Isla Contoy is a small island in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, approximately 30 kilometers north of Isla Mujeres.
Contoy was declared a Protected Natural Area in 1961 and since then it is the most important marine bird refuge in the Mexican Caribbean.
Because it has a lagoon and is covered with mangroves, there are more than 150 species of birds in Contoy including frigates, cormorants, brown pelicans and terns. The island is also home to the hawksbill, white and loggerhead turtles, 98 species of plants, and 234 species of fish including the whale shark, which are also protected.
To go to Contoy you have to take one of the few tours that are authorized to operate there as a maximum of 200 people per day are accepted on the island.
When you see the island from afar, you realize that the majority of the island remains virgin. It only has structures that form the visitor center, museum and observation tower. The rest stays wild.
To respect the environment in Contoy, visitors are asked not to use any chemical, including sunscreen. Chemicals affect corals that are home to tiny animals sensitive to pollution. As an alternative, you can use a long-sleeved cotton shirt. Also, there are some brands of sunscreen that use strictly biodegradable ingredients.