What to do in Riviera Maya
SCUBA Diving and Snorkeling
In Isla Mujeres you will be able to find shops that offer diving and snorkeling; don’t worry about bringing your own gear, these shops can rent you everything you need.
Isla Mujeres is famous for its extraordinary dive sites where you can find vibrant coral reefs in crystal clear blue water.
·El Farito is a marine park 1.5 km from Isla Mujeres. There’s a small lighthouse on top of a spectacular reef, accessible to snorkel and diving. Also close by there’s the submerged statue of the Virgin of Carmen, “La Virgen del Farito”.
·Manchones Reef has great biodiversity and its one of the best places to dive for divers of all experience levels. Only 10 minutes by boat from most dive shops, and in only 10 meters of water, besides the reef here you can dive in the Cross of the Bay, a 3m tall, 1 ton weight, copper cross that in 1994 was sunk as tribute to those who have been lost at sea.
·Underwater Museum of Art MUSA formed in 2009 with the intention of creating an underwater sculpture museum that could double as an artificial reef. Nowadays there are over 500 submerged sculptures that serve as home and shelter for local fauna and as substrate for coral to grow on.
Enjoy the tranquility
Isla Mujeres is a true paradise and its the first part of Mexico to see the sunrise, making it the best place in Mexico to see a sunrise; do not miss this natural show. The island is small enough that it can be traversed by golf cart, bicycle or scooter. It has a mix of natural attractions, wonderful sights from its cliffs, pristine beaches, and a quaint small town. Enjoy the hospitality of this charming tropical fishing village with many stories to tell and many white sand Caribbean beaches waiting for you.
A small park with a shallow reef with very little currents, where those with little experience in the water can still enjoy the natural beauty the island has to offer. The park is famous for its colorful fishes and corals one can see when swimming and snorkeling. Located in the Southern end of the island, the park is currently under a private administration that offers all the services you need to have a good day exploring the reef, and even a restaurant.
The Tortugranja, as it’s known by locals, is a small aquarium that has different species of turtles and tortoises as well as some other species like lobsters, shrimps, starfish, sea cucumbers, fish and more. It's one of the main attractions on the island and something the community is very proud of because the farm helps care for turtle’s eggs and hatchlings in an effort to better preserve the species. The activities at the Tortugranja are ideal for kids to get involved in hands-on conservation and to learn about these incredible species.
Considered one of the main historical sites in Isla Mujeres, the hacienda was built by Fermín Mundaca de Marecheaga, a pirate and slave trader that used the island as refuge. Today what remains of the hacienda is used as a refuge for local wildlife and a place for peaceful walks.
Isla Mujeres has beautiful beaches of crystal clear, turquoise water and fine white sand, without any doubt its a true tropical paradise; some of the beaches are:
·Playa Lancheros, lined by palm trees, bars, and souvenir shops, and free of crowds, this beach is located on the South portion of the island. You can rent deck chairs with umbrellas to rest during the day, and it's the best place in the island to eat Tikin-xic, a unique dish local to the area consisting of grilled fish seasoned with local spices.
·Punta Sur the Easternmost point in all of Mexico, and the highest elevation on the island with 20 m over sea level with cliffs overseeing the Caribbean; which are the first point to receive sun rays in the whole country. On the way there you can find the “Parque Escultorico” (Sculpture Park), and a shrine dedicated to the Mayan goddess Ixchel. You can get there via golf cart to Garrafon, and walking the rest of the way; there are no services offered on this beach.
·Playa Norte ideal to swim and rest, crowded with luxurious yachts on the weekends. It is very easily accessible as it is only 350m away from the center of the town.
The gastronomical opportunities in Isla Mujeres are diverse, ranging from excellent regional food, to high-end international cuisine, highlighting seafood, as some of the best the island has to offer. There are many good restaurants scattered across the streets of the town.
From Isla Mujeres you can hire boat tours to take to Isla Contoy, a sea birds sanctuary dedicated to bird watching and scientific research. The island has no services other than a lookout point and a small museum. It's a natural reserve where no development is permitted to ensure the survival of the pristine natural environment.
From May to September every year dozens of the biggest fish in the ocean congregate in the waters North of Isla Mujeres. Whale sharks, up to 15m in length, come here to peacefully feed on tiny plankton. Whale sharks are very calm, and usually do not mind people swimming with them, making this a true unforgettable experience for anyone that swims with them. Please note that it is not legal to touch them, you must wear either a wetsuit or a life vest when in the water, and respect any other rules your tour guide may tell you.
Also from the island you can arrange tours to other sites of interest in Cancun or the Riviera Maya. You can book these tours on the Internet (www.cancunadventure.com.mx) or with your concierge or hotel. There are many tours to cenotes, theme parks, and archaeological sites in the region.
There are many small tropical bars in the island, some in the beaches, some in the streets of the town, that make up the nightlife of Isla Mujeres.