$$$ KPO and CZM $$$: RTW to Mexico - Isla Mujeres

Saturday, February 8, 2020

RTW to Mexico - Isla Mujeres

In our previous post (RTW to Mexico - Coba Ruins), we ended our day by checking in at Kavia hotel located in Cancun. Today, we will be visiting Cancun! Think of Cancun as a place with sunny beaches.

We started our day by driving about 20km from our hotel to the famous Cancun sign located by the beach along a stretch of atas hotels. Each of these hotels is located facing the sea and has its own private beach. I believe it will be amazing staying in this area. We did research on these hotels prior to our travels but they are all out of budget. =(

Anyway, back to our Cancun sign search, we thought parking would be difficult as the sign is located at a random spot just beside a fast moving road. But we were wrong. It was quite easy as there was a random guy directing us to park when we reached. As we alighted, he told me that he accepts tips. Lol. Ok I get it. We gave him 10 MXN. Parking at Mexico reminds me of Indonesia. If you have been to Indonesia, you will realize there are many people who will randomly station by the roadside to help drivers look out for parking lots and expect a tip in return. They actually do this full time for a living, seriously. This is the same in Mexico as well.

Cancun public beach
We walked along the beach and dipped our feet into the water. Spent about 30 mins before moving on to our next destination - Isla Mujeres! We drove down to the Ultramar Ferry Terminal to board a ferry to Isla Mujeres, an island near Cancun. The ferry costs MXN 300 (I believe this is the tourist price as we noted that there's a separate queue for locals).

Inside the Ultramar Ferry
KPO said the ferry kind of reminds him of the Tekong ferry. How unromantic. While queuing for the ferry, a random guy approached us and asked if we are interested in getting a golf cart to drive around. We read up online that the island is actually quite big and was already prepared to get one anyway. He assured that it will be cheaper to get from him than to get from the island. We managed to haggle down a little, from MXN 800 to MXN 750 but on a condition that we can only collect it from a shop a little far away from the ferry terminal. The MXN 800 one can be collected opposite the ferry terminal. We thought since it was just a 5 min walk, we don't mind that. The ferry ride took around 20-30 minutes and here we are!

Probably the slowest golf cart on the island...
We decided to do a little recce to see if our golf cart was indeed cheaper than the shops. Nope, the shops were also quoting MXN 800 as well (thankfully it wasn't more expensive though). We then headed straight to the ulu shop to collect our cart. We tried driving out and immediately understood why the cart was cheaper. A word of advice for other KPOs out there - 一分钱,一分货 (aka you pay what you get). The cart moves so slowly, basically all the other golf carts in the island overtake us with ease. Lol.

We drove using the cart to the Playa Norte public beach area and also the Punta Sur which is located at the tip of the island and has beautiful rock formations. We also stopped by the Dolphin Discovery where you can swim with the dolphins but were stopped by the staff at the entrance. Apparently, it is a private area and one will need to pay USD 29 just to enter the premise but this entitles you to have a buffet lunch too. Swimming with the dolphins will cost another USD 198. This place absolutely feels like Sentosa, only that it is more expensive and you can drive a golf cart around.

Golf cart on the road

Playa Norte

Somewhere at Punta Sur - 1

Somewhere at Punta Sur - 2

Somewhere at Punta Sur - 3. This is our favourite!
We also visited the Tortugranja (turtle sanctuary) to feed turtles. Entrance fee is MXN 60 (a lot more affordable) and the food for turtle is to be purchased separately but not too expensive too. We were lucky as an angmoh approached us and gave us her leftover turtle food so we didn't have to buy any.

Tortugranja
We stopped by Oscar's Grill to have our lunch. We deliberately chose this place which serves western food because I'm so sick of Mexican food by now. Noted that the food prices are generally steeper than other parts in Mexico and feeling a bit kiam pok, we ordered pizza, knowing that the portion will be huge and we can share. The pizza was really big as expected and we ended up feeling so bloated we didn't eat dinner that day. The owner was super friendly too, he shared that he had stayed on this island for more than 40 years and there were a total of ~25,000 residents living on this island. Not surprisingly, he had not heard of Singapore.

Too hungry! No Donald and Piglet too.
After driving around the island, we decided to return our cart, and explore the main shopping area by foot. Noted that the things sold here are mainly denominated in USD but you can choose to pay in MXN which will be priced lower in that case. This place really feels like a tourist trap targeted at the Americans. But we thoroughly enjoyed the view here, so will still recommend readers to visit this place but can skip buying souvenirs here. And we also highly recommend renting the golf cart (but get the good one please) because it would be impossible to finish exploring the island without one.

As the rain started getting heavy, we decided to head back. We were so tired we slept at 7pm that day.

Stay tuned to our next Mexico adventure!

Total damage:
Ultramar Ferry tickets - 600 MXN (300 MXN each)Golf cart rental - 750 MXN
Turtle sanctuary tickets - 60 MXN (30 MXN each)
Lunch @ Oscar's Grill - 250 MXN
7 hours of parking @ Ultramar ferry building - 140 MXN

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You might be interested in these articles too:
Our KrisFlyer Star Alliance Round The World (RTW) Trip Planning/Booking
RTW to Mexico - Chichen Itza
RTW to Mexico - Coba Ruins
RTW to Mexico - Isla Mujeres
RTW to Mexico - Tulum

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