Isla Mujeres is an island surrounded by beaches and depending on the weather, you can choose the best beach. Having a choice of 4 unique beaches is really quite fun, and the best ones are all within walking distance of the North third of the island.
If it is very windy, you can go to the calm West side of the island, facing Cancun, where it is protected by the mainland. You can get a reasonably priced massage here too.
Cancun across the water at dusk…
If it is just a little breezy, The North Beach (Playa Norte) on the North tip of the island is a favourite, though it is the busiest and most tourist-packed. We managed to find a quieter spot here beside Chi Chi’s Bar.
The East Beach faces the open water of the ocean so it is usually too wild and windy to sit on the beach. There are some high cliffs and jagged rocks that equally prevent sun-bathers from relaxing on the beach, but standing on top of the cliffs provide some excellent views of the ocean. Occasionally, you can see a shallow protected bay of water beneath the rocks that would make a lovely private beach – after you climb down the rocks to reach it.
Or you can go to the North East beach, one of our favourite beaches, on the Northeast corner, next to the popular North Beach (Playa Norte). Here is a large lagoon split into two sides by the bridge. Sadly, a big hotel sits across the bridge blocking the view of the ocean, but the lagoon water is the most fantastical teal and turquoise blues, changing from blue-green to green-blue to the palest azure.
It is so incredibly clear that you don’t need to snorkel because you can easily see the fish and other sea animals swimming right around you, even baby barracudas. The water is shallow too, for a long way out.
There are some nice miniature villa-like rooms here facing the water, each with it’s own tiny garden.
A private home sits on some rocks facing the ocean with its back to this lagoon. What an interesting place to live!
We spent many days on this beach when it was windy because it is protected by the rock outcroppings on the wild East side, and it is a little quieter in terms of the numbers of people on the beach.
On the beach, on the other side of the bridge. there is a bar/restaurant which also has beds you are free to use if you are ordering drinks and food.
Other wise, renting a chair is about $15C dollars for the day. The sand is as fine and thick as you could imagine; it was like walking in truckloads of icing sugar.
And as you walk in the white sand, or lay in your beach bed, and become more and more incredulous at the shimmering clear lagoon water, you begin to notice the contrast of the wild cobalt-blue waves beyond the lagoon roar in and collide with the coral reef and burst into an explosion of ocean water.
For a change one day, we drove out to the Southern tip of Isla Mujeres (Take A Walk On The Wild Side), and spent the day at Zama where there is a pool and restaurant right on the beach. The beautiful white beds are free to use if you order a drink and some food. You can relax luxuriously, go for a swim in the pool or the ocean, or sit back and enjoy a cocktail.
The Island of Isla Mujeres is nothing like the wonderful quaint and charming island that it was 10-15 years ago with a village, a few streets, and a few shops. It was primarily a getaway for Mexicans on the mainland. It was a little known place then, and we had hoped it had not changed. Unfortunately, the secret is out. Now it’s packed with tourists, hundreds of golf carts zipping crazily around, hundreds of restaurants, and shop owners soliciting you to come into their shops, often fairly aggressively.
Still, Isla Mujeres is not without its charms, and if you can ignore the crowds, but adore that crystal clear turquoise water with white sand beaches, it is worth a visit.
Now, which beach would you choose?