Travels with V

Guatemala, Belize, Mexico

On the island of women

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

The last stop on our Central American journey is yet another elongated island, Isla Mujeres which lies just outside the busy city of CancĂșn. A city that together with neighbouring Playa Carmen is the very image of vacation in the sun. We’re here for one reason only, to gather our things and prepare for the flight home, from CancĂșn Airport. In retrospect we can honestly say that a better choice would have been TulĂșm, where we could have checked out some cenotas and chill in a more relaxed environment. 

Isla Mujeres is mainly a playground for middle class tourists from USA. Someone told us that almost a third of the island's population is from there, up north.
Here they stay in time-share apartments or in snazzy condos next to the dump on the southern tip. Someone has built a haouse in the shape of a conch.
In the same neighbourhoods we found this spectacular drive-in beer dispenser. I gess you get thirsty driving a golf car.
And also, by the cemetary, more temptation for the thirsty people.

Did we mention that all gringos have to drive a golf car? And the streets are quite narrow, so there’s often chaotic traffic jams going on. We we walking, that was obviously a bit exotic, the people in the cars often waved a hand when they passed us. 

What a smart way to advertise that you have seafood for sale when the customers keep rolling by. 

Isla Mujeres’ best beaches are Playa Norte, a long stretch of sand close to the city centre, where there’s lots of shops, restaurants and bars. That’s also where you find the ferry terminal. Swimming at Playa Norte often means that you share the blue waters with boats loaded with noisy tourists from CancĂșn or Playa Carmen, dancing on the deck.

On our last day we walk 4,5 kilometers to Punta Sur, on the south-east tip of the island.  There’s a small ruin here, what’s left of an old maya temple where we can see that offerings are still made, perhaps by women wishing for a prolific life. The name Isla Mujeres is said to date back to when the Spanish arrived here and the island was sacred to Ixchel, the goddess of childbirth and medicine. They saw female idols everywhere so they called it the island of women.

Suddenly the sky is ominously dark grey and we run to our hotel. Just as we slam the door behind us all hell breaks loose. We watch it from a terrace by our room when lightning strikes one, two, three times less than 100 meters from where we stand. With hair on end and ringing ears we jump inside, but the torrential rain has turned the terrace into a pool and water pours into our room. The hotel staff struggle hard to shovel it back out again.

And so our journey ends. To avoid all hassle at stop-overs in Canada and USA we fly from CancĂșn to Frankfurt this time. A smooth ride across the Atlantic. 

We hope you enjoyed our story and hopefully we inspired some of you to go see this part of the world for yourself. Please leave a comment below! Guatemala and Belize are worth visiting for their beauty and wild nature. We didn’t see much of Mexico this time, but maybe next time.

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