……… (That You May Not Know About)
Just say at the word “Mexico” and you see swirling red dresses, margaritas, tequila, and sombreros. There is ohhhhhhh soooo much more to Mexico and Isla Mujeres.
Sure, you might have already seen the standard ‘must do’ things, like snorkeling, renting a golf cart and the turtle farm. Here are other ideas you may not find on the other lists. These are insider tips of top ten activities to do while on the island.
Leave an offering for Ixchel.
Legend says that when Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba, a Spanish conquistador, discovered the island in 1517, three sculptures of women were found at the southern point of the island. Today, the remnants of these Mayan ruins can be seen at what is now called Punta Sur. Folklore also exists that the explorers only saw a few women living here, the Court of the Priestess Ixchel, goddess of fertility and medicine. This is how the island got its name, Island of Women. For 30 pesos entrance fee, walk the path here for breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. Look for a giving circle made of stones. Leave a gift here, a few coins or a pretty shell and maybe Ixchel will bring you good luck.
Walk the wall.
Along the ocean side is a paved walkway called the Malecon. Here you can jog or power walk the 1.5 mile roundtrip. Go at sunrise if you can, worth waking up early for the views. The path begins at Abasolo Road, behind PocNa Hostel.
Kodak Moment at the Isla Mujeres sign
Take pics of you and your friends at the ISLA MUJERES sign on the ocean.You can climb up this metal sign for fun photos. Can’t miss it, it’s at the beginning of the Malecon.
Pay it forward at the Women’s Bead Cooperative.
Their Facebook page is “Isla Mujeres Women’s Beading Co-op”. (La Gloria section, south side of town) This group started with a few women selling their beadwork to support their families. Today they have over 50 women selling handcrafted necklaces and more, and depend on tourists buying their goods to provide a better life for their children. Sales from this venture have changed the lives of these women, many who are single mothers. For very little money, you not only get a traditional Mayan design-beaded souvenir, you help the locals become self-sufficient and, to be able to afford to send their children to the English-speaking school. Gracias.
Hunt for sea glass.
The ocean side of the island creates the perfect recipe for sea glass. Rough water, rocks & pebbles. These salted, frosted and smooth trinkets look like jewels when they roll up on shore. Pieces can be found everywhere at low tide. If you’re exploring on a golf cart, pull over at any spot where you can rock climb your way down to the sea. We’ve even found pieces here marked with the words ‘Cuba’ and ‘Mexico’. When you find just the right piece, you can take it to a local jeweler to have a ring or necklace handmade just for you! Perfecto.
Buy the blanket.
Quality blankets sell for around $40, are lightweight and warm. With so many colors and styles, these souvenirs make the perfect tablecloth for your Taco Tuesdays when you get home.
Enjoy and experience Cochinita Sunday.
A Yucatan food tradition, pork is slow roasted all night long in sweet Achiote spices. Then, every Sunday, restaurants serve this melt in your mouth ‘Cochinita Pibil’ dish to the locals. It’s like what you would eat if you had a Mexican grandmother. Served with pickled sweet red onions and tortillas, this meal is a treat for your senses. Look for the hand-written signs in front of the smaller restaurants, or try it at the local ‘farmers market’ on Av. Guerrero. Same place you can find the tortilla factory.
Get educated on Tequila.
Go to Adelita’s Tequileria next to Faynes restaurant on Hidalgo. Look for the gorgeous stained glass sign over the bar. Their friendly staff will answer questions on the many types, the regions, and the aging process of this Mexican elixir. Here, you can taste the best of the best and buy a bottle of your favorite, if so inclined. Cheers.
Let the frigate birds hypnotize you.
These seabirds can soar for weeks on wind currents and are fascinating to watch. These long winged, forked tale birds make graceful aerial maneuvers that make you wish you can fly too. Before navigation technology, a sighting of them by sea farers was a sure sign that dry land was near. Sooth your soul with a siesta in a hammock while bird watching.
Discover the new murals.
The PangeaSeed foundation initiated the Sea Wall Mural idea as part of their ‘bringing the oceans into the streets around the world’ conservation awareness projects. Isla Mujeres is fortunate to have 14 of these incredible murals scattered about town, all donated by the artists as their contribution to the cause. A truly great organization for all who love the oceans, check them out online after you marvel at these works of art.
Would you like to visit Isla Mujeres someday? We are waiting to welcome you to CASA MÚSICA DEL CARIBE.