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- 22 Jan 2020, 3 nights
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The sleepy island of Isla Mujeres (or Island of Women) lies just off the coast of Mexico’s eastern Yucatán Peninsula, in the Caribbean Sea. Stretching across approximately 7km, it's one of the best destinations in Mexico for a beach break, thanks to its pristine stretches of sand. With its turquoise waters, it’s also a top spot for diving and snorkelling. Alternatively, admire the views with a plate of fish tacos and an ice-cold beer at a café along the waterfront.
Most beachfront hostels in Isla Mujeres provide panoramic ocean vistas from rooftop bars and private balconies. Some hold open-air yoga classes, meditation sessions and art workshops, while others have hammocks strung up across the sand. You can even sign up for a salsa dance class in the day, before showing off your new skills in the on-site bar after dinner. Many Isla Mujeres hostels dish up local specialties like choripán (chorizo sandwich), and a few serve poolside cocktails.
Playa Norte runs across the northern edge of town, with white-sand beaches and shallow waters that are ideal for wading. As the best place on the island to watch the sunset, there are lots of spots here to grab a drink or a seafood dinner. A short walk inland, El Centro (the town centre) is the island's commercial hub with several shops, restaurants and bars. The Airport Strip has a quieter, more residential vibe, but it's just a quick stroll back to the action.
Isla Mujeres is a relaxing spot for soaking up Mexican island life – whether that means stretching out on a beachside cabana or splashing about in clear Caribbean waters. Swimming with whale sharks is a popular seasonal activity that runs between June and September. Another top attraction is the Turtle Farm (Tortugranja), which protects the breeding grounds of sea turtles. You can also take a trip down to Punta Sur at the southern tip of the island, where you'll find rugged cliffs overlooking the ocean.
Thanks to its small size, Isla Mujeres is easy to get around on foot. However, there are scooters and golf carts for hire if you want to explore the full length of the island. From Cancún International Airport, there are bus links to the city centre, where you can hop on a taxi or a local bus to the various ferry docks in Puerto Juarez. The Gran Puerto Cancún (Ultramar) ferry dock has boats leaving once or twice every hour, which take around 15 minutes to reach Isla Mujeres.