Isla Mujeres Day Trip Cancun

From Cancun to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a beautiful little island just 13 km off the coast of Cancun. The island is super easy to reach: There is a ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres that just takes 15 min and runs each 30 min (from 5 am to 9 pm). The ferry leaves from Puerto Juarez, just a few minutes away from downtown Cancun. Once you arrive on the island it is just a 20 min walk from the Ferry Terminal of Isla Mujeres to the Playa Norte – the part of the island with the most beautiful beaches.

Isla Mujeres Trip

Isla Mujeres Day Trip Cancun

White sand and crystal clear water

The two photos above show the beach area around 5 min away from the ferry terminal. These beaches already look super beautiful and you can get massages on the beach (yeyy!). However, when we arrived the beaches were quite crowded that close to the terminal, so we just grabbed a coffee and continued walking north to Playa del Norte.
Isla Mujeres Day Trip Cancun

Isla Mujeres Day Trip Cancun

And ta-dah, the beaches in Playa del Norte are less crowded, the water is crystal blue and the sand is white. EXACTLY my type of beach! There are a number of beach bars that range from less fancy to fancy. They usually charge you for a sun bed and if you are not Mexican, they will charge you more. So negotiate anyway.  We opted for a rather relaxed and laid back bar and got the sun beds in return for a few drinks which we were planning to order anyway, of course :)

I didn’t see a massage / SPA place on that part of Isla Mujeres but there was a lovely lady who wrapped my hair with lots of pretty colours. Finally I was turning into a little hippie :) I look a bit bored in the photo but hellooo, the wrapping session took like 25 min.. Oh and yes, it’s not the best idea if you plan to go on a surfing trip afterwards. After Cancun we headed to Sayulita for almost 3 weeks. Because of the wrap I almost had dreadlocks at the end of that :)

Isla Mujeres Tarzan Bar

Isla Mujeres Day Trip Cancun

By the way, you can also bring your own food and drinks and have a little picnic like the guys are doing in the photo below.  So also for savy backpackers, Isla Mujeres is a fun trip to do! And even if you are not a beach bum, there is much more to see and do in Isla Mujeres. There are maya ruins in the south and lots of underwater activities.  We just stayed on the beach until the evening and enjoyed the amazing water and the margaritas, of course :)

Isla Mujeres Island Palm Trees White Sand

Isla Mujeres Palm Trees

The most beautiful sunsets..

Sunset Isla Mujeres Cancun Beach

If you are not planning to spend the night in Isla Mujeres, try to get the penultimate ferry rather than rushing to make the last one. I recall we had to wait in a queue to get the last one so it seems that on some days the last ferry is quite crowded and potentially will leave some people stranded on the island. Which, then again, would not be the worst thing in the world haha.

Sunset Isla Mujeres Cancun Beach Ferry

For more travel hacks and ideas in Mexico read this one and for a one-month-long-itinerary, read this one. Oh, and for the most perfect honeymoon hotel, check out this one :)

Have you been to Isla Mujeres?

 

 

From La Paz to Arequipa by Bus

Which bus company to go with?

There are various bus companies that go from La Paz in Bolivia to Arequipa in Peru. You can take a Bolivian bus company (not the best standard) to the border of Peru and then continue with a Peruvian bus company (much higher standards and safer vehicles). My two favourite Peruvian bus companies are Tepsa and Cruz del Sur – both have been around for a long time, have a frequent service and modern & safe buses.

Peru Hop

Another option is to go with Peru Hop which works like the usual hop on and hop off tourist bus that you see in bigger cities. The difference is that Peru Hop offers this hop on hop off service across Peru up to La Paz in Bolivia. There are two routes you can take from La Paz, either to Cusco or to Lima. Both stop in Puno and then split into the two different lines. The one to Cusco goes straight up and the one to Lima stops in Arequipa, Nazca, Huacachina and Paracas.

Peru Hop is perfect if you want to discover lots of different places in Peru and are looking for a cheap way to do so. It’s not a ‘luxurious’ way to travel but quite comfortable as in everything is arranged for you and you can even book accommodation and trips on the bus. That said, it’s catered for backpackers and so the options are mostly for hostels. The entire vibe is quite ‘backpacker’ like and also the trips are mostly for ‘younger’ travelers from 20 to 40 years old. If that’s exactly what you are after or if you are travelling alone, definitely go with Peru Hop. If you are after a bit more comfort and honeymoon style travel, consider a different bus company for your trip through Peru.

From La Paz to Arequipa by Bus

From La Paz to Arequipa by Bus

How we traveled from La Paz to Peru

We decided to go with Peru Hop from La Paz to Arequipa and then take Tepsa for the way straight from Arequipa to Lima. The bus that picked us up in La Paz was quite old, not comfy at all, no seat belts and no toilet (…the Bolivian style of going by bus).  But no worries, this won’t be the bus you will have to spend the night in! As soon as we passed the Peruvian border we changed into a modern bus (…the Peruvian way of bus travel). Yeey!

From La Paz to Copacabana

The way from La Paz to Peru was still quite pleasant though as the way to Copacabana was super beautiful with great views of the Titicaca Lake (photos below).

From La Paz to Arequipa by Bus From La Paz to Arequipa by Bus

We stopped for a few hours in Copacabana on the Bolivian side of the Titicaca Lake. There we had time to relax in a cafe and join the tour to Isla del Sol, an island around an hour away by ferry from Copacabana.

From La Paz to Arequipa by Bus From La Paz to Arequipa by Bus

From Copacabana to Arequipa

In the early evening the bus tour continued from Copacabana towards Puno on the Peruvian side of the Titicaca Lake. Depending on which bus company you cross the border with you may be accompanied by the bus personnel to pass by the different border controls. Well, or not: when we went from Cusco to La Paz with a Bolivian bus company, two guests got lost for more than one hour. Peru Hop went WITH their guests to make sure that there are no issues.

We arrived in Puno later in the evening and took a break to get dinner. Most of the bus guests went together to get some pizza which was fun and perfect to chat with some fellow travelers. A few other guests decided to pursue their own dinner plans. So in the end everyone was fed and happy.

The bus takes around 6 hours to go from Puno to Arequipa where you will arrive super early in the morning. I think we arrived around 5 am. Lucky us, our hotel receptionist (who slept in a little room behind the reception desk) heard us banging the door and let us in. Our rooms were already ready, too , and we could still get a few hours of sleep before exploring Arequipa.

From La Paz to Arequipa by bus. Travelling in Peru and Bolivia. Backpacking South America