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5 Reasons Why This Island Near Cancun Continues To Explode In Popularity With American Travelers

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The Mexican Caribbean is going through a vacation revolution. The main draws to the region have historically been Cancun and Tulum, two destination behemoths that have been continually popular for decades now.

But things are changing and fast. More travelers than ever are turning their attention to the smaller but no less exciting destinations in the wider Mexican Caribbean.

playa norte on isla mujeres from the air

The island of Holbox has become a super-Instagramable draw, Tulum has grown from a secret hippie retreat into a world-famous festival hub, and even the smaller towns further south, such as Bacalar and Akumal, are beginning to wow travelers.

But there’s one destination that has captured traveler’s hearts over the past year and posted consistently impressive records for visitor numbers and hotel occupancy.

Aerial View of Playa Mujeres and Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres

Set directly off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is just a short 15-minute ferry ride from the vacation king of Mexico.

However, Isla Mujeres is far from only being a small clone of its sister destination, providing travelers with a huge list of reasons it can’t be missed, if even just for a day trip.

Below are 5 reasons why Isla Mujeres continues to explode in popularity with American travelers.

market on the island of isla mujeres with tourists

World Class Beaches

While the Mexican Caribbean has no shortage of beautiful beaches, one of the best in the whole region and one of the top-rated in the whole world can be found on the island.

Playa Norte, which translates simply into North Beach, is famous for its crystal-clear water and soft white sand. Additionally, it is one of the safest beaches in the Caribbean, having a shallow depth that requires no swimming to enjoy as far out as 110 yards (100 meters).

Furthermore, Playa Norte is one of the most fun beaches a traveler can hope to spend their sunny vacation days at, with many fantastic bars and restaurants lining it that allow travelers to keep their mojitos topped up and their stomachs full.

aerial shot of playa norte in Isla mujeres

Caribbean Vibe

One of the negative points that often gets leveled at Cancun is that it has lost the Caribbean vibe, after decades of tourism the destination has evolved into something entirely new that millions of travelers appreciate each year, but there’s no denying it isn’t as relaxed as it used to be.

However, Isla Mujeres, even with its explosion of popularity, still holds tight to that laid-back Caribbean vibe and atmosphere.

Travelers will notice life on Isla Mujeres moves a little slower than in Cancun, which in turn can help travelers fully relax and expel the stresses of life back home.

isla mujeres beach from the air

Sacred Romance

Valentine’s Day may be done and dusted, but Isla Mujeres can reignite the romantic side of even the most reserved traveler.

The island is perfect for couples wanting an adults-only all-inclusive experience, and the surrounding landscape, distance from the mainland, and slow vibe allow couples to focus on each other and the beauty of their relationship.

In fact, Isla Mujeres has been tied to romance and love since long before any tourists arrived at the destination. The island is named after the Mayan goddess of love and fertility (Ixchel), and even now it retains that mythical connection.

Couple Standing on the Beach in Isla Mujeres After Getting Married

Explore In Safety

Across the Mexican Caribbean, there are many beautiful places to explore, but it would be dishonest to pretend that travelers don’t have concerns about safety on the mainland.

That isn’t to say it’s unsafe to explore the Mexican Caribbean, but the tarnished reputation Mexico has for safety, as well as the large and daunting size of the region, can make it difficult for travelers to make that leap and explore.

That isn’t an issue on Isla Mujeres. At just 4 miles long and at its widest point 765 yards, travelers can explore every corner of the island while feeling safe and secure in the knowledge that the island has one of the lowest crime rates in all of Mexico.

Beach Vendor and Municipal Police on a Beach in Isla Mujeres

Sunsets To Remember

While this could be lumped in with the romance argument, the sunsets and sunrises in Isla Mujeres are too magical not to give their own category.

Playa Norte is the perfect place to watch the sunset with a cold drink, but perhaps more spectacular is the sunrise to be watched from the south of the island.

sunset on playa del carmen beach

Wake up early and make the short pilgrimage to that area of the island and enjoy it in the knowledge that as it rises over the horizon, the people on that corner of Isla Mujeres are the first people in Mexico that day to see the sun.

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