What Makes Isla Mujeres Muy Popular?

Posted July 30, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

Isla-mujeres Considering torrential downpours have been the rule in Boston this summer, I’m thinking I’d better schedule a tropical trip in the near future to avoid a serious case of poking-myself-in-the-eye-with-a-cocktail-fork-just-to-dull-the-pain-itis.

Now, one of the great things about working at a travel media company is that great trip tips abound; you want to go somewhere, somebody here’s been there. And in the case of Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the coast of Cancun, a whole bunch of somebodies have been there as part of the company trip in 2006. (Sadly, before my time.) So, being the ingenious little travel planner I am, I asked for activity recommendations from my coworkers so that you and I both, dear reader, can benefit from their sage advice. Read on…

[Note from blogger: I only made minor edits for clarification purposes or to reduce duplication]

Christine: My favorite is Buho's Swing Bar, where I (you guessed it), sat on a swing and sucked down cold beers for the better part of a day. Looks like there are a number of bars where the seats are swings on the island.

Kerry: Renting golf carts and cruising around the island was the highlight for me. It was also nice to get out of the tourist trap that is Cancun to a more authentic taste of Mexican culture – no Señor Frogs on Isla Mujeres!

Dave M.: Best part for me was riding around the island on a scooter and then visiting the sea turtle sanctuary.

Aline: Here are some highlights that I remember: Drinking out of coconuts; forget the name … but one the southern end of the island is a lighthouse (which you can climb) with "cliffs" and crashing waves (there were some artists' installations in the area too, not sure if they are permanent); fresh seafood and guac ... mmmmm; a sad aquarium (sea prison more like it); and seeing [a coworker] fall off of a scooter.

Jack: Personally, I liked [same coworker]’s scooter accident that day ... but probably not appropriate for the blog. [Note from blogger: Heh heh, so you think.] The sculpture park at the southern tip and the bar with swings on the beach at the northern end were both good too.

Line: I loved the beach at Isla Mujeres … they have hammocks at the bar where you can just swing, drink and eat. It’s very serene and beautiful with crystal blue water…

The restaurants there are great. They have authentic Mole sauce. The streets are small and the island really isn’t very big. There are a lot of street vendors around selling all sorts of things, jewelry, leather stools etc… I felt like we were really experiencing Mexico in Isla Mujeres. Being in Cancun at the resort didn’t feel like we’re really in Mexico but once we stepped foot on that cute little island, we understood what Mexico was all about. Fun, relaxation, friendly talkative people and great food.

Pati: I went to Isla Mujeres and it was the best part of the entire Cancun voyage. The most interesting thing about the island, and I’m not sure if it applies to your blog [Note from blogger: Totally applies!], was the cemetery, which housed cramped monoliths and oversized gravestones. Walking in there was phantasmagoric because the stone throughout was white yet there were all these splashes of color from the ornate plastic floral arrangements on the tombstones. But the most surreal thing about the place was that the majority of the names carved on the stones had my surname, which is not a very common one. Creeeee-py.

Also, in the cemetery we met a local who lives on the island and provides tours. He gave us a complimentary walk around the place and pointed out one particular grave, which held the bones of the pirate who “first inhabited” the island. I can’t recall the details of the pirate’s origins or anything else but that was cool. By the way, I say “first inhabited” because the island already had permanent citizens in the natives when said pirate docked on the island. Oh yeah, one last thing about what the guide told us was that they have processions and parade to that cemetery on the Day of the Dead. DoD is a huge celebration in Mexico (and Central America, for that matter) and it runs about a week or so, if I remember correctly.

Anne: Highlights for me were the swing bar (and their 2-fer cocktail specials!), renting a scooter/golf cart to circumvent the whole island, and the walk at Punta Sur where you can get really close to the waves — it’s just gorgeous.

I also loved the shell house that was featured on HDTV (though it’s a private residence and you can only admire it from the outside). [Note from blogger: Oooo, guess what? It’s private...but you can rent it! )

Mo: We had a great traditional lunch at a restaurant called Pinguino where we had the BEST mole in the whole world. Seriously crazy good. Seated in a small pavilion, it’s casual and inexpensive, they had musicians walking around. Also, we rented golf carts and drove around the island, which was fun.

Mike: We went to a place where they raise endangered turtles, that was fun. I believe Mo [Note from blogger: They’re married. Don’t you love it when great people end up together?] is mentioning Pinguino, but in case she missed them I’ll mention it, too. There’s a turtle hatchery that was pretty cool as well as a nice walk through a sculpture garden down to some cliffs.

Erin: My favorite part of Isla Mujeres is that you can rent a golf cart or moped for super cheap and tool around the island all day. I think we made it around the whole island in just a couple hours, stopping at a cute café for lunch, a beach bar for a drink, and a place with zip-lining through the treetops!

And there you have it. Do these people know travel (and scooter accidents) or what? For even more inspiration, I’ll strongly encourage you to SmarterTravel Executive Editor Anne Banas’ article "My secret slice of paradise on Mexico's Isla Mujeres". Bear in mind that prices aren’t current, but it’s certainly worth a read for island flavor.

As for me, I'm kind of itching to book a little trip. Have you ever been there? Do you have any tips to add? My potential future vacation and I will be eternally grateful. Because it's definitely going to be here...or Mykonos...or Chile...or Andalucia...or...hmm.  

(Photo: cancunwonders.com)

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