On our last full day in México, we took a ferry to Isla Mujeres to explore the island and expand our vehicle expertise by adding golf cart to the list.
We missed the first ferry because I was hobbling along with my awkward broken toe and we were forced to sit and have a margarita while we waited for the next ferry. I’m really proud of this artsy touristy shot I took while we waited:
We caught the next ferry, sitting in the rain on the deck for a few minutes before relocating to the ice-cold air-conditioning downstairs. We made it to the island and explored our options for getting around. Our choices included either a scooter or a golf cart.
Have you ever driven a scooter before? I was asked. Yeah, not a problem, I responded. Okay good, he told me, because there is no insurance. I paused. So if anything happens, we pay? What if someone else hits me and it’s not my fault? You pay, he explained. Awesome. We’ll take the golf cart.
I left my license with the scooter guy and got behind the wheel, excited to add another vehicle to my repertoire. We zipped around the downtown area and headed towards the southern tip of the island to see the Temple of Ixchel aka a climbing opportunity for Adrienne.
There isn’t much of the temple left after hundreds of years and a few too many hurricanes, but it was still worth the visit, especially for the incredible-view-on-a-windy-cliff experience.
We explored the ruins, including the random sculpture garden nearby. Naturally, I wanted to climb on what was left of the temple and we all know I can’t go anywhere without doing a handstand. After attempting the perfect handstand picture, B and I continued walking down the path and came across a very excited older man. “Your legs are going to be famous.” Come again?
Apparently I had been upside down while this man had been lining up a shot of the temple, and he managed to take this beautifully hilarious photo:
I think his wife was a little embarrassed but we all thought it was highly entertaining and I made him email me the photo. You never know when you’re going to need an image of your feet poking out of ancient Mayan ruins. I know I need that sort of thing on a regular basis. In fact, I’m going to start an Instagram account of my feet sticking out of famous monuments like this. There, I said it first. Now you’re stealing if you go out and copy my idea. But I digress.
We finished exploring the southern tip of the island, then continued adventuring in our golf cart looking for dolphins, turtles, and pirates. I really wanted to see Hacienda Mundaca which was apparently some kind of old pirate’s refuge. We sped past the building the first time then pulled a U-turn to go back to the nicely paved parking lot where we left our golf cart and hoped no one would steal it. We wandered over to what looked like the entrance and pushed open the half-locked metal doors.
From there, I followed my wanderer instincts and found a little path into the woods with the back of a sign facing us. Let’s see what the sign says, I told B. Maybe it’ll tell us where we are!
Oh, awesome…? That tells us nothing.
We decided to follow the path anyways which resulted in a fantastic discovery and quite a few mosquito bites.
We followed the path through the ruins pictured above and found ourselves on the grounds of a once-beautiful estate with amazing old stone benches, arches, wells, and more. We even found a massive cage, like an old zoo display that had been completely grown over. I was tempted to go inside but then I thought, mmm better not. We didn’t spend too much time there because we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes and the place was dark, quiet, and empty. In other words, we thought we were going to be kidnapped by pirate ghosts.
According to the TripAdvisor reviews about this place, there is an entrance fee of 20 pesos? Also, there’s an entrance? I have a feeling we did this part wrong. The reviewers were also upset because the grounds were “poorly maintained” and there weren’t any pamphlets or signs explaining what they were seeing. And here I thought it was just abandoned…
After we ran out of there, we got back in the golf cart and went to find some dolphins and turtles. We found the dolphins first, although we didn’t stay long. I had reached my touristing threshold and couldn’t handle the Disney-esque Dolphin Discovery center. The turtle sanctuary was slightly better and we made friends with some questionably happy little guys.
Leaving the tortugranja, we were stopped by a couple of hitchhikers looking for a ride North. Why not? Jump on in. They climbed into the back of our golf cart and we headed back into town with our new friends.
Apparently the couple regularly vacations on Isla Mujeres and they told us about some of their favorite spots like the Soggy Peso restaurant and Playa Norte. They also told us about a cemetery we should visit, where the pirate Mundaca’s tombstone lay empty with a message for his love who denied him.
“Lo que tu eres, yo fui. Lo que lo soy, luego seras.” Translated as “As you are, I was. As I am, you will be.”
We finished the day wasting time in our golf cart, and finally made our way back onto the ferry to the mainland.
Exhausted, we managed to pull ourselves together for one last dinner in Cancún at one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. Limoncello was the perfect way to end our spontaneous weekend in México.