A former fishing village, Isla Mujeres still retains its “small-town” charm. This beautiful island just opposite the busy island of Cancun is only 5 miles long and barely a half-mile wide. Surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean, Isla Mujeres boasts an average temperature of 80° F and the weather remains pleasant throughout the year.
Surrounded by coral reefs populated with a bounty of colorful marine life, Isla Mujeres is a paradise for divers and sea lovers. The natural beauty of the white sand beaches on the northern side and the stunning cliffs on the south form the breathtaking seascape of this enchanting island.
Isla Mujeres is only 45 minutes away from Cancun International Airport, one of the most important airports in Mexico, with direct flights from the largest cities in Europe and the USA including Boston, Miami, Chicago, New York, London, Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt.
The history of Isla Mujeres dates back to the Mayan Empire. It once held a sanctuary dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the moon, who governed fertility and the tides. The Spaniards discovered the island in 1517 and named it “Isla de las Mujeres,” which means island of the women, for the many female figurines they found on it.
As the years went by, Isla Mujeres became a favored refuge of buccaneers and pirates, and later, during the 19th century unrest in the Yucatan Peninsula, many people fled the mainland and came to live here.
While it is no longer an unknown paradise, Isla Mujeres still retains that small village charm. The town has a population just over 12,000 and the downtown area is only four by six blocks. Isla Mujeres’ popularity as a tourist destination has led to the opening of nightclubs, bars and restaurants where you can find local shrimp ceviche on the beach to a sophisticated gourmet dinner for two. The quiet pace of a tranquil town still prevails.
Standard currency in Isla Mujeres is the Mexican peso, but dollars are widely accepted. The main bank on the island is a branch of HSBC but there are plenty of ATMs where you can withdraw directly in pesos. The majority of the population speaks, or at least understands some English, so you should have no problem communicating, even if your Spanish is not very fluent.
The most popular transportation between the island and the mainland is the ferry, which takes 15 minutes to cross. The first boat usually leaves at 5:30 hours and there is a boat every half hour. The last ferry leaves Isla Mujeres for Puerto Juarez at 24:00 hours. While most visitors move around the island in a golf cart, the majority of locals prefer moped scooters. There are not many cars on Isla Mujeres, and a good portion of them are taxis.
Mexico and specifically Cancun is rapidly becoming a popular destination for foreign medical trips. Healthcare in Mexico is very good and relatively affordable, particularly in the area of dental care and cosmetic surgery.