Isla Contoy Day Trip Snorkeling at Ixlache Reef and Eco Paradise Tour

Isla Contoy Day Trip: Snorkeling at Ixlache Reef and Eco-Paradise Tour

Cancun, Mexico
  • 8 hours
  • Pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Travel to Isla Contoy and Ixlache Reef aboard a comfortable boat on this full-day trip from Cancun. Snorkel on the reef amongst tropical fish, vibrant coral and sea turtles. Stop at Isla Contoy, a wildlife refuge and national park that protects 150 species of birds and several types of sea turtles. Take a tour of the island with a certified guide, then visit a nesting site and lounge on the pristine island's beach. Enjoy breakfast and an open bar aboard the boat, as well as a lunch buffet on the island.
  • Begin your day with a continental breakfast on the boat ride to Ixlache Reef
  • Enjoy a domestic open bar on the boat, which includes rum, tequila, vodka, beer, juice and water
  • Feast on a buffet lunch with beer and soft drinks on the island
  • Snorkeling gear and safety briefing included

What's Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Domestic open bar
  • Use of snorkel gear
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Gratuities
  • Dock fee / park admission (US$20 per person)

Meeting And Pickup

Pickup points

Select a pickup point

Start time

09:00 am

Pickup details

We do pick up from most of the hotels in Cancun and Riviera, if your hotel is not listed you can verify with our support team about meeting points near from your hotel.

What To Expect

Arrive at the Scuba Cancun Marina on Kukulcan Avenue at 8:30am to catch your 9am boat. Enjoy breakfast onboard while being transported to Ixlache Reef. During this 90-minute ride, munch a pastry or sip some coffee while the tropical breeze and sun warm your skin. 

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef system in the world, is blessed with clear, shallow water (about 9 feet or 3 meters deep) and abundant wildlife. After a safety briefing from your guide, don the provided snorkel equipment and jump in. Be sure to apply your biodegradable sunscreen, which protects the reefs and your skin. Most hotels in the area sell this type of sunscreen. Look for sea turtles, schools of tropical fish, vibrant living coral and conchs scuttling along the ocean floor. 

After an hour of snorkeling time, climb back on the boat and head for Isla Contoy (Contoy Island.) Only 5 miles (8 kilometers) long, this tiny island is boasts 150 species of birds like the majestic frigate, the double-crested cormorant and the brown pelican. Green turtles, hawksbill turtles and loggerhead turtles use the beaches on the island as nesting grounds to hatch their young. Because the island is protected, it only allows a certain number of visitors per day, and only from specific tour companies. 

Take a 45-minute tour of the island with a certified guide, learning about conservation efforts and the island's unique biodiversity. After the tour, visit the island's lighthouse, the nature museum or the nesting lagoon. Relax on the beach before a buffet lunch is served, including beer and soft drinks. 

Finish your full-day island adventure when you arrive back at Scuba Cancun Marina around 5pm.

La Amada

30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Centro de Isla Mujeres

1 hour Admission Ticket Free

Parque Nacional Isla Contoy

55 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Parque Nacional Isla Contoy

45 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Parque Nacional Isla Contoy

15 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Parque Nacional Isla Contoy

1 hour 30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Parque Nacional Isla Contoy

1 hour 30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

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
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Note: If you choose the 'Tour with Transport' option, please specify your hotel upon booking
  • Children under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult to make the snorkel activity and a disclaimer must be signed.
  • Stroller accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for travellers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travellers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travellers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Traveller Photos

