Heyyy, look at me, picking my trip recaps back up!! I abruptly left off on Day 3, but I’ve been itching to finish these up! Days 1-3 were great, but so were the last couple days, too. So here we go!
Day 4, Sunday, January 16:
On Saturday overnight/ Sunday morning a little weather pattern moved in, disrupting our thus far perfect streak of sunshine. I woke up around 5-6 a.m. Sunday to the sound of some heavy rain and wind outside. 😦 I was tired anyway, so I basically just shrugged, rolled over to go back to sleep and thought, “Well, at least there’s no need to get up early!”
When we finally got up, the rain had mostly stopped but it was still quite overcast and windy. And the temperature had dropped, too. Our patio was wet, so we decided to have our breakfast in the hotel’s little restaurant instead.
It was very cute. We still had the same basic breakfast, just inside. 🙂 While we ate we talked about what to do, given the weather situation. It seemed like the rain was gone, but it didn’t feel like beach lounging weather at all. Unfortunately it was quite windy.
We’d been wanting to go back downtown during the day to explore a little bit, so we decided we would walk the 4 miles instead of taking a taxi. Why not? We honestly didn’t really have anything else to do! And the weather was perfectly fine for walking. I figured this would give us a nice, up close view of the island, too.
Walk into town
We packed up a backpack with a few things, put our sneakers on and headed out. Just around the corner from our hotel was this little street:
It’s a mostly empty little street, and doesn’t look like much….but I loved this little street! We were down at the far South end of the island, and this street basically connects the dots between the ocean on each side (east to west). Up ahead on the left (just past those pink flowers) are a couple lots where a few nice homes are being built. They had a Realty sign up to call for info and I kept joking that it was a sign we should buy one!! Haha. It was just really a few steps either direction to the ocean.
Here’s the view, when you get to the end of the street:
We took our time just walking along, stopping to take pictures and to admire the ocean. This side of the island is mostly all open to the water the whole way, so it was the perfect route.
It is fairly empty too- not a lot of houses right along this stretch. The local colonias tend to be more on the interior portion of the island.
There were random stands along the way with women selling souvenirs, probably hoping to catch people touring the island on golf carts.
Here’s “my beach” on a cloudy day….still empty! Still beautiful to me. 🙂
As we continued, we came across the island’s big, main cemetery. It was brightly colored and VERY different from a cemetery in the United States. The gate was open so we went in to walk around.
Of all places for your final resting place, I’d say the view isn’t bad from this one:
Close-up of some of the gravesites:
It’s interesting how they are ABOVE ground!
We kept walking….and walking….beautiful views all along the way. The air temperature was nice, but it was still cloudy and a bit windy. At least the sun was peeking out at times.
I LOVE this picture below! I think I might make a print of it. Cloudy days + water + greenery always seem to make for a really pretty picture. I like the rugged rocks mixed in with the beach scene.
And in case you forgot who was behind the camera…..
I think this is a cool shot, looking back from where we came. I like how the bright homes look up on the cliff.
Capilla de Guadalupe
The one place along the route I knew I wanted to stop was the Capilla de Guadalupe.
It’s a small chapel right on the ocean, dedicated to Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (the Virgin of Guadalupe, which is Mexico’s extremely popular title for “mother Mary”.) There is a huge basilica dedicated to her in Mexico City and after the crucifix, her symbol is by far the next most popular Catholic symbol in Mexico.
Here is her traditional image:
The chapel was open for visitors. There wasn’t really much to see, but it was still neat to walk in and check it out. The views behind the altar were incredible!! How beautiful would a wedding be here?!?
Outside, there is a balcony overlooking the ocean:
From there, we finally made our way to a more populated area of the island and veered off to an “inside” road that headed downtown.
This whole section felt very “Mexico” to me. Most of the island did, really. It’s touristy, yes, but most areas are much more rustic than what you’d find in a 5 star resort area in Cancun proper.
We weaved our way through some smaller streets before emerging back to the port area, and then the main downtown area.
Ivan needed to run into an Oxxo (like a gas station shop) to pick up a money transfer he sent himself. The island pretty much just takes cash in most places, so we needed to get more pesos. (They’ll take U.S. dollars, too, but they murder you on the conversion rate doing it that way! It’s a TOTAL rip off to pay in dollars. Ivan refused to do that and would only use pesos.)
There are ATMs, but they charge a million fees on both ends…so Ivan figured out that with some app he could send himself a wire transfer, essentially, and pick up the pesos directly from the Oxxo cashier. Worked great! We did it twice during the trip. Just needed to show a copy of his passport for ID purposes.
Cash in hand, we went to look for some brunch. It was noon or so and we’d only had that light breakfast. After the long walk, we were hungry.
Ivan was in the mood for some traditional Mexican food but we didn’t want a big overpriced tourist restaurant lunch. We found a place at the far end with plastic tables and red umbrellas and a few Mexican families eating there. They had a handwritten sign advertising handmade tortillas and chilaquiles. YUP! That was the place.
Chilaquiles (kind of like….breakfast nachos?? haha!)
After adding the pico de gallo and salsas:
We shared the chilaquiles and then each got a quesadilla (with FRESH delicious tortillas):
A cloudy Playa Norte
After lunch, we browsed in a few shops and then decided to check out the main beach area. We’d only glanced at it the other night, but it was dark out. The weather was okay, but the wind, which had seemed to die down for a while, had picked way back up again. Boo.
It was still beautiful, but VERY windy and I actually got chilly and had to put a sweatshirt on! The storm the night before had the seaweed all churned up, too….always kind of ruins a good beach when there is seaweed all over…
We walked all around the public beach areas and the streets in that whole area.
