DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE ALSO ISLANDS ON THE RIVIERA MAYA?
As if 200 kilometers of coastlines overlooking the Caribbean Sea were not enough, you will also have the chance to discover and relish in spectacular islands….
We will take you to explore them from our resorts in Playacar, a privileged location just steps away from Playa del Carmen.
ISLAND OF WOMEN AND CONTOY ISLAND
The sea bottom of Mujeres Island reveals all the hues of the Caribbean. The 9-kilometer-long and 1-kilometer wide island was discovered in 1517 by the Spanish Captain Hernández de Córdoba who sailed from Cuba with three vessels in search of slaves to work the Cuban mines.
Apparently, its tribulation named it “Island of Women” on account of several carved stone female figures found in a temple. Centuries later, the women turned out to be combative: following the hurricane of 1988 numerous robberies took place, whereby, a group of 27 women joined forces, bought pink paint and repainted many buildings. Island of Women has many magnificent beaches, such as Cocoteros Beach, Paradise Beach and Lancheros Beach. To the north is Contoy Island (Bird Island), about 45 minutes away.
A natural reserve turned into a natural park, Contoy is an ornithologist’s and diver’s Paradise. Its sand dunes, mangroves and palm trees are the habitat of 70 bird species, among which we find seagulls, pelicans, petrels (similar to the albatross), cormorants, cranes, flamencos, herons, frigate birds, terns, doves, quails and hawks. Mackerel, barracudas, flying fish, trumpet fish and lobsters abound in its waters. Meanwhile, the mainland is populated by iguanas, lizards, turtles and crabs. Contoy has different landscapes: on its east coast, 20-meter-high dunes, beaches, palms and bushes, while the north coast is inhabited by black rocks and coral reefs. It is definitely worth visiting!
Cozumel is a big, 490 square kilometer island; flat meadows, alternating with thickets, lagoons and picturesque beaches. The west coast is a succession of white sand and coral reefs, while its Eastern part is a rocky terrain, with small coves accessible from the sea.
The Mayans turned the island into a trade center: for them it was also a place of worship, there were pilgrimages to venerate Ixchel, the goddess of fertility. The Spaniards arrived in the XVI century, of which the most famous was Hernán Cortés. Although the Spaniards failed to colonize the island, many of the inhabitants died from contracting diseases their immunological system could not fight off. The XVIII Century was plagued by pirates and corsairs, including Jean Lafitte and Henry Morgan, to whom the tunnels and catacombs excavated by natives were very useful for hiding their treasures. They attacked many cargo ships; some remains are still underwater.
At the beginning of the 1960’s, Jacques Cousteau discovered the seabed and showed it to the world. At the time, Cozumel was still very primordial, its population hunted alligators, cultivated Chicozapote (a plant from which rubber is extracted) and fed on the fish they caught. In present-day Cozumel you can find colorful plumage birds, armadillos, coatis and foxes. Depending on the season, you might catch turtles spawning.
We have put together many excursions, so come visit us.