Just a short ferry-ride away out of the busy Cancun you´ll find yourself on Isla Mujeres (Island of Women). This is what I would truly call Paradise. After living here for some months I definitely feel that this island is one of my favorites on the list! It can be quite surprising how much there is to do and discover here. After all, the island is only about 7 km long and 650m wide.
It´s true that it can get quite busy, especially during the high season (January through April). Some tourists come here only for a day visit, but I personally think that it deserves more than just one day. Don´t let the first impression fool you. Yes, when you first arrive it kind of hits you in the face with busy shopping streets and tourists everywhere. But once you´ve settled down a little and get to know the hidden gems here, it´s a very magical place.
Some of the best sunsets I´ve seen in my life is here on Isla Mujeres. Every night it amazes you.
I feel a special energy here, even though it´s busy with tourism I find this a place where I can really relax and just be. The environment has its own Mexican vibe with good food, lots of water-activities, friendly people, and beaches that are just incredible! Crystal fine white sand with turquoise blue water. Because of the small size of the island, you´ll get to know everyone around easily and it´s like its own little community here. Everyone living out the true island vibe! You´ll find a great mix of artists, musicians, fishermen, divers, backpackers, yogis and the happy holiday people. There is a wide range of bars and restaurants, it´s very easy to find something for everyone. My favorite place is the local food market, which is a little bit hidden from the usual tourist crowd, here you can find real Mexican food for a really good price.
Walk, Bike, Scooter or Golf-Cart your way around.
Well, for the people who really like to walk, it is possible to do so around the island. But the most popular and convenient way to get around is by either renting a bike, scooter or golf-cart. It´s a quite funny sight seeing all the golf carts driving around on the streets! This is a very popular choice and an experience by its own. If you decide to live here it´s also a very good way to catch a free ride, as you´ll always find some happy tourist willing to help!
Discover more with bicycle
My personal favorite to get around Isla Mujeres is to go by bike. In this way, you can truly explore and discover what the island has to offer. If you get out of the busy main-center you can bike along the east or west Malecon (seaside walks) and all the way to Punta-Sur, which is the southern tip of the island. This is a beautiful place with great ocean scenery, where you also can see the first rising sun of Mexico. If you´re willing to explore and open your eyes there is plenty of things to see on the way! This is also a great opportunity to discover the more hidden, unexplored beaches around.
On the east-side of the island, you can find rocky cliffs and wild sea (if you´re lucky you might spot some dolphins here). While on the west side there is calm crystal clear water.
At Punta-Sur, you´ll find the statue and temple of Ixchel which was the Mayan moon & fertility goddess. They say that in the Mayan-times the island was a sanctuary devoted to her.
4 sights you can´t miss when visiting Isla Mujeres.
So as I said, there is a lot to discover on this little paradise island. I´m going to share with you 4 sights that I feel you shouldn´t miss if you come for a visit!
MUSA & The Underwater World
The first sight on my list is the world famous MUSA which stands for Museo Subacatico De Arte, or in English; Cancun Underwater Museum. This was started by a non-profit organization found in Cancun. As you can hear by the name, this is a museum placed under the ocean and one of the biggest underwater attractions in the world! The museum spreads over an area on 420 square m and consist of over 500 sculptures made by six different artists, most by English sculptor Jason deCairs. I really liked this place as I´m a big fan of diving and snorkeling, it´s a cool and unique underwater experience! The museum creates artificial reefs and the sculptures change with the time as more corals and marine life start flourishing around the area. Which also makes this an important environmental project for our Oceans. On the island, there is a wide range of dive- and tourist centers arranging tours to see parts of the MUSA. For the people like me who loves the underwater world, there are more beautiful places with colorful reefs and fishes around Isla Mujeres to discover. If you visit the island during the middle of May to September you also have the chance to swim with whale sharks.
The Plastic Bottle Island
Richart Sowa is the name of the man and eco-architect who created this floating bottle-island which you can find in one of the lagoons located on Isla Mujeres. I had the lucky opportunity to get to know Richart a little bit and actually stay with him in his eco house on the floating island. Both the house and island are made out of recycled and natural materials. What makes it float is the base which is made out of wood-palets and more than 100,000 plastic bottles, adding more each day. Richart started his project already in 1998 and this is the 2:d island in the process. The first one got destroyed by a hurricane and was located on the Mexican Carribean coast. After that Richart found the perfect location here in one of the lagoons of Isla Mujeres. You´ll find a natural little environment on the island with sand, ponds, plants, and mangroves growing here, all the electricity is driven by solar power. It´s a great eco-project and possible to see with your own eyes as Richart arrange tours in exchange for a donation. Well worth a visit!
Playa Norte is the most beautiful beach on Isla Mujeres, this is the typical Carribean beach that you can see on postcards. Even if the beach can get busy it´s a really warm and relaxing vibe here. People come to hang their own hammocks, and it´s a great place to spend your whole day just chilling out, reading a book under a palm tree, or doing some kind of beach activity. For all the yogis, you have two beautiful Yoga studios located here, one called The Treehouse, located right on the beach and the other one called Vastu School of Yoga, located at the Na Balam Beach Hotel. In the evening people gather here at Playa Norte to play music, beach sports or just for enjoying a beautiful sunset.
Poc-Na is said to be the best hostel in the Carribean! And I think it’s worth a visit. It´s a big hostel with great atmosphere. They have a dive-center, massage studio, sand beach area with a volleyball court and their own famous Beach Bar. Here they put on different events and happenings like salsa-classes, yoga, magic shows, slacklining, movie-nights and more. Some evenings local bands come to play, where you can really feel in the Carribean vibe and if you dare, try some Salsa moves. For the people who like to stay up late, the Beach Bar is open every night from 11 pm. You don´t have to stay here to pay a visit but it’s a good option for the budget-traveler, as you have both private-rooms, dorms, and camping to chose from. I also find it very nice to walk around here just to check the artworks from different travelers that you can find on the walls around the hostel.