I’ve been told some stories about Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
That’s it’s so small, visitors and locals use golf carts to get around.
That if you time your visit right, you can swim with whale sharks.
That you mostly spend your vacation days sitting on a beach.
Isla Mujeres sounds pretty idyllic. I’m headed there soon, so I made a big wish list of what I’d like to do if time and money weren’t an issue. Truthfully, I will just be sitting, reading, and sleeping most of my vacation. But, if I do get up and find myself a golf cart, here are some other things I’d go do:
Swim With Whale Sharks
This is on the bucket list, but I know full well I won’t be doing it. Wrong time of the year. If you want to swim with these gentle giants, you need to visit between June and September.
Chill at Playa Norte
Isla Mujeres is about 5 miles long, so it’s entirely possible that I will be at Playa Norte daily without much of a hassle. It’s the most popular beach on the island.
Explore By Golf Cart
While we plan on getting around the island by bikes most of the time, it sounds so fun to rent a golf cart and zoom around the island.
Eat. A lot.
It’s a small island but it is loaded with good restaurants. A lot specialize in fresh seafood because, come on, it’s an island. Among the ones that rank high on travel lists and get featured on blogs a lot are Ballyhoo Restaurant & Margaritas, Mango Cafe and Lolo Lorena. Lolo Lorena sounds like an especially unique dining experience. I also have Bastos Grill, Greenverde, Ruben’s and La Lomita on my list.
Try Mexican Specialties
While on the topic of eating…Yucantan has some noted foods that I want to try, including a citrus roasted pulled pork specialty that originated there called Cochinita pibil. I read about it here, a post about Mexican food I’ve never heard of before, including fruits like nance fruit and guaya fruit (which sounds trick to eat), and cheese-stuffed street food called marquesitas.
There’s a surreal-looking sculpture garden off the island is not only beautiful to see while snorkeling or diving, it’s also functional by contributing to the reef structure and growth of coral. I’d love to see the Museo Subacuatico de Arte, plus learn how it helps keep the environment healthy for marine life. More information here.
Shop The Women’s Beading Cooperative
This place looks like a nice place to purchase homemade gifts to bring home.
Visit A Turtle Farm
The island has a sanctuary for sea turtles called NAME. Here, they have a hatchery and regularly release the hatchlings to sea.
Zip Line Over Water
How often do you get to zipline over an ocean? Garrafon Natural Reef Park offers that experience on Isla Mujeres.
Find The Recycled Bottle Island
There is a man-made island found on Isla Mujeres that’s kept afloat by recycled plastic bottles (it’s called Joyxee Island or Joyxee Island II). A quick tour can be arranged. Sounds like the sort of oddity I need to see while on vacation. Here’s the Trip Advisor page on it.
See Mayan Ruins
You can find incredible ruins in Mexico, and for the best preserved, I know we need to go to the mainland. Isla Mujeres does have some remains of ruins, though. Being on the east side of the island, they’re said to be important in that they’re the first to have the sun hit them each day.
Our little hotel has some kayaks available for guests to use, so why not try sea kayaking? Since this is a bucket list post, I’d like to imagine we’d have a guide who’d take us to gorgeous locals. The likely scenario, though, will be that Mr. Wonderful and I will strike out on our own and we’ll get tired 5 minutes into it.
Find A Cenote
Mexico is known for cenotes, underground, water-filled caves. There aren’t any on the island, so if I were to swim in one, I’d have to go inland. There are a few on the Yucatan, so who knows? Someday I’ll find one.
What should I add to my Isla Mujeres bucket list?