Isla Mujeres is one of my favorite places 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 to explore the rest of Isla Mujeres, including some of the best restaurants, bars, and a beautiful view at Punta Sur.
If you are looking for the best breakfast on Isla Mujeres, then you should try Mango Cafe. My favorite dish is the stuffed poblano pepper with egg, onion, bacon, and cheese. The coconut French toast is also very popular for breakfast here. 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.
It’s rarely wise to label something as “the best.” It’s subjective. Plus is this label based on best price? Most authentic? Best value? Quality of food regardless of price?
With that said… Limon is probably the most acclaimed and often considered to be the best restaurant on Isla Mujeres. I cannot disagree.
Chef Sergio Contreras Martínez was born in Mexico and raised with traditional Mexican dishes. But when he began to travel the world later in life, he fell in love with the cuisines of Japan, Thailand, India, Britain, and other places he visited. He began creating recipes that were influenced from all these places. And when he opened Limon in 2012, he brought these dishes to life.
Prices are on the more expensive side for Isla Mujeres, and you will find he has a focus on grilled meats and seafood that he grills outside for you to watch. In fact, he refers to himself as The Grill Master rather than Chef.
Tips: Limon is a cash only establishment, so hit up the ATM before dinner. Also, if you would like to order lobster, you should call ahead to ensure the availability. Reservations required.
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 (translated as “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 restaurants in Isla Mujeres that serves this fantastic style of fish is Playa Lancheros. It’s 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.
Down near Punta Sur on the south side of the island, you can find one of the best bars in Isla Mujeres. The Joint is a reggae bar with 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 that include: coconut, tropical mango, orange-cilantro, cucumber, mixed berry, and ginger-mint. The frozen mojito at The Joint is one of the most famous cocktails on Isla Mujeres.
But the most famous cocktail on Isla Mujeres is easily the margarita at Soggy Peso.
You always need one final stop before heading home. And the Soggy Peso is great place for a final stop. Their margaritas are known to be the strongest on the island, yet surprisingly good. This is 20-minute walk from downtown, or quick cab ride. It resembles a tiki bar, or perhaps a bar found in the Florida Keys that is tucked away in the trees. 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.