TRAVEL // Skip Cancun: Go to Isla Mujeres!

(I went on this trip over a year ago, but it's never too late to dive back into these lovely memories and share them, right? I'm planning another trip to Mexico soon, so stay tuned!)

Just a short ferry ride away from Cancun is a magical little island called Isla Mujeres. I had the opportunity to spend a charming three days here and wow, it's definitely one of my new favorite places to visit in Mexico! The Island of Women is smaller, but if you prefer a more local feel as opposed to the overwhelming, touristy vibe, you'll love it! 

How to Get There:

So how did I get there? I booked a roundtrip ride through Happy Shuttle that took me straight from the airport to the ferry, and I'm so happy I did. When you're traveling in a foreign country, are unfamiliar with the language, and doing it as a solo female, it can be quite intimidating.

What to Do:
Rent a golf cart for a day and explore the island. Totally worth it. There was a small beach we discovered called Hotel Garrafón de Castilla this way and had a small entrance fee. It was a rocky beach but a wonderful area for snorkeling! They had a lounge area with plenty of chairs and shade (or sunny spots if you wanted to tan). Since it wasn't as popular as other spots on the island, it felt more relaxed and had plenty of open seats.

If you came here to snorkel, I highly recommend going with Carey Dive Center - these guys are great! They really look out for you, no matter what level of swimmer you may be. They're a fun crew as well and make the whole experience so enjoyable. We even saw dolphins while out snorkeling, and I about screamed from excitement when I saw those adorable fins flash by (oh who am I kidding, I totally screamed).

I'm also embarrassed to admit it, but I actually got seasick at one point and fed the fishies...the captain helped me out. Because as I was kneeled over the side of his boat, throwing my guts up, he grabbed some of the extra water bottles and poured it down my head and back. It helped the sickness fade quickly. The whole time he was nothing but patient and kind, making me feel much better and (a little) less embarrassed.

If you go at the right time of the year, you'll also get to see whale sharks! So do your research and plan for it if you're lucky enough to make it work. That's still something that's on my bucket list!

It's a small island, honestly, so if you just walk around you're bound to find something interesting. Be sure to shop the local markets and vendors. Support the local artists - you'll get to take home something totally unique AND help support someone passionate about their craft!

Spot a Karaoke Bar? Do it. I conquered one of my fears and did karaoke in front of a bunch of the nicest group of drunk strangers. Nothing quite beats belting out "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac and having an encouraging crowd start swaying and dancing with you.

And if you're looking for a good spot to dance, visit the local hostel, Poc Na. They don't open up till 11PM and go past 3 in the morning! You'll meet characters from all over the world!

Where to Stay:
For this trip, I was traveling with friends and we got a lovely room at Maria del Mar.

However, if I was doing it solo or with just one other traveler, I'd recommend checking out the hostel and AirBnb's first. They're usually quite reliable and much more affordable! Just make sure you read up on all the reviews so you know what you're getting into. And if you want, use my code HERE to get $40 off your first AirBnb rental!

What to Eat:
Okay, before I get into actual restaurants, stop by Cocos Frios for the BEST fresh coconuts of your life! I swear we stopped here daily (sometimes twice a day) just to get our fix.

Go to local restaurants for the BEST authentic Mexican food - at the BEST prices! We went to Letty's, a spot behind the market area, and gorged ourselves on the best burritos I've ever tasted. The portion size is insane, especially for the price. Go early enough before they run out of tacos! That happened to us, and I plan on visiting again just to taste those next.

However, if you're feeling like splurging a bit and want some excellent steak, check out La Playita. We ate here several times and each time we were bowled over by how delectable each dish was!

Overall, my trip to Isla Mujeres was magical, and this little island holds a special place in my heart.
Skip Cancun and go here instead!

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