Living on this island paradise can sometimes be very exciting, and especially when I have friends arriving here.. I feel I have showed so many people around Isla Mujeres that I now know the places and things they have found most interesting.
This list is not in any particular order.
1. Renting a golf cart/scooter/bicycle and exploring isla.
If you have a vehicle, it makes it so much easier and fun to explore the island! I always recommend my friends to go to the south point where all the statues are..
I admit the statues are not the most exciting thing to see, but if you go all the way out on the point you can see Isla`s famous Maya ruins and enjoy the beautiful view. Go down the stairs and walk the trail that is set up there, it is awesome when the waves are a little big! I have seen turtles several times here, and to top it off, it is Mexico`s most eastern point, this is where the sun first hits Mexico every morning.
Not to be forgotten is the famous Shell house, which I think is a brilliant house, privately owned unfortunately, so please keep off their lawn if you want to take pictures!
Once you arrive on Isla there are usually many people offering you snorkelling tours, and as they are very exciting for first time explorers, some people may want to discover a little more by themselves, and preferrably without a lifejacket so one can actually dive down and see things up close. This is easily done if you have your own snorkelling gear (mask, snorkel, fins)
For families with kids there are many nice places to start out, I would recommend the lagoon in front of Avalon hotel where the water is shallow and clear, and there are usually many schools of fish swimming around close to the corals and under the bridge.
If you are a little more experienced, you should go just outside Avalon Hotel, on the Carribbean side. If you walk over to Avalon, cross over to the other side and go out just about in the middle, you`ll have the currents carry you the last part of your trip, and the closer you get to the corner, the more fish and corals you will see. I recommend only swimming here if you are experienced, as the waves can sometime be a little rough when you enter the water (no problem once you are outside where they break though)
There are ofcourse many great sites all over the island, but this is the best so far in my experience.
3. Adventures on Isla Mujeres
If you want to discover what Isla is all about I recommend reading up on a little bit of history... This used to be a pirate island at one time, and the grave of pirate Mundaca can be found in Centro if you check out the graveyard (very interesting place, fantastic gravestones) He also has his own park where he used to live, there are live animals kept there as a sort of zoo, but I would recommend going there mostly for the beautiful ruins, the amazing gardens and just trying to guess where he could have hidden his treasure!
If you want to explore the marine life, there are possibilities of swimming with dolphins, and also being able to work a day as a trainer.
There is the turtlefarm where you can see all the turtles they hatch and keep for about a year, until they are old enough to be set free and have a better chance of survival. They also have sharks and other marine life there.
The Garrafon park is where you can go to have an all day fun experience, here you can ride the Zip line(a cable line you are attached to and you fly from one tower to the next.) go snorkelling, eat good food and just enjoy yourselves.
Not to mention the diving possibilities in the Carribbean ocean just outside our door. Get your photo taken with a nurse shark at several beaches on Isla Mujeres.
If you are here between june and september you can also go swimming with whale sharks!
One of the more special things you can see here is Richi Sowas plastic bottle island.. It is located very close to the Dolphin place, and is absolutely worth a visit! Remember to give a donation!
Isla Mujeres has many sides to its culture, as Mexico has a very mixed past, so if you are interested in seeing performances, dances and exhibitions you have come to the right place!
Most of the shows usually happen at the main square, in front of the supermarket. I recommend checking up on our site and we will try to post about upcoming events as soon as we hear about them.
Isla also has beautiful hand crafted art, ranging from seashells made in the most creative of ways, to paper machè, jewelry, pots, hats, and much more.. IslaLife recommends taking a trip down the shopping street and streets close by and you will find many hidden treasures! The Tribal shop close to restaurant Amigos and the art gallery La Noruega in Plaza Isla Mujeres are worth a look!
If it`s one thing Isla Mujeres never will run out of it is the fantastic beaches here!
