Isla Mujeres Offers a Refreshing, Relaxed Alternative to Cancun
A small, intimate island off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula, Isla Mujeres is nestled near the resort city of Cancun. Visitors praise the island’s tranquil, rustic, and laid-back ambiance. The hotels offer comfort and cleanliness without the “touristy” feel of nearby resorts.
While many guests come to the island with no objective other than relaxing on the pristine white beaches, others enjoy a more active vacation by participating in the dozens of available water-based activities, including boating, jet-skiing, scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, swimming, and sailing.
Although all of the beaches on Isla Mujeres are public property, some of the umbrellas, chairs, and other beach equipment belong to private hotels and restaurants, so be sure to obtain permission before using or moving them. Signs are usually posted identifying private property. Children are welcome and safe at all of the beaches on the island.
One of the most popular beaches on the island is known as Playa Norte. The white sand is incredibly soft, and the clear, turquoise waters provide the perfect environment for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. At Playa Norte, you can rent any equipment you might need for your shore side endeavors, including water toys and umbrellas. There are a number of restaurants and bars on the beach, with courteous wait staff who will bring your coastal fare right to your lounge chair.
Other prime beach options include Playa Lancheros, Playa Indios, and Playa Paraiso. Since they don’t attract the high volume of tourists that Playa Norte does, these locations offer great opportunities for solitude and relaxation. At these laid-back shores, you can find local fishermen barbecuing the fresh catch of the day, open-air restaurants and cafes, public restrooms, and equipment for virtually any activity.
A popular snorkeling venue on the island is Playa Garrafon, famous for its diverse population of brilliantly colored tropical fish. The Machines Reef and Bahia Mujeres are also favorites. Snorkelers exploring these locations are treated to extraordinary sights not found in any other waters in the world.
If you enjoy fishing, trips can be arranged on the island through the boatmen’s cooperative. Budget-conscious travelers can join a group to share the cost of the boat, crew, equipment, and bait. For a day-long fishing excursion, you can bring your own food and drinks or arrange for these to be provided by the boat operator.