I’m sharing some of our favorite (and sketchiest) moments of our vacation to Mexico. I’m posting in segments of each city we stayed in! Forgive the fact that some of these photos are from our cell phones and underwater (cheapish) camera. I did pull out the pro camera for a few shots, but being a photographer with a group of people who don’t really care makes it hard to want to lug it everywhere! But I only took it two days, so this post, and my Tulum post have the nicest photos out of all our adventures. We spent two nights in Isla Mujeres, four nights in Puerto Morelos, and two nights in Tulum. Mexico did not disappoint and I can’t wait to go back and do photos on the beach again!
Canceled Flights and Extra Roadtripping
I found tickets in August for $222 roundtrip per person into Cancun, Mexico. There was NO WAY I could miss out on this trip. We booked tickets within 3 hours of finding them and my “I beat cancer’s butt” trip planning commenced! Our vacation sure started off crazy! We made it to the airport the morning of our flight, only to be told our flight was canceled. Our new booking went through Newark, NJ which would add 3 hours of flight time and delay our arrival by 6 hours. After looking at options, we were able to get our flight changed to fly out of Vernal, UT. It’s a 3 hour drive from SLC, but would get us back on track to arrive at our original time. We rented a car and made the drive!
Sunrise in Isla Mujeres
We arrived at 5:45am in Cancun, Mexico and took a shuttle to the ferry. A quick ride took us out to Isla Mujeres, a small island off the east coast of Cancun. You can drive around the entire island in less than an hour, only about 20 minutes from north to south. It’s such a quaint place, but also busy and touristy. Much of the tourist traffic is made up of travelers and locals coming just for a few hours to spend the day. We spent 2 nights in a condo, rented mopeds, and enjoyed amazing food!
Beautiful Island Adventures
The morning we arrived, we walked the beach at Playa Norte and watched the sunrise. We had it almost all to ourselves and the beach was so calm and peaceful. These beaches were the most beautiful and were carefully groomed, mostly free from seaweed! Playa Norte set the bar for the rest of the beaches with its beautiful sand and soft waves. I would 100% recommend Isla Mujeres, Mexico as a stop on your travel list! I hope I get to go back someday as a destination wedding photographer. Dream. Come. True.
The second morning of our trip, we noticed there was something wrong with the tire on our moped. Luckily we did! Since we knew there was a problem, we were going very slowly when our tire popped. It was not the way we wanted to spend our morning, but it definitely was an adventure! Melanie and I checked out the cliffs while the boys got the situation taken care of.
Top Tips for Isla Mujeres:
Rent a Moped or Golf-cart. Getting around in a vehicle is too tricky, not to mention probably impossible to rent on the island. If you don’t want to rent a moped, taxis are cheap! Don’t worry, we wore our helmets every time we rode, this was just a last minute photo before the boys returned them and the girls took a taxi with the luggage. The high five photo makes me think of The Lego Movie quote, “We are transporting 11 million sticks of dynamite, 17,000 pounds of C-4, about 150 cute little classic bomb-type bombs…and two best friends!”
Get up early and enjoy at least one sunrise on the beach. Stay and enjoy the sunset too.
Drive along the ocean road from North to South. Punta Sur gets overlooked because it’s rocky and doesn’t have beach front, but it is stunning! It’s also a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the island.
Eat at El Patio Casa de la Música. They had live music and the best tacos of the entire trip. They also had a happy hour menu with cheap nachos and tacos! Eat at Qubano for AMAZING Havana Pork!
Book adventure trips directly with the company. This can be tricky, especially in foreign countries because there are so many tour shops! We ran into some bait and switch on our Thailand trip, and unfortunately had some of it this time too. The guy said we’d have a private boat for our group and visit 4 snorkel locations, lunch and drinks included. We did not have a private tour and only got to do two snorkeling locations, and drinks (even though we just got water and sodas) were not included. I didn’t mind overly much because I was starting to get seasick and exhausted and I think everyone else was also. The mackerel fish tacos were so good though!
Take a snorkel trip that visits the lighthouse off the west side of the island. We did this as part of our tour and floated from a sunken ship down to the lighthouse. It was amazing!
Visit Tortugranja for a great place to go see sea turtles. It’s a rehabilitation center where you can check out baby and adult turtles for super cheap.
Eat churros and marquesitas from a streetcar next to Iglesia de Concepcion Immaculada. I don’t know the name, but from our experience, that might not help you anyways!
Notes for next time:
- Check out Royal Gaffaron Park looks really awesome for snorkeling, ziplining, and pool days. It comes with a resort price tag though.
- Rent underwater camera gear so I can take more beach photos with my professional camera.
- Travel with another photographer so we can swap awesome pictures. And they can pose me because apparently all I can do is pose other people haha.
- Spend an extra day so I can enjoy Playa Norte more. It seriously was my favorite beach and we didn’t get enough time on it!