***Reminder - passports are needed to return to the United States after all
international air travel, as of January 23, 2007.
Isla Mujeres is a quaint, unique alternative to the hustle and bustle of other Yucatan destinations. It is
just a short 20 minute ferry ride from the mainland - you can reach it in under an hour from the airport.
This little island offers spectacular sunrises and sunsets, beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise
waters, and year 'round warm weather. Family and culture is important, and while tourists are
welcomed and embraced, wild spring-break behaviour is not.
Less than 6 miles long, and under 1/2 mile wide at its widest part, this little island is packed with
offerings for travelers. The north end has the famous Playa Norte "north beach," which is known as
one of the best beaches in the world. The north end has the tourist district with many choices for
accommodations, from studios to hotel rooms to condos. There are many shops and restaurant
choices for every taste. Nightlife includes open-air restaurants with live music, and several clubs are
open till the wee hours.
Just to the south of the downtown tourist area is a strip of private rental homes overlooking the
Caribbean and the pounding surf. These are close enough to walk to town for festivities, restaurants
and shopping, but far enough out for tranquility. Experience amazing sunrises and sunsets from
Travel a little further south to mid-island you enter the colonias, where most of the local Isleno's live.
There are lodging choices in this area for immersion experiences. Moving further south many
upscale rental homes dot the seaside, including the famous Shell House. On the western edge of the
island is the Sac Bajo area, with hotels and houses situated on calm beaches. This one little island is
packed with choices ranging from budget to adults' only luxury.
You can do as much or as little as you wish. Lounge in a hammock or lie on the beaches with waiters
delivering tropical drinks, go shelling, snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming or bicycling. No rental cars
are available, but be sure to rent a golf cart to explore the island for a day or more. Don't miss Punta
Sur (southern point) which includes the easternmost point in Mexico, experiencing the first rays of
sun for the country each day. The views from the Punta Sur paths are magnificent, with pounding
turquoise surf on a jagged coastline. Take a day trip to nearby Isla Contoy, a nature preserve, a
snorkel tour to Manchone's Reef, try your luck with Baracuda fishing, or in the summer months, take
an excursion to snorkel with the whale sharks. Don't miss Sunday nights in the zocalo for local street
vendors, and families dressed in Sunday best.
Isla Mujeres is not for everyone. It is more authentic Mexico than the planned tourist destinations like
Cancun. For those that prefer large all-inclusive properties with kids' clubs and unlimited drinks, and
accommodations just like at home, the mainland holds better options. For those looking for a quieter
and more authentic experience - travelers that like to get a little off the beaten path and experience
the culture around them, but still in a comfortable environment that caters to tourists, the island is a