Isla Mujeres, Mexico - Island of the women
Isla Mujeres (Spanish for Island of Women) is one of the ten municipalities of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the Yucatán Peninsula. Most of the municipality is located on the mainland in the northeastern corner of the state. Its municipal seat, also called Isla Mujeres, is a small town situated on the island from which it takes its name, about 8.1 mi northeast of Cancun in the Caribbean Sea. It is the easternmost municipal seat in Mexico. The island is some 4.3 mi long and 2,130 ft wide. In the 2010 census, the town had a population of 12,642 inhabitants.
Geography & location
The island of Isla Mujeres is located close to one of many coral reefs such as the one located in Garrafon Park, which is an area popular for its snorkeling and scuba diving. The Cancun underwater museum, created by English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, is located off the western coast of Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is also home to a population of sea turtles. Because of the recent endangerment of sea turtles in the area, a facility was set up on the southern end of the island for the rehabilitation and breeding of them. This facility is open to the public.
In Pre-Columbian times the island was sacred to the Maya goddess of childbirth and medicine, Ix Chel. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century they named it "Isla Mujeres" because of the many images of goddesses. The first information available about Isla Mujeres is from the period between 564 - 1516 AC, when it was part of the Maya province called Ekab. There were 4 Maya provinces in what is today the State of Quintana Roo. The Maya also exploited the salt that the island produced in the "salinas" (small interior lagoons). The salt was used not only for the conservation of food and medicine but also has a generally accepted currency for commerce of goods along the whole Maya region. The Maya goddess Ixchel had a temple in what is today the Hacienda Mundaca (Mundaca's Plantation House).
The island & the mainland
Ferry boats run from the island and Puerto Juárez or Gran Puerto on the mainland. The island is popular with day trippers, but activity quietens down in the evening after the tour groups leave. There are numerous places to eat fresh seafood cooked with local and traditional delicious recipes, also many other types of food are available at restaurants on the island such as: black angus steaks, Mexican, Yucatecan, Italian, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Hebrew, French, Thai, Cuban & Maya. Hotel prices vary from cheap to very expensive at the resorts on the southwest end such as Hotel Villa Rolandi, and Playa Norte Ixchel Beach Hotel. To the east is the Caribbean Sea with a strong surf and rocky coast, and to the west the skyline of Cancún can be seen across the clear waters. In the north is El Centro (downtown), whose central axis, Hidalgo Street, is the main dining and entertainment area. Also located on the north end is a famous beach called Playa Norte, which has recovered quickly since Hurricane Wilma hit the area in 2005. Besides these attractions, swimming with dolphins can also be experienced at the Island via Dolphin Discovery.
Weather in Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres weather boasts year round sunshine making it ideal for a vacation at any time of year. Isla Mujeres weather is tropical and humid with year round sunshine.
Languages spoken in Isla Mujeres
The official language spoken in Isla Mujeres is Spanish. Most of the Mexicans working in the tourism industry speak English and you will find that French, Italian and German are also spoken by some. Many of the local indigenous people still speak Mayan as their first language and Spanish as their second, you will often hear them speaking Mayan amongst themselves.
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