Friday, May 1, 2015

Can you get from here to there?

Playa Norte
Reading Trip Advisor, can be a trip (old 1970's hippie saying, in case you are too young to remember). 
On the website there are dozens of questions from people who are first time travelers to Isla Mujeres. 
Recently somebody asked: Can I walk all the way around the island on the waterfront?



Playa Posada
Well, yes, and no ….. You can walk all the way around on fairly decent sidewalks that were upgraded or newly built in 2009, but the waterfront is another thing entirely. 
The waterfront in Mexico is considered federal property and in theory you are allowed to cross it, but in some locations it is just not possible.

West side - lots of restaurants, bars and boats
If you start at the easy part, the sugar-white sandy beach at the north end, Playa Norte and head south on the west side of the island you can walk a good distance past restaurants, bars, marinas, and the two passenger ferry docks. 

 Assuming you are able to actually pass the bars with out stopping at each establishment to check out the degree-of-coldness for their beer, you could walk for at least twenty minutes before you start running into bigger man-made obstacles.
Zigging and zagging around the fishermen and  boats
Your trek will consist of smooth sandy beaches interspersed with mooring lines for the numerous fishing pangas. A lot of high-stepping, rope-hopping is required. Great exercise for the gluts, I'm told. When you reach the area in front of the Naval base – that's the large white fenced compound on Medina Avenue – you will have to detour around this restricted area, and use the sidewalks.

Makax Lagoon - marinas & boats, not pedestrian friendly
On the south side of the car ferry terminal there are more fishing-boat lines to hop over and guard dogs to avoid, three fun bars where you can cool off, a handful of restaurants, and several marinas. In the area between Playita Isla Mujeres (formerly Chuuk Kay Restaurante) and all-inclusive Palace Royale Resort you will have use the sidewalks. The properties on this stretch of waterfront face onto the marshy Makax Lagoon. Unless you happen to be wielding a sharp machete, this area is not pedestrian friendly. Plus the dense mangrove jungle is home to millions of mosquitoes and other unpleasant critters. So hit the concrete and continue walking south.
Capitan Dulce Restaurante & Museum
You might want to re-hydrate with another cold beverage at Playa Lancheros, or a little further along at Capitan Dulce Restaurante and Museum. In this area, on the western side on Isla Mujeres, there are many large tracts of private land owned by beach clubs and small hotels. A number of these properties have all-inclusive entrance fees and have made it difficult to access the beach.



Garrafon Natural Reef Park - private walkway
At Garrafon Natural Reef Park you will definitely have to use the sidewalks. The private concrete pathway beneath the rugged cliffs is only accessible by paying the park entrance fee. This pathway connects with Punta Sur, the southern most part of the island and coincidentally the most eastern part of Mexico. The entrance fee for Punta Sur is only about $2.00 USD and well worth the cost.




Punta Sur walking path - keep back from the cliff edge!
The most scenic path along this part of the island is a well worn track that starts at Punta Sur. It skirts the friable edge of the cliffs, ambles in front of private homes, and re-joins the main road near the waste transfer station. (Yes, unfortunately a place to collect refuse is a necessary evil, even on an island in paradise.) 





Beach along eastern side - near Guadalupana
The pathway slowly descends until once again the beach front is accessible. Built several years ago there is a nice sidewalk that continues on past the newer cemetery, the Guadalupaňa settlement, Isla 33 Condos, Villa la Bella B&B, and a cluster of tasty restaurants: Caribbean Brisas, Bahama Mama, and Mango Café. If you have experienced what the island sidewalks can look like after a big storm or a hurricane you will appreciate that this one is smooth, and relatively stumble-proof.


Beautiful glass wall looks out over the ocean
Then starting at the beautiful glass-fronted Catholic church across the street from the Mango Café, waterfront hiking becomes more interesting. It is possible to clamber over rocks, and around obstacles eventually coming out at the new skateboard park near Casa Ixchel Hotel.



Behind the AguaKan pumping station
From the skateboard park all the way to the naval airport the oceanfront is relatively easy to traverse. Part sand, part round pieces of coral, interspersed with rocky outcroppings the beach meanders past private homes, with a few municipal exits/access points where you can leave the beach and use sidewalks if you choose.



Malecon - seawall walkway 
Past the naval base, make a turn towards the sea, and in behind the AguaKan pumping station is a wonderfully wide malécon, a walkway, perfect for strolling and enjoying the view of turquoise water. This is our favourite place to walk and check out what's happening in the neighbourhoods. The malécon will take you all the way to Playa Media Luna, and a few steps away from the start of your journey at Playa Norte, where once again you can re-hydrate with a cold beverage.

Playa Media Luna 
If this trek sounds too exhausting, you might want to consider a shorter excursion, a Sea Glass Adventure Hike with our friend Daryl Adler. The hike takes anywhere from one to two hours, depending on your level of fitness, or your interest in hunting sea glass. Perhaps you'll find a piece glass discarded by the pirates who visited Isla Mujeres many years ago.



Vintage Sea Marble ring - Daryl Adler
Originally from Seattle Washington, Daryl moved to Isla about three and a half years ago. When the Artist Fair is on, November to April, you will find 

Daryl with his display of water colours, or beautifully handcrafted sterling silver jewelry featuring unique sea marbles and one of a kind pieces of sea glass.
So, you see you actually can get from here to there, but I'm worn out writing about all of this activity. I think I will join my sweetie on the patio for a cold glass of wine, and watch the sunset. Ah!
Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie

Breaking News:
Our bilingual (Spanish & English) book for children – The Adventures of Thomas the Cat / Las Adventuras de Tomás el Gato is now available on E-Books, via Amazon Kindle Books. Order yours today!

2 comments:

Life's a Beach! said...

Love this! Met a guy on our first trip to the island who'd spent his day walking the shoreline of the island. We love the path behind the houses at Punta Sur! We plan to do a lot of walking with a little dog on our next trip!

Lynda Lock said...

He's ready. Only challenge is his short legs and furry coat make for short walks - he gets so hot he lays down and won't budge. Fun times! Cheers Lynda