Today, after breakfast, I went on a trip to the island of Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres (Spanish for „Women Island”) is an island in the Gulf of Mexico, about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) off the Yucatán Peninsula coast. The island is approximately 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) long and 650 metres (2,130 ft) wide. To the east is the Caribbean Sea with a strong surf and rocky coast, and to the west the skyline of Cancún can be seen across the clear waters. In Pre-Columbian times the island was sacred to the Maya goddess of childbirth and medicine, Ixchel. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century they named it „Isla Mujeres” because of the many images of goddesses. The first information available about Isla Mujeres is from the period between 564–1516 AD, when it was part of the Maya province called Ekab. There were 4 Maya provinces in what is today the State of Quintana Roo. The Maya also exploited the salt that the island produced in the „salinas” (small interior lagoons). The salt was used not only for the preservation of food and medicine but also as a generally accepted currency for commerce of goods along the whole Maya region. The Maya goddess Ixchel had a temple in what is today the Hacienda Mundaca (Mundaca’s Plantation House).
A small Maya temple was once located on the southern tip of the island. However, in 1988, Hurricane Gilbert caused extensive damage, leaving most of the foundation but only a very small portion of the temple. (source: Wikipedia)
First, I went to the bus stop R1 found yesterday, taking on the way a photo with the soldier holding a rifle on the back. On the streets of Cancun in many places you can see the presence of police and special military units. In addition to these „walkers”, there are also special rovers, where in the back sits a person behind the butt of a powerful-looking machine gun.
I am waiting for a bus and looking for the right one. Yesterday I discovered that R1 and R2 buses go to different places and you have to be careful where you want to go. Finally, the one with the word Puerto Juarez on the front screen arrives. This is the place from where the Ultramar line ferries leave for the island. I paid for a bus ticket a standard 12 MXN (0.50 GBP) and after a dozen or so minutes I arrived at the port. Ferries depart on average every half an hour from 5.00 am to 23.30 pm. The return ticket costs 300 MXN (12 GBP). You can also take a few ferries that leave the hotel zone but they are more expensive.
After about 15 minutes I finally land on the island. Well, it’s nice here, almost like on a Mediterranean riviera. In the streets, besides cars, there are golf carts that you can rent. Sandy beaches, water in various shades of blue. But for me, still too much touristy, and not much Mexican. And the prices. So I wandered a bit on the beaches in the northern part of the island, had a swim in the sea, carefully observing a backpack with equipment left on the beach, and then back on the ferry and to Cancun. The way back to the hostel from Puerto Juarez I took by a taxi colectivo (it is a minibus taxi waiting to depart when most of the seats are filled) for 10MXN (0.40 GBP). After resting and swimming in the hostel pool, I set off for the evening in the city centre and found a fairly cheap stall selling street food near the playground, where I had a tasty tortilla with grilled meats + juice for 120 MXN (5 GBP).