Isla Mujeres is an island just eight miles off the coast of Cancun. It has beautiful beaches and cliffs, perfect places to snorkel for free, vibrant nightlife, historical sites, and Mayan ruins. All this makes it an ideal day trip from Cancun.
Long before the first arrival of the Spaniards in 1517, the island was already consecrated by the Mayans to Ixchel, the goddess of the moon and fertility. It was a place of pilgrimage for women who visited the island in their symbolic passage from girl to woman. Offerings with feminine forms were also deposited to the goddess, which gave it the name of Isla Mujeres.
Relax on the Beach
Among the things to do in Isla Mujeres, Playa Norte should be on the top of your list. It is a dream beach that stretches for over half a mile of soft white sands and blue, warm, and even waters. Along Playa Norte, you will see coconut trees, hundreds of umbrellas and sun loungers, where you can sunbathe, find shade, and enjoy the sea with its beautiful shades of turquoise blue. There are bars, restaurants, and hotels located at the foot of the beach, which offer drinks and meals, so you never miss a cocktail, an ice-cold beer, or a delicious snack.
Playa Lancheros is another charming beach with crystal clear turquoise blue waters and one of the most popular on the island. Its white, smooth sand and palm trees provide shade to take shelter for a while from the blazing Caribbean sun.
Garrafon Park is a spectacular eco-park at the southern tip of Isla Mujeres off the mainland coast of Quintana Roo. Its name is due to the Garrafon reefs, an underwater space with beautiful and varied biodiversity. The park is ideal for snorkeling because the reef’s waters are shallow and full of multicolored life. Other fun activities include excursions, zip-lining above the sea, kayaking, and swimming with dolphins.
Among the most impressive excursions is the one that takes place along the cliffs of Punta Sur, with access to a sculpture garden, a lighthouse, and the temple dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of love and fertility. Garrafon Park also offers a temazcal experience and a panoramic pool surrounded by lounge beds and hammocks to relax.
MUSA – Underwater Art Museum
One of the most popular attractions in Isla Mujeres is to visit the Underwater Art Museum (MUSA). The MUSA has 3 areas: Manchones, Punta Nizuc and Punta Sam. All add up to 500 monumental works made of marine concrete that you will admire when snorkeling, diving, or through glass bottom boats. A unique experience that you will hardly find in another country.
Visit a Turtle Farm
Of the eight species of sea turtles in the world, Mexico has seven. One of the main spawning grounds for sea turtles in the country is in the Riviera Maya. Turtle eggs are a gastronomic delicacy, but their indiscriminate consumption threatens the preservation of the species. Turtles have been saved from extinction thanks to the preservation work of organizations, and in Isla Mujeres, you can visit the Tortugranja turtle farm and sanctuary. This amazing place is supported by volunteers, who collect the eggs before the predators arrive. The eggs are laid to fertilize until the baby sea turtles are born. Then, after reaching the right age, they are taken to the sea to make their wildlife.
Traverse the Island on a Golf Cart
Isla Mujeres is the perfect size to cover it riding a golf cart. You can go from one end to the other and come back in around two hours. There is one main road along each shoreline, so you can simply follow the loop without backtracking. You should not get lost, and your rental shop will provide you a map of the island for your tour. The town of Isla Mujeres combines the architecture of Caribbean lines with more modern building styles, all mixed in residential buildings, shops, and other establishments. The cobbled streets of downtown are flanked by craft shops, beachwear businesses, and restaurants.
If you want a fun day trip that includes great restaurants, gorgeous beaches, and unique things to do on a Caribbean island, then Isla Mujeres is for you. Book your visit to this spectacular Mexican destination.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com