After a few days in Isla Holbox, I was ready for one final Mexican island, Isla Mujeres, which involved another 6 hour journey (buggy ride, ferry, bus, taxi, another ferry and another taxi!) basically going back to Cancun and finding my way to another ferry terminal (Puerto Jerez) to catch a different ferry to Isla Mujeres (also about half an hour). My first impressions of the island were NOT GOOD (a first for me in Mexico)! It was a lot more rugged than the calm of Isla Holbox (certainly where I was staying) and A LOT more touristy – to the point, I didn’t actually like it for the first 24 hours! The main town was big and full of tacky shops and bars and really loud Americans (both tourists and locals). I was worried I had made a big mistake saving this for the end but the island did end up growing on me (though I would not recommend the town centre as a place to spend the evening). The Americans who were locals were actually really friendly, there is a bit of a hippie vibe about the place with lots of massage and yoga classes on offer and I quite liked the rugged beach that my hotel was overlooking as it was great to wake up and sleep to the sound of crashing waves.
Playa Norte is known for being the best beach on the island and it was gorgeous with beautiful white sand and clear blue water. It is definitely more built up than Isla Holbox with lots of bigger resort hotels but all of which are cheaper than the luxury resorts of Cancun. There are roads on the island but most people seem to get about by golf buggy again. The highlights for me were walking around the outskirts of the main tourist parts to see the residential areas. A cafe that I can recommend in these outskirts but with a local Mexican (and American) flavour is Mango Cafe, which was popular on Tripadvisor and lived up to the good food, cute and colourful interior and local flavours.
The other highlight is definitely worth the taxi ride out to Punta Sur (South Point). This actually reminded me of the south coast of England as it was much greener (and windier) than I was expecting. Isla Mujeres is named the island of women and there there is a Mayan temple for the Goddess Ixchel and sculpture garden to explore. This is the first part of Mexico to see the sun rise each day as it is the most eastern point of the country. If you do make it to this part of the island, you should definitely stop at the restaurant for a drink or lunch. The taxi driver who dropped me off told me the view was great but it literally took my breath away – the turqoise water for miles ahead was simply spectacular and a great way to end my Mexican Isla hopping adventure. Make sure you ask for a table at the back where you can see the water!