Magical Mujeres

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Depending on the kind of holiday your looking for Cancun may not be top of the destination list, however a little research will tell you that just 13 kilometers off the coast of Cancun is a tiny piece of paradise also known as Isla Mujeres (the island of women).

Flights are plentiful from London to Cancun and choose the right time of year to fly and you can grab an excellent bargain. We flew direct to Cancun International Airport from London Stansted with Thomson Airways taking a little over 10hrs.

From Cancun there is a 20 min boat journey that will take you to an island so relaxed that the preferred mode of transport is golf buggy. There is so much to do that the few days that most people opt for is no where near enough time to do the island justice.

We stayed at Casa Coco, a beautiful boutique hotel on the waters edge. Its history as a residential villa is evident in the homely feel of the property.
We were greeted by Emma the hostess, who was as charming as she was helpful.

Emma showed us to our room which we loved. It felt like an extension of the beach. The stone walls and light airy furnishing create a cool and tranquil atmosphere. The bathroom is open plan giving a sense of space.

There are 8 rooms in total, 7 of which have an ocean view and the 1 family room has the Laguna view.

There is a small pool – perfect for an afternoon dip and kayaks are available to use if the water is safe. There is private access to a small part of the beach. The lazy area with deck chairs and beanbags is hard to leave and at night you can sit by the water and see the lights of Cancun. Its hard to believe whilst chilling out by the pool that you are such a short distance from the hectic holiday spot of Cancun.

It is likely you will get the opportunity to meet Jeffrey and Bridget the owners of the property, both are hands on and you may have the opportunity to share a drink in the evening or will provide you with advice on things to do in the local area as well as suggest reputable tour guides.

Jeffrey and Bridget are clearly seasoned travelers. This becomes evident in the interior design painstakingly selected by Jeffrey from the mosaic tiles on the floor to personal art collection in the villa which is a celebration of a love of travel and a passion for art. Many of the pieces have been commissioned by Beatrice Galvin, a local artist.

Casa Coco has a sister villa – Encantada. Comprising of 6 stunning suites. The rooftop suite is amazing and has access to a beautiful terrace.

For such a small island there is much to do. Jeffrey introduced us to the Island made from bottles created by British artist Richart “Reishee” Sowa. The island is named Joyxee and is a replacement for the original spiral island destroyed by a hurricane in 2005
The island was initially 20 metres in diameter but has expanded. It contains around 100,000 bottles and here are three beaches, a house, two ponds, a solar-powered waterfall and river.
For tourists it is certainly an interesting site and a great project for ecologists however it is known to be something of an eyesore for the locals and business owners preferring to preserve the idyllic beauty of the island.


Jeffery encouraged us to go to Punta Sur – the first place sun rises in Mexico. This is a short buggy ride from the hotel so with the best intentions we decided to get up early the following day to see the sun rise. I blame Casa Coco and the amazing beds for us missing this spectacular opportunity – we slept so well and it was so peaceful that the alarm was insignificant. Although late rising it meant we could try the breakfast prepared by onsite chef AnnaBreakfast is just what you need to start the day – eggs prepared however you choose and a choice of juice and cereals and for the lactose intolerant such as myself various choices for milk alternatives.

 

We set off for Punta Sur which is located at the southern tip of Isla Mujeres, 20 meters above sea level. This is the highest elevation in the Yucatan and home to an ancient temple honoring the Mayan Moon Goddess.


The carved path along the coast will reveal some amazing views of Cancun and the bay. There is a small a bar/restaurant overlooking the Mayan Ruin. The outdoor exhibition is awesome – 23 artists from Mexico and around the world including Jose Luis Cuevas, created this exhibit for Isla Mujeres in 2001.
Next on the list is Playa Norte voted by TripAdvisor (TripAdvisor’s annual Traveler’s Choice awards for 2017) as 7th most beautiful beach in the world. Its not difficult to see why with a beautiful stretch of sand alongside crystal clear water. This is a great spot for snorkeling and even better for sunbathing.
There is a turtle sanctuary on the island that is worth a visit. Isla Mujeres is the ancestral hatching ground for the giant sea turtles that lay their eggs in the soft sand from May through September. I had my reservations about visiting an animal based tourist attraction but a little research put my mind at rest.

Biologist go out at night and dig up eggs and re bury them at the sanctuary. They will hatch and keep the babies until they are old enough to be released. The turtles have a 1 in 100 survival rate as the locals use eggs as a delicacy. This has led to the beaches being policed during turtle season

The eggs are gathered and placed in pens at the Turtle Farm to keep them safe from predators. Depending on the time of year, you can see hundreds of baby turtles in the outdoor holding tanks. From August to October they are released into the sea. Others that have been injured will receive care until they are well enough to go back to the sea. Every year hundreds of sea turtles survive thanks to the care and love of the islanders.

There are many activities to get involved in on the island. For anyone staying at Casa Coco or Encantada there is a direct link to Ned at Boulder Won Events. We were lucky enough to take a boat tour with our host and met with the charming Ned who has a huge passion for boats and fishing and is happy to share it with you throughout a boulder one events tour. Ned’s company will charter boats for passengers and arrange an itinerary that can take you to some remote places that others can’t access. For fishing enthusiasts Ned can arrange a deep sea fishing tour. For more information contact richard@slipstreamangling.com

If fishing is not your thing but you’re up for a diving experience try Mexico divers (www.mexicodivers.com) They come highly recommended by Jeffrey.

Both Casa Coco and Encantada are beautiful and luxurious, exactly what you would like to come home to after a day of activities or a lazy day on the beach.
The staff at the hotel are able to pre-book golf buggies, arrange contact with tour companies or arrange for beauty treatments at the hotel. Yoga packages and retreats are available through the hotel. More information is available on request.

For up to date prices and availability see www.encantadamexico.com or email jeffrey@seanet.com with any questions or enquiries
We booked return flights with Thomson for £319 in March

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