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A Rainy Day on Isla Mujeres

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On Monday morning, we awoke with an itinerary full of plans and a sky full of clouds. We looked to the heavens imploringly, begging for no rain, but before we’d even lowered our clasped hands, the storms began. And they didn’t let up the entire day. Undaunted, we stuck to our schedule, and visited Isla Mujeres’ touristy sights. But we’ll be honest: this was a miserable day.

First up was the Tortugranja, or the Turtle Farm. Along with much of the Yucatán coast, the Isla Mujeres has always been an important turtle nesting zone. The Tortugranja helps nature along by snatching up turtles and forcing them to mate at their farm. As a visitor, you can see mostly green and white turtles kept in shallow pools. There was also a pool full of baby turtles when we visited, though I assume this isn’t always the case. There not much to see, but we stayed at the farm for a long time, if only because the storm outside had intensified.

Next up, the Hacienda Mundaca. Despite an interesting history, this was among the most worthless tourist attractions I’ve ever visited. Mundaca was an old Spanish buccaneer who settled down on the island with chestfuls of booty. He fell in love with a beautiful young local girl nicknamed La Trigüena (the Brunette), and built this hacienda for her. But she spurned his advances, uninterested in marrying someone so much older, and the rejection drove the former pirate insane.

In the time it took you to read that short anecdote, you could have seen everything inside the present day hacienda. There’s just nothing there. A building with a couple ratty old pictures, and a couple paths which lead nowhere — I mean literally: you’re walking on the path, and then it ends, and you have to turn around. Maybe on a sunny day, this would be a nice park to have a picnic in, but when there’s hurricane-like rain soaking through your clothes, your skin, your bones and into your very soul, it’s just the worst.

The last stop of the day was Punta Sur which, despite its name, is the easternmost point in Mexico. A path leads through a small sculpture park to the end of the island, around a small set of rocky cliffs and through a hole in the ground called the Ojo de Azul, or Blue Eye. This was pretty, and our favorite part of the day… possibly because we had now completed our list of activities and could return to the hotel for a hot shower and a long nap.

Locations on our Map: Tortugranja | Joyxee Island | Hacienda Mundaca | Punta Sur

More Pics from the Tortugranja
Turtle Farm Isla Mujeres
More Pics from Hacienda Mundaca
More Pics from Punta Sur
Isla Mujeres Blog
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January 13, 2014 at 12:33 am Comment (1)

Isla Mujeres’ Garrafón Castilla

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When you’re on Isla Mujeres, there’s really only one decision with which you’ll need to trouble yourself: of all the tantalizing options, where should you plop down your butt for the entire day? We chose Garrafón de Castilla, a small beach club on the southern end of the island.

Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling

Garrafón de Castilla is named for the reef just offshore, and is not to be confused with nearby Parque Garrafón. The latter is an expensive theme-park type experience, featuring attractions like zip lines and swimming with dolphins. Garrafón de Castilla, on the other hand, is a small beach with snorkeling and a 50 peso ($4 USD) cover charge. Sand, water and sun is all we wanted.

Our day at the beach went like this: lay on a chair, snorkel a bit, lay on the chair some more, eat, snorkel, and chair (this time falling asleep). Perfect. The snorkeling was a lot of fun; despite its proximity to shore, the reef is in decent condition. We saw lobsters, a manta ray and too many colorful fish.

No really, there were way too many colorful fish. The club sells fish food along with its snorkel gear and so, even though we weren’t feeding the fish, they’ve come to recognize snorkeling humans as floating feed machines. It was initially cute, but quickly got weird, and then kind of scary. I could not escape this swarm of little yellow fish, and they were starting to look impatient.

Still, too many fish is hardly a real complaint, and overall Garrafón de Castilla offers a wonderful day out, especially considering the price. If you’re looking for a relaxing spot to chill out in the sun, you can’t do better than this.

Location on our Map

I took the underwater video with this camera!

Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
Garrafón Castilla Snorkeling
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January 9, 2014 at 7:19 pm Comments (0)
A Rainy Day on Isla Mujeres On Monday morning, we awoke with an itinerary full of plans and a sky full of clouds. We looked to the heavens imploringly, begging for no rain, but before we'd even lowered our clasped hands, the storms began. And they didn't let up the entire day. Undaunted, we stuck to our schedule, and visited Isla Mujeres' touristy sights. But we'll be honest: this was a miserable day.
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