mexico islands

Soak in the sun in Cozumel. (Photo: Getty Images)

Beach Travel

4 Islands Near Cancún That Will Make You Fall in Love with the Caribbean

It is everybody’s dream to leave behind the stressful life of the city and escape to a tropical island.

Well, on top of the amazing resorts and hotels in Cancun, there are four gorgeous Caribbean islands near the city that you can explore on your holidays: Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Holbox and Isla Contoy. Come and discover what each of these places can offer you.


Cozumel is a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen. It is one of the most traditional and historical places in the whole of the Mexican Caribbean, as Cozumel has been home to significant settlements, temples, government buildings and commercial ports ever since the ancient Mayan period. Make sure you visit the San Gervasio ruins to see for yourself.

Take a snorkel tour or even enjoy your first diving experience here; the coral reefs that surround the island, as well as the visibility and temperature of the water, are unbeatable. There are plenty of activities to do on land too, including taking a jeep ride around the island, visiting the stunning Parque Punta Sur nature reserve, taking an ATV tour in El Cedral or simply going shopping in the various jewellery shops and boutiques on the famous promenade.


mexico islands
The charming Isla Holbox. (Photo: Getty Images)

Isla Holbox has become famous in recent years, above all among nature lovers. In fact, very close to the island there is a spot that enjoys huge annual gatherings of whale sharks, the largest fish of the seven seas. These gentile giants come together in the warm waters of this part of the Mexican Caribbean between the months of May and September as part of their reproductive cycle, a period when it is possible to get a very close look at them.

As well as swimming with whale sharks, you can take a boat trip for a close-up view of the birds that inhabit some of the nearby islets. Among them are the pink flamingo and the white heron, but there are hundreds of species living in this paradise. The boat trip will also take you to Yalahau, a body of water in the middle of the mangrove with a freshwater spring.

You can explore the white-sand streets on foot, by bike or in a golf cart. On the way you’ll see, among many other restaurants, one called Edelyn. Order a lobster pizza there, you won’t regret it.

Isla Mujeres

This tiny island still has much of the peaceful and relaxed atmosphere of decades gone by, when it was mainly inhabited by fishermen. Also established in the times of the ancient Mayans, Isla Mujeres is a half-hour ferry ride from Cancun, and you can drive a golf cart around its coast in just thirty minutes.

Among the must-do activities on Isla Mujeres are a snorkelling or diving tour, eating Tikin-Xic fish on Lancheros Beach, soaking up the sun on Playa Norte, or buying typical local handicrafts while you enjoy a coffee or homemade ice cream.

Isla Contoy

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Isla Contoy, a natural paradise. (Photo: Getty Images)

Apart from a small group of researchers, there are no human inhabitants on Isla Contoy. This island is part of a vast natural reserve that is populated only by birds, reptiles, insects and numerous marine species.

You will have to take a tour of Isla Contoy from Cancun if you want to visit this natural paradise. Only companies certified by the federal authorities can offer this service and they can only take a maximum of 200 people per day to the island.

Isla Contoy boasts a viewpoint that offers a spectacular panoramic view, a small museum and several other spots for observing the local flora and fauna.

Dare to leave terra firma on your next holiday. Take a fun boat trip from Cancun and explore these four beautiful islands.