We found this little footbridge that leads to another mini-island…like an island off an island. Apparently it’s a resort place that is for guests only, or I think you can buy a day pass. In good weather, I’m sure it would be beautiful.
It just wasn’t beach weather, but we didn’t want to go all the way back to our hotel yet. By this time it was mid-afternoon, or as Ivan declared it, “beer time”. We found a big bar/restaurant that had a bunch of TVs playing the NFL play-off games. Neither team was ours, but we didn’t care- still fun to watch and gave us a little something to do while the weather cleared up.
It was a “better deal” to get the bucket of beers, according to my husband, so that’s what we did. haha! Tecate Light for me, he had Indio. They pretty much just had Mexican beer everywhere on the island but not a huge selection.
We just hung out and watched the game and drank our beers. A couple guys at the bar next to us were from Canada, but have been living fulltime in Cancun for some years now. The one guy said he likes to take the ferry over to Isla Mujeres on Sundays to drink beer and watch the football games at this place. In his words, “It’s not a hard life!!!” lol. Doesn’t sound like it.
A SUNNY Playa Norte
Finally, the clouds suddenly moved out and the sun came out! It was crazy- out of nowhere, the skies were totally blue! We retraced our steps a bit to see the beach in the sunshine.
We were feeling kind of lazy after our bucket of beers and felt ready to head back to the hotel for a while. We had originally thought we’d get a taxi back, but then realized the local bus picked up right downtown too. So we decided to give that a try. It was super cheap and looked like it would drop us off basically a block from our hotel. Perfect. We waited no more than 10 minutes or so before the one we needed came by.
Tea time with a view
Back at the hotel, I think we just lounged around for a while on the patio. The sun was out, like I said, and it was just beautiful. By late afternoon, we were a little hungry for a snack (we didn’t eat anything during the football game, just those beers!). I was good on alcoholic drinks for a while, so I ordered a pot of tea and we got some chips and pico de gallo to munch on.
I was SO happy the weather cleared up!! It didn’t really affect our day- we both agreed that we had a lovely day despite the weather. Sometimes a cloudy day actually encourages you to do things you might not have done, otherwise. For example, if it had been really hot and sunny, we might not have walked the 4 miles into town. But I was glad we did! It was a fun experience.
We lingered on the patio for a long time until the sun went down. I just read and I think Ivan dozed in the hammock. I believe we talked to the kids on the phone, too.
The only negative thing was that I think the rain brought out some mosquitoes!!! My legs got all eaten up. I never even felt them biting me, but then I just got super itchy and found bug bites all over my legs and feet. Ivan didn’t get a single bite though! It was so weird. He claimed that it’s because the mosquitoes are loyal and knew he was Mexican blood (so they left him alone) whereas I was fair game to eat up, as foreign blood. HA.
The view from our room at sunset:
Such a sucker for a pretty sunset sky…..mmmmm….could look at these everyday and never gets old:
Eventually it was dark. I took a shower and got cleaned up for dinner! I feel like this was a heavy eat + drink day. Oh well! Vacation mode. 🙂
We didn’t want to go all the way back downtown for dinner, so we decided we’d grab a taxi to a nearby local colonia. There were a few “mom and pop” type restaurants that had good reviews. Nothing too fancy atmosphere-wise, but that was fine. We mostly just wanted some good food.
The taxi dropped us off on this little street at “El Charco”. It was owned by a husband/wife team. They only had maybe 4-5 tables inside, but it was full!
I was in the mood for some enchiladas.
It was great. The beans were really good, too.
After dinner we were going to call for a taxi back, but noticed a corner bar up the street. It seemed like kind of a “happening” place with a bunch of people in it, mostly all outside. It had a fun, festive vibe with Mexican music playing. Ivan asked if I wanted to get a drink before heading back. Sure! Why not.
I got a lime margarita, he mixed up a “michelada”. I’ve never even tried one, but they basically mix together your beer with some kind of spicy tomato juice stuff.
We hung out and enjoyed our drinks and talked until I’m not sure what time? Maybe 10-10:30? We got a taxi back and I was SO ready for bed! Lots of fresh air, walking and more alcohol in a day than I usually drink in a month! Lol!!!
Day 4 was another great day, despite some cloudy weather. 🙂
5 thoughts on “Isla Mujeres, Mexico- Trip Recap Day 4 (walk downtown, chilaquiles, Playa Norte, enchiladas!)”
love this recap. I think we could be travel buddies… relaxed, appreciate the small/authentic town/street and food. Love that sunset view too. for some reason, I get a feeling that Ivan and my hubby Tony would be good friends if they ever meet. hahahah…. easy going guys who are good company, love food, and just chill.
Haha I have had that exact thought too! And I’ve thought the same thing about Tony/ Ivan! too funny.
So glad you had a fun getaway. Seems like you made the best of the weather and just enjoyed the town and food.
I had to chuckle at the mosquito situation – it’s exactly the same in my relationship. I have a gazillion bites and my husband has ZERO. Not fair LOL
Haha, what is it??!! Female blood?! I have no idea but it’s not fair!
Sounds like a perfect day! You did a good job of making the most of a day that didn’t have ideal weather. I can see how the 4 mile walk was nice since it was along the ocean!! As long as there is a view, I’m happy to walk, especially if that view is water – river, lake, ocean. Ocean is best IMO!
The Mexican food looks amazing! I am really hoping to get some great Mexican food down in Tucson this week. It’s nice to visit a local because my sister will know all the great spots!