I have just had to google why Isla Mujeres is called the Island of Women, as I clearly did little learning on the island itself. Now it makes sense why there was so much ado about the Mayan goddess Ix Chel. I think now that my perpestive shot of feeling her breasts might have caused the same offence to the Mayans as if someone had done the same thing outside Buckingham Palace to our Queen. God save her.
That aside. We were told that the Isla Mujeres housed the 4th best beach in Mexico. Having only seen a couple of Mexico’s beaches we will have to take their word for it. However, it was gorgeous. Very blue where you’d want it to be blue and very white where you’d want it to be white. Apparently it wasn’t even at its best due to the onslaught of wind we were semi caught up with. We also snorkeled on the boat over which was so much better than I imagined it to be. (It was amaziiing). I believe I took to it like a duck to the snorkel (HAHAHA). There was a bit of a confusion when we asked the Mexican instructors what the statues of men were at the bottom of the ocean floor. Whilst spluttering in the sea their answer was unclear so we spent the rest of the day concluding that they must be ancient statues to the Mayan water gods, thus estimating them to be around 700 years old. Clever us, we were totally wrong. In fact they were built in 2013 as part of a new project to promote local coral. And come to think of it the statue of a man with a flat cap should have given us a clue…
‘Downtown’ Mujeres (as opposed to ‘Uptown Mujeres’, the famous Billy Joel song) was also extremely cool. Parts of the strip were very ‘strippy’. Like you could’ve been anywhere. But then you’d turn the corner and a beautiful street of pastel Mexican favelas would hit you. You could eat anywhere in this part of the island for way under $10 and most had a good deal on margaritas. (I didn’t like margaritas before I went – now I’m hooked and talk about them constantly). Tony recommends the shrimp tacos at Mamma Rosa at the main intersection. I’m just going to recommend the margaritas everywhere.
On this island, though there a quite a few American day-trippers, there was a real back-packer vibe. We went to two bars downtown (Mamma Rosa’s and Mamacitas on Ave Hidalgo) and felt a completely relaxed, beachy atmosphere at both. I wanted to stay the night as apparently the beach party each evening is great fun and, sorry, but I could have had far more Margaritas, but the boat home was calling.
The biggest extravagance on the island is hiring a golf cart. This is the most fun way to travel ever ever, and you can zoom around the island like real life dodgems. They cost about $20/ hour and it takes about 2 to whizz down to the Mayan temple of the goddess herself in the South and have time to stop at a few of the more off-the-beaten-track bars outside of downtown. I drank a margarita from a coconut on a cliff and my fresh love for the drink was affirmed.
It was always going to be hard to make be dislike a place with the name Island of Women, but the place is truly awesome. 100% if you’re travelling round Mexico, try and slot it in. If I had my time again, I’d stay at least a couple of nights and soak up the chilled out spirit for a bit longer. If you’re going to a fancy (flash) hotel like we did (go and see my Flash review of the Excellence Playa Mujeres, if so) then 100% you should go too. Get a boat across that includes a swifty little snorkel jaunt and it all becomes great value for money. And if you don’t like margaritas yet, go at once: once you fall, the fall is delicious.