ASTONISHING Animals of Cancun and the Riviera Maya

They were here long before the tourists, the hotels…even before the Mayans who called this place their home.

Who are they? They are the unbelievably colorful, beautiful and sometimes dangerous animals of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

While there are many, here we present seven animals to marvel your eyes, and maybe help your heart skip a beat…

 

The Jaguar

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To the Mayans he is Balam…The largest of the big cats in the Americas, the jaguar features prominently in the mythology of native cultures, including the Maya and the Aztec. Dense forest is his preferred habitat, and like the tiger,  enjoys swimming.  While they tend to stay far away from noise, you can see them in places like Xcaret Park.

 

Black Iguana

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They are the largest of the ctenosaura lizards, and can grow as long as 1.5 meters ( 4.9 ft.) Known for their large spiny crests (especially on males), you can find these lizard kings and queens sunning themselves all over Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and even sunning themselves on your favorite archaeological monument like the Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza or Tulum… After all, it is their home.

 

Spider Monkey

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You’ll find these mischievous creatures throughout the Mayan World…their long, spider-like limbs give them their name. Often weighing as much as 20 lbs, their arms are much longer than their legs, and their tails can support their entire weight and can be used as an extra limb. You might just see them in the jungles of our area, especially if you are on a Xenotes Tour.

 

Howler Monkey

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You’ll hear these monkeys before you see them, and their call is quite distinctive. Their characteristically deep howl will announce their presence to everyone and everything in the area. Mexican Howlers form large groups of up to 40 members or more, but due to loss of habitat, are on the endangered species list.

 

Mexican Red Rump or Black Velvet Tarantula

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You can find this creature right here in the Mexican Caribbean and throughout Mexico, but they can also be found as far south as Belize, Yucatan, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Like most tarantulas, they’ll eat anything they can overpower, namely insects, lizards and even rodents, and are important for the control of those species’ populations.

Despite their scary appearance and reputation, tarantulas are not generally aggressive toward humans.

 

Keel-billed Toucan

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With colors much brighter than that character on your cereal box, the Keel-billed Toucan will blow you away with its beautiful and vivid  beak and feathers. Rarely seen alone, you’ll see these beautiful tropical birds hopping through the trees in our jungle forests with six to twelve other friends.

If you take the Tulum Extreme Tour, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these vivid members of our animal kingdom!

 

The Whale Shark

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Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, but fortunately for us they only eat planckton and krill! From May to mid-September, you can find pods of these gentle giants swimming in the waters off the coast of Isla Mujeres and Cancun!

Whale shark tours are always in HUGE demand during those months, so make sure to book your Whale Shark Tour well in advance!

 

Our Caribbean waters and jungles have some of the most interesting habitats for some of the world’s most spectacular animals. We know you came here first for the beaches and the turquoise blue waters off our coasts. But if you really want to be in your own Discovery Channel or NatGeo Animal special, take a tour and meet some of the spectacular animals of Cancun and the Riviera Maya!


 

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At ecotourism-cancun.com, our mission is to find you the most exhilarating vacation tours and excursions experiences around, and to help you save time, money and effort doing it!

 

Whale Sharks, Cancun's Largest Tourists…

In 2014 over 3 million tourists flocked to Cancun and the Riviera Maya in search of sun, fun and a beautiful vacation. What you may not know, is that some of these tourists were NOT human.

Over 500 of those visitors were the mind-blowingly impressive whale sharks. Read on to learn about these gentle giants and how you can catch a rare sighting and spend some quality time with these magnificent creatures.

 

What is a Whale Shark?

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As large as a Cancun city bus, they creatures are docile and graceful.

Measuring up to 40 feet in length and weighing as much as 11 tons, these sharks are the largest living fish in the oceans, and they have spotted skins that locals call “dominoes.” The creatures typically feed at the surface on calm sunny days, suctioning great volumes of phytoplankton.

 

Why Do They Come?

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They come here to eat, swim and mate, just like human tourists….and despite their immense size, they pose no threat to people.

The coast of Quintana Roo, where the Gulf of Mexico converges with the Caribbean Sea, reportedly has the world’s highest concentration of whale sharks. They come to feed and to mate, and as many as 600 come here between May and September (RIGHT NOW) —and particularly during the hottest Summer months when currents sweep  plankton into the shallow waters around the Yucatán Peninsula.

 

How Are They Protected?

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A whale shark’s spots are as unique as your fingerprints.

