Enjoy my family's adventure living on a Caribbean island as they build a boutique vacation beach house. Get a peek at island living and join me in some mischievous musings!
Monday, March 5, 2012
Part of the charm of Isla Mujeres is it's grit and garish mishmash of color. It has a casual Bohemian vibe with a Mexican Caribe flair. If you are looking for a polished resort, Isla Mujeres may not be for you. But if you are looking for a slice of laid back island life, with just enough tourism to make it comfortable this little piece of paradise is it. At five and a half miles long and half a mile wide, Isla Mujeres conveys the intimacy of a tiny fishing village with a taste of the tropics. Touted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world by Yahoo, the cool white sands combined with the vibrant turquoise water make Isla Mujeres' North Beach hard to beat. Yes you can have a waiter bringing you Coronas or margaritas if that's what you want. Or you can scout out your own palm tree tucked away from the crowd. After a day of sunning, sailing, snorkeling or deep sea fishing the cobblestone streets of el centro offer a nice array of culinary choices. With everything from Italian, Mediterranean, French and of course Mexican food you will not go hungry. You can even learn Salsa at Valentina's, a new restaurant with delightful Mexican cuisine with an inventive twist. There never seems to be a shortage of things to do or fiestas to attend. You can get just about any of the luxuries you could want from a resort on the island like a massage on the beach or a coffee mint pedicure of Mi Secreto Salon.
However, it is what you can get on the island that you won't find at a resort that I love. I enjoy watching the local fisherman mending their nets, or the Mexican kids playing on the beach and swimming in their clothes. I smile whenever a whole family passes on one motto. (How do they do that?) I like buying fresh orange juice from Martivino's cart at the ferry or ice cream from Jose. I like eating ceviche at the docks and listening to the waves lapping against the battered yellow and turquoise boats with wonderful Mexican names painted on their bows or watching the pelicans diving for fish. I love the delicious salt air mixed with just enough smell of old crates and fishing nets to make it seem authentic. I once had an old sailor tell me that Isla Mujeres was one of the few islands left that still had a soul. As the Riviera Maya is burgeoning with new tourist traps as fast as they can build them, Isla Mujeres remains a small sliver of languid island charm where the sun sets over the bay while the palm trees sway in the breeze, fisherman still bring in their catch, and life is still muy tranquilo.