Islands of Mexico Main

mexico-main

Fly to Cancún on Continental. Ferry to IM from Puerto Juarez and to IH from Chiquilá. Save time and charter a 20-minute flight from Cancún to IH, $590, up to five passengers. www.aerosaab.com Eat ceviche at Picos (IM) and at Colibrí (IH). Read Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 by John Major Jenkins. Spend Mexican Pesos. $1US = $11MXN Find out more at www.visitmexico.com.

When your thoughts wanders south of the border, down Mexico way, islands may not be the first things that come to mind. But with more than 200 islands bordering fabled Baja alone, along with a trio of islands - Cancun, Cozumel, and Isla Mujeres - that have transformed the Mexican Caribbean, well...

While the last 20 years or so have seen dramatic changes to Cancun and Cozumel (and the tropical Riviera Maya coastline on the nearby mainland), many of Mexico's islands remain treasure islands for nature lovers. For example, about 40 miles northwest from the lively resorts of Cancun, tiny Isla Pajaros hosts more than 150 birds that visit or live in the Yucatan. Across the country, the desert islands of Baja's Sea of Cortez (a more romantic name for the Gulf of California) are home to some of the largest seabird colonies in the world.

Adventurers, surfers, fishermen, and veteran sailors first discovered the hidden pleasures of Baja decades ago, journeying from Bahia de Los Angeles south all the way to legendary Cabo San Lucas. Today, hundreds of miles farther south into the Pacific, the islands of Clarion and Socorro attract long-range anglers from San Diego, bent on testing perhaps the last great fishing waters off the West Coast.