Isla Mujeres is an island that lies in the Caribbean Sea, a little more than 8 miles from the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, just a short boat ride from Cancun. Tourists come from around the world to enjoy the activities on Isla Mujeres. The diving and snorkeling is among the best in the world and the island offers visitors during the summer months a rare opportunity to swim among whale sharks, these giants may be huge, but are among the gentlest creatures on Earth.

Don’t let the water activities overshadow the island itself however. One of the most interesting activities that can be found on Isla Mujeres is talking with the locals and discovering the colorful history of the island. You will find that it was once a Mayan sanctuary that was dedicated the their goddess of love, Ixchel. Many female statues were carved in her honor and when the island was discovered by Spanish explorers, it was named the Island of Women. The island is also said to have been a refuge for slave trader and pirate, Fermin Mundaca. A  large hacienda was built by the pirate to gain the love of a girl from the local village.

The ruins of both the Mayan temple and the hacienda are still visible today for those who choose to visit them. There are also many wonderful restaurants and shops for those who choose to enjoy the island rather than the surrounding waters. No matter whether you love the land, the sea, or both, Isla Mujeres has something for everyone.

Take a few hours to explore the island by foot and speak with the local residents. You may find that the land offers just as many mysteries as the sea. While reading a history of the island is interesting, nothing can compare to talking to people who can tell stories passed down from generation to generation. So remember, while the surrounding sea holds beauty, adventure, and mystery, exploring the island itself  or renting a golf cart on Isla Mujeres just to see the sights can be just as much of an adventure.