Arriving to Isla Mujeres by boat in the late afternoon sun, sitting on the deck with Katie, the wind rushing through our hair and a live band playing hotel California was a pretty idyllic way to enter the island. The second we stepped foot in the hostel I bumped into Jack, a friend from Mexico City, also travelling with a couple of friends who'd flown out from England for Easter. We dumped our bags, showered and grabbed a bite to eat with them at a local restaurant with an interesting English translation (burritos where listed as donkeys, sandwiches as cakes and there was also something called a 'wire' which none of us could work out). On the street in front of the restaurant, a group of local hippies, who we later found out also frequent the hostel to teach people how to juggle, were doing a street performance. We had barely stopped to watch when one of the guys scooped Katie up and cycled the length of the street on a uni cycle with her perched precariously on his shoulders. She said she felt entirely safe throughout and it looked pretty spectacular. On our last night on Isla, we also saw them do a magnificent fire show which made for a lovely birthday treat.
That evening we stayed in the hostel bar; the best beach bar in town with a group of cool people to match. We played an energy game taught to us by the hippies (very similar to zip zap boing or yeehaa but all in spanish) and ended up heading to a little salsa club before the night was over.
The next day we rented a golf buggy and bikes in order to explore the island. You can in fact walk the width of the island in about 5 blocks as it's extremely thin and long so the only way to drive is either left or right along a long straight road. At the far side of the island is an amazing view and also the best seafood restaurant in town which we decided to splash out on. Six of us sitting in sunshine with a stunning mountain view eating lobster and fish fillet made us feel far from the backpackers we are.
Whilst we had the bikes we also briefly visited turtle beach, but not for long as the turtles were actually captured and put in pools next to the beach rather than in natural habitation.
Also on Isla Mujeres is an Eco friendly, self sufficient homemade island. The island is about as big as Sainsbury's local and the base of it is made entirely out of recycled bottles. It was built by an American carpenter, now 60 something, when he was in his late 40's, and he's lived there ever since. This week however he was visiting his native US and left the island under his friends watch. Believe it or not his friend just so happens to be the South African Nico who I'd met in Guatemala just a few weeks earlier. Another coincidental meeting which I'm starting to become less and less surprised by; it's a small world! Nico invited us on board the island, gave us a tour in which he showed us such details as the solar oven made of mirrors, the way they collect rain water for showering and even that he can get wifi on the island using the password from the restaurant on the shore. It's the coolest thing I've seen in a long time and so scrupulously structured with everything accounted for. Nico even let's me know that if I'm on Isla Mujeres for a while and can help out with a few jobs that need doing such as transporting sand to the island, I can have a few nights free accommodation on the island, a super exciting prospect but one that I doubt I'll be around long enough for as we were only planning to spend a couple of days here. It's been a completely blissful and fun filled day and we pile back to the hostel exhausted but ready to celebrate this evening at midnight because tomorrow is my 19th birthday.