Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Isla Mujeres is a sleepy fishing village with a good selection of watersports on offer. A popular pastime is to hire a bike or golf cart and tour the island which is only 7km long and 650m wide. There are some restaurants and bars available but if you are looking for vibrant nightlife, you will not find it here.
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Located just a short distance from the coast of the northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea. The island is very popular with divers because of it's location to the coral reefs.Read more about: Beaches | Things to Do | Out and About | Nearby Attractions | Isla Mujeres Reviews
Map of Isla Mujeres
There are plenty of beaches in Isla Mujeres, with the main beaches being on the north and west sides. The beaches here are calm with turquoise waters and beautiful soft sand which mean they are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Perhaps one of the best beaches in the Caribbean is Playa Norte and due to its popularity, it tends to be one of the most crowded beaches on Isla Mujeres. Here you will find several bars and restaurants for snacks and refreshments and you will be able to hire sun loungers, umbrellas, kayaks and snorkeling equipment so you will be set up for a relaxing day at the beach.
Some of the quieter beaches that can be found round the west side still have plenty of facilities so you can still enjoy all the facilities but it will be a little quieter and probably more relaxing.
Although the eastern shore is most impressive, the currents are very strong which makes it very dangerous for swimming.
Things to Do
While many people are happy just soaking up the sun, others may want to participate in one of the many water based activities in Isla Mujeres.
The crystal clear waters make for great opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Isla Mujeres is home to the largest underwater museum in the world and those who visit it will see many sculptures which change over time as the sea effects them.
If you are feeling adventurous, you could take a swim with a whale shark. Although these creatures are massive, they are plankton feeders so are unlikely to do you any harm.
If you are looking for a more gentle experience, then you could visit Dolphin Discovery. This hands on experience is great fun and allows you to hear the dolphins sing, watch them 'tail walk' and even get to hug and kiss them. One of the experiences also allows you to swim with the dolphins, a great experience for all the family.
Another popular attraction is the turtle farm. Visitors can see how the eggs are kept safe and once the eggs are hatched they are moved to pools so everyone can see the various stages of development. Once the turtles are big and strong enough, they are released into the sea. There are also other sea creatures here including sea horses. While the centre is quite interesting it is not a full day out but will keep everyone entertained for a couple of hours.
Out and About
There is a good variety of restaurants and cafes in Isla Mujeres, considering it is such a small island. There really is something for everyone here, from Italian, French, Asian, Mexican, Mediterranean and American, so take your pick! Although the nightlife here is a little more laid back compared to Cancun, there are still plenty of options. The beach bars are quite relaxed but if you venture to Hidalgo Street, you will find many bars and the atmosphere can be quite lively. If you really wanted to party into the early hours, you could always take the ferry to Cancun and get the early morning ferry back after a night of partying.
You will find a decent selection of shops, from the usual touristy shops to some boutiques selling nice clothes and jewellery.
From Isla Mujeres, you can easily visit Isla Contoy which is a small uninhabited island which is just less than 30km away. Isla Contoy was declared a National Wildlife reserve in 1961 and is now home to over 70 species of bird. There is also a small museum and a lookout tower where you can catch some fantastic panoramic views. The island is small and they only allow so many visitors each day so it is advisable to pre book your visit.
Isla Holbox is another small island worth visiting. There is not much going on here but there are a few hotels and restaurants. There is a festival for one week in April and there are lots of fun activities at this time. If you want to get away from Isla Mujeres for a day but still want to relax then give the sleepy village of Isla Holbox a go.
It is also possible to visit the ancient ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza and the outdoor parks, Xel-Ha and Xcaret, where you take part in many activities such as zip sliding and river rafting.
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