ISLA DE MUJERES' WESTERN COAST, PUNTA CANCUN AND PUNTA NIZUC NATIONAL PARK
It is one of the great attractions in Cancun, not only for being the perfect scenery for scuba diving and snorkelling, but also for configuring one of the most diverse and complex sea life communities known on this part of the planet, comparable only to a tropical forest due to its biodiversity.
Located before the coasts of the Municipalities of Isla de Mujeres and Benito Juarez, this singular Marine Park houses an exuberant and thriving biodiversity both aquatic and terrestrial, besides its outstanding coral reefs.
40 species of land flora have been registered in the zone with mangroves and specimens characteristic of the coastal dunes, whilst the aquatic varieties are of about 235 species amongst algae and seaweeds.
There are 35 species of scleractinious corals on the walls of its submarine cliffs, along with 37 soft corals, 83 species of sea sponges, 43 different molluscs amongst quitones, snails, oysters, octopuses and squids, 65 varieties of poliquetos (sea worms), 37 of crustaceous and 24 of equinodermos such as starfishes, sea urchins and sea cucumbers, amongst other singular forms of sea life.
The biological richness in the system of coral reefs expands also
to the vertebrates. There are 108 fish species in here, 11 varieties
of dolphins, 4 types of sea turtles, the white (Chelonia mydas),
the loggerhead (Caretta caretta), the carey (Eretmochelys
imbricata) and the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea),
and two crocodiles of the marshes (Crocodylus acutus and Crocodylus
moreletti), both protected by Mexican laws.
Other points of interest are the isles, to which 30 bird species
arrive to nest or rest in the area, amongst them the sea swallows
(Anous minutus and Anous stolidos), being the only places
in Mexico where they can be appreciated. Scuba diving and snorkelling
are the main tourist and sportive activities realised in the Park.
Bear in mind that due to the fragility of the ecosystem, sportspeople
must scrupulously abide by the stated recommendations in order to
avoid damaging the environment.
The Park was created in July of 1996 and it has more than 8500 hectares that comprise the western coast of Isla de Mujeres, Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc. It can be accessed by sea from the Nichupté Lagoon and from Isla de Mujeres.