Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This pretty island in the Mexican Caribbean is a more peaceful option than nearby Cancun
Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun, is a small, secluded island with beautiful beaches, restaurants, and colorful shops. To get here, guests will need to drive from Cancun Airport to Puerto Juarez and then take the 20-minute express ferry (available every 30 minutes between 5 a.m. and midnight). For history buffs, Isla Mujeres was named by Spanish Conqueror Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba on 1517 after finding several female figures close to a small archeological site, which was a temple dedicated to Ixchel, the Goddess of love, fertility, and the moon. It then became a pirate refuge. Today, visitors will find a more laid-back and relaxed atmosphere than Cancun, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do.
Along the white-sand beaches of Isla Mujeres (the narrow island off the coast of Cancun) is Ixchel Beach Hotel -- a not-too-big condo complex that appeals to couples and families. The 117-room property comes in two wings: the East Wing (Phase One) with 48 rooms that opened in June 2006, and the slightly more modern West Wing (Phase Two) with 69 rooms that opened in August 2007. Standard, one- bedroom, two-bedroom, and penthouse condo options feature Mexican casual decor, marble bathrooms, and CD/DVD players. Most have fully equipped kitchens and balconies that overlook the ocean for beautiful sunsets, though standard rooms lack both. The friendly staff can arrange golf cart rentals and excursions such as scuba diving or deep-sea fishing in the Caribbean Sea. For those who just want to chill out, the small outdoor pool leads out to a small bar and restaurant. The beaches are great for strolling, and within a few blocks are a number of restaurants and shops, as well as the regular ferry to Cancun.