Isla Mujeres is only about an hour commute from Cancun International Airport between shuttle and ferry. Ellen was there in December 2016 and highly recommended the island. So when Dong said he needed a short getaway trip, this was the place.
This trip was back in May of 2017. I drafted everything after the trip but never got around to posting this. Now that I am on a posting rollercoaster, here you go!
An Island Off An Island
Ellen also recommended the resort that she stayed at, Mia Reef. The resort is on its own island off of the island! She had a couple of hiccups during her stay but it was nothing big and she is going back in June.
The resort itself was nothing particularly special: the food was average, the employees were polite but nothing super crazy and trying to get a reservation confirm was the most frustrating thing. We were not getting any responses through calls, emails or any form of social media. 😡 ❗️ Tip: Still check their social medias though. Although they were not responsive after we booked to confirm our reservation, we were able to find a 30% discount link before booking. You have to go through the link they posted. If you don't see any current running deals, message them on social media. While they were still responsive on Twitter before I booked, they sent a special link and said their social media followings get a slight discount.
The view from our room is what I would go back for. We stayed in one of their villas, room 2018, and had a great view of King's Bath. I spent a good amount of time on the balcony people watching and bird watching. It was just so peaceful. It's also good to know when there is no one in King's Bath so we could run down and have the place to ourselves.
There are a lot of fish in King's Bath. You don't even need snorkel gear to see them. We met a really nice family of three here. The daughter was sitting on the ledge feeding the fishes crackers. When she saw us, she smiled and offered us a cracker to feed the fish. Later on, her dad offered us their snorkeling goggles to see the fish. Simple interactions like these makes a moment 100x more memorable 😊
Racing Golf Carts
My number one mission on this trip was to race golf carts and drive them around the island. There are many golf cart rental shops but we settled on MEGA rentadora Ciro's because they had fancy looking carts. For $45 USD, we were able to rent our blue Jeep golf cart for the day. Return time is 5 PM. Don't be late. We met two guys who cautioned us this. They were 10 minutes late and charger $15. If you miss the employees after closing, you can keep it until the next day but will be charged for another 24 hours - they hold on to your license so you're not going anywhere without returning your cart. Driving without a license wooo! 😆
During our cart rental, we did get to race other golf carts, they just didn't know it. 😝 According to Snapchat, the cart can go up to 20 mph.
We drove around the whole island which only took about three hours - including times we stopped to look at things. Another mission I had was to find the seashell house. I had imagine a huge secluded seashell house on the top of cliff - nope. It was just another house in the neighborhood that happened to look cool.
One of our stops in the middle of the island was Polo's Mango Cafe. Ellen recommended this and our taxi driver had a sticker for it. I pulled up Yelp real quick to see what everyone was ordering and ended up with the Stuffed Chile Poblano Pepper - onion, bacon, egg and cheese stuffed inside a battered pepper. The inside was definitely good. The outside was a bit bland. Ask for the hot sauce here if you want something REALLY spicy 🌶️🌶️🌶️
Along the Beach
We each had a mission of our own before booking this trip. Mine was the golf carts and his was getting a message. On our last night, we walked back to a massage booth we saw along the Playa Norte beach the other nights. The same lady had approached us twice. We told her we’d be back but she probably thought we were lying. Her face lit up when she saw us. An hour massage right on the beach listening to the waves during sunset for the both of us was $60 USD. Very well worth it! We both left feeling refreshed. Get a beach message when you arrive to kick off the trip really relaxed and finish off the trip with another one. If we got one the first night, we might have been back every night or at least two more times.
Every night, when the sun has started to set, we saw locals with children playing in the water. The locals here take the time to enjoy what they have living on an island.
One of the random nights we went out exploring the island, we decided to get dinner on the beach. We just walked along the strip from the ferry and looked at menus the restaurant had outside. Muelle 7 had a convincing guy outside drawing crowds in, a decent menu and tables right on the beach. Another thing on my to do list was to try tikin xic fish. I almost forgot about this if I didn't see it on the menu.
My main souvenir when traveling is mailing a postcard home. They are quick to find, cheaper than most things and easy to store or put on the wall. We didn’t look for postcards until later Sunday night. We couldn’t find stamps and was told Monday was a holiday so the post office would be closed. The resort didn’t have stamps for us either. We ended up getting stamps at the airport. It was a bit difficult finding the mailbox. It’s hidden in the shade to the right of the escalators. There is a local and international mailbox. I regretted putting my postcards in the international mailbox immediately. I should have brought them home to mail. The mailbox was stuffed to the top with postcards poking out. You can tell people like me jammed in our postcards. That mailbox was probably not emptied for at least a year. 😪 Second Mexico trip where I probably won’t get the postcard. (Fast forward to present day: we did get our postcards! It took about a year so I was a nice surprise when they came.)
Getting to Isla Mujeres from Cancun International Airport
Happy Shuttle: private shuttle for $60 USD round trip
Airport to Puerto Juarez port
Buy the Ultramar ferry ticket at the ferry port for $15 USD round trip per person
The ferry deports every 30 minutes
If you have luggage, they will ask you to get on the ferry at the back. It's going to be pretty hectic. Get on quickly, just put your bag anywhere along the back - there is no set location or person checking your luggage in. If you are worried about someone getting off the ferry with your luggage, sit near the back so you can get to your luggage right away when the ferry docks.
Welcome to Isla Mujeres!
If you are staying at Mia Reef, the easiest way to get there is to grab a taxi. When you get off the ferry and into the port area, go left when you get to the street. There will be a bunch of taxis lined up. We paid 50 pesos to get to the resort which seemed about right. We paid 60 pesos later when we took a taxi from the resort back to the ferry.
If you want to exchange your currency for pesos, do it at least two weeks before the trip. We tried to exchange USD to pesos two days before the trip not realizing banks don't just carry foreign currency. They said they needed to order it - we didn't have time for that. We ended up exchanging it at Cancun's airport. The exchange rate at the time was about 1 USD = 19 pesos. The airport was exchanging for 16 pesos.
If you have enough to tip your driver, do not exchange your money at the Cancun airport if you do not have to. Wait until you get off the ferry on Isla Mujeres. Once you get off and enter the port, immediately to your right is an exchange booth. There is another exchange booth across the street but the one in the ferry port had a better rate.
❗️ When you exchange your money, ask for small bills/coins to tip
Until next post! 👋🐠