travel

Isla Mujeres, Mexico- Trip Recap Day 3 (kayaking, tacos, pool, The Joint)

Day 3, Saturday January 15:

After our late night, neither of us moved too fast Saturday morning. I think I still woke up by around 7:30, but just moved to the patio with some tea. Around 8:30, breakfast magically appeared again… ๐Ÿ™‚

We knew our hotel had kayaks available to use (for free), but a limited number/ first come, first serve. I really wanted to rent them, and the weather looked possibly iffy for Sunday, so I sent Ivan to tell the guy we wanted them right away after breakfast.

The water looked very calm at the moment, and since we are not experienced kayakers, I wanted to get out there before any “waves” appeared and threw me off my kayaking game. Haha.

Kayaking

We lathered up our sunscreen and the hotel guy took us down to the beach where the kayaks were locked up in this little cave thing in the side of the cliff. It was partly cloudy, but it looked like the clouds were moving out.

Ethan was texting me right as we were heading down to the water/ getting situated, so I sent him this picture:

To which he replied, “No fair!!” Hahahaha. Sorry, kid. Next time for you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We just mostly kayaked down along the shore , in the direction of Punta Sur. This was possibly my favorite event of the trip. It was just SO BEAUTIFUL out on the water!!! I couldn’t even believe it. The sun felt so warm and good, there were no other boats or even people anywhere and it just felt like one of those, “Ahhhhhh, this is wonderful” moments.

I love this selfie we took:

The water was so crystal clear!!! It was unreal.

We kept going until we got down around the point of the Punta Sur restaurant (so must have been about a mile we kayaked), and then we just floated for a little while. (Down around the actual tip of the island, past Punta Sur, it gets more to “open sea” areas and the guy warned us it gets choppier and probably not the best place for us to kayak.)

just floating….

The current was blowing toward us as we headed back to the hotel, and it was a lot more challenging to paddle! We were laughing pretty hard, because we would paddle and paddle, and then look over at the shore and it seemed like we had barely moved! Ha. We actually worked up a sweat by the time we made it back.

After docking the kayaks, we went out to swim for a little bit. The water is fairly cool this time of year, being January, unlike the VERY WARM ocean water I’m used to on our typical beach trips (Florida in August). Once we were in though, it actually felt really nice and refreshing. I’m glad we swam a little at least. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was so tempted to just scoot off the kayak to swim while we were out there, because that clear blue water was just glorious, but a) I had my phone along…. and b) I didn’t totally trust my ability to not lose an oar OR 100% be able to get back up on my kayak! hehehe.

After drying off and cleaning up, we decided we were hungry. All that activity! ๐Ÿ™‚ So we planned to walk just up the street to a little taco stand restaurant we had walked past the day before. The smell had been heavenly, so were pretty sure they were going to be really good.

Lunch: TACOS

The guys running this taco stand were so nice! The restaurant is affiliated with the owners of Rancho Capricho, some kind of operating ranch on the island. (It was behind the restaurant, and I could see stables, a horse, etc. in the background). The taco restaurant is pretty new and doesn’t seem to have a website yet, but if you search for Rancho Capricho, you’ll find the taco stand right in front of it (and immediately next to a convenience store).

These tacos were absolutely incredible. I’m not exaggerating, this is not hyperbole…..these were literally the best tacos I’ve ever eaten.

Normally, the orders come in a set of 3 tacos, and you have to choose between steak (arrachera), shrimp or grilled chicken for all 3. But we were hemming and hawing so badly trying to decide as we placed our order that I think the guy took pity on us and said, “You know what? Normally we don’t do this, but it’s not busy yet, so if you want, I’ll split your order and you can have one of each.”

We also wanted a guacamole, so we just decided to share one order of tacos + the guac.

amazing guacamole too! So smooth and creamy. (Every time we would get guac, I would sing, “Avocados from Mex-ico!” and we would both laugh… which will only make sense to you if you also have the avocado commercials on TV like we have here in Wisconsin, advertising “avocados from Mexico” with a little song. I can’t really imagine avocados NEED much promotion or advertising, though. I mean, they sell themselves, I’d say.

Back to the tacos….so, it’s a very, very tough call, but I think my ranking would be: #1- steak, #2- shrimp, #3- chicken. My mouth is actually watering just remembering the taste of these tacos. I think I saw the guy cooking the meat in butter instead of oil, so maybe that’s the secret sauce?? The actual salsas on top were divine, too- a green/habanero plus a red salsa.

Ivan snapped this pic of me about to dive in…. ๐Ÿ˜‚Too funny. It does accurately represent my intense feelings about (good) tacos.

FOCUSED.

Here’s a nicer one:

I loved this whole lunch! It was hot out and they had really good music in Spanish playing from speakers. Sitting and eating in sandals, sunglasses and a bathing suit always just screams “VACATION” to me, too. We cannot do things like that all year in Wisconsin, most definitely not in January.

We stopped at the convenience store to grab a couple items, then walked back to our hotel. The weather was just perfect, and like I said, the forecast for Sunday was kind of crummy. So we decided to mostly just take a pool/beach day and relax all afternoon.

Pool/ Beach Time

Actually, correction- we first went for a little walk. We were stuffed after the tacos. They were so filling!! We were very, very glad we decided to share an order. Ivan suggested we take a little walk to hopefully digest our food some and get rid of that “ugh I’m stuffed” feeling.

