The names Cancun and Cozumel are as synonymous with Caribbean vacation, as Time & Place are with hedonistic luxury. For those searching for a slower sabbatical, for a true tropical getaway, or a family friendly vacation, these two tourist hot-spots may not be on the menu.
Enter Isla Mujeres. Small. Beautiful. Secluded.
This five-mile island is accessible via a ferry ride from the bustling party center known as Cancun and is known for the unspoiled, confectioners sugar sand, the aquamarine waters, the piquant cuisine, and unique shopping experience. Close enough to other main ports of call that it is accessible for day trips, Isla Mujeres possesses its rare charm that entitles it to more lengthy attention. This is especially true for families or those seeking something other than the Spring Break fever that has enveloped much of the Yucatan.
While the rest of the Riviera Maya has undergone commercial cosmetic changes in recent decades, “The Isle of Women” has remained true to its fishing village roots, and still shuts down after the day crowds leave. If you are one of the lucky few to be staying on the island overnight, you are will experience the Caribbean as it was when pirates still prowled the seas.
People come to Isla Mujeres because they want a relaxing luxury vacation. You can spend some time walking through the town (or taking a golf cart like the locals do) but the absolute best way to achieve this level of leisure is to spend a little time with your toes in the sand. Here are a few low key activities that you simply won’t want to miss.
The “North Beach” of Isla Mujeres has to be in contention for the title of, “Most Beautiful Beach in the World.” With an unobscured skyline, unbelievable azure waters, and undisturbed natural formations, time will simply slip away as you fall into your true essence. A large sandbar allows you to walk impossibly far out into the sea, and a nearby tiki bar will supply you with the liquid courage to allow you to do it. Grab a beach chair and a tropical drink while the children build sandcastles and memories in the surf.
Found at the opposite end of the island, Punta Sur is the highest point on Isla Mujeres and was positioned for the placement of a temple to the Moon Goddess of the Maya. Enjoy a hike to the top for a truly breathtaking view, and be sure to stop by the sculpture garden.
Garrafon Natural Reef Park
Sure to be one of the highlights of any family trip to Isla Mujeres, Garrafon Natural Reef Park allows guests access to zipping lines, snorkeling activities, a swimming pool overlooking the bay, plenty of hammocks to continue the relaxation theme, kayaks, dolphin swims, bicycle tours, and more.
Take your family to the 107,639 square feet of all natural ocean encompassed by the same beautiful beach that surrounds the entirety of Isla Mujeres, and swim with the ocean’s most majestic mammals. Stick around afterward to experience other ocean life, such as sting rays and sharks, up close and personal. For a special treat, visit the Dolphin VIP Lounge for private views, an infinity pool, specialty drinks, and fresh shrimp.
The Museo Subacuatico De Arte (MUSA)
A key attraction since 2009, MUSA is a gargantuan underwater art museum packed with over 500 permanent life-sized sculptures and represents the intersection of art and science. Taken from their website, MUSA’s mission statement is, “…to demonstrate the interaction between art and environmental science and form part of a complex reef structure for marine life to colonize and inhabit while increasing biomass on a grand scale.” Adventurers can opt to visit the exhibit via glass bottom boat, by snorkeling, or scuba diving. At a maximum depth of only ten feet, these artificial reefs are accessible even by beginners.
Where to Dine
Delectable street delicatessens abound in Isla Mujeres, each one offering its take on authentic Caribbean cuisine, and none is likely to disappoint. When on the go, or when fully embracing the laid-back atmosphere, take advantage of these curbside carts. You won’t be disappointed.
When looking for more formal dining and high-end fare, be sure to head inland to Limon, a restaurant routinely considered to be the island’s best.
Where to Stay
While there are plenty of serviceable hotels and boutiques on the island, for a truly luxurious setting, you simply cannot miss Villa de la Vida. This 4,500 square foot, five bedroom villa is packed with modern features such as smooth running lines, cantilevered ceilings, as well as an infinity fabulous pool. Situated on the southernmost point of Isla Mujeres, the Villa de la Vida offers majestic views, private gates, privacy high walls, and loads of ultra modern appeal. This villa provides the perfect setting for coming together as a family and taking full advantage of the slow tick-tock of the “Island Clock.”
Why Isla Mujeres
Sure, there are other places (many) in the Riviera Maya that promise more entertainment, more distraction, and more people, but those looking to live in quiet luxury while getting back to basics would do well to consider a layover in the “Isle of Women.”
There are no wild dance clubs pumping music until the wee hours. After sunset, the only sound you are likely to hear will be the crashing of the waves on the surf.
There are not many places to get lost. In fact, the every street in the town can be traversed in less time than it takes to have a quality nap.
Still, there are one-of-a-kind shops speckled over the cobblestone walkways, authentic street vendors, and high-quality restaurants offering only the freshest seafood.
So if you are looking for a quiet vacation filled with quality time, Isla Mujeres offers everything you need. Maximize your relaxation by booking with Time and Place, where every rental comes with a complimentary luxury travel concierge who will handle each and every detail of your stay, from travel tickets to excursion adventures, so that you can focus on what brought you to this trip: family.