Mexico 2013, Part 8: On the "Island of Women"


This is the view from the docks of Puerto Juárez, where we got on a little speedboat to go to Isla Mujeres or the Island of Women in Spanish.

While Isla Mujeres was easily one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, the experience of getting there was a royal pain. First off, the bus dropped us off in the middle of an intersection that was easily at least a mile away from Puerto Juárez. I'm not sure if it was because we got on the wrong bus (tho the port name was clearly written on the window) or that the driver just didn't give a damn, but we were literally dropped off in the middle of a small highway. It was also hot, dusty, and in a vaguely sketchy area (definitely not a tourist spot), but thankfully we were in broad daylight.

I'd rather not dwell on negatives at this point, so in a nutshell, after a 20+ minute walk and twiddling our thumbs for over 2 hours at the docks, we finally hopped on a little motor boat and were off!

Puerto Juarez docks.
Golden eyed stray.
This guy looks EXACTLY like how I imaged the Old Man from The Old Man & the Sea.
Also, most delicious fish ever.
Live conch meeting an untimely demise...
He taps a hole in the shell, pulls out the poor sucker and cleans its shell to be sold later.

Isla Mujeres is also home to the famous Shell House, which you can actually reserve for vacations, just FYI ;)!

Credits: Homeaway

The snorkeling was fantastic, there were so many fish and I must admit, it was better than snorkeling at Xel Ha! The island itself was also very beautiful, with narrow streets filled with quaint little shops, school children in uniform running through alleys, and shimmering turquoise waters as far as the eye can see.

A Tumblr-esque picture.
Courtesy Julie :)

In Mexico, especially in Isla Mujeres, the days felt so timeless. There was little to worry about except where to eat next and there was no rush to be anywhere.  The hours stretched endlessly before us filled with nothing but sunlight, crystal waters, and daydreams.

I don't think I could live like that my whole life.  Without deadlines or responsibilities, I confess I was beginning to feel a little unmoored and lost somehow.  Which is ironic, considering I've pretty much spent the last 6 months complaining about how I just want to "get away from it all." And this is what I love about traveling - I feel like I've learned a little more about myself.  I am not in fact someone who would happy doing nothing, as lazy as I am (yes, I am that person who will spend 10 minutes trying to turn off a TV with her toes to avoid getting up). Exploration and discovery is what brings me joy, not staying in one place, no matter how comfortable I am. It seems that being happy is rarely convenient or easy. Often the more comfortable we are, the less happy we are. So this is what Mexico has taught me: Happiness is found in doing what you love, even when it's very, very hard to do it.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” 
– Henry Miller Read


  1. Love your pictures! We had the EXACT SAME experience with taking the bus in Cancun to get to our tour/cruise to Isla Mujeres. We thought it was our fault, but the bus driver told us to get off (b/c we'd asked for where to get off to get to the specific dock area). We were already running a bit behind so we RAN that mile!!!! And it was definitely NOT an easy feat as we were wearing flip flops and carrying a bunch of stuff. I couldn't imagine spending more than just a few hours on the island. While it's beautiful, I found it to be too quiet..if you know what I mean...

  2. Sounds like such a great vacation! I've never been to Mexico, only Cuba in terms of a tropical destination. Wish I was there now!! xo

  3. The photos are marvellous. That wasn't nice to drop you in the middle of a highway. I think I could live like this forever and I wish I can visist the Shell House one day :D


  4. you look great, I love the picture of home that' a funny house!

  5. I love that last picture, so cute!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  6. I totally know what you mean! I don't like to be stressed either but I hate feeling like I'm not doing anything with my life.

    7% Solution​

  7. My goodness, I almost went here last year - it looks like a beautiful place and I'm glad you had a great time

  8. I really want to visit mexico one day and eat delish food!

    Glad you could get away on a nice trip and learn something about yourself ^_^

  9. That's quite a realization and a very useful one. SO many people I know worked to arrange their lives to be what they thought they wanted--only to realize it drove them crazy. :)


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