Now that travel restrictions are no more and the hot winds of July are blowing, Mexico is expected to witness its busiest summer in years, as millions of Americans will flock to its pristine beaches for a much-needed sunny getaway.
While a majority of them will be vacationing in Cancun, however, a smaller number of guests will be heading instead to a paradise island a stone’s throw away from the resort zone on the coast, and one that’s become hugely popular as a quieter alternative to the crowded mainland.
In this article, we will give you 4 reasons why Isla Mujeres, the island in question, is the top beach destination in Mexico this season and why it’s there you should be headed:
If you disapprove of Cancun’s growing internationalization and the city’s openness to unrestricted tourism, which often leads to a decrease in the quality of the services provided and even the level of luxury offered, you will be glad to know Mujeres is its polar opposite.
As it is an island with a more limited capacity and home to a much smaller community, Isla Mujeres can feel a lot more exclusive than the jam-packed coast.
Many resorts and five-star hotels on the island prioritize quality over quantity, and in order to secure a spot at reasonable prices, one must book weeks or months in advance.
Weekly rates for the landmark Hotel Belo, the top-rated accommodation listed on Booking.com, start at just US$1,387, while the Izla Beach Front Hotel has one-week stays rated at US$1,336.
Unlike the Riviera Maya proper, namely the mainland, Isla Mujeres is not as affected by the rise in sargassum levels.
In spite of not being exactly dangerous, unless when it exists in abundance and the release of toxins are involved, the seaweed can be highly disruptive, leading to the closure of beaches and other disturbances.
It also infamously tarnishes the Mexican Caribbean’s pristine white sands and turquoise oceans, other than emitting a foul smell compared to rotten eggs. Fortunately, as we have covered in this accompanying article already, Isla Mujeres has geography on its side.
The island’s trendiest beach stretch, Playa Norte, straddles a part of the sea where currents are not as powerful as they are in Cancun or adjacent municipalities. As you know by now, sargassum is often brought ashore by agitation in the sea.
As the waters in the North of Isla Mujeres are extremely calm, sun-seekers rarely ever have to deal with the phenomenon. This means beaches stay open and clean year-round, and the sands retain their unspoiled look.
Over the years, the Riviera Maya has developed a reputation for being Mexico’s party central, with numerous beach clubs popping up along the coast and Tulum’s jungle rave scene making international headlines.
While this bodes great news for party enthusiasts, especially young people traveling abroad with friends for their stag do, hen night, or other celebrations, those who are not exactly keen on joining in on the fun, nor get the appeal of thumping music and the out-poor of drinks, may feel a bit left out.
Lucky for them, Isla Mujeres is much more chill. You will find the odd bar and beach club, as well as a handful of danceterias in some of the major settlements, but it is nowhere near the level of crazy in Tulum, nor do local authorities promote the island as a party destination.
Instead, people come here to relax, bury their feet in the sand, have some quality time with their loved ones, and enjoy nature – and whether it’s exploring off-path Mayan treasures, exploring marine parks, or discovering hidden sea coves, there are enough attractions to keep you busy for days.
Safer Than Other Parts Of Mexico
Crime may have skyrocketed in certain parts of Mexico, mainly along the U.S. border due to the activity of gangs, but as it is a small offshore municipality where surveillance is tighter, Isla Mujeres enjoys lower crime rates than those no-go zones.
That’s not to say it is perfectly safe. Much like Cancun and other Mexican Caribbean spots, local authorities struggle to tackle petty crimes and the commercialization of illicit drugs, but it is certainly nowhere near as dangerous as Tamaulipas, where U.S. visitors were kidnapped and killed recently.
Isla Mujeres exists in a different world altogether than the arid wastelands that separate the U.S. from Mexico, and policing on the island is taken seriously, especially when it concerns the safety of tourists.
Incidents can happen, as there have been instances where tourists were mugged at the beach by criminals on jet skis, but these are rather infrequent and have not severely impacted travelers’ overall perception of safety.
As it is part of the state of Quintana Roo, Isla Mujeres has been attributed a Level 2 status by the U.S. State Department on their Travel Advisory listings.
This means visitors must exercise greater caution when visiting and remain aware of their surroundings, but reconsidering travel or avoiding it altogether is not necessary.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com