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5 Reasons Why Isla Mujeres has Gone to the Ladies

By Amy Angelilli, GoGirlfriend Contributor

And it’s not just the name …

I visited Isla Mujeres – again – as the island keeps calling me back. Granted it is the Island of Women, so maybe that’s the case for many of the women who return again and again. Last year, Isla hosted more than 228,000 visitors – many of them women, and, many of them women traveling alone. So, what’s all the fuss about anyway? Besides being an affordable place to enjoy white sand beaches and turquoise water, Isla has a lot more going on that just the obvious.

Isla is safe

celebration on Isla MujeresAs with any international – or domestic – travel, it’s always wise to be aware of your surroundings and use your best judgment. However, Isla is a small island – approximately five miles long by a half-mile wide – that usually has nothing more than petty theft happening. There’s a good-sized navy base on the island, which keeps things quiet. And remember, many of the safety warnings you may hear about Mexico are in and around border towns. Because Isla is small and safe, and filled with friendly visitors, ex-pats and locals, it’s a low-risk place to for a safe and supportive solo getaway.

Isla is easy to get on & off

anytime is a good time for a girlfriend getaway!Whether traveling alone – or with a group as part of a ladies vacation – sometimes you don’t want getting there to be part of the adventure. No problem on that front with Isla. If you time it right, you can get from the airport to the ferry terminal to the island in about 60 minutes. The quickest, and most fun way, is to hire a transfer service that will bypass the Cancun hotel zone and get you right to the ferry. Rhino Transportations (RhinoTransportations.com) charges $60 round trip for one to two people, and you get some fun stories from the drivers – in English and Spanish – along the way. The ferry runs every 30 minutes, so even if you’ve just missed it when you arrive, another one is minutes away. Plus, you can see the island – surrounded by gorgeous turquoise water – from the ferry terminal, so the extra time gives you the opportunity to get your first photos of island life.

Isla is home to the Maya Goddess, Ixchel

tribute to the Mayan Godess, IxchelPunta Sur (South Point) is the southern-most point on Isla and the eastern-most point in the entire country of Mexico. The Temple of the Maya Goddess, Ixchel, is located on Punta Sur and is the first place in Mexico that sunlight touches each day. Ixchel, also known as the sun’s wife, is the Goddess of childbirth, medicine and the moon. She has fertility and healing powers and in Pre-Columbian times, the island was a sacred spot for Ixchel. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century they named the island "Isla Mujeres" because of the many images of goddesses. You can rent a golf cart and drive down to Punta Sur to visit Ixchel’s Temple and take a walk around the southern cliffs. If you go at sunrise, not only will you get to see an amazing scene, but you also avoid the crowds that make the space a little less sacred later in the day.

Isla is also home to the women’s beading cooperative

beautiful jewellery at the Bead Co-operativeIn the heart of the island, in the residential area of La Gloria, you’ll find the Women’s Beading Cooperative, where local Mayan women create amazingly detailed, intricate jewelry from beads, shells, Swarovski crystals and pearls. You can watch the women bead, and, you can even request a piece of jewelry made to your specifications. All profits go directly to the artisans to help maintain their households and keep their kids in schools. I bought a pair of earrings for myself, and three additional pairs to give as gifts. All the jewelry is one-of-a-kind and because the profits support the local community, I felt really good about how I was spending money. Each piece of jewelry has the name of the woman who created it, so be sure to introduce yourself as the artisan who created your piece of jewelry may be on-site beading the day you visit!

Isla hosts We Move Forward – a women’s conference, retreat & celebration

me at the We Move Forward conferenceWe Move Forward is an extended weekend in celebration of International Women’s Day, that highlights the power of women to live – and to support each other in living – the best lives possible. It touches the mind, the body and the soul by way of inspirational talks, interactive presentations, engaging activities, shared meals and mindful movement sessions. With the turquoise Caribbean Sea as its background, We Move Forward facilitates awakening, connection and reinvention. As a 2014 attendee and a 2015 speaker, I can say first-hand that there’s no better place to gather women together for a communal period of reflection and rejuvenation.

Whether you visit in honor of International Women’s Day or just to celebrate small island living, chances are you’ll be hooked. My first visit to the island was eight days – my second was 16 days. I have a feeling that my third visit will be a lot longer than that.

For more information:

Have you had the pleasure to visit Isla Mujeres? What was your draw to the island? We'd love to hear ... drop a comment below or connect with the GoGirlfriend community on Twitter or Facebook.

About Amy Angelili

Amy Angelilli ~ @amyadventureproAmy Angelilli is a socially responsible lifetime adventurer who’s visited at least 24 countries – and she continues adding a new one to that list every year. Between trips, she moved from Philadelphia to Denver in an RV filled with rescue pets, and opened a low cost spay/neuter clinic for stray cats so she wouldn’t have to adopt any more. Now, as Chief Adventure Officer of The Adventure Project, she uses improvisational theater techniques to play with others so that they may discover and create their own adventures – at home or abroad. She performs regularly in “3 Blind Dates” and “It’s All About Amy” – improvisational theater experiences she created and produced. When not on stage, she’s usually packing, planning or putting her frequent flier miles to good use on a new adventure. Catch up with Amy on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram

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