It’s no secret that Kalena and I love visiting Hawaii. We’ve been fortunate to go 4 times over the last few years with plans to go more in the future. However, if all of the stars don’t align at a given time, Hawaii can be a little out of our price range.
A few years ago, with help from a friend, we attempted to find a closer alternative that checks many of the same boxes as Hawaii. Naturally, we understood that if Hawaii existed in our backyard, it would be overrun with tourists. Luckily, we found this amazing, quaint little island not far from Cancun with a significantly lower cost of travel. It also had the added benfit of being MUCH closer (we live in Louisiana). Isla Mujeres.
Basically, you plan your island adventure like this:
- Book the cheapest flight you can find to Cancun.
- Hop a taxi or bus to the Isla Mujeres ferry.
- Ferry to the island, check into your VRBO or AirBNB.
- Rent your golf cart and enjoy your time.
Yes, I said golf cart. The island is only 5 miles long and 400 YARDS across at its widest point. This means, in many places, you can see the island’s coast on both your left and your right at the same time. While some locals do have cars, all you’ll need for your stay is a nice (and much more affordable) gas powered golf cart.
The island has everything you need for a week to 10 day stay. Local shops/vendors, restaurants, tourist activities, and more. Swim with dolphins or whale sharks, zip line, chill at the beach, explore the streets, and eat Mexican/Italian/Cuban/etc. You can also hop the ferry back over to the mainland for a day in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen. We spent a day at Xplor in Playa Del Carmen for a day of zip lining, swimming in caves, and ATVing.
Isla Mujeres obviously doesn’t have the sprawling beaches or cliffs and black sand of Hawaii, but it’s a perfectly nice and acceptable vacation on a budget. If you’re all about long hikes, you won’t find many of those either. None of that should talk you out of a fantastic trip that you’re sure to love.