Today we explored a really cool little island off the coast of Cancun called Isla Mujeres. It only takes around 15 minutes to get across by ferry and will cost you 140 Pesos (approx. $14 USD) for a return ticket.
Isla Mujeres translates to Island of Women – You hear that boys! NOT the Island of Men but the Island of WOMEN 😉 I always knew we were the superior species!
So we got the ferry across which was quite a smooth run – Which worked out great for me and my seasickness issues!
Once we pulled into port we hoped off the ferry and started our tour with a little wander round the downtown area. First thing you will notice is a gazillion people trying to sell you tours or transportation. Don’t rush into sorting this out, as you can get around downtown much easier on foot and it gives you a chance to shop around for the best deal.
The downtown area is set up for tourists, which means loads of souvenir shops and the like. If you can ignore the “I have what you want for cheap in my shop” spiels every couple of minutes it’s a really nice area to stroll.
While wandering around we came across a really lovely beach, Playa Norte, so to rest my weary feet we stopped off for a swim. The water was a little too cold for my liking (I like my ocean water a lovely tepid to warm temperature) but Michael braved it. The water was clear and seaweed free (I’m not a fan of seaweed rubbing on my legs. It freaks me out and I wonder if it is actually seaweed that’s wrapped around my ankle!).
So there are a few ways in which you can explore this island (outside of walking through downtown); Golf cart, moped or bicycle. The island is 8 kilometers long so not the largest island in the world! Now anyone who knows me will be thinking we went for the cart option. But no! This slacker actually suggested the bicycle option! I know, unbelievable right!!
For those of you less familiar with my lazy ass, let me give you the run down – I think gyms were put here by the devil himself; and I think exercise is unnecessary torture and the worst way to work up a sweat!
If you want to go a less exhausting route, the prices for the carts are approx. $50 USD a day and the scooters are approx. $25 USD a day. Don’t forget to take your license if you want to go with one of these options.
Anyway… We paid for our hired bicycles, a whole 100 Pesos for the day ($10 USD), straddled our transport and peddled off into the unknown.
Let me ask you – How long has it been since you rode a bike? For me it’s been about 22 years! So I was really keen to see if the old saying “It’s like riding a bike” actually rang true. And guess what – It did! I straddled that baby like I was a pro! (Hmm that doesn’t sound right…)
Only a few km’s in we came across The Turtle Farm. Most of you don’t know this but back in our ‘old life’ Michael had a pet turtle. So now he’s obsessed with the things so he was like a kid in a candy store here.
It costs a mere 30 Pesos ($3 USD) to get in but there isn’t much more than a few turtles here. There are 4 outside tanks all with about 10 larger turtles in each. Then inside they have a few small aquariums and a smaller tank for smaller turtles, including some white ones which I’ve never seen before. It would be a good place for kids (actual children, not big kids like Michael). They give you a small turtle to hold which I think kids would really get a kick out of.
So after about 30 minutes and an overload of turtles, we jumped back on our transportation and peddled onward.
I’m a sucker for all things dolphin so when we stumbled across the Dolphin Discovery Center it was my turn to get my marine life fix.
If you are into swimming with dolphins or riding them like a rodeo cowboy then this is the place for you. If you want to pay 1650 Pesos ($165 USD) you can pretty much do anything you want with the dolphins; pat them, feed them, cuddle them, ride them, have them push you on a boogie board… But if like me, you like to admire these beautiful creatures from a distance (okay, its because I’m a tight ass and think that’s a ridiculous amount of money to pay to treat these animals like show ponies), you can pay 250 Pesos ($25 USD) to look around the center and have a buffet lunch. There are also swimming pools and hammocks you can take advantage of for your 250 Pesos.
After refueling (our stomachs, we were on bicycles after all) we took off again onwards and upwards. No, that’s not just a figure of speech. Here I was thinking I was doing a great job of cycling for miles on end without breaking too much of a sweat (okay, there was a little sweat but I was drowning in it – yet), when we came to a series of what Id like to call humungous mountains! However, Michael refers to them as small inclines.
I managed to get up these humungous mountains (although I did cheat once and walked my bike up – But it was HUGE, really it was!) and we came to our next stop. However, we only used it as an excuse to have a wee break because this stop was a little out of our budget.
Ill tell you about it anyway because if you aren’t a tight ass like me, this would actually be quite fun! Garrafón Park is kind of like a mini sports park. They have zip lining, bungee jumping (err no thanks!) and apparently has some great snorkeling areas. But because I am a wimp and really only wanted to swim there, we weren’t going to pay the 490 Pesos ($49 USD) to enter. So we had a wee little rest while pretending to check it all out from the outside and then carried on.
Not far from there we ended up in a place called Punta Sur. This was my favorite part of the island!
Punta Sur is the most eastern point of Mexico and is 20 meters above sea level, the highest elevation of the Yucatan.
It cost a mere 30 Pesos ($3 USD) to get in and was worth every Peso! When you first walk into Punta Sur you kinda feel there isn’t much to it. There are some random sculptures and dead grass. But as you get close to the edge of the cliffs you are met with some amazing views of the coastline and waves crashing on the rocks below.
There is a pathway winding along and down the edge of the cliffs, which is awesome. The waves crashing on the rocks are just mere meters away from you. It’s really quite beautiful.
There are some small shops and a cafe for refueling (which of course I did – There is only one thing I like more than amazing landscapes – food!).
As Punta Sur is right at the end of the island, it was time to turn around and head back to the other end where downtown is located.
We took a different route back but most of the sights to see are on the side we came in on so we didn’t see too much on the way back.
We did stumble across a lovely church. I’m not a religious person but I might be persuaded to change my ways if I was offered views of the ocean like this church has!
We rode the rest of the way without any more stops. We were almost out of time as we had to drop the bikes back by 5pm. So with our eyes on the time we peddled our little hearts out until we hit downtown.
So let me get this right – We picked up the bikes at 11am. We dropped them off at 5pm. That’s SIX HOURS of peddling people!! I think that deserves a huge round of applause! We cycled 20 kilometers! Not bad for someone who is the most opposite of a gym junkie you can get!
So all in all we had a really awesome day! The best day we’ve had in Mexico so far I’d say – Although that’s getting harder to say the more we see of this amazing country!
So if you are ever in Cancun I definitely suggest you spend the day at Isla Mujeres. A wonderful day out with a lot of activities for singles, couples or families. And go on… be awesome like us and cycle! You will love it!
Have you been to Isla Mujeres? Do you have any other recommendations for the Cancun surrounding areas?