Must-Sees in the Islands of the Mexican Caribbean

The Mexican Caribbean islands are popular with visitors for their varied experiences and range of outdoor activities. Each has its charm—Cozumel, for instance, offers a range of activities; Holbox is known for its sunsets; and Isla Mujeres exudes cheerful vibes.

Isla Mujeres is one of the smallest islands in the region. It is also well known among visitors, thanks to the popularity of Playa Norte beach. The colorful reefs and the submerged statues–part of a conservation project—offer an incredible view of marine life. To the south is the Garrafón Reef Natural Park. Activities include snorkeling, kayaking, zip-lining and island tours. Guests can relax at a temazcal (sweat lodge) or by a panoramic pool with lounge chairs. The Manchones Reef is home to one of the most significant monuments of the island: La Cruz de la Bahía, or The Cross of the Bay. The bronze structure measures about 10 feet high, and is 39 feet deep, making it a site of great interest for divers.

Over the years, this island has been surrounded by legends, such as that of La Trigueña, a woman originally from Isla Mujeres who was wooed by a pirate named Mundaca. He built a large hacienda to prove his love for her. The monument can be found downtown, just steps from the sea.

At laid-back Holbox, viewing the sunset in one of the beach clubs is a must, be it Maruva or La Playa de Ñaña. Holbox is home to natural phenomena such as bioluminescence. One way to experience this is Pandora Luminescence, a multi-sensory experience that combines a dinner with an outdoor show.

Cozumel canoe ride
Visitors can explore Cozumel on a Mayan-styled canoe to mimic the journey of Ixchel, the goddess of love and fertility (Quintana Roo Tourism Board)

Cozumel is the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean. It is known for being a great port for cruise passengers, besides having hosted tournaments such as “IRONMAN”. Visitors can explore Cozumel by boat or even by a submarine. They can harken back to the founding days of exploring the island with Canoa Maya Cozumel. They can row a Mayan-styled canoe to mimic the journey of Ixchel, the goddess of love and fertility. Tour options include a beach picnic or sunset tour, among others. Other activities include snorkeling and diving.

The Planetarium of Cozumel Cha’an Ka’an offers a monthly calendar of “Astronomical Evenings”, where visitors can see celestial bodies through the planetarium’s telescope while learning about classical and Mayan mythology.

During sea-turtle release season, local authorities conduct workshops to show visitors how to experience the event ethically and sustainably, striking a balance between tourism and the environment.

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