"Under(waterdis)cover Agents“, Mexico

Project Location

Contoy Island, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Project Duration and Start

Six Months, 2011

Project Sponsor(s)

TUI Germany

Project Description

Along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula there is an exciting underwater world and visiting where the "Curse of the Caribbean" struck hapless ships along the Contoy Island in Mexico has developed into a popular local and tourist attraction. Archaeologists discovered significant Mayan shipwrecks on the seafloor near the island and tours of the shipwrecks are offered as specially guided dives, each accompanied by trained “underwater guardians.”

A group of interested specialists established the “Amigos de Isla Contoy” to explore the islands of Isla Contoy, Isla Mujeres and Cancun to document the locations of important archaeological sites. Until now, the stories and history behind the marine archaeological sites were hidden to many except for only a few experts and the local fishermen.

The Futouris project, sponsored by TUI Germany, is now in its second phase. The main objective of the first phase was to document and present maritime and archaeological discoveries from the shipwrecks to the public. Information about the historic shipwrecks was recorded and displayed in an exhibition in a newly established visitor center. Opportunities to learn about the shipwrecks are not just limited to a museum building on land, but also underwater. This is the first Nautical Museum on the Isla Contoy, and it gives residents and visitors the opportunity to experience the maritime history of the Yucatan from a new perspective. The main objective of the second project phase is to expand the exhibit to include the local history of the Yucatan and its people, including pre-Columbian and modern life along the Yucatan Peninsula and surrounding islands.  

Project Objectives

Main Objective:

  • Open a new exhibition on the "Maritime Heritage of Yucatan" at the Museum of the National Park of Isla Contoy.

Exhibition Part 1:

  • Introduction to underwater archeology and presentation of the cultural heritage of Mexico to the local residents and tourists.

Exhibition Part 2:

  • Opening of exhibit and presentation of the pre-Columbian Mayan pilgrimage and trade routes.

Exhibition Part 3:

  • Presentation of archaeological discoveries from the Spanish colonial period.
  • Special section: "Why We Must Protect Our Underwater Cultural Heritage ".

Project Partner / Coordinator

Project organization: Amigos de Isla Contoy

Project Coordinator: Catalina Galindo de Prince