They are currently listed as a vulnerable species. Tour operators and guides must adhere to strict regulations for approaching the creatures and to prevent crowding at feeding and mating sites.

 

Is Swimming with Whale Sharks Safe?

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The only thing going into that mouth is lots of little sea critters.

Fortunately, whale sharks are known as Filter Feeders, and their diet is mainly plankton and small species of plants and fish they take in through their massive jaws. Humans are currently not on their menu.

As long as you keep your distance so as not to scare them off, your time with them should be nothing short of life-changing.

 

How Can I See Them and Swim with Them?

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Swimming with dolphins while on vacation is a great thing. Swimming with whale sharks though, is a bucket list experience.

As an ecologically-responsible tour provider, Ecotourism-cancun.com offers a whale shark experience that both respects these creatures and their habitat and gives you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In this tour, you’ll go out to the area between Isla Contoy and Holbox Island, and in groups of two, get in two or three swims with the whale sharks. Groups are kept very small to protect these animals, so it’s important to reserve early to secure your spot.

Click here to find out more about Ecoturism-cancun.com’s Tour to Swim with Whale Sharks, Cancun’s biggest visitor!
 

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We are Ecotourism-Cancun, and we bring you ultimate vacation experiences in Cancun, the Riviera Maya and the entire Mayan World.

 

Experience Isla Contoy-True Caribbean Island Wildlife

Isla Contoy Wildlife

 Isla Contoy

At 25 miles (40 km) away from the busy vacation capital of Cancun, Isla Contoy is a pristine and protected island, where you can observe and enjoy thousands of birds, fish, and other wildlife in a virgin island setting.

Established as a protected natural reserve by the Mexican government, access is restricted to a maximum of 200 visitors per day so as to minimize the impact of tourism on the island’s natural resources.

 

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There are no permanent inhabitants living on the island. There is, however, a dedicated team of scientists who make Contoy their temporary home as they study its precious animal and plant wildlife. The visitor’s center and research facilities will make you feel like you are producing your own NatGeo show!

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Activities to Enjoy on Isla Contoy:

The Contoy Island Tour from Ecotourism-cancun.com will take you to live an amazing adventure on a virgin island, complete with a visit to the ecological museum…a key feature of this Mexican Caribbean ecotourism tour.

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  •  Sail through the wonderful waters of the Caribbean until reaching the carefully protected reef at Isla Contoy.
  • Marine biologists will teach and delight you with a magnificent explanation about the wildlife that inhabits this place, also known as Bird Island.
  •  As you explore the island and swim in its pristine waters, you’ll feel what it would be like to spend time on a deserted island paradise, far from land and where you are a part of nature.

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  •  Manta rays will swim right up to you long the beach.
  • Enjoy a delicious grilled fish for lunch, part of that morning’s catch freshly brought to you by fishermen from the nearest island.
  • On the way back we will take you to Isla Mujeres to enjoy a little island shopping in their picturesque “downtown” area.

 

Isla Contoy is truly one of the jewels of the Mexican Caribbean! If you are coming to Cancun or the Riviera Maya for your next vacation, definitely make sure to spend some time on Isla Contoy! Contact ecotourism-cancun.com today and check out our Facebook page and if you like our information, give us a like!

Do You Like Birds? Come visit CONTOY ISLAND on your trip to Cancun, Mexico

Contoy Island

Welcome to one of the most beautiful islands of the mexican caribbean and very close to Cancun. Contoy Island is located northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, on one side we have the Gulf of Mexico and on other the Caribbean Sea.

The mixture of the cold waters of the Gulf and the warm waters of the Caribbean, helps the production of plankton that attracts large numbers of Sea Birds. Therefore, it has become the natural refuge of 151 species of birds. Contoy Island is a protected area, since turtles come to nest on its beaches. Contoy Island is a paradise very near to Cancun Quintana Roo, and its one of the many ecological tours that you can find in Cancun, but its certainly the most beautiful and preserved paradise.

As a natural reserve protected area, tourism is limited to 200 visitors a day, so only very few lucky ones have the opportunity to admire the beauty of the beautiful beaches of Contoy Island, and be amazed by the diversity of Birds that live in the island. If you go to Cancun or Isla Mujeres you can visit Contoy Island, its less than an hour by boat, you must book 3 days in advance and you can leave in the morning and return by the end of the afternoon.

Contoy Island is for demanding Tourism that want a different option away from crowds.