Of all the well known and documented areas of the Mayan Riviera, somehow this little gem remains the most discreet location. I am not saying that it is a secret by any means, this tiny little paradise welcomes hundreds of visitors either staying for life, visiting for a week, or saying hello for a day, but you cant imagine the number of people who frequent this area, and answer ... "never heard of it" when you talk about this Island Paradise.
Of course, I am talking about Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres, which translates loosely to Island of Women, is a roughly 7km long sliver of rock, sand, turquoise water and tiny little expanse of housing nestled a few kilometers off the hotel zone of Cancun.
The tiny little haven for hammock swingers boasts possibly the most beautiful beach in the area known simply as North Beach. Walk out 50-100 meters out and still be waist deep in crystal clear water with soft white sand under your feet. With only 1 real location that could take the title as a "resort" Isla Mujeres and North Beach still remains somewhat uncrowded by normal Playa del Carmen and Cancun standards and has some terrific restaurants and bars where you can sit on swings and enjoy the view in every direction.
Dont just get caught up in the beauty of the beach! This island has a lot to offer for explorers, and you have absolutely no excuses to make a voyage around the island because like aforementioned, it is only 7km long and about 800 meters wide ... at the widest point! Even though it is a small island, it varies quite a lot throughout each corner of Isla. When you leave the main center area, fairly named ... Centro ... you can either go the east or west side of the small airstrip that splits the island. Passing along the west side you pass small local housing, grocery stores, a great old school gym known as Gym Tonic, and the once beautiful beach, starts to turn into a deep green mangrove. Other than the little streets that intersect the homes in the center of the island, there is one main ring road that circulates the island. Taking the west side and going counterclockwise around the island you will approach the southern tip of the island a couple beautiful must visit locations.
The first ... Marley's Bar! Known also as The Joint, this reggae bar is so relaxed, time even starts to slow down. Enjoy an incredible blended mojito or margarita and some food here before setting off to the viewpoint of the Cancun Hotel Zone and Garrafon Adventure Park a mere 150 meters down the way. You can buy a fresh coconut and some mango here and look at the many shades of blue and zipliners passing below you. The road will start to loop as you have now reached the final point of the island, and instantly, as you start returning along the east side of the island, the topography and landscape changes from whispy sand to rocky land! Enjoy some gorgeous houses perched on the rolling cliffs as you start to make your way back to El Centro on the other side of the island.
There are many bars, restaurants, beach clubs and swimming holes to visit along the way, and discovering things yourself is more than half the fun, so I will leave the rest up to you, but I will say, make sure you do at least one lap of the island, and make a stop in to see Marley and have a mojito at his bar. You will be happy you did.
Get Out and See The World!