Our marina is located outside of downtown Isla Mujeres. Once customs, laundry, grocery shopping and boat washing were done, we unloaded our bikes and made the easy ride to town, which takes less than ten minutes.
The most popular modes of transportation here are golf carts and scooters. Most all of the cars are cabs, personal cars and trucks are few and far between. There is only one road to and from town, and it’s pretty much a free-for-all. People cross whenever and wherever they want to, and carts, scooters and cabs turn off and onto the road at will. They will also stop to park alongside the road without warning. This all puts any driver’s education simulator to shame! Our first trip to town was a bit nerve wracking, but since then, we just go with it.
Downtown is much more congested than the area where our marina/hotel is located. The main street is jammed with shops and convenience stores, banks, hotels and restaurants. One side of the main street is along the water and beach front. A large ferry terminal, which takes both people and cars to Cancun and Puerto Juarez is constantly swarming with people coming in and out. Stands also line the sidewalk, for people to sign up for various tours, or to rent a golf cart or scooter. For such a small island, it’s quite the sensory overload.
We decided to get off of the main street, seeking a quieter route. The side streets are overall quieter, with many being pedestrian only. They are jammed with stall selling various goods, and all types of restaurants and take away food stands. What is unnerving here, is the constant berating of the stall owners, trying to get you to come and see their wares. We were on an automated loop of “No, gracias,” or no thank you. Many don’t get the message, or don’t care, and continue to bother you. Scott wants to change his mantra for them to “No deniro.” or no money ! We’d probably have more luck at getting left alone!
Aside from that which we eventually just got used to and blocked out, we have enjoyed walking the streets and having lunch in a few places for dirt cheap tacos and icy, cold beer. We’re not sure how much more time we’ll spend in town, thinking that we’d rather explore the quieter end, near our current home base.
Here are some photos that we took of downtown Isla Mujeres.