Cancun & Isla Mujeres

Driving into Cancun I can’t believe my eyes – the city is absolutely huge with American brand names jumping out at me from every direction. This is by far the least Mexican place I have been to in Mexico. Driving out to ‘Zona Hotels’ is an experience I won’t soon forget. In every possible way I feel like I am on the coast of Florida or somewhere similar – tourists swarm in every direction from enormous hotels into slightly smaller restaurants, all gleaming with flashy neon signs. I stop quickly for a dip on a perfect white sand beach.

isla mujeres 640x480

The ocean off Isla Mujeres

My friend Kate was looking for some exciting travel during her time off work, so we made plans about a month back for her to travel with me for the next three weeks or so. I pick her up at the extremely busy airport in Cancun with no problems and after the sightseeing loop we make for the ferry to Isla Mujeres. We are the last car on with about 30 seconds and 30 centimeters to spare. A note to anyone heading out to Isla Mujeres – this ‘locals’ ferry is about 5 km south of Cancun and costs about $1.80 USD per person. The tourist ferries from the middle of town cost between of $10 and $15 USD.

isla mujeres view 640x480

Actually the most Eastern point of Mexico

Kate is much more organized than me and booked ahead for accommodation, thinking it would be crazy-busy around this New Years time and she was spot on. We find the ‘Poc-Na’ hostel without much delay and I’m really surprised by the sheer number of tourists, all speaking heavily accented English. The Poc-Na hostel is great, with a restaurant and bar, huge sandy camping area and beachfront volleyball court.

kate dan 640x480

Kate & Dan on top of the lighthouse

The island itself is really cool, full of restaurants, shops and street markets selling all manner of tacky tourist stuff and ‘local’ arts & crafts. We spend a day driving around the whole island, which turns out to be a lot smaller than I had thought. It’s possible to rent golf buggies and mopeds here, so suicidal tourists zip about in all directions. We take the roof down on the Jeep and a few people comment when I park next to a row of golf buggies. Mine is clearly the best simple smile

bird 640x480

Loving the sunshine

iguana 360x480

There were tons of these guys hanging around

The small tortoise refuge allows for some great photos and Kate falls in love with the little guys.


One of the little guys

sea horse 360x480

These guys look so fake it's amazing

The next day we head out to a small reef just off the island for some snorkeling. I’ve been before on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and it is hilarious to compare the safety standards – actually there is nothing to compare as they are completely non-existent here. After paddling around for a while I’m impressed by a really close-up view of a spinning boat propeller. Apparently the guy wanted to talk to his friends, so drove right through the middle of the snorkeling tourists.

fish 640x480

The number of fish was staggering

There are tons of brightly colored fish in every direction and we also see a small amount of coral, some barracudas and sting rays. Kate’s underwater camera is really great, but it hasn’t done a good job of capturing the colors – it was a lot clearer than the photos look.

baracuda 640x480

We saw a few Barracudas

New Years Eve with thousands of locals is really really huge, and again I’m amused by the ability for anyone to buy fireworks of literally any size. Quite a few sounded like mortar rounds and were being set off by teenagers throwing small ones at each other.

kate dan snorkeling 640x480

Kate & Dan out snorkeling

The sun shines hot every day and the crystal clear water is just the right temperature. We enjoy eating at all the restaurants and wandering around the stores and street markets in search of bargains.
Isla Mujeres is a really beautiful little place.


9 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Wow, you have made some serious progress. If you get the chance, go see some of the underground rivers in that part of Mexico. They are something to see, not to mention the ruins. Nothing else about that part of Mexico is that exciting, too may tourists.

    What’s the plan with your computer? I have to say, I miss the pics.

    I know this next question might be far too forward thinking, but after you get down to the tip of South America, what then? Do you sell the Jeep and fly back, where? Do you keep the Jeep and drive back and entirely different way? Just wondering what you are thinking, if anything yet.

    • Dan says:

      haha, yep, moving along nicely. Next post is an underground cave!
      Computer should be fixed in about 10 days, then the pics will resume. I miss them too.
      I think about what I will do in the south almost every day. Sometimes I think I will sell the Jeep and fly out, sometimes I entertain the idea of driving up the east coast of south america then shipping the jeep around central. I really have no idea, just thinking at this stage. I´ll make the decision when the time comes.

  2. Marsha says:

    Hey there-I am Jolene’s ‘big sis’ from Wyoming and while she was out here visiting over Christmas she showed me your website. What an amazing journey! I am all caught up and enjoy the stories and pictures! If you ever need anything in northeastern Wyoming(Newcastle) or southwestern South Dakota-look us up-it would be great to meet you! If you are ever here in August the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a must! (got married there during the rally in 2007!) Safe travels to you, hope your computer is fixed soon and can’t wait for more pics and updates! ~M~

    • Dan says:

      Hey Marsha – I´m really glad Jolene showed you my site, I´m really proud of it. Thanks for the offer of assistance, I don´t think I´ll be back in the states for a long long time, but you never know!

  3. nicki says:

    alright ive got some questions for u if u would be so kind.
    on this trip have u planned anything before hand? where u will stay or what u will see? and if not how has that been working out for u? any difficultes with that yet?
    cuz im about to go on a trip down to patagonia and i cant decide how much of it i should be planning out. ive never had to deal with planning before cuz ive always travelled with someone who is a planning control nut.

    so yup.
    thanks for ur help!

    • Dan says:

      Hey Nicki, I have planned absolutely nothing in terms of where I will stay and way I will see. Every day I wake up and have a new adventure seeing the sights and eventually finding somewhere to stay. I like to talk to locals to find the really good spots. This way I have no stress at all, and it´s impossible for me to get lost, as I have nowhere to be.
      Every now and again it backfires and I end up driving long into the night, or something like that. As yet I have not slept in the Jeep, although I am sure I will.
      I personally prefer the make it up approach, but everyone is different!

  4. With out a doubt, the blog post is actually the greatest on this worthy topic. I with your conclusions and willdesperately anticipate your impending updates. Saying thanks will not be enough, for the wonderful clarity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Genuine work and much success!

  5. Turkka says:

    A beautiful osprey (‘Loving the sunshine’)! Seems you managed to get pretty close to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>