We were planning to make a quick trip to Tulum a few weeks ago. And then we read somewhere that the whole coast from Cancun to Tulum was covered in seaweed. We highly recommend you check if there is seaweed in the area at the time of your planned visit. This area of Mexico has that issue from time to time and it can really ruin your vacation. It certainly would have interfered with our beloved beach time. So we decided to change our plans and visit Isla Mujeres instead – a small island north off the coast from Cancun.
It’s actually quite easy to get to Isla Mujeres. It’s just a short 25 minute ferry from Cancun and you arrive straight in paradise! But it’s still far enough to get you away from all the noise of party-town Cancun and the beaches are as blue and pristine as you can imagine.
Our Thursday evening flight was landing in Cancun a little too late for us to catch the ferry. So we planned to stay somewhere near Playa del Carmen the first night. We rented a car and did a little road trip to a few cenotes in the area in the morning. The plan was to head to Isla Mujeres in the afternoon.
Cenotes are natural pits filled with fresh water, often underground or in a cave. There are a lot of them in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. There are so many beautiful cenotes in the area around Tulum and Playa del Carmen and not nearly enough time to visit all of them. So we picked a couple that were located near each other for our day trip – Tak Be Ha and Sac Actun.
It was about an hour drive to that area from Playa del Carmen. So we spent the rest of the day descending down into caves and swimming in the most refreshing blue fresh water we’ve ever seen.
We returned the car around 6pm in Cancun and got on a ferry to Isla Mujeres around 7pm. Our ferry had a live musician with a guitar on the roof area. The music, the cool breeze, the smell of salt water all made our sunset ride so romantic and refreshing.
We stayed at the Izla Hotel, which is one of the newest hotels on the island. It is located right on the beach a little outside of the central part of town with two beautiful pools.
Our favorite little spot at the hotel were the hammocks at the main pool downstairs. They hover low above the water and were the perfect place to relax and cool off in the shade with the pool right underneath us. This is where we spent our afternoons after we got enough sun but still wanted to be outside. Of course, the rooftop pool did not disappoint either with its incredible beach view and comfy sunbeds right above the water.
We had breakfast every morning at the restaurant downstairs with a beautiful sea view – the huevos rancheros were delicious! In the evenings we rented a golf cart which seemed to be how everyone gets around this tiny island. We used it to explore the island and get to the central part of town.
The town is small and has a cute resort vibe with lots of shops and restaurants. The street food was delicious too, especially the chocolate crepes. We were surprised to see so many signs everywhere in Hebrew. At times we had to remind each other we’re actually in Mexico! Some of the store employees straight up talked to us in Hebrew because they recognized that Yinon is from Israel immediately. Apparently so many Israelis come here on vacation that the locals have started learning a few words here and there to attract them.
There is a big public beach on the island called North Beach. It boasts clear turquoise water and snow-white sand but the beach at Izla Hotel was just as beautiful and a lot less crowded so we spent most of our time relaxing there. We are typically much more active and try to maximize the time we have and see as much as possible. But this time it felt like we had found our own little corner of paradise so we just wanted to relax, soak it all in and enjoy the sun. It was the perfect way to spend the weekend!