Nataly and I dropped off our rental car early Saturday morning and then went to find something to eat. We’d mostly been eating around our hotel, so we weren’t sure what was around and open, but we found a quesadilla stand nearby and when we were full we grabbed a taxi to Puerto Juarez.
After arriving on Isla Mujeres we were already suffocating from the heat, so we went in search for some ice cream, which had quickly become my favorite treat over the past few days. We passed on the overpriced ice cream in the restaurant right next to the docks and found a little stand a ways up that was more reasonable. Nataly ordered a cold drink while I attempted to determine what some of the popsicle flavors were without any luck. Nataly didn’t know what most of them were either, so I ordered a red which turned out to be quite good. After looking at souvenirs for a bit, we made our way to Playa Norte.
At Playa Norte we walked around for a while trying to find an area the wasn’t too crowded and tried to dodge all the people trying to sell us massages. In the water we found a dead fish that I was absolutely positive was a plush toy because I didn’t have my glasses and couldn’t see very well. I kept insisting that Nataly should touch it even after we were sure it was a fish. After playing in the water for a while, we were ready to go see the rest of the island.
We debated for a while whether to rent a go-cart or scooter, but the go-carts were expensive and neither of us were comfortable in our ability to drive a scooter even though it was probably not difficult, so we decided to walk since all of our sources said it was 7 or 8 KM (~5 miles) and would take about 2 hours. This was not true.
Still, we set off in high spirits and soon came across a big sign that we wanted to take a picture with. Another group, apparently having seen us taking pictures, offered to take our picture if we would take theirs, so we gave them my camera, which I would later discover I’d forgotten to take off of low light settings from the night before. As we were leaving, another group was coming up to have their picture taken; apparently we set off a chain!
So we made our way across the island, passing by houses full of barking dogs and stopping for the occasional rest in the shade. A couple of times we stopped in convenience stores to replenish our supply of cold liquid, but mostly we kept going, sometimes going up or down a street because the one we were on dead ended, sure that we were almost there. A few hours in, we encountered a guy selling ice cream out of a cart, so of course I bought one and not long after that we reached the split in the road that indicated we were near our destination. We had to decide whether to go to the turtle sanctuary or the small archaeological site and statue museum and decided on the latter. We took one more break at a nice spot looking at the ocean and saw the only colorful lizard we encountered during our entire trip.
I’m not sure why everything said the length of the island was 7 or 8 KM, but it took us about 4 hours to walk, so even though we stopped a few times and winded through houses a bit I would guess that it was closer to 12-15. Our frustration melted away soon after arriving, though. We sat on a curb and watched a bunch of people holding signs congratulating their friends for something (I heard the words she said yes, so I think there was a proposal) and then went to admire the view. Of course, Nataly wanted to take a picture of me in front of the iguana statue, since I kept taking pictures of them.
We didn’t get to see the colorful statues in that picture up close because when we finished relaxing we realized all the people and taxis were gone! But just as we were deciding what to do a taxi pulled up and we took it back to Playa Norte to watch the sunset. Seagulls circled around us, crying out in farewell to the day.
We took the ferry back and after a short mishap when we went too far in our taxi we were eating tacos at a stand across the street from our hotel. If I’m ever back on Isla Mujeres I’ll know to bring my bike or rent a scooter, but at least we had an interesting adventure.