travel

Isla Mujeres, Mexico- Trip Recap Day 2 (Punta Sur, Beach, Centro Nightlife)

Picking back up where I left off! Onto Day 2, Friday January 14th. (*I know this is a long post, but this was an AMAZING day for us and covered some great major highlights of the island, so even if you don’t read it all, skim through the pictures at least!!)

Morning/ Breakfast with a view

I woke up around 6:45 a.m. or so and went out on our balcony to see how the day was looking. Turns out, it looked very good!

The hotel was very quiet yet at that time, so I snuck down to the oceanfront to say hello to the water. πŸ™‚ Our hotel faced west, so it was still a bit dark on our side of the island.

I just sat on a rock for a little bit and breathed in the salt water air. I was the only one down on our little rocky beach area so it was very peaceful.

Back upstairs, Ivan woke up and we sat and chatted on the patio a while. This hotel has a small restaurant where you can eat if you wish, but the default policy is that they deliver a continental breakfast to each room’s private balcony. We filled out a form the night before and selected “8:30 a.m.” as our delivery time.

The breakfast delivery turned out to be a highlight of the trip. There was something so luxurious about having a waiter with a big tray just show up and set up our meal each day, all while looking out at the ocean. In “normal life” we don’t often sit together and have breakfast. Ivan especially enjoys a slow, lingering breakfast, so he talked about really liking this.

Breakfast was simple, but very good. It was the same every day: Fresh fruit, yogurt, freshly squeezed orange juice (AMAZINGLY delicious), coffee, tea, toast/ jam and Mexican sweet bread.

Punta Sur

After breakfast, we got ready to head out for a while to explore. First destination- Punta Sur, the southernmost tip of the island (about a 3/4-1 mile walk from our hotel).

pretty typical street view on the island. Lots of trees! (a little deceiving- sidewalks in good shape are not always a given, as they are in this photo….In Mexico you always have to keep one eye on the road- very common to have broken/uneven pieces of concrete, holes and/or dog poop in the way. πŸ˜† )

We just walked down the side of the road, which ran along the ocean. It was hot, sunny, and blue skies.

We walked past this place where you can zip-line out over the ocean to that little stand in the water. If the boys had been along, I’m sure they would have wanted to try it!

Before long we made it to Punta Sur. This is a prime destination on the island and is known for its breathtaking panoramic views. It is also the eastern most point of Mexico!

We paid the 30 pesos to get in ($1.50 US) and started walking around the various trails. We spent over an hour here! LOVED it!! It was gorgeous.

Mayan people inhabited the island, and this spot, 2,000 years ago. There are ruins still present of a temple to the Mayan Goddess “Ixchel”, who was the goddess of fertility and childbirth. The whole island was considered sacred to her. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, they found so many statues and references to her that they ended up naming the island “Isla de Mujeres”, or Island of Women, in her honor. (The name has since been shorted to simply “Isla Mujeres” as the island’s official name.)

temple ruins at the tip of the island
we did a photo op swap with a group of American girls who were visiting too. πŸ™‚

The trails weaved around the point. The sun sparkled off that blue water and it was honestly just SO BEAUTIFUL!!! I loved the contrast of the green plants with the rocks and the water.

We saw a bunch of iguanas!! Some were camouflaged up the side of the rocks. We took some videos for the boys.

I liked this big guy. I felt like he was just sitting and looking out at the ocean, calmly appreciating the view. ☺

We also saw a very cool crab:

I love this picture! Sparkly.

The rocks formations were really interesting too- looked like shell/ ocean life sediment all embedded into the rock.

We passed the official “eastern most” point of Mexico. As the sign says, if you visit in the early morning at sunrise, you’d literally be the first person in the country to see the sunlight. πŸ™‚

We finally headed back toward the entrance. I could have sat and looked out at this water all day.

😍

Light Lunch at Acantilado

Since our breakfast was pretty light (but carb heavy ;)), we were a little bit hungry by this point. There was an open air bar/ restaurant with views of the ocean on all sides. We decided to stop and get a table.

This was the cutest place!! If I lived on the island I would go there ALL THE TIME.

We shared an order of shrimp quesadillas, with guacamole and refried beans on the side. THEY WERE DELICIOUS. If you ever go to Isla Mujeres, this is an order: Go to the Punta Sur restaurant (it’s called “Acantilado”), order the shrimp quesadillas and, if you like spicy food, ask for a side of habanero salsa. Do not miss the habanero salsa!!!!!!! It is life changing. πŸ˜‚ I’m serious, it’s so good.

A little bit goes a long way πŸ˜‰

Beach Time

We finally dragged ourselves away from our table with the beautiful view, checked out a few local stands/ shops near the entrance and took a picture of the famous Iguana statue!

We then walked down the eastern side of the island (opposite from our hotel), to look for a little beach area to hang out at for a while. If you read my trip recaps from this summer to Vermont/ New Hampshire/ Maine, you’ll know I am a huge fan of trying to find “secret spots”, or places that are a bit off the beaten tourist path. Nothing against major tourist sites- they are great and popular for a reason- but I just love to try to find some solitude, or more unique experiences, if I can.

The road we were on followed the ocean, with several homes and condos along the way.

Before long, we found a big open stretch, with a little path down the hill side to the “beach”. I say “beach” because it definitely is not one of those perfect, pristine beaches you see on the Sandals resort commercials. It was a definitely more rugged- a mishmash of rocks, sand, and some bits of dry seaweed. And, to be completely honest, there were some bits of garbage scattered here and there too. But you know what? IT WAS COMPLETELY EMPTY. Not a soul in sight. And the water (and views) were absolutely gorgeous. I said to Ivan, “HERE. This is the spot I want.”

