The first couple of days on Isla Mujeres felt like a vacation on the face of the sun. I finally figured out how to arrange our day so we could maximize our enjoyment instead of ending each day near hallucination. The siesta is there for a reason. Just before noon the sun starts to melt your mind.
We began to wake up earlier and got out into the world around 7am, instead of sleeping in until 9am, like we did the first three days. On our way to breakfast, we had the normally tourist-filled streets all to ourselves and made some feline friends.
Hidalgo Avenue at 7am
On our way to breakfast for the remainder of our stay in El Centro, we got a chance to see the village come alive each day. Shop owners would pull up the doors to their shops on Hidalgo Avenue and restaurants would start setting up tables outside.
After a leisurely breakfast we stayed outdoors until just before noon. I suggest visiting Punta Sur in the early morning hours. We made it there after a 30+ minute golf cart ride and had some moments alone at the Temple of Ixchel before groups of tourists started showing up. If you stay on the island, you have a jump on everyone. Use it to your advantage and do all outdoor activities that are popular before 10am.
We also went to the beach early. After trying another area on Playa Norte days earlier, we finally found our oasis just outside a hotel called Na Balam. Beds with umbrellas are available for their guests, but if there is a bed unreserved, outsiders are able to rent this goodness for 200 pesos.
Our bed on the edge of the Caribbean Sea.
Around 11am, we began to look for a place to eat lunch. In between we would snack on fresh coconut water and chaya smoothies from Elements of the Island, who also had great breakfast and lunch options. We drank lots of water. Lots and lots of water. You have to drink water all day.
After ducking under cover for lunch, we would head back to our air conditioned room. Most days, we would cool off with a shower and pass out for a couple of hours. This is when we would reapply our sunscreen as well. You must wear sunscreen!
Around 4pm we started to make a plan for the evening. An hour or so later we’d go for a snack, usually octopus ceviche and a mojito (with Cuban rum) for me.
After sunset the shops are still open on Hidalgo Avenue and we found that to be the best time to go shopping. The day trippers have usually gone back to Cancun and the streets aren’t packed. It cools off a bit at night, but I wasn’t cold unless we were on the beach. I needed a poncho after sunset on the beach.
We ended our days with dinner and walked around until midnight enjoying the breezes, picking up sorbetto for dessert, and savoring our respite from the heat.
If you find a way to follow this basic layout for the day, substituting your own activities, you too can keep your mind from melting.
May your journey be your muse,