The first news of Isla Mujeres dates back to 564-1516 AD when it was a Mayan providence called Ekab. During this time Isla Mujeres was not a human settlement but a sanctuary to Ixchel (goddess of weaving, happiness, the moon, abundance, medicine and fertility amongst others). In 1517 a Spanish expedition under the leadership of Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba discovered the island and found a sanctuary with a representation of Ixchel and a court of women, hence the name of Isla Mujeres was given. In 1850, more than 250 fishermen, pirates and Mayans running from the way of Castes established themselves in the village of Dolores, in Isla.
Now Isla Mujeres has more than 13500 residents is mapped at 21 11 5 and longitude West 86 42 50, has an average temp of 80f or 27c with 60% humidity all year round. The Mexican government and its water department installed an undersea piping system, the first in the world in 1988, thus supplying a sufficient amount of clean drinking water to the island. Also a drainage and sewerage plant have allowed the waters around the island to remain free of contamination.
How to Get in
There are various boats that will take you there. From Cancun you can get a ferry. They leave from Puerto Juarez (73 pesos one way), Gran Puerto Cancun (Puerto Juarez) or Playa Tortugas on the hotel zone. In Punta Sam you can get a car-ferry (40 pesos one way for pedestrians). Puerto Juarez is quite close to downtown Cancun, but not within a walking distance. Puerto Juarez and Punta Sam can be reached by Colectivos starting opposite the ADO bus station in downdown within a few minutes for 12 – 15 pesos. The locals use Puerto Juarez and thus these ferries can get crowded. Be advised that these rides although fast.
Routes and Timetables: http://www.granpuerto.com.mx/rutas-y-horarios-2/puerto-juarez-a-isla-mujeres
Puerto Juarez is close to the hotel zone and even closer from Cancun downtown, serves also from 5:00 to 23:30. from Playa Tortugas, the trip is about 150 pesos. only has six departures per day. Ultramar Ferry, Large ferries depart Puerto Juarez every half hour from about 5AM until 8:30PM, after hourly until 11:30PM. The journey takes about fifteen minutes. 70 pesos one-way.
The main street called Hidalgo is filled with restaurants of many cultures with many different types of international cuisine. There are also numerous on North beach. The live music scene on the island is strong and abounds with world class musicians and artists, with many restaurants supplying live music to drink and dance to. The actual island is only 7km long and a day can be passed hiring a bike, golf cart of moped and exploring the island. There are many things to see. Many arrive by boat to the island and there are numerous marinas and docks with full service facilities. Also many opportunities to score work on a boat and travel the Caribbean as many backpackers on the island tend to do. Isla Mujeres is the island for short vacation, family getaways and backpackers alike, all here for the sun and diving or for a more relaxing time of massages, yoga and meditation. Isla Mujeres has something to appeal to something in everyone.
Ramon Bravo and Jacques Costeau
Ramón Bravo, one of Mexico’s most famous divers, is possibly best known for photographing Tiger Sharks sleeping on the ocean floor off Isla Mujeres (Island Women). The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC and Jacques Cousteau visited the area to study the sleeping tigers, a phenomena thought to be caused by underwater freshwater rivers from the Yucatan. It is believed the tiger sharks use the fresh water to cleanse their bodies. Cousteau spent several weeks there to study the sharks and the migration of lobsters. Ramón Bravo established the headquarters for undersea explorations in the area near Akumal. http://www.internationallegendsofdiving.com/FeaturedLegends/Ramon_Bravo_bio.htm
Things to do on the island
Pocna Beach bar
The best spot on the island for the night life. The only bar where you can dance with your feet in the sand and the sound of the surf in your ears. With tequila nights, fire shows, DM snorkel tests and many many interesting diversions. Great music supplied by our killer DJs. Easily the most popular place on the island. This bar is attached to Pocna, right on the beach and a footstep away from your accommodation.
Hire a Bike
Everyday at Pocna hostel. Bike riding is a very nice and inexpensive way of getting to know the island since it is only 7km long. We rent bikes from 9am until 6pm.
