Most people who visit Isla Mujeres come on a day trip from their Cancun area resort. For me personally, I think that Isla Mujeres is a destination in its own right. It offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, amazing restaurants, and a laid-back island vibe that is perfect for any vacation.
Our first visit to Isla Mujeres was in February, 2016 for my birthday. We lucked out and found a direct flight from New Orleans to Cancun. Anytime I can get a direct flight, I am one happy camper! Due to an early flight, we were in Cancun by 11:15 a.m. Once we made it through customs (there is a long line on Saturdays) and avoided the time-share hawkers, we stepped outside to find our transfer waiting for us just beyond the outdoor airport bar. (I have used CARM for transfers on several occasions.) With two cold cervezas in hand, we were on our way for the 30-minute ride to Gran Puerto Juarez where we would hop on the ferry to Isla Mujeres.
The turquoise sea greeted us as we approached the spacious ferry. The ferry attendants will place your bags in an area to the back of the ferry. You can sit in the air-conditioned lower level or outside on upper level. We opted for some sun and sea air on the upper deck for the 20-minute jaunt across to Isla. The ferry was filled with day trippers going to Isla to enjoy a beach day and others, like us, who were looking to spend a bit more time exploring the island life.
As we stepped off the ferry at the terminal in Isla, we were smack in the heart of downtown! The whirl of activity was a bit overwhelming. But, soon we had our bearings and realized that the taxi stand is located immediately to the left of the ferry terminal. All taxis are red cars and relatively inexpensive. I do highly recommend arriving in Mexico with some pesos for taxis and cerveza, if nothing else!
Once we were in the taxi, we headed south toward our hotel, Villa la Bella – located in the middle of the island near a residential neighborhood and away from the buzz of downtown. Mind you, it is around 2:00 at this point, and we had not yet eaten lunch. We arrived at Villa la Bella travel weary and hungry. Fortunately, our gracious hosts greeted us and gave us a quick tour before pointing us down the street for a late lunch.
Barely one block from Villa la Bella was an outdoor restaurant – Caribbean Brisas (Payo Obispo 722, Meteorológico, Isla Mujeres). All that I can say is WOW! First order of business – a margarita. It was tiny, but it was potent! Then we shared guacamole. It was fresh and delicious. I ordered the Marisco Fajitas (shrimp, octopus and squid) and devoured my entire plate promptly. Greg ordered the fish tacos. He received a plate of three nice tacos filled with crisp fried fish and cabbage. Amazing!
Our first day was a long one, but sometimes it is more about the journey than the destination. In this instance, I am so happy that our destination was Villa la Bella on Isla Mujeres.