Escape to Isla Mujeres
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Escape to Isla Mujeres

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Isla Mujeres is a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Mexico. Just a 20 minute ferry ride from the mainland, the island is a great destination for those looking to escape the chaos that is Cancun.

Isla Mujeres is everything you could hope for from a beach destination in the Caribbean. There are some great resorts, plenty of good places to eat and drink, and different areas to explore. While you don’t need a heap of time to explore the island, give yourself a few days to really relax and explore the island at your own pace.

The little township itself is quaint and has a more authentic feel than some of the larger tourist destinations on Mexico’s coast. It’s a great place to wander, particularly in the evenings when the locals are out and about.

The sunsets here are magical. Going down to the beach to watch the sun set is something you must do during your stay on Isla Mujeres. There’s a small jetty on the main beach where people convene to watch the sun as it disappears at the end of the day. Make sure you do this at least once.

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Stay

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Stay at a beachfront resort. You just have to. We stayed at the Privilege Aluxes on Playa Norte and I highly recommend this resort – it has one of the best stretches of beach on the island and offers a range of different room types.

Everything you would expect of a beach resort is available here. There’s a nice central pool area, but we spent our time on the beach instead. There are sun lounges set up along the hotel’s stretch of beach, with bar service to your lounge. There are several bars and restaurants to choose from at the hotel, including one on the beachfront. Skip the all-inclusive package offered by the hotel – this means you won’t try any of the restaurants on the island and there are several that you should.

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Eat and drink

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My top restaurant recommendation for Isla Mujeres is not Mexican but Mediterranean. Olivia is one of the top rated restaurants on the island and offers a quality menu of Mediterranean dishes in a lovely indoor/outdoor setting. The menu includes comfort classics like moussaka and spanakopita as well as some amazing baklava. The food was so good that we ate here two of the three nights we stayed on Isla Mujeres. We also had a quality meal at Sardinian Smile. Be sure to head around to Fenix Lounge on the beachfront as this is a great place for a lazy lunch or some evening drinks and they often have live music. Lola Valentina and Qubano were also highly recommended.

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Explore

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Isla Mujeres is tiny and Playa Norte is the best beach so if you’re staying up this part of the island you won’t want to go far. However it’s worth checking out other parts of the island and a great way to do this is to hire a golf buggy for a couple of hours. There are heaps of them around and you’ll see many other people doing the same thing. It is interesting to see the landscape change a little as you move away for the hustle of the Playa Norte area and as you move south you’ll pass the popular Garrafon Reef Park where you can snorkel in the most beautifully coloured water or zip line above it. You can also explore the ruins of the Temple of Ixchel, a former Mayan site.

On foot, make sure you explore the town itself in the main part of the island where as well as lots of the usual tourist shops you will find some great restaurants and colourful buildings. Explore the beaches around the corner from Playa Norte. As you walk along Playa Norte away from the ferry terminal you will come around to a small inlet where the water is knee to waist deep. It is just idyllic to float around in this area.

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