Located in the Caribbean Sea, this beautiful island is part of the Yucatan peninsula and it is just 13 km (8 miles) away from Cancun. Activities for visitors in Isla Mujeres, Spanish for "Women Island", include fishing, a reef park, turtle farm and swimming with cat sharks (more on that later).
Spanish conquistadors discovered Isla Mujeres in 1517. In the pre-Hispanic era, the island was a ceremony center dedicated to Ixchel, Mayan goddess of the moon, love and fertility. When the conquistadors arrived, they noticed the Mayan offerings and statues, so they named it Women Island.
The Island can be reached by a short ferry ride from the mainland. The transportation on the island consists primarily of taxis or golf carts and moped scooters or and course by foot.
The island is popular with day-trippers due to the abundance of fresh seafood, surfing potential, coral reefs and marine life and clear views of Cancun itself. The beaches are stunning; shallow waters and white sand and Playa Norte is where you can find many hotels and local restaurants, perfect for an overnight getaway.
Main attractions include the Sea Turtle Farm, it may be small in size but it is a wonderful experience. They breed sea turtles and other species like sea horses, lobsters, and star fish that are later released to their natural environment. There is also a tank where they keep sea turtles that were either born with a deformed shell or had been injured and would not survive on their own in the wild.
There is also a Dolphin Discovery site, this place is focused on the rehabilitation of dolphins and manatees. You can swim with these beautiful creatures as well as sea lions and manatees. The dolphins are kept in an ocean enclosure, which is natural for them.
The MUSA, which stands for Sub Aquatic Art Museum in Spanish, is another popular attraction for visitors. The project founded consists of over 500 permanent life-size sculptures and is one of the largest and most ambitious underwater artificial art attractions in the world.
Now for the swimming with sharks part! You can swim with a shark species called Cat Shark; they are actually peaceful animals and are well kept in the same way dolphins are kept in the Dolphin Discovery site. You can also take the whale shark tour. The whale shark is the largest living fish species; they feed mainly on plankton and fish eggs. You can catch a tour to watch them between June and September, when the Plankton blossom happens.
If you are planning to stay in Isla Mujeres for a few days, you can rent a golf car or a motorcycle. Distances however are not that long and you can actually walk to many destinations. The island is only 7 km (4.3 miles) long.
Isla Mujeres is a very relaxing place, perfect for a family and couple getaway!