Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Isla Mujeres

On the third day of our vacation in Mexico, we got up, took a cab to the ferry terminal, and by 10 AM we were approaching the dock on the small and charming island of Isla Mujeres. We had planned to go to La Garrafon Natural Park to snorkel, but the very stiff south wind that had been affecting the beaches near the hotel was blowing onshore here as well. When we arrived, the park was simply not allowing any snorkeling. So we got back in our little rented golf cart, and proceeded to the far east end of the island.

In a city park at the east end we found a modern sculpture garden, a spectacular cliff-side walk, and a pleasant outdoor bar and grill. Len ordered a cheesburger. I had a steak sandwich with guacamole -- a combination I found quite tasty.

The farthest point of the island is in the park, and a sign there informs you that you have come to the most eastern point in the country of Mexico. The ancient Mayans once greeted the dawn in a building that stands in ruins at the top of the cliff. We enjoyed the ocean views and the frigate birds soaring up above the island.

After lunch we continued around the island in our very noisy golf cart, parked to wade in the ocean at a beach near the town, and returned our cart. The small town is full of shops, which we browsed before lining up for the return ferryboat.

The island is not large, and this tour took only a few hours, including many stops to look at tidepools and churning waves and wind on completely deserted beaches. Along the shore we saw every kind of home you can imagine, from shanties made of tarpaper and wire to lavish stucco mansions. One stucco house was moulded into the shape of a conch shell -- quite showy. The only beach where we saw a lot of people is the one at the north end:

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