[:en]To describe how exited I was to visit Isla Mujeres, I can only compare it to visiting Disneyland for the first time.
I had such high expectations about this place that we took a bus for about an hour in the opposite direction we were headed, making it a day trip all the way from Puerto Morelos. It was going to be the highlight of our time in Mexico, by far.
I made the mistake of over-hyping it, and it was the biggest let down so far.
And I think it all started with the decision of hiring a tour with a dude shorty after getting off the bus. As with everything, it seemed awesome on paper, but as the day progressed it kept getting worse.
We got a deal that included boat transportation to and around the island, time to explore the main town, snorkeling on the Garrafón National Park, lunch and some other spot we never even went to.
Transport to the island started about 45 minutes later than we were told, we had to wait for the boat to fill up. When we got to the town, we walked around a bit and I was completely disappointed. There was nothing unique, special or memorable about it. It was filled with many of the same people you’d find in Cancún, the usual all inclusive material from the US and Canada.
At this point, a mask and snorkel were part of our luggage, so we snorkeled a bit and all we found underwater was trash, again, the usual bottles of booze that people thoughtlessly discard after they are done. After a while of fishing trash out of the water, we headed to the meeting point where we would continue our tour. Although lunch was included we were already hungry so we walked to a little taco place to pay for some of the most expensive crappy tacos we’ve ever had.
The next stop was snorkeling around the reef at the Garrafón National park, which before we go to the Island sounded so interesting it was one of the main reasons we purchased the tour. We arrive to a parking lot of lanchas (boats), where about 30-40 people were snorkeling around a piece of reef about 10′ x 60′. We broke away from the crowd for a while and played around the other side for a while. 20 minutes later, we were told to get out of the water.
As we made our way to the lunch spot, we drove by the popular attraction where dolphins are petted and played with by tourists. I was less than impressed. A few minutes later we pushed on towards the restaurant and we docked to what was the lowest point of our day, a dark almost empty restaurant with a depressed nurse shark being kept in a cell (about 15′ x 20′) for petting purposes, for a “donation”, of course.
We had our sad, sad lunch (a piece of dry chicken, some rice, a little bit of salad) and made our way back to Cancún.
We took the bus back to Puerto Morelos and were glad to be there at the end of night.