Located just 35 minutes by ferry from the Cancun Hotel Zone, Isla Mujeres offers unparalleled tropical beauty and some of the best hotels in the region. The island is also popular for its beaches, many of which are awarded the Blue Flag (prestigious environmental award), first of all, we are talking, of course, about the beaches of Playa Norte and Playa Centro.
The island’s restaurants prepare excellent cuisine, and the locals are friendly and hospitable. Even though dozens of large hotels are located on the island, there are also hidden places where tourists can hide from the hustle and bustle of crowded resort areas. Safety and cleanliness are two other important factors that have earned Isla Mujeres a high tourist award.
This is the first time the popular Caribbean island has received such a prestigious award. After years of investment in improving tourism infrastructure, the island’s efforts have finally paid off. In recent years, many of the local hotels remain fully booked throughout the summer. Many foreign tourists specifically choose Isla Mujeres for their holidays over Cancun or Playa del Carmen and the ferry transport tens of thousands of tourists to the island every month.
Those looking for luxury all-inclusive resorts will find the beautiful Zoëtry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres.
It offers first-class amenities, including private yacht transfers and award-winning restaurants. But there are also many budget hotels here, for those who are not ready to spend a lot of money to get a taste of a tropical paradise.
- Another reason for the growing popularity of Isla Mujeres is that there are almost no algae here.
Many beaches in Mexico’s Caribbean mainland are often criticized during the summer months due to abundant algae infestation due to seasonality and undercurrents. Tourists especially come to the island, because they know that here they can choose any beach to relax.
History of the Isle Mujeres:
The first traces of human presence here, according to archaeologists, date back to the beginning of our era: one of the found columns indicates the year 564. In the era of the Mayan civilization, which was well-developed for its time, the island was a sacred place.
- Thus, we can assume that the history of the island has more than 1500 years.
At that time, Isla Mujeres was part of the Maya province of Ekab.
Salt was mined here, which was used, in particular, for the preparation of medicines.
Perhaps that is why the island was considered dedicated to the goddess of medicine and hearth Ixcel, a temple was pitched here in her honor. Until now, many buildings of that era have been perfectly preserved.
- The first European to discover the island was Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba.
- In 1517, Francisco de Cordoba sailed from Cuba toward the Bahamas to capture slaves and search for new lands. As a result of severe storms, he veered off the course and reached the islands on the Caribbean coast of Mexico – the Isle of Women and Cozumel.
- The legend tells that on Isla Mujeres, the conquistadors discovered many statues of the goddess Ixcel, installed everywhere. And the only inhabitants of the island were women – priestesses who professed the cult of this goddess.
The island was considered a real sanctuary of the goddess Ixcel – the patroness of the moon, fertility, and medicine. The Temple of Ixcel was located at the southern tip of the island and also served as a lighthouse.
- The light of candles burning at night in the temple was visible to sailors passing by.
Subsequently, a lighthouse was built on the island, and the first settlement was formed only in the 19th century. It was founded by fishermen who moved here with their families. An important role in the development of the island was played by the legendary pirate de Marcega, who built a hacienda on almost half of the island, from which local agriculture began. Fishing in Cancun on Isla Mujeres is still attractive, it not only feeds the locals but is also considered one of the most interesting activities for tourists.
What is there to do here?
Of course, the list of entertainment on the island is not limited to this. You can take a leisurely stroll on foot, rent a golf cart, sunbathe or go for a walk to local attractions. Here everyone can find something to their liking.
- A trip to the Isle of Women is not only a trip to amazing beaches, excellent for an unforgettable vacation by the water. On this small piece of land, many interesting places will leave indelible impressions in your memory.
- To spend a luxurious day in this wonderful place, you can take advantage of a ready-made tour to Isla Mujeres, which can be easily organized for you at any Cancun travel agency. Usually, the program of such a tour already includes all the most interesting routes, including unique historical and cultural sights of the island. Although, of course, you can go here on your own.
