Among the numerous islands of Mexico, you will discover those that are still wild or with little human intervention, where the beauty of nature is the first attraction. There are many, and here’s a list of the top seven islands in Mexico you can’t miss.
The Mexican island of Cozumel has paradisiacal beaches and all its Mayan and Caribbean charm. Cozumel’s underwater beauty is unparalleled with splendid coral reefs like El Cielo, Dzul Ha, Palancar, Paraíso, Colombia, Santa Rosa, Villa Blanca, and Chankanaab, which are fantastic for diving and snorkeling. In these underwater spaces, you will observe the most remarkable diversity of marine fauna in the entire Mexican Caribbean, from lobsters, starfish, sea cucumber and seahorses, to larger species such as rays, turtles, sharks, and other fish.
Holbox has positioned itself as an international tourist destination despite being a small island. In addition to its beautiful landscapes, it provides activities and tours for all tastes and budgets. Take a night kayak tour, swim with whale sharks, tour the Three Islands, where you will discover Bird Island, Passion Island, and Yalahau. Observe the beautiful bioluminescence of the beaches during the night. It’s also a perfect place to ride a bike, go kitesurfing, snorkeling, and go over its unique murals. If you prefer to relax, you can enjoy a delicious drink in the hammocks on the water over by the beach.
Isla Contoy National Park is 20 miles west of Isla Mujeres, near where the waters of the Caribbean and those of the Gulf meet. It’s formed by the Contoy Island of 230 hectares, which includes five salt-water lagoons. More than 150 bird species find refuge in this reserve, including the gray pelican, peregrine falcon, giant heron, white-bellied bobo, and the magnificent frigatebird. The only access to Isla Contoy National Park is by sea from Cancun and Isla Mujeres. Depending on the type of transport and the place of departure, the boats take between 1 and 2 hours to arrive.
Isla de Mujeres is a beach destination by excellence with beautiful places to relax under the sun, swim, practice sports, observe nature, rest, and eat exquisitely. The shortlist of places to visit includes Playa Norte, Playa Lancheros, and Garrafón, a charming natural park where the temple of Ixchel is located, the main female deity of Mayan mythology. Other wonderful natural spaces are the Isla Contoy National Park, Cabo Catoche with its history and lighthouse, the Mangroves of Santa Paula, and the turtle preservation site Tortugranja. Outside the beach places, you can stroll the picturesque Caribbean town, its boardwalk, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and the Hacienda Mundaca.
The Marietas Islands are a fragile and wonderful Nayarit archipelago that constitutes a global sanctuary of biodiversity. It should be noted that ecotourism activities are somewhat restricted because it’s not allowed to tour the national park, and visitors must stay in the authorized beach sectors of the archipelago. You can do bird watching and view all the marine animals, such as dolphins, humpback whales (from late November to late March), and other marine species. There are diving areas on reefs where you can admire the extraordinary aquatic biodiversity of the Marietas, with specimens such as the yellow-tailed blue damsel and the giant manta ray. Kayaking and paddleboarding are also popular in Islas Marietas.
Todos Santos Islands
The Todos Santos Islands, which are two (North and South) and not one as is commonly believed, are only 12 miles from Ensenada. Their only access is by sea, with departures from Ensenada and La Bufadora. The islands stand out for two reasons: their magnificent waves for surfing and their rich biodiversity. The waves of Todos Santos Norte Island are among the highest in the Americas. Among the local fauna species distinguished by their beauty and rarity, you will find the Combalachera Rat of Todos Santos and the Viper of Todos Santos.
Espiritu Santo Island
On Espiritu Santo Island, located 45 minutes from the city of La Paz, you will find one of the most beautiful and protected reefs on the Mexican coast. Espiritu Santo Island is one of the natural wonders of Baja California Sur and can only be reached reach by boat. It’s 12 miles long and 3 miles wide and is protected by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. A sanctuary made up of several islands and natural bays, home to about 40% of the species of marine mammals that exist on the planet. There are more than 180 species of birds, and around 900 species of fish, also known as “The Aquarium of the World,” in addition to being the only place where there are underwater sand waterfalls.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com