We spread our towels out and hung out there- in complete solitude- for most of the afternoon (before we started to worry we might be getting sunburned!)

Happy.

I sat by the water’s edge for a while while Ivan took a nap, I think. Hahaha! I read a bunch of my book, too.

We finally packed up and headed back to the hotel (about a 10 minute walk).

Love these pink flowers on the street between the hotel and the beach:

Back at the hotel, I think we just went down by the pool area for a little bit. (I left my phone in the room charging, so no pictures for a little bit. Blasphemy, I know! LOL!πŸ˜†)

We lounged around until sunset again before showering and getting ready for the evening.

I really, really liked the look of our hotel! The stone steps and walls, the fountain, the greenery/ flowers…it was so pretty! Being up on the cliff side, I kept telling Ivan it kind of reminded me of the hotel in the movie Mama Mia in Greece, up on the cliffs. πŸ™‚

Dinner/ Downtown

The guy at the reception at the hotel called a taxi for us (arrived only 5 minutes later) and we headed over to the north side of the island- to the “centro”, or downtown of the island. He dropped us off at the entrance to Avenida Hidalgo, the main pedestrian drag (full of restaurants/ shops/ nightlife). I always love the cute “centros” of Mexican towns!! So vibrant.

Mostly all open air dining/ sidewalk cafes. πŸ™‚ So fun.

Checked out the main square, with a church, of course:

This place on the far end had a LOT of lights!!! We didn’t go there, but it looked pretty cool! I think they had live music in the upstairs patio.

We tend to be very indecisive when it comes to dining options….And, we kind of knew we were in a tourist trap type place. Prices were a bit overpriced, food maybe not always quite as good/ authentic….you know the type. But still, it was a fun atmosphere, so we wanted to eat around there at least once. We finally opted for a place called Xantolo, “alma mexicana” (“mexican soul”).

It was good! At least I really liked my shrimp dish. Ivan got a queso fundido (chorizo/ cheese) that he said was okay, but not amazing. The drinks were good (I got this fancy grapefruit jalapeno maragarita! A couple, actually…) and Ivan just had Mexican beer. There was live music and the place had a lot of action and energy. Plus, it was a gorgeous night.

After a very slow, drawn out dinner (so relaxing!), we walked the rest of the street down the main beach area. It was nighttime, but I just wanted to peek at the area.

On the way back, we stopped at a street cart for a “marquesita”. This is a little dessert, popular in the Yucatan peninsula. (Although Cancun is in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, not the state next door of Yucatan, but it’s still the Yucatan Peninsula). We’d had these before in the Merida/ Progreso areas a few years ago.

It’s a thin, wafery type outer flat shell, that they smear with either Nutella or I think you can choose cream cheese (I hate cream cheese though). Then they top it with sliced bananas, press it in this hot tortilla press thing, and roll it up. It’s light, crispy, and warm! I got a Nutella one because I LOVE NUTELLA.

It was getting a bit late, but we were feeling good yet and the vibe in the area was very much alive. We walked past a bar that looked super cool- all open air but full of big trees, almost like the Rainforest Cafe restaurants, but real trees and actually outdoors. They had a band playing some GREAT classic music, so we went in and got a couple more drinks! Why not.

We ended up standing near the bar and got talking with an older couple from Seattle (who were heading home the next day). They have been to Isla Mujeres a bunch of times, and we had fun chatting with them about the island. (Since it was our first time, they gave us a few tips, etc.) Nice meeting you, Steve and Heidi! 😁 (I did not share my blog with them, lol. So they won’t be seeing this. Haha!!)

We stayed out until the music ended at I think midnight!! Wooooo!!! Party people in the house!!! Just kidding. Haha. We really are not, but this was very fun! By the time we hailed a taxi for the 15 minute ride back to the hotel, my little margarita buzz had officially morphed into…..sleepiness. lol!!! Back at the hotel we collapsed into bed, after a pretty perfect day. 😍😍

Gratitude Challenge Day 22:

Name 3 things you are grateful for about where you live:

1- The changing seasons in Wisconsin!! I really do love different things about each one.

2- An overall good, safe, high quality standard of life around here. Freedom to walk about, safely, through my neighborhood at any time!

3- We have many conveniences and cool stuff nearby! There are plenty of shops, restaurants, activities for the kids, outdoor recreation opportunities- and we live on the outskirts of a VERY neat, picturesque, major university town, which brings along its own set of very unique qualities.

4 thoughts on “Isla Mujeres, Mexico- Trip Recap Day 2 (Punta Sur, Beach, Centro Nightlife)”

  1. fully agree about hotel restaurant. nothing special about the content but the fact that someone else does it, it makes it special.
    love all the pic, my girls would love to see iguanas, their classname was iguana last year. haven’t seen a real one.
    Mexican food looks so yummy. I remember eating a lot of seafood when I went to Isla de Mujeres but yours look more authentic.

    Like

  2. I love that little spot that you went to in the morning with all the trails and such. The views were beautiful. There is nothing like that blue/green ocean water. It’s so stunning!

    We’ve done 2 Caribbean resort vacations but they were both all inclusive and there wasn’t much walking distance away. One was for a wedding so it was fine to be captive at a resort, plus they planned one off-resort excursion (snorkeling from a different area of the island). Our 2nd trip was to mexico though and I think having some things close by to check out would have made the trip even more fun!

    Like

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