Cancun is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico and the wider Caribbean, and there is a small island nearby—only 8 miles away— getting many travelers’ attention.
Isla Mujeres is a small island and town located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea that only measures around 4 miles in length but has a lot to offer visitors.
According to recent reports, the island’s hotel occupancy rate has remained over 80% since the beginning of the year, and new attractions have been seducing tourists from all over the world.
To get there, travelers can get to Cancun and then take a 20-minute spectacular catamaran or ferry ride to the island —a great opportunity to marvel at the beautiful blue tones of the Caribbean waters— and arrive in paradise.
These are a few reasons why Isla Mujeres is skyrocketing in popularity:
Sargassum Free Beaches
One of many travelers’ concerns these days is sargassum.
The annoying and smelly seaweed keeps covering the beautiful coastlines of the Caribbean beaches, ruining the vacation experience many travelers had in mind.
Popular destinations like Cancun and Playa del Carmen have been deeply affected by this natural phenomenon, but Isla Mujeres happens to be an exception.
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Isla Mujeres’ geographical location makes it a great destination to guarantee an ideal sargassum-free beach vacation experience.
According to recent updates, beaches like Playa Norte, Playa Centro, and Playa Sur in Isla Mujeres remain idyllic with crystal clear waters and white sand.
Swimming With Whale Sharks
Isla Mujeres can offer that relaxing beach experience many travelers crave but can also entertain visitors with so much more than just gorgeous beaches.
Wildlife on this spectacular island is also a large draw, and whale sharks are taking the spotlight.
Isla Mujeres has an ideal location to observe this species due to water currents and the abundant presence of plankton, whale sharks’ favorite food.
Adventure travelers can swim with whale sharks in Isla Mujeres, and the season just started!
Travelers must make sure to book snorkeling or swimming with shark experiences with certified tour operators with high standards to respect local laws and protect wildlife.
New Bird Watching Attraction
Isla Mujeres is one of the most popular Pueblos Mágicos—magical towns, a Government initiative to promote and increase tourism in special destinations— in Mexico.
And, in order to showcase its many wonders, local authorities have recently included a new tourist attraction, a bird-watching experience called “Ruta de las Aves” (which translates to “bird route”).
The new route to appreciate local species has earned awards and was included among the top attractions during spring break.
Great Weather, Atmosphere, Culture, And Beaches
And, of course, the beaches on this island are hard to ignore.
The perfect turquoise waters, the white sand, the palm trees… What else do you need?
Isla Mujeres is home to the most beautiful beach in Mexico: Playa Norte.
And travelers on Tripadvisor agree. Playa Norte has been labeled as a “true paradise,” and many travelers regret staying for just a full day and wish they had stayed longer.
On Isla Mujeres, there are also multiple resorts, beach clubs, bars, and restaurants, making it a great destination for those who wish to enjoy the location for a few days.
There’s a great environment and nice weather with sunny days most of the year.
Travelers can taste the most delicious Mexican food on this island and also learn about local culture and events.
There is a popular archeological destination on the island as well, El Meco, an ancient Mayan ruin where visitors can learn about the history of the place and admire the beautiful iguanas that add a fun ingredient to the tours.
For those who want to learn even more about local culture and history, there is also the Mayan observatory in the south of the island, a great opportunity to immerse yourself and also explore every corner of Isla Mujeres.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com