Download GPX file for this article
18.784-91.495Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Isla Aguada, Campeche

Isla Aguada is a small coastal island town on the Gulf of Mexico in Campeche, Mexico. With only about 5,000 inhabitants (2020), it's off the beaten path but has miles of beaches and lush natural areas nearby, particularly the protected nature reserves of Laguna Terminos with its population of bottlenose dolphins. It is one of Mexico's Pueblos Magicos.


American White Pelicans in the Laguna de Terminos

Nature reserves


Laguna Terminos is a large protected estuary that's a nesting area for sea turtles, a breeding grounds for dolphins, and a haven for more than 200 bird species, including both local and migratory species. Bird Island is the habitat of the Jabirú stork, the largest aquatic bird species, and is also a nesting and feeding area for ducks, herons, frigate birds and seagulls. A birdwatcher could spend several days along the shores of Laguna Terminos.



Isla Aguada has a long and colorful history, having been occupied many centuries ago by the Mayan Chontal group, who called the place Hol tun. When the Spanish arrived in 1518 they called it Puerto Deseado but changed their minds in 1519 when they dubbed it Puerto Escondido.

The Spanish didn't build a town or settle there. The island was largely uninhabited in the 18th century when pirates found the island to be a great hideout from the ships of the Spanish Armada, at least until 1762 when the pirates had plundered a ship laden with merchandise. The pirates took their booty back to the island but the governor of Campeche was ticked off and sent two naval ships after the pirates. They found the pirates on Isla Aguada, recovered the merchandise, killed many pirates and took the rest prisoner to be hanged back in Campeche. Good times, man! Good times!

Subsequently, the governor had a fort and watchtower built on the island and the garrison of soldiers established the first settlement. Mayan refugees from the Caste War settled in the town and the establishment of a port provided the economic foundation for the new town.

Isla Aguada is usually a quiet town where nothing happens...until it does. On August 22, 1980, the ferry from Campeche to Merida, laden with cars, trucks and passengers, approached too close to the island during a storm. The ferry capsized killing an estimated 150 people.

Get in

Map of Isla Aguada

Isla Aguada is 45 km northeast of Ciudad del Carmen on federal highway MEX-180. Ciudad del Carmen has an international airport with scheduled flights from Mexico City.

By bus


Autobuses ATS has buses leaving Ciudad del Carmen every 4 hours to Isla Aguada. The 45-minute ride will cost as little as M$30.

Get around


Isla Aguada is a small town, but you'll probably want a rental car (or taxi) to get around since the remote beaches can be quite a distance from town (and driving is generally easy in Campeche).


  • 1 Lighthouse Museum (Faro Museo), C. Villa 5 de Mayo 48, Revolución. M-Su 08:00 - 22:00. Two-story lightkeeper's house topped by an 18-meter high tower built in the 19th century to provide a beacon to sailors approaching the island. The museum comprises three galleries, one of which explains INAH's underwater archaeological explorations. Outside is a habitat for iguanas and turtles.


  • Dolphin Tour, Malecon. You can hire a tour guide to take you out on the waters of the lagoon where you can see the dolphins. Tours usually go out to Isla Pajaro (Bird Island) which is where thousands of aquatic birds nest. The tours cost about M$500.
  • 1 Playa el Cielo. Beautiful uncrowded beach. Wide white sandy stretch scattered with seashells. Bring what you need because there are no food or drink vendors on the beach.
  • 2 Playa Vaeza. Uncrowded but populated beach with a few vendors and cabanas for rent. Calm waters good for swimming.




  • 1 Restaurante Zazil-Ha, Calle Emiliano Zapata, Revolución, +52 938 127 0654. Large palapa style dining room serving regional seafood dishes. Large portions and reasonable prices.
  • 2 Chucho Filarpon, Calle Marina 17, Meshal, +52 938 387 6729. Casual seafood restaurant on the banks of the Laguna Terminos. Great views from the upstairs palapa dining area.
  • 3 Palapa Isla Aguada, Carr. Isla Aguada - Champoton. Busy palapa seafood restaurant that caters to through traffic between Ciudad del Carmen and Campeche. Large parking area that can accommodate trucks or RVs. Open 24 hours.
  • 4 Don Guillo, Calle Marina, Revolución, +52 938 140 3546. Daily 09:00 - 18:30. Rustic restaurant with delicious fresh seafood. Locals recommend the Mojarra Frita, the Empanadas, and the Camarónes Empanizados.


  • 1 El Puestacito, Blvd. de la Marina, Meshal, +52 938 184 1947. W-M 09:00 - 18:00, closed Tu. Fun atmosphere with great micheladas and pina coladas.


Welcome to Isla Aguada
  • 1 Cabañas Laguna, Calle 16 de Septiembre, +52 938 389 3613. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 13:00. Charming hotel with a lush courtyard around the pool, friendly staff, clean, comfortable rooms. No on-site restaurant. M$1300 (Oct 2023).
  • 2 Hotel Albatros, Calle 20, Caleta I, +52 938 115 1440. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Beautiful hotel with gardens and swimming pool, onsite restaurant with outdoor tables and a delicious breakfast. Rooms are clean and comfortable. M$1100 (Oct 2023).
  • 3 Puerto Sabalo Hotel, Calle Marina, Centro, +52 938 135 9440. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Moderate hotel with excellent views of the lagoon and a swimming pool. Small parking area, no on-site restaurant.
  • 4 Freedom Shores, Final de la Calle Marina S/N, Revolución, +52 938 150 6682. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Large comfortable rooms with a location right on the beach. Also has spaces for RVs with hookups available. M$1400 (Oct 2023).
  • 5 Iguana Cabañas, Calle 7 de Agosto S/N, +52 938 161 1700. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Small intimate hotel with on-site swimming pool and beach access. Cold AC. M$1400.



Go next

This city travel guide to Isla Aguada is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.