists visiting the farm and is truly a magic moment.