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77 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travellers.
Showing 1-10 of 77 reviews
Misleading Day Trip to Sightsee Birds
Tracy_R, July 2023
We were disatisfied with the dded Las Mujer es stop to shop. The description said snorkling and sightseeing on the island of Contoy but instead tthere was long beach time, restricted to the beach and a 20 minute walk that wasnt full of seeing the over 150 wildlife species. Were didnt even explore beyone the look out over the island. The snorkly was was supervised for our fun and safety. It was a 10 hour day. The description said nothing of return transportation but we appreciated being brought back to our hotel.
Response from Host, July 2023
Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us, when we refer to the Isla Mujeres stop to make shopping is not necessary to shop since the Isla Mujeres has several things to do and does not always make shopping, we understand the experience was not as your expectations and are taking note of the details in order to enhance the tour for your enjoyment.
memorable experience
Haoyi_S, Oct 2021
The Isla Contoy is amazing and the crew made the whole ship a party, impressive atmosphere and truly memorable experience
Response from Host, Nov 2021
Thank you for sharing your amazing experience, we hope to serv you again in near future.
Isla Contoy
MIchael_K, July 2021
Very relaxing...lots of beach time on Isla Contoy on a secluded beach. Also enjoyed leisurely snorkeling on the reef, and some down time on Isla Mujeres. Crew was very friendly and accommodating.
Response from Host, Aug 2021
Thanks for leaving us such a wonderful review. We are thrilled that you loved your experience; our staff will definitely be happy to read what you wrote.
The trip to Isla Contoy was great...
Kevin S, Mar 2018
The trip to Isla Contoy was great. The crew gave very informative presentations on the geographic, historic and ecological features on Isla Contoy and on the trip to and from the island. Isla Contoy was amazingly clean and beautiful, and the crew cooked a wonderful lunch on the boat and carted away all the waste there is no littering or fresh sweet water on the island. The snorkeling stop was quite brief, but the hour or so on Isla Mujeres was just enough for two tasty mojitos at an ocean side bar. Overall an amazing way to spend the day.
it was 5 star loved all the crew...
john m, Mar 2018
it was 5 star loved all the crew they were amazing I unfortunately got sea sick I forgot that I got sea sick 2 years ago. The lunch was great fresh fish again could not eat sea sick the birds were in their glory no humans to bother them because everyone has to leave the island by 4 pm this island is a sanctuary for the birds .. loved loved it
Disappointing. Up early to sit at...
Lavon B, Mar 2018
Disappointing. Up early to sit at dock 1.5 hr. Isla Contoy beautiful, lots of birds. I specifically chose and paid more for this tour as said bar had rum tequila and beer. Only Corona Light, bleah. Isla Mujeres waste of time. 1 hr in crowded mega tourist area. Can't comment on reef, too windy to snorkel
The trip was good, the crew awesome...
Stacey_C, Mar 2018
The trip was good, the crew awesome. What I did not like is that I was told last minute- as I was going to splash in the ocean- that I could not go snorkel because I was pregnant. I am 20 weeks and active but they would not let me snorkel. Also the whole reason why we went on this excursion was to snorkel on the 2nd world's largest reef in the world and because of the water, we were taken to some off the shore small reef. Felt like a waste since it was my husband's birthday gift, he didn't get to snorkel where I told him and this was also not mentioned to us on the boat as well, we found when we were heading back to Cancun.
The trip and the visit to Contoy was...
Robert C, Feb 2018
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.
Snorkeling was great - lots of fish...
Teresa F, Feb 2018
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...
Matthew_S, Feb 2018
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...
Sebastian R, Jan 2018
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...
Eric T, Dec 2017
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...
Lenore H, Nov 2017
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...
Andrew B, Sept 2017
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...
Matt B, Aug 2017
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...
Jordan Y, July 2017
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!
I'd avoid for the following reasons...
Harry M, July 2017
I'd avoid for the following reasons may or may not happen to you 1. Pick up was 25 minutes late...they tell you to be there 5 minutes before pick up so we waited for 30 minutes 2. Snorkeling was OK, however, they only appeared to have 1 size life jacket, my son who is 13 was too small and the life jacket went over his head. When they throw you in the water, the guide says once you are in, you cannot go back to the boat, that seemed fair except in the case when a 13 year old child is fearful he may drown. They would not take him back, rather, the guide hooked my son up to him on his life preserver and towed my son around the entire time even telling him to kick his legs so they can move faster 3. The lunch was decent and my family because of our anger, decided to not do the tour so I can't comment on that 4. They pressure you to buy the pictures form them, I said no and the photographer then started to attempt to convince my 15 year old daughter to convince us to buy them, pretty tasteless 5. They then drop off us of Isla Mujeres, something didn't feel right about this one as it is not mentioned in the description, I honestly feel like they are getting paid by the local vendors to bring people there, because they drop you off in the shopping area 6. Finally we get to go home and they drop someone off before us and the driver demanded a tip from those poor people, once we are at our hotel, I hand him a 20 US and ask for 15 back, he says he doesn't have any US , so hands me 100 pesos which is about 5.50 US, I asked for my money back and we started walking away, only for him to come running after us with 15 US At a minimum, I would like my son's fee for this mess back.
Tour started with ~20 min...
Camille, June 2017
Tour started with ~20 min snorkelling off Cancun, we saw lots of colourful fish. Isla Contoy is so beautiful, not many people there so it felt like paradise. Beautiful island. We had lunch and chilled on the beach before heading to Isla Mujeres for 1h and then back to Cancun.
We would highly recommend this...
Carolyn S, May 2017
We would highly recommend this tour!! Amazing tour guides, incredible lunch buffet on the beautiful Island of Contoy, snorkeling, white sandy beaches - all made for a perfect day in 'Paradise'!! We would definitely do this tour again!!
The tour was alright. It says just...
Jillian H, May 2017
The tour was alright. It says just Isla Contoy but we went to Isla Mujeres for an hour as well. Wish we had more time at Isla Contoy. Transportation pick up was late for pick up then had a late departure due to vehicle in front of us breaking down. Staff was very friendly.

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