Cabo Catoche

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For the disease formerly called catoche, see catalepsy.
Cabo Catoche on the Yucatán Peninsula

Cabo Catoche or Cape Catoche, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, is the northernmost point on the Yucatán Peninsula. It lies in the municipality of Isla Mujeres, about 53 km (33 mi) north of the city of Cancún.

Catoche was the location of the first intentional landing by Europeans in the territory of modern-day Mexico, during the Córdoba expedition, on 4 March 1517. The Spanish were invited into the native town with "Cones catoche, cones catoche, which means: 'Come to our houses'." On the way, the Spaniards were ambushed, suffering thirteen wounded to the native's fifteen killed. The Spaniards captured two natives, baptized as Julian and Melchior, who became interpreters on future Spanish expeditions, before Melchior turned traitor at the Battle of Centla.[1]:18,72–73,81

This is also the site of the first known accidental landing, a shipwreck in 1511, in which Gerónimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero survived.[1]:60–64

The name is believed to be a corruption of the Mayan word cotoch, "our houses, our homeland". Cabo Catouche is also home to Holbox Island and a very special lagoon. Holbox Island and its Yalahau lagoon at the northeast corner of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula is where the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico all converge, creating the richest environment for an abundance of marine life. It is in fact, home to the largest gathering of Whale Sharks in the world for about five months out of the year. Because of the mixing of these waters and the white coraline sands, the most spectacular turquoise and emerald waters are found. This Island is a protected area and the sands are an important hatchery for Sea Turtles and a host of bird species. The Yalahau Lagoon is a fresh water lagoon and so deep that the water appears to be black. In Satellite photographic images the Lagoon appears to be a black hole.Coordinates: 21°36′21″N 87°06′12″W / 21.6058°N 87.1033°W / 21.6058; -87.1033


  1. ^ a b Diaz, B., 1963, The Conquest of New Spain, London: Penguin Books, ISBN 0140441239