Cancun is a land of dreamy white sand beaches; unreal turquoise blue waters; unparalleled nightlife; and world-class dining, shopping and activities. What more could a visitor wish for? How about a small fishing village and three tropical islands?
The Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has redesigned its marketing campaign to include four new unique destinations: Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox and Isla Contoy. Although the Cancun CVB has been promoting these destinations for years, they will now be part of their official marketing and sales initiatives.
Each of these smaller destinations offers something different and special, and each can be the main destination for a visitor or just the perfect place to visit on a day trip.
Puerto Morelos, one of the destinations near Cancun that visitors should consider — Photo courtesy of Heather Harvey
Puerto Morelos is a charming fishing village located some 20 miles south of Cancun. There are large resorts on the outskirts of town, but the downtown area has maintained its quiet, small-town feeling.
Visitors can hire a guide and snorkel the reef, located just 100 meters off shore or spend the day at a rustic beach club. In the evenings, Puerto Morelos’ restaurants and bars serve delicious meals al fresco.
The island Isla Mujeres ("Island of Women") is located just eight miles off the coast of Cancun, and it's only about four miles long and 2,000 feet wide. Travelers love Isla Mujeres for its laid-back vibe. The quaint downtown area offers shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.
The island Isla Mujeres is about four miles long — Photo courtesy of Christine Zenino
When visitors come by Isla Mujeres, it's customary to rent a golf cart (about 50 USD for the day) and tour the island, stopping at points of interest like Garrafon Park and Punta Sur.
Isla Holbox is an island located off the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is some 25 miles long and only one mile wide. Still largely undeveloped and void of cars, the main method of transportation is golf carts.
Holbox is the place to swim with the whale sharks each May through September, and it's the stuff that tropical island dreams are made of, a lost paradise.
Isla Holbox is located off the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula — Photo courtesy of Ann-Dabney
Isla Contoy, an island located about 18 miles north of Isla Mujeres, is protected by the Mexican government. Only 200 visitors are allowed per day.
Only about five miles long, Isla Contoy is a bird sanctuary for some 152 tropical birds and a safe haven for marine turtle nesting. The island is run in conjunction with Amigos de Isla Contoy A.C, and boaters must apply for permission to visit the island.
Isla Contoy is protected by the Mexican government — Photo courtesy of Frank Kovalchek