Fly Cozumel has come up with another great option if you’re looking for Things to do in Cancun: 3 Islands Tour by Plane; I was excited to be able to go along on one of their first flights to check it out! This brand new trip leaves with passengers from either Cozumel, Playa del Carmen or Cancun, taking you over Cancun’s Kukulkan Blvd. hotel zone, with it’s spectacular beach resorts and malls, then flies over to Isla Mujeres and Isla Blanca. Finishing the journey by circling over the protected national park, Isla Contoy, before returning to Cancun. I had never even heard of Isla Blanca or Isla Contoy, so I was eager to check them out!
A direct link to the new flight: 3 Islands Tour by Plane
Leaving from the Cozumel International Airport about 3pm in the afternoon, our pilot Abraham, veered off almost immediately, west towards the sea. After all, this was not a Cozumel flyover… instead, we were headed to Cancun and beyond! As we approached the water, he took the Cessna 206 in low, over the still-docked cruise ships along the island coast. The gleaming white ships sat in sharp contrast to the stunning shade of turquoise that surrounds Cozumel.
They make a great travel photo! I’ve never been on a cruise ship before and it was interesting getting such a birds-eye view of their upper decks, built like giant adventure parks, to keep their guests entertained.
On this particular day, Fly Cozumel had guests to pick up in Cancun, so we didn’t dawdle over the Cozumel coastline before turning to head out over the water that separates Cozumel from the mainland. The afternoon sun was brilliant as it reflected off the water. Creating small diamonds of light that bounced off the rapidly deepening, shades of blue. It’s a beautiful sight and even the pilot took sneak peeks out the window to admire the beauty and snap some photos. That’s the true gauge of beauty – when you can see something almost daily and yet still can’t resist the view!
Landing at Cancún’s International Airport, we taxied over to the FBO building and section for smaller planes, similar to the Cessna we were in. After stopping and disembarking, I noticed the lines painted on the tarmac, with numbers, indicating where planes were to park. I bit my tongue to avoid saying “Okay everyone – remember where we parked!” I have no doubt they’ve heard it
before! Inside, Abraham went to do flight paperwork with the airport officials, while we waited for the guests to arrive. Right on time, Claudio and his teenage son, Alessandro arrived at the terminal. This Italian father and son duo are on vacation in Mexico, staying in Cancun. Claudio holds a pilots license himself and was looking for something different from the usual tourist Things to do. Of course being a pilot, he enjoys the different perspective and seeing the view from above, so the new Fly Cozumel 3 islands Tour by Plane was the perfect fit. Paperwork done, introductions made and everyone loaded into the Plane, we joined the queue of planes waiting to leave. If you’ve never been in a Cessna before, it’s amusing to be in a line up with the big planes, waiting their turn on the runway to head off into the big blue. We were definitely the baby of the bunch this afternoon! We listened to the pilot and tower chatter on our headsets as we watched them take off in the warm afternoon light. Returning sun-kissed travelers to their home countries, after a Mexico vacation. Soon it was our turn at the head of the line and we were quickly rolling down the runway, building up speed and lifting away from the tarmac.
When driving, distances feel a lot further compared to flying, so in no time at all, we were already approaching Kukulkan Blvd. Turning north and following the coastline, it was remarkably easy to see the buildings, beaches and resorts in the Cancún hotel zone. To my surprise, I even spotted a ferris wheel that I previously did not know was there! After the hotel zone, we took a slight eastward path, heading across to Isla Mujeres.
On approach, I was surprised to see it is actually bigger than my first impressions of it. I had been there once before on an excursion and it seemed pretty tiny. I also thought it was an all sand coastline, so I was surprised to see that one end of the island has a high, rocky coastline. Seeing Isla Mujeres from this vantage has definitely made me more curious to go back and actually check out the whole island. We circled the island, all leaning to our windows to get the fullest view possible and snapping photos before heading off to our next point of interest, Isla Blanca.
Situated north-west of Isla Mujeres, Isla Blanca isn’t really an island, it’s a peninsula and part of the Great Mayan Reef which starts at Isla Contoy and stretches 700 miles south to Honduras. Being a peninsula allows people from Cancun to drive there to enjoy the beauty, pristine beaches and get away from the hustle and bustle of Cancún city life. I’ve read that the lagoon, with it’s all olive and moss green shades, is a popular place for kite surfing!
Moving on from Isla Blanca, the last point of interest before returning to Cancun and Cozumel, was the protected park of Isla Contoy, a federally protected area and home to a vast number and array of birds. Nesting and hanging out, away from people! The number of people allowed on the island in a day is restricted and monitored to ensure it remains this way. I thought it was really cool to be able to see all the birds taking to the air, circling and then landing again as we did our own circles of the island. I could see them quite well and there were lots! It’s home to Cormorants, Frigates, Toucans and Flamingoes, amongst others. I spotted one lone lighthouse on the northern end of the island and was wishing I had a better camera with me for photos of it. The fact that this is the northern beginning point of the Mesoamérica Reef (or Great Mayan Reef) is also interesting to me as a diver. I found it fascinating, being able to see it so well from the Plane.
Since he and I sat in the middle of the Plane together, I talked with Alessandro about why he’d come along with his father this day. Claudio said he doesn’t get to pilot often anymore and misses it. Alessandro had really enjoyed it and said he’d only seen one other place (the Maldives) with a fly-over that had matched the beauty of today’s. It seems these two have done this at least a few times yet both were impressed with the experience here in Cancun Mexico. We were certainly all snapping photos…I mean really, how often do you get to enjoy this kind of close-up, aerial view? Among the Things to do in Cancun Claudio, Alessandro and myself gladly recommend the new 3 Islands Tour by Plane.