Many visitors to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are familiar with Cancun, one of that region’s most popular resort cities. By day, Cancun’s beaches offer all the joys and games of sun, surf, and water sports, while the beautiful sunsets signal movement toward bustling marketplaces, a wide variety of international restaurants, and Cancun’s famous night life.
Every day in Cancun, tourists purchase thousands of woven Mexican rugs and tapestries, carved wooden handicrafts, castanets, maracas, and the iconic Mexican sombreros that will adorn family room and dormitory walls until relegated to the attic or basement over time.
Mexico and the Yucatan in particular have provided citizens of the world with a beautiful playground. In recent years, however, concern about the internal politics of Mexico and, in particular, fears about the potential dangers to tourists — as the country struggles with an ongoing battle between the government and violent drug cartels — have created a reluctance in many to travel there.
For those determined to find a way to safely enjoy the many travel treasures Mexico can offer, Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun may be the answer. An island just a short boat ride from docks located a half-hour from the Cancun airport, Isla Mujeres is a miniature and tranquil version of the best of Mexico. A wide range of hotels from basic to luxury, local cuisine from street vendors or beachside stands to restaurants that can be traditional or formal, and beaches that rival those in Acapulco or Cancun make Isla Mujeres a singularly attractive destination.
For those willing to invest a bit more in a getaway to Isla Mujeres, the Villa Rolandi there provides a worry-free stay that combines the best of two worlds. The hotel is owned by a Swiss company committed to the classic efficiency, cleanliness, and Pacific air the country represents. All of that artfully combined with the warmth of Mexico’s colors, spicy cuisine, and open embrace to visitors makes Villa Rolandi a perfect place to stay.
The hotel’s rates start at around $200 and can rise to over $1,000 per day at the very top of its lodging offerings. All guests receive transportation from Cancun’s docks to the hotel and back on the hotel’s own yacht, which welcomes arriving guests with a cold cocktail and warm eucalyptus-infused face towels. This gives the visitor an example of the kind of pampering to expect at this fabulous hotel.
For visitors who prefer walking barefoot on the sands of the beaches around the island’s small “downtown” area, there are a wide range of smaller hotels and bed and breakfasts that, though shorter on luxury perks, still offer warm hospitality and decent accommodations.
Isla Mujeres has its share of markets and street vendors, so the souvenirs one may crave are readily available. It also has some trendier shops where local silver jewelry, clothing, and more sophisticated artisanias are also available for those more serious about bringing home artistic examples of Mexican artwork and decorative accent pieces.
Mexico has been a vacation destination for centuries, and Isla Mujeres stands as a perfect example of why it should continue to be on travelers’ short lists of places to visit.