1.Temple of Goddess Ixcel
The oldest temple is located on the southern cape. Even though it was badly damaged during the 1988 hurricane, part of the ancient wall and foundation have been preserved on the territory of the complex. According to tradition, on New Year’s Eve, local women bring gifts and donations to the goddess Ixchel, the patroness of fertility, health, and rainbows.
The Punta Sur Sculpture Park is also located here.
In the nursery, there are not only turtles but also other marine inhabitants who need help. The incubator helps in the rehabilitation of sick and injured animals, after which they are released into the wild. By desire, guests can feed the turtles and even participate in an interesting «liberation ceremony».
3.Underwater Museum of Art
On Isla Mujeres, you can visit the most unusual museum in the world. You definitely heard about him or saw photos. Underwater sculptures are on display near the Manchones reef. Those who wish can dive under the water using special diving equipment.
At a depth of approx. 30 ft, there are 473 sculptures, which are included in the largest composition «Evolution».
The human figures are life-sized and have the faces of real people.
4.Dolphin Discovery Park
Swim with dolphins, sharks, and other marine life at the theme park, located in the heart of the West Coast. In a specially equipped bay, tourists can stroke and feed the animals. The photo session is a must!
It is to this long-term event (from May to September) that a solemn holiday is dedicated – the Whale Shark Festival celebrated in July (migration peak) on Isla Mujeres.
- The main goal of the festival is not only vivid impressions of the grace and appearance of the grandiose inhabitants of the sea but also to teach the basics of environmental ethics.
Of course, this is not the whole festival program of the island. It will be difficult for us to convey even a small part of it, but rest assured, every weekend something happens here. Salsa championships, jalapeno eating competitions – you will definitely be dragged into some kind of fun adventure.
6.Fishing in Isla Mujeres
We recommend going on an exciting tour on a yacht, boat, or catamaran equipped with special professional equipment for fishermen. During a walk to Isla Mujeres, at the request, the ship can stop near the reefs, in the lagoon, and in other places suitable for fishing.
You can book fishing off the coast of Isla Mujeres, either while in Cancun or directly on the island.
The cost of such fishing trips start at an average of $120. Of course, do not take such a tour if you are not a big fan of fishing.
Of course you will have an assistant, but it is worth realizing that the sea fish is very heavy and strong, and to fight such an opponent you need a lot of strength. The average weight of a barracuda, for example, can exceed 20 pounds. Add to this its incredible strength and speed and you realize that such entertainment is not for everyone.
- The top of the popularity among local souvenirs are tequila and the Mexican sombrero hat.
- In the course of «historical» souvenirs – ancient edged weapons, figurines of gods, ceramics.
- An excellent addition to a wide-brimmed headdress will be a poncho – a good «warming» element of the outerwear of a citizen of Mexico.
Do not forget that the prices on the island will be higher than on the mainland. This is due, above all, to logistics, because there are no industries on the island itself. And, if some authentic souvenirs can be found at an affordable price, the cost of lunch or dinner can be significantly different. Especially when it comes to expensive hotels or beach clubs.
8.Golf car rental
For convenient transportation around the island, a golf cart is an ideal means of transport. It can be rented for a few hours or for the whole day. Rental shops are located all over the island, so it won’t be hard to find.
Bicycles and motorbikes can also be rented upon request.
Prices for renting a golf cart are affordable and start at $50 for the whole day.
- For registration, you must have a passport and rights.
To summarize: you can come to Isla Mujeres for a day just to spend time on one of the wonderful local beaches. You can combine a beach vacation with a golf cart tour of local attractions. You can dedicate your trip to exploring the local reefs with snorkeling, or take a full scuba diving tour. Or perhaps you want to rent a villa to have a small pool party with friends and then enjoy a barbecue overlooking the stunning sunset over Cancun. Either way, there are enough activities to suit all tastes.