We walked in the direction of the little beach from the day before, until it dawned on me that I had put sunscreen on in the morning (pre-kayaking), but then….went swimming!!! So here I was, just meandering down the road in my bikini top, in the hot Mexico sun, with no sunscreen on. Bad idea.

We ended up cutting the walk short, but it helped to digest our food/ make us feel less full, at least.

The rest of the afternoon was spent just relaxing. I was reading a book I got for my birthday called 21 Rituals to Change your Life that I had started on the plane.

We alternated between the pool area and the deck overlooking the ocean. The same bartender was there, and like I mentioned, he and Ivan did a lot of chit chatting off and on. I guess that kept Ivan occupied while I read my book. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think this photo perfectly captures the essence of my relaxed, blissful state…

View from the deck:

Back to the pool:

We stayed down there until sunset. Since the hotel faces west, there are great sunsets here. The mainland/ Cancun is across the way, so the sun actually does drop down behind the skyline of Cancun, not into the ocean. But it’s still very, very pretty.

Those high rise buildings are Cancun

We finally headed back up to the room- and realized even post-sunset, the sky was still gorgeous!

I showered and got ready for the evening. We didn’t want to go all the way back downtown again- we were wanting a simple/ relaxed day all around. We had heard there was a good Caribbean place just down the street, supposedly with live music and a good vibe.

I took this cheesy selfie to document my blue nails, blue necklace and blue earrings that I was sporting throughout the entire trip:

We walked the pretty short distance to the restaurant. (The island is very, very safe! It’s definitely not always advisable to go walking all about in Mexico at night. But being an island, the locals told us there is very little delinquency of any kind. One taxi driver told us some crime was moving in a few years ago, but the police shut it down instantly and it’s been fine again ever since. He said crime on the island would KILL their tourism industry (b/c foreign tourists would get scared and wouldn’t come), which is really the only industry they have. He also said, “Remember, it’s a small island. Everyone knows everyone. It’s hard for people to get away with anything here.”)

Dinner at The Joint

Ready for dinner. ๐Ÿ™‚

The restaurant looked promising from the outside- plenty of people, looked like a cute atmosphere:

It was just okay for us. We had a nice time- we each got a drink and enjoyed the evening. But the service was really pretty bad. I mean, they were busy when we arrived, so we were fine with slower service, but the waiter was neither friendly nor attentive at all.

Also, the highly acclaimed “live reggae music” we had heard advertised ended at 8 pm. What time did we get there? 8 pm.

*This is an example of where my usual trip planning neurosis would have come in handy….I intentionally did basically ZERO pre-planning of this trip. Like, I had to hold myself back from researching, looking up reviews, etc. The plan was to wing it, relax, total free flow this time. I did have to say it though, just once, “See? If I had researched this place, I probably would have found out that the music was going to end at 8….” ๐Ÿ˜†Oh well!

Turns out, since The Joint is located on the quieter end of the island, it closes up much earlier than the downtown restaurants. We were the last ones there- they closed at 9! I got a jerk chicken dish and I think Ivan got some nachos. The food was fine- not that great really, either. All in all, a decent place but not a favorite. I’d go back only because it’s conveniently located to our hotel! And it does have a nice island atmosphere.

Back at the hotel, we took this cute selfie on the stairs outside our room:

Another great day!!

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 23:

Name 3 things in your home you are grateful for:

1- the hot tub!! Very, very grateful for this every single time I use it.

2- having a nice, finished basement! The extra space is invaluable for our family, both for storage, and also for providing us a place for the piano, my office, a guest room, another bathroom AND the lovely bar the previous owners put in.

3- not technically “in” my home, but I’m grateful to live on a cul-de-sac. I like being tucked away off the main street.

6 thoughts on “Isla Mujeres, Mexico- Trip Recap Day 3 (kayaking, tacos, pool, The Joint)”

  1. that photo of you before dive in to the tacos is so funny! nice catch Ivan! I used to research a lot before travel, I stopped doing that and it turns out fine 99% and so much less stress.

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  2. Kayaking looks so fun! I have done quite a bit of kayaking since my parents have one at their lake home. Most summers, Phil swims across the lake, which is over a mile, and I kayak alongside him. Then he gets in after he swims across the lake and helps me paddle back. Last time we did this, the wind came up on the way back and I was pregnant and ended up getting braxton hicks contractions from the exertion! Kayaking is usually not much of a workout, but rougher water can make it challenging!!

    Those tacos sound amazing!! I love a good taco! There is a place that we used to go to often where they make the corn tortillas on site. We haven’t been there in years – thanks covid. If it was closer we would get take out, but it’s kind of a drive. But someday we will get back there.

    My favorite thing about our house these days is the gas fireplace in our living room. I use it quite a bit! Especially lately w/ the super cold weather we’ve had.

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  3. Future topic for blog post: hot tub ownership, maintenance, good/bad, etc. I live in MN and we’ve been thinking about getting one but aren’t sure what we’d be getting into and how much we would use it. Would love to hear from your experience since you list it above.

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    1. Absolutely!! Great idea. We bought our hot tub in summer 2020 (was delivered early September 2020) so we’ve had it for a year and a half or so now? I feel like I’ve learned a lot since then. Will definitely write something up soon! My short answer though: GET ONE!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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