Looking for a change of pace from Cancun’s busy strip? Why not take a 20-minute ferry ride ($17 US return) across the Bahia de Mujeres to Isla Mujeres?
In Mayan times, the island was called Ekab and served as a sanctuary for the Mayan Goddess, Ixchel. In 1517, when the Spanish expedition landed on the island, they found many female idols representing Ixchel. These ‘women’ led to the island’s current name – Isla Mujeres or ‘Island of Women.’
Historically, Isla Mujeres was a fishing village, and although it’s become a popular spot for tourists, it has still retained its charm. The island itself is only five miles long and half a mile wide at its widest part. Colourful buildings and crafts made by local artisans line the streets.
By the afternoon, the empty sidewalks come alive as cafés and restaurants spill out into the street. Although quite small in size, the island offers a wide variety of restaurants and cafés.
Whether you prefer to spend your days lounging on the white sand beaches, sipping mango daiquiris, or swimming and snorkeling or sailing in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, Isla Mujueres’ beaches offer something for everyone.
With several dive shops on the island, Isla Mujeres is the perfect place to learn how to scuba dive.
Then head off to check out the world’s largest underwater museum, filled with sculptures designed to promote marine life and protect the area’s natural coral reefs.
If a land tour is more your thing, rent a motorbike or golf cart and go out exploring the island – just watch out for the many speed bumps varying in size from barely noticeable to back seat catapults! Just driving around the island offers lots of photo ops, including the Shell House – imagine sleeping in a giant shell!
Other notable stops include the Turtle Farm to see the sea turtles and Punta Sur, home to the temple honouring the Mayan Moon Goddess.
Isla Mujeres, with its beautiful beaches and colourful streets, is a must see for anyone looking to take a break from Cancun, but still wanting some adventure. Here, you can learn to scuba dive and check out the cave of sleeping sharks. Or, if you dare, try bungee jumping before boarding the ferry to the beautiful ‘Island of Women!’