Updated: Jul 10, 2018
In the footsteps of Jaques Cousteau - Isla Mujeres, our go to Island for relaxation and family fun!
Transport: We flew into Cancun, took a transfer that we book online to the harbor Puerto Juarez and a quick ferry to Isla. From there we hired a local with a cargo bike to take us to our hotel. He loaded the suitcases, and sat the kids on top for a fun 10 min walk/ride to our hotel. Just pay a toip in pesos or USD and they will be happy.
Who: Josh, Marie and 3 kids: Luella 9, Evelyn 7 and Knox 2.5.
Occasion: This was or 7th time to Isla, yes, thats how much we love it. We go when its cold in New York to enjoy some sun, water-fun and delicious food.
Isla Mujeres: A tiny island, 7 km long and so narrow that you can see from one side to the other in some places. This means there are no cars, other than taxis and a few local utility vehicles. The way everyone gets around is by golf carts or scooters. we rented a golf cart for a day and toured the island. You can make it all the way around with stops for lunch and adventures in a day no problem.
The North beach is the spot for swimming, snorkeling in lagoon or eating at the beach restaurants.
Hotel: We stayed at Na Balam as usual. The hotel is located on the northern tip of the island, right on the beach/Laguna where Jaques Cousteau had his research center for many years. It is small with a beach side and a pool side. We prefer the beach side so you can wake up and look out on the ocean and the small terrace faces the beach too and a great place to relax mid day. The rooms easily fit a family of 5.
The restaurant is great too, breakfast is included and consists of fresh fruit, fresh juice, home baked bread and butter and a warm dish of you choice eggs, pancakes or oatmeal.
Lunch and dinner is great too and reasonably priced.
Great margaritas, perfect for watching the sunset right there on the beach.
The hotel has a pool and hot tub too witch was very popular with the kids.
Yoga: the hotel has a Cabana next to the pool where they host yoga classes daily. They have some really amazing teachers and we loved starting our days with a family yoga class.
Tips: book the hotel many months a head of time and call them directly for the best rate. Book the transfer ahead too, they even have car seats. Rent the golf cart at one of the places in town and get a better deal. Also, all Prices are negotiable with street vendors, don't forget to bargain.
What we loved to do:
Visit the turtle sanctuary, rent a golf cart and explore the island, morning walks to see the sunrise on the east side, just past Jaques Cousteau house, morning walks to along the beach to see what the fishermen brought in, hang out on the town square in the evenings where kids could also rent power wheels per the half hour and drive them around the square. Snorkel in the lagoon and bring crackers for the fish and watch them eat it.
We tried a snorkeling trip but were not impressed with it. Very rushed, crowded and not that much to see.
If you get tired of lounging on the comfy beach beds at the hotel, sipping smoothies and eating fish tacos, you can take a trip to one of the beach clubs mid island and swim in the pool and eat a variation of the same food. We like Zama Beach Club.
What and where we loved to eat:
We loved going to the local market in the mornings and getting fresh juices, delicious tacos and just hanging with the locals. The market is a five minute walk from the hotel just up the dirt road.
We also love dinners at Olivias, an Israeli restaurant in town. They have the cozyest court yard and the owners are lovely and the food is amazing!
We also love a fancy dinner at Villa rolandi, mid island. Take a taxi there and make sure you are there for sunset! Amazing view! And delicious italian food.
Another favorite is one of the local fish restaurants on the harbor side. You sit in the sand, on plastic chairs, there is live mexican music, huge drinks and they show you the catch and ask you how you want it! Delicious and fun!
There are more adventurous things to do on the island too witch we haven't tried yet, like swimming with dolphins, sharks, or the Garafon adventure park.
We went for 10 days and wished we had stayed for 2 weeks.
It is fairly cheap compared to new york prices but much more expensive than Asia.