Isla Mujeres, Goddess Ixchel’s island
The island where the sun rises
The island of Isla Mujeres is the most easterly Mexican territory and because of this its inhabitants often say: Mexico despierta aquí (Mexico wakes up here). This quaint little strip of land off of the Mexican Caribbean has been blessed with natural beauty. Its crystal clear waters, narrow streets, diverse fauna and people, makes it an attractive place to visit, and at only a short boat ride away from Cancun, a perfect place for a fantastic day out. So fantastic in fact, that the sun greets it before the rest of the country.
Journey to the island
Isla Mujeres sits just six kilometers from Cancun’s northeast coast making it easy to get to. The ferry costs US$19 for a round ticket departing from Cancun’s hotel zone and takes approximately 30 minutes depending on the point of embarkation. Often you will find artists playing live music while you navigate the tranquil waters of the Caribbean, making the short journey an even more pleasant one.
Upon arrival to the island our first recommendation is to hire a golf cart (you will see plenty of these as soon as you step off the ferry). The island is roughly seven kilometres long and at its broadest, one kilometre wide, so it’s easy to get around without having to rush. Renting these buggies costs around 600 pesos (approximately US$40) for the day.
If you make your way south towards the southernmost tip of the island you will find a temple built by the Mayans to Ixchel, the Mayan Goddess of the moon and fertility. The clifftop provides great views of the crashing waves below, made greater with the addition of a coconut ice cream!
Once you’ve finished your helado it’s time to hit the road, heading north up the east side of the island. We promise you that the views, tranquility, and sunshine will make you fall even more in love with the Mexican Caribbean.
Let’s go to the beach!
The best place to sunbathe and swim is at Playa Norte, where you can relax and disconnect from the world for a few hours. Once the sun begins to set it is time to get something to eat. Nearby Avenida Hidalgo is a great place to look. Similar to Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue with its many shops, bars, and restaurants, but a more laidback atmosphere that only these small Caribbean islands possess.
In addition to Mexican restaurants, you will find Italian, Cuban, and Argentinian options – amongst many others – to delight both palate and pocket. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a place that will leave you full and content, ready to catch the ferry back to Cancun. You may be tired but you’ll be smiling for days with the knowledge that you got to know Cancun and Isla Mujeres, two very distinct places separated by warm tranquil waters.