The road to the Island of Women is paved with travel.
From Cozumel, you take a ferry to Playa Del Carmen, a bus to Cancun, a taxi to another port to catch yet another ferry, but the end result is paradise, even if it’s at 10 o’clock at night and you’re a bit drained after crappy Tom Hanks movies dubbed in Spanish and hair-raising ferry bathrooms.
But there was some delicious ice cream and elotes to sustain us along the way.
The vibe in Isla Mujeres is different than the other places I’ve been to in Mexico. While its name may be a nod to those fair Mayan maidens, I felt completely surrounded by the salty sea-going men who wear sharks teeth necklaces with khaki chino shorts. Its an immensely livable island, if you catch my drift.
Our first order of business was finding a cheap hotel for the night, one that would allow us to stay past the normal check-out, since we were in town for primarily one reason: to swim with the fabled whale sharks!
After visiting a few places, we settled on the economical and clean Los Arcos, bare-bones style, but smack-dab in the middle of the island’s main square. One night here was $600 pesos, or roughly $45 USD. Not bad, and we negotiated a check-out of 5 p.m. No rushing around without a shower for us (thank god I found a lover who takes more showers than me).
We threw down our woes and headed into the night, lured by the music of La Terraza, a mere stone’s throw from the hotel. The margaritas here were the best I’ve savored so far, indisputably fresh and handmade, with a salty, chili rim. And strong, too. After three of those, I was ready for … well, you can use your imagination.
But just as we were readying for a dance, the band announced their last number.
We stumbled to the waterfront a bit drunk. Isla Mujeres was hunkering down and it was only a little after midnight.
The hotel bed was hard but the soft-core porn on the Golden EDGE network was plentiful. It was time to rest up for the day ahead, which I didn’t know then would be the most incredible experience of my life.
Stay tuned to tomorrow for my part-two journey to Isla Mujeres!