Island Escape

Isla Mujeres Stepping off the ferry onto Isla Mujeres, you get the feeling that not much has changed on the sleepy island since the 1970s. Here, you won’t find high rise hotels or designer stores, but you will find plenty of charming, friendly people, and a little piece of old Mexico. Isla Mujeres (Women Island) was named by the Spanish in the 16th century, who found numerous images of Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of childbirth and medicine. Isla Mujeres Isla MujeresThe island’s coziness lends to the laid back vibe, as it’s only five miles long and half a mile wide at its widest. Many get around via golf cart or scooter, navigating to pristine white beaches, the turtle rehabilitation farm, or the cliffs of Punta Sur on the south end. Set off on foot and you’ll discover the shopping area, known as El Centro, is near the ferry terminal and only four by six blocks in area. It’s all here and highly walkable. The narrow streets shelter gift shops, bars, and restaurants, and the locals are always looking to chat and make a sale. The island has been described as a foodie’s paradise, building on its fishing history, and offering a level of authentic cuisine that’s more scant on the Cancun mainland just eight miles across the bay. Local Mexican, Yucatecan, Mayan, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Italian, and Thai cuisine can all be enjoyed, with al fresco dining streetside. Isla Mujeres is served by several ferries that operate on the hour. It will cost you less than $20 round trip to visit, and the ride is sunny and warm on the top deck, or cool and sheltered in the air conditioned main deck.

Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres

Lounge on Playa Norte

The island’s main beach is made of crushed coral and the calm, turquoise waters are shallow even far from shore. Playa Norte is considered one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and it’s easy to see why. Let your troubles melt away under the palm trees, or enjoy an umbrella drink at one of the beach bars.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. His favorite RTX destinations are on the beach: Orange Beach, Alabama, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. .

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