Our first day in the resort, and we had already booked tickets online for the ferry crossing to the nearby island of Isla Mujeres. With only eleven hotel nights and so much to see, we had planned most of our itinerary in advance including online tickets wherever possible.

Our main base for the next eleven nights is the Hotel Ocean Dream, a lovely hotel in a brilliant beachfront location only minutes away from the heart of the hotel zone’s nightlife. Spectacular view of the Caribbean from the restaurant and also from our ocean view room, which was very large for a couple, with two double beds and a small kitchen area. Frequent cheap local bus service, and an OXXO convenience store two doors down.

Caribbean view from one of the hotel pools
Caribbean view from one of the hotel pools

After an included continental breakfast, we took a short bus ride on the local bus service for about a mile to Playa Tortuga. There are a couple of bus routes through the hotel zone, all operating a fixed price ticket of 12 pesos each (48p). R1 heads toward the ADO bus station in downtown Cancún, then north to the main port of Puerto Juarez. R2 heads toward the shopping district around Mercado 28.

The jetty at Playa Tortuga
The jetty at Playa Tortuga

From Playa Tortuga we took the Ultramar fast ferry across to Isla town on the north of the island. $28USD (about £20) total via PayPal for our two single tickets for the outbound journey of maybe half an hour. There’s also a local port tax to pay on departure from Playa Tortuga (less than £3 each).

UltraMar ferries approaching Isla Mujeres
UltraMar ferries approaching Isla Mujeres

Once disembarked, we spent a few hours strolling around Isla town. The guide books describe the island as having a laid back Caribbean feel, with painted clapperboard houses. There are certainly a few properties like that around the town, although much of it has given way to tourist shops and restaurants.

Clapperboard House, Isla Town
Clapperboard House, Isla Town

Nevertheless, an enjoyable trip out giving us an early opportunity for some souvenir shopping, and we also spent some time relaxing on the island’s Playa Centro near to the ferry port. A little further north, there are a couple more beaches to explore, Playa Norte and Playa Secreto.

Playa Centro Beach, Isla Town
Playa Centro Beach, Isla Town

Tomorrow, exploring the Mayan coastal ruins at Tulum.