Before starting our Belize adventure, we spent a few days resting, relaxing and rejuvenating on Isla Mujeres (a small island off the coast of Cancun). It was a great spot to avoid the ‘Spring Break’ scene but still enjoy Mexican sand, sunshine and beach life.
The food was incredible (but expensive), Playa Norte was beautiful and the island vibe was very laid back. We were slightly surprised by the influx of tourists and the notable Americanization of the island. While local cuisine and small town areas could be found, Isla is definitely designed to meet the needs of American and Canadian tourists happy to spend 5 USD for a beer!
At the North end of the island, you find vendors selling souvenirs, restaurants lining the streets and beach, massage booths, hotels and hundreds of tourists driving rented golf carts and parking anywhere they can find space! On the beach, we were charged 150 pesos for two reclining beach chairs, an umbrella, bathroom access and an open concept shower to rinse off at the end of the day. It was perfect!
On our first full day on Isla, we rented a golf cart for 24 hours (650 pesos). Driving from one tip of the island to the other, cruising along the coast and stopping at our leisure was a highlight for me. We went to Punta Sur, the Turtle Sanctuary and stopped at a ocean side bar for a refreshing drink. When you arrive at the southern tip, it costs 30 pesos to enter the park. We debated and eventually decided to go for it and we were so glad we did! You can look at all the sculptures and walk along the coast, so close that the waves sometimes splash you.
Isla Mujeres is a more relaxed alternative to Cancun, but still expensive and full of tourists. Not our favorite Mexican beach vacation spot, but definitely fun for a weekend!