Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres (Spanish for "Island of Women") is an island in the Mexican Caribbean Sea, located eight miles off of the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, near Cancún Mexico.

Sleepy Playa Norte

Understand

Isla Mujeres was a Mayan sanctuary to goddess Ixchel for about a thousand years. In around 1850 the first modern inhabitants moved to the island and established the village of Dolores.

Peak season is during the winter months when temperatures are cooler. Summer temperatures are sweltering, with blazing sun and highs well over 32 °C (90 °F), although summer visitors (from mid-May through September) have the opportunity to see whale sharks which gather in nearby waters in groups that can contain up to 400 sharks.

Get in

By boat

There are various boats that will take you there. From Cancún you can get a boat. Ferries leave from Puerto Juarez/Gran Puerto (73 pesos one way), Playa Tortugas on the hotel zone, or Punta Sam. Playa Tortugas only has six departures per day. In Punta Sam you can get a car-ferry (35 pesos one way for pedestrians). Puerto Juarez is quite close to downtown Cancun, but not within a walking distance. Puerto Juarez and Punta Sam can be reached by Colectivos starting opposite the ADO bus station (in front of the McDonald's) in downtown within a few minutes for 8 pesos. A bus route also picks up there, but is 10.50. The locals use Puerto Juarez and thus these ferries can get crowded. Be advised that these rides although fast, can be somewhat rough in bad weather, especially in the evening.

By plane

If you're in a hurry and have cash to spare, you can charter a Cessna from Aerobanana (tel. 998 87-25040). Or, if you are the adventurous type, try hitching a ride with a local in their plane. You will never forget the look on the Mexican's face when he sees an opportunity to acquire a new friend.

Get around

The island is about 7km in length, but the main town area is extremely compact and very walkable. Taxis from the ferry terminal will take you anywhere in town for 30 pesos, but for excursions to the far side of the island the best option is to rent a scooter or golf cart. Like everything in Mexico, you should be able to haggle a decent price - assume $25 a day as a starting price for a moped rental. There are two main roads that run from end to end of the island. Be aware that when driving on the Caribbean side of the island, there are occasional strong gusts of wind that can really take you by surprise on a scooter, as can the many topes, or speed bumps.

See

Do

Fish watching season at Garafon Park

Water activities

  •   Mexico Divers PADI Dive Resort, Av Francisco I Madero # 10, Centro, Hidalgo y Guerrero, Isla Mujeres, Q roo, Mexico. (next to OXXO Store),  (+52) 9988771117, e-mail: . 08:00 - 20:00. Mexico Divers PADI Dive Resort #22901 is a family-owned Dive Center with the knowledge, quality and professionalism that a diving operation requires to make your vacation in Isla Mujeres a safe and memorable experience.
  • Aqua Adventures (Booking office on Calle Hidalgo, actual dive center at Marina Paraiso). Nice and relaxed dive shop that advertises itself as the only PADI-certified shop on the island.

Land activities

Buy

You have the typical items available for purchase (blankets, jewelery, stone carvings, pipes). Silver is the item to look for and good prices can be found, especially if buying in quantity. The majority of shops and restaurants accept the US dollar but may give you your change in pesos.

Eat

Hidalgo Street is full of restaurants catering to the tourist crowd and tends to be the most lively and also the priciest, while the central portion of the island is where the locals tend to eat and has slightly lower prices. Beach restaurants are also plentiful, with options near the ferry terminal being more lively while those on Playa Norte and other beaches featuring a more relaxed atmosphere.

Fish is fresh and bountiful, and dishes like ceviche are popular and delicious. A signature island dish is Tik-n-chik, which is a whole fish marinated in achiote and grilled. Dining options include everything from an exquisite lobster dinner to a slice of pizza. Some of the best food on the island comes from carts: taco stands and vendors selling corn on the cob and tamales in the town square. Be aware that eggs, corn, or milk is rarely refrigerated here because of local tradition.

Drink

Isla's nightlife is a lot more laid back then Cancun's but there are still good options. The livelier nightlife seems to be found on Hidalgo Street, while the beach bars are more relaxed. Also, like all beach towns in Mexico, it is usually "Happy Hour" someplace, and beer is 2 for about $3, mixed drinks, 2 for $5. The "beach bars" on the north end have rotating happy hours. Try a michelada, which is a beer mixed with fresh lime juice and a variety of other sauces - the perfect delicious island drink. If you want a dosage of Cancun nightlife, jump on an express ferry heading to Cancun in the evening, party the night away and take the first ferry back to Isla at 5AM.

Drink: Orange Fanta It is especially good on the Island, and can be found in many local establishments!

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

The private homes on Punta Sur make great options if your budget is greater. Located on the most sought after location, these incredible homes overlook the bay towards Cancun.

Casa Vaya Vida. This 3 bedroom home has a piano shaped infinity pool overlooking the bay. The master suite has ocean view. The palapa on the roof provides 360 ocean views. It is one of the top rated casa's on the island.

Casa Vista Allegre Del Sur.

Casa Amarilla.

Cope

There are not too many ATMs on the island. One is located right across the port, and the next one in a supermarket just a few meters north. The Xpress Supermarket by the town square also has an ATM.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 20, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.