10 shades of awesome!
Isla Mujeres Travel Blog› entry 7 of 9 › view all entries
October 9th, 2008 – by: jenn79
We bussed it to the embarcadero to catch the ferry to Isla Mujeres. It's hard not to feel joy and anticipation on such a wonderful ferry ride. Coasting quickly over calm and insanely turquoise blue waters was so exciting and relaxing at the same time! I wonder if people in Miami live this life of cool and natural luxury. If so, I think I want to visit for a while! I could get used to screaming across the water, wearing lots of linen and having a great tan all the time.
I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do but the initial plan was to rent a golf cart and sort of circle around the island. Mopeds would have been so much cooler as they look like motorcycles but I didn't need any injuries on this vacay! =) We were accosted by people right away and decided instead to walk towards North Beach in the drizzle since it was only a few minutes away and then perhaps come back to rent a golf cart and check out the rest of the island. It was just a little difficult being bombarded by people wanting you to buy stuff/rent stuff/spend money after such an exhilarating ride across turquoise waters and just getting off of a boat.
When we were practically at the beach I realized 1) we hadn't eaten yet and 2) there was a cool cafe that I read about in one of my guidebooks.
It started raining yet again and so decided to forgo the beach and a taxi was just letting someone out up the street. We asked him how much to take us to the south of the island where there was supposed to be some ruins. Apparently $6 to $8 gets you from one end of the island to the other! Fantastic! Our taxi driver was a sweet 25 year old who explained some of the things we were passing as he drove and displayed the normal curiosity, asking where we were from, what our names were, if we had ever been here before, etc.
We arrived at Puerto Sur and it was indeed very pretty and on a cliff. He explained that Isla Mujeres was named such because when it was discovered there were statues of nude females on the island, the ancient peoples probably came here to pray for fertility. I asked if the statues were still there and he said that when the Spanish conquered, they took everything, including the statues. We pulled up and he indicated Garrafon a few meters away in case we needed a taxi back or wanted to play in the water park.
We walked around the cliff and took pictures, seeing a light house in front of us and climbed that in order to take some aerial view pictures. We saw a sculpture garden and some stones from the light house and so walked further towards the end of the island/cliff. We came to a park entrance and the lady asked for $3 to enter. We almost didn't go in because you could see all the sculptures from the entrance, but I asked her if there were ruins inside and she said yes. The things I'll do to look at ruins..
Am I ever freaking glad we went in. They don't advertise it and you can't even see this from the lighthouse, but this "sculpture garden" is the only way you get to a staircase/path that leads you DOWN THE CLIFF and into the water. It is such an interesting shape this cliff that when you're on the pathway you feel like you're at the edge of the earth because you have a literally 360 degree view of ocean.
Veronica and I had the best time running around, hanging onto the cliff walls and edging as far as we would dare off the cliff for pictures. It was like we had our very own island - it is truly a magnificent place and nobody seems to know about it!! At one point, we found the way out on the other side of the cliff but I had to sit there for a minute with a ciggie just to take it all in. And I was so overcome that I had to jump down to the rocks and climb around a bit so I could stick one foot in the water. This was a bit frightening since I can't swim and if I slipped or a wave came to sweep me away, there was nobody around who could've saved me.
After our exhilirating cliff's edge stroll, we walked over to Garrafon to see if we could take a dip as we were again hot and sweaty, despite the beautiful ocean breeze. We arrive to find it costs $50 US dollars because it's an exclusive beach club, blahblahblah, so we turn around and ask a taxi how much it would be to take us back to North Beach as it has stopped raining by now. He says $8 so in we go into the air conditioned cab and he proceeds to ask us about our trip. He asks if we've been to "La Tortugas" and I mistakenly think he's inquiring about a beach, so I say "no, solamente visitamos Chichen Itza y Tulum." He clarifies, saying that there is a place to SEE Tortugas (turtles) and sharks! He asks us if we want to go, he will wait for us to take pictures and then take us to North Beach.
We arrive at a turtle hatchery and honestly it looks like a little cement building with pools nearby. I'm not impressed at all. But then the taxi driver proceeds to get out with us and shows us around the hatchery. He first takes us to where the eggs hatch (in sand, with sticks indicating what kind of turtle or where the eggs were found). Then there's a huge pool with thousands of baby turtles that need to grow a little bigger before being moved or released or something! What a sight!!! It's like seeing tadpoles but they're turtles! They're so little!!
He then takes us to some tanks and there are these HUGE SEATURTLES! Not as big as those in Hawaii but these are still about 70 lbs! I don't know what came over me but I asked if I could touch the turtles and they were joking that I might lose a finger but I did it anyway.
We were about to head to the shark-petting location when Veronica and I looked at each other and decided there was no way we would want to lift a shark out of the water just to get a picture. We seriously consider that in bad taste and animal cruelty, so we forwent that and went straight to North Beach.
He was one of those personalities where he probably didn't own a thing of value short of the knappy hat on his head and the holey shirt on his back, but he was evidently the "mayor" of the town. We ended up sitting down with him and chatting for about 30 minutes about life philosophies, positive love and energy and just a whole load of BS. It was pretty awesome =) He gave me his email address in case I ever wanted to do a sailing trip around the Carribean with some friends he had a friend with a boat, etc.
We left soon after to stroll around and Veronica noticed this insanely hot guy on the beach. We both snuck a couple of looks and he actually APPROACHED us with his arms crossed and demanded to know if we had boyfriends. I waved him away and said "no, gracias." HAHAA. Like he was selling us beads or something "no gracias!" Then I regretted it as Veronica is single and I think I just succeeded in cock-blocking her. Ah well.
We walked a little further and stopped by a shop so Veronica could get booty shorts with "Cancun" on them and I saw a simple cotton dress that I really liked. My sandals were full of caked sand so I didn't enter and the guy outside and I started chatting. It's funny, I think it really throws off Mexicans that this chinese girl from the US can speak spanish.
Isla Mujeres proved to be my favorite experience out of all the excursions that we took, whether guided or self-explored. The people are amazingly friendly, its cheap to get from one side of the island to the other, and there is a LOT of gorgeous things to see. It's not teeming with tourists like some other spots though it does have its fair share. There are a lot of locals who are willing to share their knowledge with you and some beautiful hotels on very nice beaches. I highly, highly recommend visiting Isla Mujeres when you've had your fill of Cancun, I recommend it even more if Cancun really just isn't your scene.
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