Mirror-calm seas and cloudless skies are perfect conditions for a summer day of sailing in the Mexican Caribbean and there are plenty of exciting options to choose from if you fancy a day at sea.
For starters, cast off for a morning of sailing and snorkeling in the bay between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, to Punta Nizuc or in Puerto Morelos National Marine Park. A few minutes of speeding through sparkling crystal-clear waters will have you out at the reef where wonders await you when you take the plunge. Part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second longest coral reef system, all three sites are perfect for snorkeling and rich in marine life. You’ll soon spot fish of all shapes and sizes in a dazzling kaleidoscope of colors. Yellow striped grunts, jacks and pork fish hover near the reef crest, queen angelfish, blue tangs and the occasional sea turtle sail by and rainbow parrotfish nibble at the corals. Look closer and you’ll see sergeant majors, neon wrasses, squirrel and butterfly fish among the corals.
Wherever you go, sailing in the Mexican Caribbean invariably includes a stop for snorkeling and swimming.
Isla Mujeres bound
Next stop Isla Mujeres, hop on board a luxury yacht or catamaran and set sail from Cancun to its sister island across the bay affectionately known as “Isla,” one of Quintana Roo’s Pueblos Magicos. As you make the crossing, relax and admire the view of shimmering turquoise waters. You can stop for a spot of snorkeling on the way and sail along the coast of Isla before docking.
Explore the tiny island on a golf cart or bike, shop for crafts, jewelry and art in the village and then head for famous Playa Norte, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Sit down for a late lunch of delicious seafood at one of the restaurants along the waterfront and watch yachts and fishing boats sail by. You’ll want to stay on for the sunset; the views are incredible.
Cruise to Contoy, the island of birds
Go in search of nature and plan a trip to Contoy, the palm-fringed desert island of Caribbean legend and lore that is an important bird sanctuary and an incredibly beautiful spot to spend the day.
Over 150 species of birds make their home on the island year round or are migratory visitors in the winter. They include colonies of frigate birds and cormorants, terns, ibis, roseate spoonbills, herons and egrets that nest in the mangroves. Graceful terns put on a display of aerial acrobatics, living up to their name of sea swallows or golondrinas del mar; pelicans dive for fish and ospreys patrol the shoreline.
Contoy is a two-and-a-half-hour boat trip north of Cancun and the shades of turquoise and blue water that you’ll pass through en route are breathtaking. Once you reach the island, spend the time watching the birds, relaxing on the beach or snorkeling and swimming with rays and other fish in the sheltered bay. Only 200 people a day are permitted to visit Contoy.
Whale shark trips
If you enjoyed your trip to Contoy and are ready for more incredible wildlife encounters, board a boat for a whale shark trip during the summer. From mid-May to mid-September, these gentle giants gather to feed on plankton and fish eggs in the waters to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres and also off Holbox Island and Cabo Catoche.
Eco trips will take you out to the whale shark feeding grounds where you will see the world’s largest fish wherever you turn. You may even be lucky enough to spot giant manta rays, sea turtles and dolphins too.
Sailing along the Riviera Maya coast
If you are staying in the Riviera Maya, board a catamaran for a cruise along the coast. You’ll be following maritime routes once used by ancient Mayan traders and as you sail along the shoreline you’ll catch a glimpse of lone temples and watch towers guarding hidden inlets and palm-lined beaches.
If hopping on a boat means going in search of the big fish of your dreams, then there are plenty of fishing charters to available in the Riviera Maya, Puerto Morelos, Cancun and Isla Mujeres. The seasoned captain and his crew will take you right to where the fish are running.
When the sun goes down
Summer sailing in the Mexican Caribbean doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Board a catamaran for a romantic cruise under the stars. Watch the sunset as you sail through Cancun’s Nichupte Lagoon on board the famous lobster dinner cruise or join a fun-packed expedition through the bay on a pirate ship.
Book your boat trip today
For information on cruises and yacht charters, eco trips and fishing excursions contact Thomas More Travel www.thomasmoretravel.com.
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