Mexico Vacation - 15 Travel Tips for Isla Mujeres especially #5
Isla Mujeres is a 15 minute fast ferry ride from Cancun, Mexico. It's a paradise away from the busy city of Cancun. It's a small island that is less touristy. I was able to try authentic Mexican cuisine which includes fresh seafood and handmade corn tortillas from local, family owned restaurants. This is a great way to experience Mexican culture and meet the local people. There is a relaxed pace and peacefulness about the Isla Mujeres. It was nice to get away from the stresses of the city and be able to take quiet walks along the beaches in the early mornings.
Here are 15 travel tips for your stay on Isla Mujeres and making it your home base for your Mexican vacation.
1. Talk to your Hotel Concierge
The first travel tip is to ask your hotel concierge for restaurant advice. The locals know where to go.
Ours did such a good job the first night that we returned again for his advice the second night. Both were excellent choices for fresh seafood and I loved the fact that the restaurants were run by local Mexican families.
Since Isla Mujeres is on an island, you know that the boats are catching fresh seafood daily. We splurged on a grilled lobster specialty and it was worth every penny.
2. Eat Continental Breakfast
Get up early enough to eat the free continental breakfast so you can save $. Remember to check the times. That's one less meal to pay for.
3. Go to the Tourist Information Center
Across from the ferry terminal is a small tourist information office. It has an excellent map of the island and you can ask for a few tips before exploring downtown.
4. Book tours early in your trip and use the same agent
Book early in case weather dependent trips are cancelled due to a hurricane or storm. Use the same booking agent so they can help you rearrange if necessary.
Ours even told us her prediction of the weather and we booked our trips on the perfect days. Her name was Mariel - real, sweet girl who moved to the island from Argentina.
Isla Mujeres is so small that you really get a hometown feel from the locals who live there and don't hesitate to ask questions.
5. Do the Isla Contoy day trip
Isla Contoy is a bird sanctuary and a piece of paradise. It's uninhabited and pristine. You'll be able to enjoy the quiet beaches, walk to see the scenery, smell the fresh sea lavender and see the tides crash against the rocky shores.
If you are lucky you can even touch the local stingray that frequents the beach at Isla Contoy. Remember to bring your sunscreen and hat. You'll need it.
There seem to be two major tour companies that go to this island. Book the one that has the grilled fish lunch. It's the best!
6. Read all signage before you use the washrooms
The plumbing and sewage system on the island is different. Most places will not allow you to throw toilet paper in the toilet. You need to put it in the wastebasket. Read the signage.
7. Wear waterproof footwear
When it rains, it floods onto the streets and is common to be walking through a few inches of water. Wear waterproof footwear (sandals/ flip flops) with good tread.
Or bring a pair that you don't care about and can throw away after your trip which is exactly what I did. What I really needed during the rain were aqua shoes.
8. Be careful walking on tiled sidewalks
They are slippery even with a little rain. Walk with care.
9. Tip your maid well after your first night
These are the people who can provide you with little comforts and clean your room. A little tip such as $1 goes a long way in Mexico.
I think we made our maid happy because the room was clean, restocked well, and it was wonderful to return to the hotel room to see creative towel animals waiting for us. Such a treat!
10. Rent a Golf Cart when it opens
It's fun and convenient to rent a golf cart so you can see the south of island. Rent one for the day for 500 pesos. Go early when it opens at 9am or 9:30am before they sell out.
This is a fun way to explore the island and they are easy to drive. Since the island is so small, you can whiz around to the sights and the cars are used to the golf carts. Our friend came to visit us and it was a great way for the 3 of us to see all that Isla Mujeres had to offer especially since our friend only had one day on the island.
Keep in mind that the gold carts are well used and loved so they will be a bit clunky. Don't worry, just keep driving!
11. Stores don't open until noon
Stores and shops will not be open in the morning. This is a great time to explore downtown and the beaches when the weather is cooler and the place is quiet.
12. Take a Siesta
Go to your air conditioned hotel room in the late afternoon from 3-6pm for a siesta. Most stores and restaurants will close during that time as well.
This is a good time also to try out the hotel pool and enjoy a refreshing swim.
13. Go to Beach Restaurants for early dinner
Restaurants serve dinner starting at 7pm. If you get hungry before that time, go to the beach restaurants. They will not only be open but also have a great view.
14. Ask for drink specials
Often they will have happy hour during siesta time which will have 2 for 1 drink specials. Great deal! 2 Mojitos for $50 pesos. As you can see with that deal you can splurge and get 4.
15. Eat Seafood
You are on an island and they have the best and freshest seafood. Don't know what to order? Try lobster quesidilla, fish ceviche, fish tacos, tropical calimari, grilled fish with stuffed seafood, grilled seafood kebab and on your last night treat yourself to grilled lobster.
Note: If you are in an all-inclusive, eat out in the local restaurants for a few nights.
I loved spending the 5 days on Isla Mujeres and am glad I stayed there. I was able to fully enjoy the Mexican cuisine and culture and nature that the island offered.