Isla Mujeres became one of my favorite spots in Mexico.
It’s an island off the coast of Cancun, that you take a ferry to get to. Downtown, known as El Centro, is near the beautiful North Beach (Playa Norte) and is where most of the action is. But I highly recommend renting a golf cart and exploring the rest of the beautiful island.
There are a lot of great breakfast & brunch restaurants on Isla. But one of the best is without a doubt Mango Cafe. My favorite dish is the stuffed poblano pepper with egg, onion, bacon, and cheese. If it’s your first time to this area of Mexico, you’ve probably never had a breakfast like this. But you also can’t go wrong with the coconut French toast or really anything on the menu. They also have different flavors of mimosas, such as watermelon, hibiscus, and mango. Make sure to make this one of your breakfast spots on the island.
La Isla Brewing Co
Just around the corner from Mango Cafe is the island’s only brewery, La Isla Brewery. If you stop in they will give you tastings of their beers. They bottle Blonde Ale, IPA, Double IPA, Rum & Vanilla Porter, Ginger Beer (gluten free), and my favorite, their hibiscus beer. You may notice that I seem to like many things hibiscus (known as Jamaica in Mexico), but part of the attraction is that it isn’t as common where I’m from in the U.S. and so I like to take advantage of trying new things. Plus, I can order Dos Equis or Corona anywhere. You can mix and match six-packs to go, so there’s no need no choose just one.
One of the best reasons to rent a golf cart for the day is to drive to the southernmost tip of the island, called Punta Sur (literally “South Point”). Locals and frequent visitors will say that sunrise is the best time to come as its beautiful and peaceful. I haven’t made it for sunrise yet, and likely never will because that happens super early in the morning. But I have been for sunset, and even though there are more people there it’s still a great view. You can walk down pathways at the end and watch the waves crash into the rocks. There is also a small restaurant as well as some shops and several food carts. There isn’t much shade, so on a sunny day don’t forget the sunblock!
Tikin Xic at Playa Lancheros
Tikin Xic, (pronounced “teek-in sheek”) is a Yucatan style whole white fish marinated with adobo de achiote and sour oranges. It is historically wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked in a pit beneath a wood fire. However, these days it is often butterflied and cooked in a grill basket for easier cooking.
One of the places that serves this fantastic style of fish is Playa Lancheros here in Isla Mujeres. Its right on the beach, towards the south end of the island. It can take 40 minutes or so to cook, so you have some time to enjoy drinks on the beach, or even a swim while you wait.
If you’re down on the south side of the island, it’s hard to find a better stop than at The Joint. This reggae bar has live music and both Mexican and Caribbean food. But one of my favorite things on a hot day in Mexico, are their frozen mojitos. In addition to what they refer to as their “legendary frozen mojito” they also have specialty flavors taht include: coconut, tropical mango, orange-cilantro, cucumber, mixed berry, and ginger-mint.
You always need one final stop before heading home. And the Soggy Peso is great at being your final stop, no matter what time of day you show up. Their margaritas are known to be the strongest on the island, yet surprisingly good. This is 20-minute walk from downtown, or an easy bike ride. It resembles a tiki bar, or perhaps a bar found in the Florida Keys but tucked away between the trees on the water. Its westward facing, so it’s a great spot for sunset. Soggy Peso is consistently named as one of the favorite bars on the island among tourists and ex pats.