Isla Contoy Day Trip
The return trip
An estimated 5,000 frigates nest on Isla Contoy, along with about 3,000 double-crested cormorants and one of the Caribbean’s largest brown pelican populations. During the year, as many as 152 different bird species visit Contoy, including roseate spoonbills, terns, kingfishers and even flamingoes.
Although best known for its sea bird colonies, Isla Contoy is an important sea turtle sanctuary. From April to October, greens, loggerheads, hawksbills and leatherbacks lay their eggs here.
In season, the trails of nesting turtles are easy to pick out. Their
tracks look like tank treads, making the beaches resemble a war zone.
Lunchtime also has attracted a pair of tame iguanas that rest in the shade a few feet from us; they’re as eager to recycle scraps as the baby mantas which still circle the shallows.
Each frigate female lays a single egg which she incubates for two months. I can spot several downy newborns sitting among the adults, so it’s too late to witness the spectacular courtship display of the males who inflate their bright red throat sacs to attract a mate. Somehow, from a rookery of red balloons, females are able to find one that most appeals to them.
There isn’t enough time to scout out the other lagoons to see
what’s happening elsewhere. Brown pelicans and cormorants are
remarkably scarce considering the large populations that are supposed
to be found here.
Small so-called express boats leave from Isla Mujeres at 8:30 and return around 2:30. Although they’re fast, these open canoe-like craft are real kidney busters if the weather acts up.
Other nearby attractions:
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