Tranquil Suites and Mexican Fare Along Stony Shore
Just off the coast of Cancún lies Isla Mujeres, which translates to “island of women”—Spanish explorers named the place after finding it rife with idols and images of goddesses. Most of these were representations of Ixchel, the Mayan deity of the moon, midwifery, and medicine. Today, ancient temples still dot the island’s rocky shores. Nearby, Casa Ixchel pays tribute to its supernatural namesake with tranquil suites and a focus on wellness, evident in its free yoga classes held three times weekly.
Because the hotel has only 10 suites, its owners affectionately call it a "hotelito," or little hotel. Its small scale allows them to focus on making each room unique—the Love suite, for instance, features a bed suspended from the ceiling and surrounded by gauzy curtains. In the Bliss suite, a mosquito-net canopy hangs over the bed, and in the bathroom, you’ll find a marble shower. From the Grace II suite, you can look out onto a salt lake. Many of the suites have full kitchens, and all share a dreamy color palette of creams and whites.
In the morning, Da Luisa restaurant serves a menu of traditional Mexican egg dishes. There’s huevos motuleños, served atop tortillas and beans, and huevos chilaquiles, an egg casserole layered between chips and salsa. You can eat in your room or carry breakfast to the palapa-shaded terrace, where you can watch waves crashing onto the stony outcroppings below. Through September, you can often see whale sharks coming to terms with their split identities offshore.
Isla Mujeres, Mexico: Historical Mayan Island near Cancún
At its longest, Isla Mujeres stretches only about 5 miles, making it small enough to traverse by bike or golf cart. From the resort, it’s about a mile and a half to the sandy stretches of Playa Norte, which has been praised in the pages of the New York Times. Right next to the beach lies the town square, or zocalo, where vendors hawk tacos, tamales, and tikin xic, a regional dish made from fresh fish basted in an earthy-flavored paste. To wash it down, there’s michelada, a mix of beer, lime juice, and spices. A 15-minute ferry ride brings you to Cancún, famous for its nightlife and Mayan ruins.
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