An aerial view of Nichupte Lagoon in Cancun, Mexico.

Looking for a tour of Nichuptè Lagoon? Book a jungle tour for a speedboat and snorkelling adventure, go on sunset kayaking trip to immerse yourself in nature, or relax on a wildlife cruise.

Set amongst turquoise waters, pristine cenotes, year-round sunshine, and Mayan archaeological ruins, exploring the beautiful Nichuptè Lagoon is a popular activity for visitos to Cancun. Nichuptè is home to an exotic ecosystem of many different animal species and is a spectacular example of Mexico’s natural beauty

Covering over 3,000 hectares, the lagoon connects seven beautiful bodies of saltwater and freshwater, including Laguna Del Amor, Bojórquez, Ciega, and San José.

As a bonus, the lagoon can be found on one's (hotel) doorstep - Nichuptè covers Cancun's entire hotel zone and a small part of downtown. Here are some of the best ways to explore the magic of the lagoon when you visit.

An aerial view of kayaks along the mangroves of Nichupte Lagoon.

The Nichuptè Lagoon ecosystem

The lagoon is a haven for bird watchers and biologists. A mix of salt and freshwater provides a thriving environment for a variety of fish, while 160 bird species find sanctuary here during their migrations.

Visit the lagoon at sunrise and prepare to be mesmerised by the spectacular show of migratory birds above you cruising the mangroves in search of food.

You can spot crocodiles basking in the sun, but remember to stay vigilant during your lagoon adventures. Your tour guide will share fascinating insights into the local flora, fauna, and the intricacies of this complex ecosystem.

A speedboat near the mangroves in Nichupte Lagoon.

Jungle tours on Nichuptè Lagoon

Ready for an adventure on the lagoon? Jungle tours are a popular way to enjoy a day on Nichuptè Lagoon exploring these impressive mangroves. The name says it all: it;s a Tarzan-inspired, two-hour boat ride full of adrenaline through the jungle that will leave you wishing to return. Highlights include driving your own speed boat and snorkelling in the enchanting Mesoamerican coral reef.

You can book a tour in advance or organise one when you arrive at the lagoon - just choose a speedboat suitable for the size of your party. Before you set off to observe the magic of the lagoon, you will be welcomed by your bilingual guide, who will share some safety instructions, including important hand signals for the trip.

Although it is very tempting to enjoy a high-speed glide on the calm waters, remember to pay close attention to the surrounding wildlife. As you swerve through the mangroves, you are sure to encounter a variety of species: from white turtles, crabs, to iguanas and leopard frogs!

If you want to see crocodiles, consider taking a nocturnal tour - you can see them come out to hunt while you discover the secrets of the lagoon by night.

Kayaking at sunset in Nichupte Lagoon, Cancun.

Other ways to explore Nichupte Lagoon

Sunset kayaking

Envelop yourself in the tranquil hues of a Nichupte sunset while navigating the lagoon's mangroves in a kayak. This tour lets you connect with the Protected National Area of Flora and Fauna within the Nichupte mangroves, allowing you to witness local wildlife firsthand.

Listen to the breaking branches, animal calls, and the flutter of bird wings to locate wild inhabitants or simply immerse yourself in nature. The journey offers the chance to see birds, fish, dolphins, rays, and more.

Wildlife tour

Embark on a 3-hour cruise through the Nichupte Lagoon to appreciate its wildlife and the Caribbean sunset.

You can travel through mangrove channels, home to migratory birds and crocodiles, while an expert guide shares their knowledge about Cancun's ecosystems. Then enjoy watching the stunning sunset from the boat.

This evening tour includes snacks and transport from Cancun's hotel zone.

Sunset Dinner Cruise

 For a more romantic activity, cruise the lagoon on board a Spanish galleon. Enjoy cocktails, exquisite wine, and a gourmet meal, then listen to live music as the sun dips into the lagoon.

 Clearboat Cruise

Travel through Nichupte Lagoon on a clear-bottomed boat before heading towards the breathtaking Caribbean Sea. Throughout the journey, you'll spot a variety of fish, turtles, snails, manta rays, starfish, and other marine life. The tour concludes with a visit to a stunning reef.

Kayaking between the mangroves in Nuchupte Lagoon, Cancun.

Water activities on Nachupte Lagoon

The lagoon's shallow depth of 1.5 to 2 meters makes it an attractive spot for all ages to indulge in various water sports. Take your pick from hoverboards, flyboards, aquatwisters, skyriders, and waverunners to make the most out of the lagoon’s calm waters.

For those wishing to snorkel, the famed Jungle Tour finishes with a stop in the Punta Nizuc coral reef for an exciting snorkelling adventure.

Swimming in the Nichuptè Lagoon

 While local lore suggests that swimming in the lagoon might turn you into a mermaid, most areas are off-limits due to the rich wildlife, including hundreds of crocodiles. However, there's a designated channel, typically used for marine traffic, where swimming is allowed.

Observe the signs as this is the ONLY place where you can enjoy a cool dip in the water, and listen to your tour guide’s advice about swimming safely in the lagoon.

Mangroves in Nichupte Lagoon, Cancun.

Conservation efforts

Today's travel impacts our world, and locations like Nichuptè Lagoon need thoughtful visitors. The lagoon is made up of several mangroves: groups of trees and shrubs that can be found in shallow, sandy, or muddy areas.

This coastal and humid ecosystem is of vital ecological importance. Not only is it incredibly rich in biodiversity, producing a large amount of organic matter, and retaining sediments that flow into the sea, but it allows for the functional structure of the surrounding beaches, wetlands, jungles and reefs of the region.

Indeed, it is largely thanks to these mangroves that we can enjoy the pristine beaches of the Yucatan peninsula.

There is an ongoing project run by Flora, Fauna y Cultura de México to help with the restoration and reforestation of the mangroves in the lagoon. There has been significant progress to date, but there is still a lot of work to be done and donations are always welcome.

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Roxanne de Bruyn

Author - Roxanne de Bruyn

Roxanne is the founder and editor of Faraway Worlds. She is a freelance writer and guidebook author and has written for several travel publications, including Lonely Planet and The Culture Trip. With a background in communications, she has studied ancient history, comparative religion and international development, and has a particular interest in sustainable tourism.

Originally from South Africa, Roxanne has travelled widely and loves learning the stories of the places she visits. She enjoys cooking, dance and yoga, and usually travels with her husband and young son. She is based in New Zealand.

Last Updated 4 August 2023

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