The Contrasts of Isla Mujeres

Rough water on Isla Mujeres meant that we would substitute a golf cart for snorkeling that day.  Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Rough water on Isla Mujeres meant that we would substitute a golf cart for snorkeling that day.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Expecting a day of tequila sunrises and snorkeling, the Brawny Sherpa and I set off by catamaran from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. The water was too rough for playing in, though, so, once on the island, we rented a golf cart for about $20 and tootled toward the Mayan ruins at the tip of it instead.

The Goddess Ixchel has overseen a troubled Isla Mujeres, visited by slave traders and pirates in the past. Good that she is the goddess of healing and fertility.  Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The Goddess Ixchel has overseen a troubled Isla Mujeres, visited by slave traders and pirates in the past. Good that she is the goddess of healing and fertility.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

 

 

 

 

If the Maya could see what would become of this place—visits from slave seekers and pirates—would they have built a temple that could serve as a lighthouse? We couldn’t help but think that “discovery” by Europeans hardly brought advancement to this beautiful place.

Beach houses come at many price points on Isla Mujeres. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Beach houses come at many price points on Isla Mujeres.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

From the ruins, we drove past pricey real estate, garbage heaps, and a shantytown before making our way back to the northwestern tip of the island, by some tourist shops where we didn’t buy tee shirts, to the very colorful graveyard.

Brightness abounds on some portions of the island. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Brightness abounds on some portions of the island.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Every time I visit Isla Mujeres, I wonder, Would I go back? Then I go back. I try to make sense of this place where spirits, military, Maya, shopkeepers, and vacationers all mingle in such a relatively small space.

­—Lori Tripoli

Isla Mujeres is a beautiful place to remain for eternity. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Isla Mujeres is a beautiful place to remain for eternity.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

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