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Flora and Wildlife of Isla Contoy

Learn how park rangers and conservancy researchers helps to different species that inhabit in an emotional attachment to this beautiful island.
reef cancun underwater


What is Isla Contoy National Park?

Isla Contoy is the oldest protected natural area in Quintana Roo (1961). It was declared a National Park on February 2nd, 1998.

The park is administered by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP). As permanent inhabitants, there is CONANP personnel in charge of conservation work, 4 Navy Marines, and a lighthouse from the Secretary of Communications and Transportation (SCT).

The Ixlaché reef, located in the southern part of the island, is considered the beginning of the: Mesoamerican Reef System, which is the largest barrier reef in the Americas and the second-largest in the world.


Birds species


Reptile species


Marine species

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Isla Contoy National Park Management Program

The management program of Isla Contoy was presented and approved to the community on August 30, 1994, reflecting the effort of the Mexican Government through federal, state and municipal institutions to safeguard a natural environment, its biodiversity and its cultural heritage in harmony.
With the sustainable use of natural resources and the social development of the inhabitants of the northeast area of the State of Quintana Roo.
Our guides and photographers are trained under the tutelage of SEMARNAT to obtain the Tourist Guide permit.


What animals can we find in the Isla Contoy National Park?

The small size of the Isla Contoy land area limits the number of species that can be permanently established. The most studied group is that of birds since Contoy is the most important refuge for seabirds in the Mexican Caribbean, housing more than 173 migratory, resident and occasional species.

Another group of great interest is that of reptiles, because the island is a place of great importance for the nesting of sea turtles. In the particular case of mammals within the island, they cannot survive due to the lack of fresh water, which is the most important limitation for the absence of this group.

01 - 600x400 - Fragatas - Fregata magnificens - Isla Contoy


Fregata magnificens

Large seabird of warm tropical oceans and shores. Mostly black with a very long, deeply forked tail and angular wings.

Learn more

02 - 600x400 - Cormorán doble cresta - Phalacrocorax auritus - Isla Contoy


Phalacrocorax auritus

Dark body with bare orange skin at the base of the bill. He dives underwater to fish. Find open perches to spread wings and dry feathers. It can walk in large flocks or alone.

Learn more

03 - 600x400 - Pájaro bobo - Sula leucogaster - Isla Contoy

Brown Booby

Sula leucogaster

Large seabird, usually seen near the Pacific beaches, sometimes just behind the surf. It usually dives from very sharp angles, much closer to the water than the Blue-footed Booby. It nests in colonies on offshore islands, directly on the ground.

04 - 600x400 - Pelícano café - Pelecanus occidentalis - Isla Contoy

Brown Pelican

Pelecanus occidentalis

Large conspicuous grayish brown seabird. Very long beak with a sack to remove fish from the water. It feeds mainly by nailing fish from above. He frequently goes to fishing sites to look for litter.

05 - 600x400 - Gaviota risueña - Leucophaeus atricilla - Isla Contoy-1

Laughing gull

Leucophaeus atricilla

Common black-hooded gull on beaches and other coastal areas in summer. Found from the east coast of the US to northern South America.

06 - 600x400 - Golondrina de mar - Thalasseus maximus - Isla Contoy

Royal Tern

Thalasseus maximus

A large tern found strictly in coastal areas. It feeds in the open sea and saltwater bays, where it flies high in search of small fish. It rests on the beaches, often in groups with other species.

What flora can we find in the Isla Contoy National Park?

Isla Contoy is home to 98 species of plants that make up the vegetation of the island, such as: Coastal Dune, Low Forest, Coconut Palm and Mangrove

01 - 600x400 - Coastal Dune - Isla Contoy

Coastal Dunes

Foredunes, support a resilient ecosystem and reduce coastal vulnerability to storms, arise from interactions between biological and physical processes.

04 - 600x400 - Palma de coco Isla Contoy

Palm Tree

Cocos nucifera

Every part of the tree is utilized in some form or the other. They can be found growing in aerated sandy soil near the shorelines, as they are not affected by the salinity of the seawater.

02 - 600x400 - Mangrove - Isla Contoy


Mangrove swamps are coastal wetlands found in subtropical and tropical regions Because of their ability to survive in both salty and fresh water, are the only ones that thrive in these areas.

07 - 600x400 - Opuntia stricta - Isla Contoy


Opuntia stricta

A jungle is land covered with dense forest and tangled vegetation, usually in tropical climates. Application of the term has varied greatly during the past recent centuries.

03 - 600x400  - Palm Chit - Isla Contoy

Palm Chit

Thrinax radiata

This palm grows in coastal dunes and in sub-evergreen and sub-deciduous forests, mainly in areas influenced by the winds, however, it has been found up to 50 kilometers inland.

06 - 600x400 - Chaca - Isla Contoy


Bursera simaruba

Tree up to 15 meters high, with a straight, scaly and highly branched trunk in the crown; the flowers are small, creamy-greenish in color, very aromatic, blooming from February to May.

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