Island Life

Saturday, 6 February 2010
One of my favorite parts of our mini-tour of the Yucatan Peninsula was Isla Mujeres.  It has a small, village feel and is much more authentic than the resort area of Cancun.  The island is only four miles long and boasts a coral reef, an ancient Mayan structure and fabulous restaurants serving fresh seafood.  

We were daring and rented a scooter for the day for just $20.  I'd recommend doing this so you don't have to  pay taxi fees and you can feel the island breeze on your skin while touring.  If you'd rather not chance your life among the native shooter drivers, you can rent a golf cart to get from one end of the island to the other.  Helmets are mandatory.

While researching the Cancun area, I read about Isla Mujeres and the temple constructed on the Eastern tip to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility.  History says Mayan women would trek to the Eastern point of the peninsula and then paddle alone in a kayak all the way to the island.  They would then walk to the temple to worship.  This was a sort of pilgrimage for women of child-bearing age.  The structure was damaged by a hurricane in 2003 but restored a few years later.  It was truly awesome to stand on the cliff overlooking the ocean and contemplate the journey to the spot that so many women had made before me.

The island is extremely laid back and we spent time at the free beach, Playa Lagunas.  Kingsley chilled in a hammock, we both swam in the sea and I admired the Palm trees and privacy.

Travelers to the island are bombarded with people trying to get you to sign up for tours as soon as you leave the ferry.  They are shouting about snorkeling, renting scooters and going to the "park" on the island.  The Garrafon National Park, while pretty, is a rip-off (in my opinion).  Each person is asked to pay $70 to enjoy the blue waters in the park.   

If you go to Isla Mujeres, don't leave without going through the graveyard.  It is bizarre but beautiful.  All graves are above-ground, fashioned as tombs.  Each has it's own style and they are painted in bright colors.  We walked along the over-grown paths quietly observing how different family members honored their deceased loved ones.

1 comment

Tina L. Hook said...

How gorgeous! I am having a major case of the winter blues. What I wouldn't give for a hammock and some sunshine...