Life's So Turtley Tranquil; TRAVEL; Great Getaway Ideas and Travel Tips You Can Trust at Mirror.Co.Uk/travel; Paul Rhodes Escapes the Crowds of Cancun in Costa Mujeres, the New Treasure the Mexican Caribbean

The Mirror (London, England), January 12, 2019 | Go to article overview

Life's So Turtley Tranquil; TRAVEL; Great Getaway Ideas and Travel Tips You Can Trust at Mirror.Co.Uk/travel; Paul Rhodes Escapes the Crowds of Cancun in Costa Mujeres, the New Treasure the Mexican Caribbean


Byline: NIGEL THOMPSON

Counting the giant turtles splashing through the waves alongside our boat was a delightful way to spend the hour-long sea journey to Mexico's Isla Contoy.

Around 22 miles north of Cancun - the country's number one party resort for Brits - this tiny desert island is sanctuary to these majestic yet endangered creatures that lay their eggs on its white sand beaches.

It was designated a national park more than 20 years ago by the Mexican government so the loggerhead, green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles that rely on the island as a breeding ground are protected, along with the frigatebirds, pelicans and cormorants that nest there.

Only 200 people a day are permitted to visit, so as not to disrupt its rhythm of life.

Visitors are granted access to 10% of its beaches, plenty enough to find a spot on the sand and dip your toes in the sea. The rest is rightly left to its natural inhabitants.

It's known locally as the "island of birds", and I was also keen to climb the 89ft observation tower to try to spot some of the 170 species which inhabit the place. Take binoculars - as well as plenty of sun cream and mosquito repellent.

I then headed to a lagoon at the centre to watch the black-feathered frigatebirds swoop and play, the males puffing out their bright red breasts and squawking loudly to attract the females' attention.

This colourful congress with nature continued on the boat journey back to Cancun marina as the captain stopped to let us snorkel alongside the Great Mayan Reef. It is the world's second largest coral reef, after Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and is just as teeming with aquatic life.

Clownfish, like Nemo in the animated film, darted about in orange and white-striped shoals, while parrotfish crunched and nibbled on the coral's hard, brain-like shapes.

Luckier snorkelers might get to see a turtle up close, a stingray skimming across the sea floor or even dolphins frolicking in the surf.

Afterwards, I returned to my luxury accommodation, the newly-opened TRS Coral Hotel in Costa Mujeres, an upmarket area dubbed the "new treasure of the Mexican Caribbean".

Just north of the airport, this tranquil stretch of natural sand with dunes and mangroves feels like a world away from the bright lights of vibrant Cancun, which is a 20-minute taxi ride down the road.

The resort itself - a swish, adultsonly affair and part of the Leading Hotels of the World consortium - is perfect for travellers wanting excellent service in glamorous surroundings.

There are uninterrupted views of the sand and sea - not other hotels. …

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Life's So Turtley Tranquil; TRAVEL; Great Getaway Ideas and Travel Tips You Can Trust at Mirror.Co.Uk/travel; Paul Rhodes Escapes the Crowds of Cancun in Costa Mujeres, the New Treasure the Mexican Caribbean
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