Depending on what you like, there are so many different places to go:
If you like it a little crowded I recommend Playa Norte on the Cancun side, as thats where most of the tourists go because it is closest, but for those that just want to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet, there are some hidden gems close by.. One is the lagoon in front of Avalon Hotel.. I also recommend Playa Indio as that is usually a very calm place. But if you have a golf cart or other means of transportation, just take a ride around, and many you will find many more
(I can`t tell you ALL the secrets).
I am proud to say this island is really a haven of good eats! Isla is packed with restaurants with good service serving you anything from chinese food to traditional mexican, and most of them are really reasonable!
For great breakfasts, Mañana has amazing food and a great setting, they also sell and trade used books, Olivias which serves traditional mediterranean food, Sancochos: where they always have a 2 x 1 special and a huge variety of dishes
Rolandis have great steaks, lobsters and fish, though it is in the higher price range I still find it worth a visit.
If you like chinese, a new restaurant has just opened next to Elements of the Island called Win Lam and they have great combo menus at affordable prices.
If you want a good dessert, you can have free samples and find your favourite icecream at Cool Gelato, I really recommend the Chocolate Fondànt there, it is worth the wait!
These are just some of my favourites, but there are so many more to choose from! Take a walk down the restaurant/shopping street and you will probably have many delicious offers on the way! I recommend not jumping to the first one, shop around!
Although my girlfriend should be the one writing this part, I think you can find many great offers here on Isla, although unfortunately it is also easy to get ripped off, so comparing prices can save you a whole lot of money!
I recommend taking a few trips up and down the shopping street to see what the prices are on the stores here with fixed prices, and you will at least have something to compare with.
Close to Pocna Hostal there is a small flee market where you can get great deals on hammocks and bags, but stores are spread around most of the Centro part, and if you want to make some even better deals, check out the stores in the middle part of Isla, these stores do not have Isla Mujeres stamped on everything :)
All in all Isla has so many different stores, ranging from beautiful silver jewelry to hand crafted hammocks, detailed copper pots, bracelets, art, clothes and much more!
For many of Isla Mujeres`visitors, this is one of the most important posts, so I will try to mention most of the places I can remember that are worth a visit!
One place that you can always trust on having a good party atmosphere is Pocna Hostal in Centro, they usually have live concerts almost every day until 11pm when they open the beach bar, and thats where you will find most of the tourists! But if you want live music, and a place to swing your feet, Faynes is a good choice!
There are 2 big discos in Centro, Nitrox and Libido, who both are just down the street from Pocna. The discos are very popular with the islanders, so if you want to experience some real mexican partying, these are the places to be!
For a chill atmosphere, great sushi and great drinks the Om bar is one of many favourites here!
Newly opened La Luna just in front of the town square is really something to experience, this place has it all! Also She Bar has some great salsa atmosphere for those interested :)
As I tell all my friends, on Isla Mujeres, every day is Saturday! It`s always something happening here!
You can buy seashells from most of the artesania stores here, but it`s a lot more fun if you can find your own! I believe the beaches on Isla are so white because of all the thousands of seashells smashed to pieces by the waves here..
Isla is full of seashells, though not so many in the Centro part.. I think most of these have been picked off by tourists already.. To find real shells, you should go on the Carribbean side close to south point, there you will find huge beaches made up of broken shells! Quite an amazing site if you ask me!
Shells vary from huge ones to beautiful little ones with intricate patterns and colours..
Keep your eyes open! Don`t forget that treasure I was talking about earlier!
10. Charter a boat
To discover what is outside Isla Mujeres, we recommend ordering a trip out with Isla`s many charter boats.
There are many different tours and trips to attend, varying from snorkelling and diving trips with great food and diving sites, to swimming with the whale sharks, go fishing for Barracuda, King Mackerel, Groupers, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Atlantic Sailfish, or just order a romantic lobster cruise on a luxurious cruise boat. The only limit is your wallet! A trip to our neighbour island Contoy is also a trip to remember!
This is it for my top ten list, I hope this can help some of you visitors and islanders to discover something new about this paradise island!
If you have anything to add, please let me know and I will update the list asap.