Just north east of Cancun, Isla Mujeres, is a tiny island literally translates to ‘womens’ island’. Not sure what the origin was, but it is as beautiful as a loving woman. With a wide variety of water sports options including but not limited to snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming in the turquoise waters, this is a must visit for Cancun vacationers. Abundance of beaches, humming streets, and plenty of bars/restaurants will keep a tourist busy for an entire day.
How to get there:
We hopped on a cruise (err party) boat from Playa Tortuga at the north west corner of Zona Hotelera. Company details here – Caribbean Funday Adventures.
We paid ~$65 per person for a return trip and bunch of activities including food and open bar. Although it seems high, given that one way transfers from any of the three ports (Playa Tortuga, Playa Linda, and Playa Caracol) would cost about $20 p.p., we thoroughly enjoyed our trip that lasted about 8 hours.
TIP – At Playa Tortuga, if you need to park, find the parking attendant (which might be tough during busy times) and pay $5 for all day. But get there early as the parking lot is small, and getting a spot can be tricky. Best bet is to catch R1/R2 buses @9.50 pesos p.p. which stops right next to Playa Tortuga.
In Isla Mujeres:
If you are staying back for a night in Isla Mujeres, you can hail a cab to go to the hotel zone for ~$5. If just for a day, it is best to plan the day ahead at least in the busy seasons, as the attractions/activities fill quickly.
With the party boat, we docked at a beach area south of the Playa Norte where they had a bunch of activities including a small turtle farm, dolphin feeding area, kayaking, water slides etc. We had breakfast/snacks and lunch after going out to the sea for snorkeling. The snorkeling experience was fantastic. We spotted a ton of colorful reef fish, the reefs themselves, and underwater flora/fauna.
If you can plan ahead, definitely work out a plan to visit the MUSA Underwater Museum. Details can be found here
. But you may not be able to explore the full view of the sculptures from the surface, so Scuba is a better option if you want to see the structures up close.
Although there was not much to do after eating a sumptuous lunch, we could have taken a scooter/ATV to explore the nearby area. Instead we headed to the Playa Norte, which is also close to the El Centro (downtown Isla Mujeres). The beach is typically crowded, but can get an ATV or golf cart (costs about $50 for an hour, but definitely haggle and shop around to get the best price). It is probably the best way to look around the El Centro in the scorching tropical sun.
After a fun day in Isla Mujeres, we headed back to Cancun and boy! was that fun. With free booze on board the catamaran, and a ton of activities, dancing, and games on board, it was a blast. We returned back to the Playa Tortugas right after sunset.