Hire a Golf Cart/Moped:
Feeling lazy? A faster way to see the island or see more of the island and can be hired by the hour, the day or 24 hours. Prices are reasonable and can be organized quickly and easily through Pocna
Isla Mujeres has been home to the giant sea turtles, which lay their eggs on its soft sand, from May to September. During many years, sea turtles were killed for their meat, shell and eggs, but now Mexican Federal Laws protect them. Eggs are deposited in protected areas to keep them safe from predators. After they are born, the turtles are transferred to ponds and then taken to the sea by the local school children and tourists who help them return to their natural habitat. Seeing hundreds of sea turtles that survive thanks to the care and love of the islanders is a unique experience and an example for the rest of the world. Isla Mujeres´ turtle farm is located on the southern part of the island, and supported by Mexican government and private funds. Open daily from 9am to 5pm.
THE JOYSXEE ISLAND (ECOPLASTIC ISLAND)
Joysxee Island Mr Richie Sowa has possibly one of the most interesting houses on the planet – but thats because he lives on a floating island that he made out of empty plastic bottles held together with mangrove plants… In fact Richie built a floating island before, Spiral Island I – his first effort was unfortunately destroyed by hurricane Emily in 2005. The good news is that he was not discouraged and pushed on the build a new one – Spiral Island II. Located in the waters of Isla Muieres in Mexico. Just like the first island Richie filled nets with empty discarded plastic bottles to support a structure of plywood and bamboo, on which he poured sand and planted numerous plants, including mangroves. The new island is about 20 meters (66 ft) in diameter and is set on ‘only’ 100,000 plastic bottles.The new island has beaches, a house, two ponds, a solar-powered waterfall and river, and solar panels – quite luxurious im sure you will agree. He was helped by volunteers for his project and is still continuing to make improvements to the island.
http://joysxee.wix.com/joysxeespiralisland Can be viewed daily and for a donation that is used by Richie for the betterment of his island, he will give you a guided tour.
Occupying the south tip of Isla Mujeres are two related structures; a caribbean village with its lighthouse overlooking the vestiges of the Mayan temple of Ixchel, the goddess of love, fertility and the moon and that signaled Mayan sailors and settlements as far away as Cozumel hundreds of years ago. Ruin was partially destroyed by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 but still warrant a visit. Walk through a singular sculptural garden where you can enjoy art and wonderful views of the Caribbean Sea. If you are there early morning you’ll be able to brag that you are the first one in Mexico to have seen the sunrise as is the part of Mexico the farthest to the east. While you’re crossing this beautiful site carved out from the Garrafon cliff, you’re sharing the place with the iguanas, the freshness of the wind and the magical sounds of the crashing waves. This might be your favorite spot of the island where you can relax having drinks and snacks. Our Concierge is more than happy to assist you.
GARRAFON DE CASTILLA
Enjoy the sun and the tranquility of the Mexican Caribbean. Treat yourself to an unforgettable day at Playa Garrafón de Castilla. With a private, sandy white beach, incredible snorkeling and staff waiting to see to your every need, your days at Playa Garrafón de Castilla will be truly memorable. Swim and snorkel with colorful tropical fishes and sea life and relax under a beach umbrella . You’ll find beautiful crafts and traditional Mexican clothing at the beach club and the private gardens offer plenty of shade and beautiful tropical flowers. Facilities include dressing rooms, restrooms and showers. Lockers and towels are also available to guests. There are lounge and beach chairs as well as beach umbrellas. The admission fee to the Beach Club is only $50 pesos. Taxi service is available.
The best beach on the island, just 2 blocks from the hostel´s door, North Beach (Playa Norte). The stretch of beach that runs along the northern end of the island. It has shallow waters and stunning white sand. The beach is full of fun restaurants and bars as well . This is where the majority of travelers will spend their beach time. amazing to relax and chill out, one the best beaches in the world (trip advisor)