The Adventures of

A Traveler’s Handbook to Isla Mujeres

This year Kevin & I spent our spring break on the tropical island of Isla Mujeres, just off the coast of Cancun. The white sand beaches, dreamy downtown, and homemade guacamole kept us entertained, sated, and busy for eight whole days in paradise.

The island was teeming with gorgeous flowers like these.

The first thing you should know about Isla is how quaint the island is. Few cars roam about the roads. Instead local families pile onto a moped or walk to their destination. The tourists, in turn, bop around the island in rented golf carts. Along the rural roadsides locals trim the growing trees to create a blooming archway as years press on. Here and there a bright vintage bug or van will appear to add cheerful color to the island landscape. We witnessed these scenes on the many rides to and from our home for the week, Casa Mimosa.

One of the many colorful VW’s situated around the island
Casa Mimosa

Every house on the island has its own name. There’s Casa Linda, Casa Feliz, and the list goes on and on. Our house, Casa Mimosa, is one of the most cheerful places I’ve ever slept. Every bedroom has its own private bath and balcony. The walls are painted happy and the fourth floor is open to the ocean view and boasts a bed-swing where Kev & I spent a few warm nights talking one on one. The house is abundant in hammocks too. Behind the main residence lives Gasper, the island aficionado and house guardian. Forget Yelp or Google. Gasper knows every hole-in-the-wall restaurant, where to watch the sunrise, and even kept our refrigerator stocked with fresh homemade guacamole all week long. Need to charter a boat to go fishing? Need to find jet-skis or snorkeling expeditions? Gasper has you covered.

Our bedroom for the week

If you’re looking for other places to stay, here are some I’d recommend. I promise you won’t be disappointed. The Zoetry will make you feel like you live in a palace, while you’ll never forget your stay in The Seashell House. The Izla Hotel is another nice place to reserve.

If it’s a margarita you’re craving, then look no further than The Soggy Peso. Take caution, however, because one drink is enough to knock down most, if not all, of your sober inhibition. While you’re there, I’d recommend the lobster tacos, by far the best dish I tasted on the island. You can even ask to hang your hat on the thatched ceiling along with hundreds of others right from the heads of tourists all over the world.

The island’s downtown is really something to behold. Hidalgo Street is limited to pedestrian foot-traffic and lined with restaurants and local shops. With lights strung across the buildings like clotheslines, it makes for a magical walk in the evening. If you like Mediterranean fare, be sure to visit Olivia, but my two downtown favorites were Jax and Lola Valentina (their quinoa bowl tastes amazing after a day on the beach).

Kin Ha Restaurant

The most beautiful restaurants aren’t situated around the busy downtown, however. They’re right on the water. We enjoyed a surreal sunset with our dinner at Kin Ha (pictured above). Marbella was also a wonderful setting and their fresh fish was the most delicious on the island.

On Isla Mujeres Kev & I had the chance to laugh, reconnect, build sandcastles, race golf carts, and do a bit of drinking and thinking before the big wedding. We met new friends, relaxed in the sun, and made memories we’re going to cherish for years to come. The island’s proximity to Cancun makes it a perfect day trip, but for those seeking a more quiet and authentic, less resort-style vacation, I would recommend a whole week there. It’s certainly a hidden treasure.

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