Photo Essay: Turtles & Art on Isla Mujeres, Mexico

During our final full day in Cancun, Andy Hayes and I decided to spend the afternoon on the tiny Isla Mujeres (Women Island). With just 11,000 people living there, it feels like a different world compared to Cancun.

Most people rent golf carts or scooters to drive around all 7 km of the island. As soon as we stepped off the ferry, we were barraged by people waving flyers and shouting, “SCOOTER? GOLF CART? SNORKELING?” Neither one of us trusted ourselves to handle something with a motor, but we kinda missed the golf cart experience once we started walking back to the ferry.

downtown Isla Mujeres

We took a cab to Punta Sur, located on the southern tip and home to the curious Sculpture Garden. In 2001, The Sebastian Foundation created this art nouveau exhibit with artists from Mexico and around the globe, including Jose Luis Cuevas. Its bright colours and wacky designs might seem like a weird contrast against the Mayan Temple, but it’s meant to embody the Yucatan spirit. Modernity meets antiquity, perhaps.

Punta Sur Sculpture Garden

And the Mayan Temple to Goddess Ixchel. Not shown here: man in itty-bitty Speedo. So sexy.

Mayan Temple to Goddess Ixchel

Then we decided to take the coastal walk, and those white-stone paths kinda made me feel like a princess. I’m not sure why, I just feel like white walkways are suitable for royalty.

Punta Sur

I have absolutely no idea what these are, but surely these are safe for climbing!

Naturally we stopped for ice-cream and some delicious Doritos.

But our enjoyable snack was interrupted when this guy came along, and then it just became awkward.

On the way back to the ferry, we decided to swing by the turtle farm, where giant sea turtles are guaranteed a proper upbringing free from predators. It should be noted that upon posting this picture, my mother told me that this little guy looks like me when I’m mad. Thanks, mom.

turtle sanctuary Isla Mujeres

So without golf cart or scooter, Andy and I decided to walk back downtown. It was hot and the walk was long, but we were on a mission. We walked through some interesting parts of town and even acquired a doggy follower who kept glancing at us shyly as if asking, “Is it okay for me to come with you?” Adorable. So were these houses.

And here, abandoned condos everywhere. Oh the things I could do to flip this place!

Naturally, once we got back to the dock, I discovered the freakishly awesome Museo Subacuatico de Arte: the underwater sculpture and art museum. Next time, Isla Mujeres! Next time.

  • April 19 2011

    That was an awesome walk back. So much fun. Esp. the doggy who I think was a little unsure but definitely wanted to come with us :)

    • April 19 2011

      Aww, I know! Haha. I can still see him looking up under his eyelashes. So cute.

  • April 19 2011

    Ah yes, the memories.
    I was in Cancun for a work trip in Feb and skedaddled off to Isla Mujures for a day. It was absolutely heavenly. Took these photos

    • April 21 2011

      Ohhh the cabanas! The cabanas…

  • April 19 2011

    oooh, nice photos! the bluuues are making me hate Canada for the moment haha.. beautiful!

    • April 21 2011

      Hahaha I know, and blue is my favourite colour!

  • April 19 2011

    I wish I would have gone there when I was in Mexico. Next time for sure. Your pictures are gorgeous! ;)

    • April 21 2011

      I wouldn’t have even known about it if I hadn’t heard from a friend! Loved it.

  • April 19 2011

    Looks beautiful! I got my hair cut this week and the stylist chatted with me about her upcoming trip to “that women’s island” in Mexico. I think she is under the impression that it’s all-female. Will have to update her next time…

  • April 19 2011

    I felt a princess thing about those white stairs too but also about the turtle, what?

    Love the photos too sharp, clear and colorful.

    • April 21 2011

      Thanks, Linlah! First time traveling with my lovely DSLR.

  • April 20 2011

    Wow, I love the sculptures. You should post the speedo guy pic. The contrast with the Mayan temple would be brilliant.

    • April 21 2011

      I LOVE the way you think. Art noveau VS ancient sculpture.

  • April 20 2011

    bah. so jealous of the sea turtles. and maybe you resemblances to angry baby sea turtles is why i love you so? ;P
    great pictures :) makes me want to go on vacation…mmmm

  • April 20 2011

    If I had a nickel for every man in itty-bitty Speedo I’ve had to airbrush out of a photo…
    Uncle Jim just won’t take a hint.
    Or respond to direct insults/threats.

    Seriously, though, these photos look gorgeous! :)

    • April 21 2011

      He was a beautiful man. ;) Haha, thanks!

  • April 20 2011

    Im so glad you spared me the guy in the really like the photo of the statues and especially the tortoise. Its funny that your mom says thats how you look when you are mad.

    • April 21 2011

      Oh I haven’t spared you all just yet, I’ll put it up when you least expect it. ;)

  • April 21 2011

    That little guy does look mad, but he’s cute=)

  • April 21 2011

    This is such a great post, Candice and great photos :) Would you believe me if I told you my then boyfriend and I walked all the way to Punta Sur one morning? It was great. Then his sister got married on a cliff at the end of the sculpture garden later that day, which was very cool. Isla Mujeres is fabulous!

    • April 21 2011

      That sounds like an AMAZING place to get married! Haha. And that’s quite the trek, even from the turtle farm it was brutal…

  • April 21 2011

    cool photos! white walkways are definitely princess material.

  • April 25 2011

    Oh my god is that a real turtle! That is so tiny! Good to see that someone is looking after the future of these turtles. Looks like that are some pretty cool sculptures as well.

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