Last month, I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite islands again. Isla Mujeres is a small, endearing and charming island right across the bay from the bustling city center that is Cancun. I’ve been coming here for about a decade, and each time I’m happy to discover that has somehow stayed exactly the same but has also developed some new and fun changes. If you are planning to check this place out (which you should, seriously it is beautiful) here are some tips to help you plan your trip and things to do while there…
Before you Leave
Join Islaholics on Facebook: Made up of a combination of new travelers, islanders, and people who are living the dream and have left their 9-5 in North America to live on the island, this group has all of the tips for whatever you are looking for. Great tips on food to eat, places to avoid, where to take your family, and good deals on places to stay. If you have any questions leading up to your trip, ask away on this group before Googling. The people are open, honest and trustworthy-I’ve never received a bad tip (although keep in mind the most important thing I have asked there is where to get the best mojito, btw).
Book Canada Transfers from the airport: Canada Transfers will pick you up at the airport, and drive you and your group in a private, air-conditioned SUV or van and drop you off at the Puerto Juarez Ferry, which is how you will get to Cancun. It is approximately $80 for a group of 1-6 people, and that is round trip. SO, they will pick you up at Gran Puerto Juarez on your way home and take you back to the airport. The best part? You can book your round-trip ferry ticket through their site as well to save money AND book yourself a cooler full of beer or coolers for your transport. Hot tip: Beers are $1 CAD.
Book your accommodations in advance: This is not the place where you just show up and hope for the best. The people are extremely helpful and certainly will do their best to assist you, however, Spanish is still the primary language there. Whatever you are into, Isla has options: two all-inclusive hotels, downtown hotels near the action, condos for families, or AirBNB’s for the traveler on a dime (me).
Once You Arrive
Get a frozen mojito from the Joint: Best mojito, hands down. Live music, yummy food, and a beautiful view of the bay while you’re there. It is down on Punta Sur (the South end of the island), but ask anyone and they will easily be able to help
Follow the Happy Hours: The island has a variety of happy hour’s starting as early as 9am-1am. Follow these around the island, and you are guaranteed to have a night to remember (or not, if that’s your thing).
Talk to the locals: The people on the island are among the most friendly and genuine people I have had the pleasure of meeting. The first time I went to the island, I was eight years old. People STILL remember me and my family by name, which is something I think is pretty special. Anything you need, reach out and ask. Maybe you’ll make a new friend
Eat some seafood: Yeah yeah, I know you might not be a “seafood person”. And that’s your loss. BUT, if you are, this island has so much to offer. There are a variety of places along the main drag where you can watch your food being caught in the bay, walked up the dock, and handed to the cook. All while you sip your mojito with your feet in the sand.
Visit Garrafon de Castilla: Now, I do not mean “Garrafon”. That is a multi-million dollar travel company that is too mainstream to be fun anymore. They also operate tours on the island, which are okay, but for me personally, Garrafon de Castilla is the only way to go. 70 pesos gets you in for the day to some of the coolest snorkeling you will ever see. A beautiful beach with excellent food and beautiful views is also on the menu, as well as some of the largest iguanas on the island. 70 pesos is approximately 5 Canadian dollars. A tour with Garrafon is around $90. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Next week I will be writing about more of my favourite things to do on the island. Thank you for reading!