A paradise in Playa

Are you tired of the “big box” all-inclusive resorts? Annoying beach vendors? The commercialism of the Mayan Riviera? Are you longing for the Playa del Carmen of 20 years ago? Isla Mujeres could be the perfect little piece of paradise that you are looking for!

Isla Mujeres or Island of the Women is located a mere 13 kms away from downtown Cancun. Easily accessible by a 30 minute ferry crossing from Puerto Juarez (foot passengers only). The island itself is only 7 kms long and supports a local population of 10,000. The ferry terminal is located right downtown in the Playa Norte district. Quaint cobblestone streets, beachfront cantinas and the usual myriad of eager vendors and local guides were the immediate impressions. After politely declining all services, I found the closest beachfront cantina, free Wi-Fi and ordered a nice cold Dos Equis! Immediately apparent was the wide range of accommodations available. Pricing ranged from very cheap to deluxe 5*. All-inclusive resorts as well as B&B’s, deluxe home rentals and yoga retreats. Isla Mujeres truly offers something for every budget! The popular North Beach district is the most developed on a touristic level. This is also the best beach on the island. This was my personal little gem. Cabanas del Mar

For such a small place there is so much to do! Snorkel, diving, Dolphin Discovery, fishing, sea turtle reserve. Tour the island by bike, scooter or golf cart. At night you have a veritable smorgasbord to choose from. Prices range from basic pizzerias to elegant culinary experiences. The locals quickly identify who is a “day-tripper from Cancun” and who is a new “loco gringo”. It’s amazing how the ambiance of the island changes after the last of the day tours leave around 4 pm. An open smile, feeble attempt at Spanish and respect for their home goes a long way to endearing yourself to the locals. Everyone has time to chat, to swap stories on the best dive or fishing spots, local history or evening events. I truly felt welcomed and above all else …… relaxed!

At night Isla’s 5th Avenue is Hidalgo Street. Live music and good natured fun is had by all. Wander up and down the boulevard until you find the right spot for the evening. Rock 'n Roll, Country Western, Mariachi all blend together for a noisy raucous source of entertainment. Later, in the wee hours as you wander back to your little home away from home, you can gaze across at the nighttime skyline of Cancun and feel truly at peace and a complete world away from the hustle bustle of the mainland.

Isla Mujeres …. Your little piece of paradise. Friendly, laid back, still a real Mexican feel. Perfect for that get away from it all vacation!


Where to stay: North Beach or Playa Norte has the best beach and is where Hidalgo Street is located. South Point is visually beautiful but has no beach. Just a rocky coastline and its very windy.

All Inclusives: For those of you still wanting that pre-paid budget you can choose from the lovely Avalon Reef Club which is located in Playa Norte or the exquisite 5* Isla Mujeres Palace Resort located towards the fantastic snorkelling area of Garrafon Park.

Favorite Breakfast Spot: Cafe Cito. The proprietor “Ciggy” is a wealth of local information and a fantastic chef!

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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