My round trip in Mexico ended in Isla Mujeres. The beautiful “isle of women”, located a half hour ferry ride outside of Playa Tortugas in Cancun, wasn’t named after the ubiquitous sunbathers. There are, on the other hand, several theories about the origin of the island’s name. One says that the Spanish buccaneers left their wives safely behind on the island while they went to protect their land from plunderers. Another theory believes that the name of the island refers to the sculptures of maya goddesses that you can still go and admire. And these are just two theories of many!
What is certain, though, is that the price of a return ticket, is about €20pp with Ultramar.
Visiting Isla Mujeres is definitely worth it! Here are 7 reasons why you should include the island into your Mexico itinerary.
7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Isla Mujeres
Discover the island by golf cart
In the high season, it can turn out difficult to find a shop that still has golf carts left to rent, which is represented in the prices. Nevertheless, you should definitely get one! We stayed in Punta Norte and the most convenient way to get to Punta Sur to visit the lighthouse and all the beautiful sights on the way was by golf cart. The only tip you should absolutely keep in mind is to go easy on the speed bumps (the people sitting in the back will thank you!).
Snorkeling with whale sharks
From June till August you can go snorkeling with whale sharks. There are several organizations, such as Fisherman’s Cooperative, that organize snorkeling excursions. They know where the optimal reefs and hot spots are for the best experience.
Have lunch at Pita Amore
I discovered this lunch spot in Lonely Planet where it was mentioned as the best pita of Isla Mujeres and potentially of all of Mexico. Oh boy were they right! The chicken pita I ordered was heavenly. The location of Pita Amore is very compact and decorated as if it were an old, weathered beach cabin. People from all over the world left their signatures behind on the walls. Pita Amore seats about 8 to 10 people comfortably so we were lucky we got in!
Sunbathing and sunset-watching at Punta Norte
Punta Norte is the most popular part of the island. Almost all of the hotels, restaurants and cafés are located on this side of the island. The beaches with the most ambiance are located here as well. You just pick a beach (you can’t really be wrong) and enjoy the soft, white sand and the clear blue water. And you can just stay in your spot until the sun sets, which is an amazing spectacle of colors!
Culinary Pleasures at Olivia
Since 2007, the Israeli couple behind Olivia, who have been living on Isla Mujeres for years, have been cooking delicious meals mixing the Moroccan, Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish influences into culinary art. The tastes and the decorum of Olivia have completely won me over.
Pay a visit to the tortugranja
From August till September an amazingly cute spectacle takes place on Isla Mujeres: the hatching of the turtle eggs including the journey to the sea. Since 1980, turtles can safely make the trip across the beach of the turtle farm and leave their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles can safely make it to the beach. Every year the turtles return to this place to repeat the process. But despite the existence of this tortugranja, every year only 1 out of 1000 turtles (of 125,000 in total) will survive their first year.
Diving Paradise: a Sunken Ship and Underwater Museum
The sunken cargo ship Ultrafreeze and the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) with its 500 statues make for a unique diving experience for advanced divers. A diving diploma is mandatory!
Finally, an interesting fact to know is that there are combined tickets for a visit to Isla Mujeres and Isla Cozumel, which is the biggest island in the Riviera Maya. You should look into whether Isla Cozumel fits in your itinerary as well. I have heard it is a lively island with lots of things to see and do as well!
And if you don’t believe the color of the water in my pictures is real, take a look at this video from CNN: video.
There, have I given you enough reasons why you should include Isla Mujeres in your Mexico itinerary? 😉