An Isla Mujeres sunset. An Isla Mujeres sunset.

Why Isla Mujeres? Reasons were many

It was one of more than 7,000 Caribbean islands from which to choose

Wow! Pink sand beaches that stretch for miles on a narrow scimitar of land in the Bahamas, on an island named Eleuthera. It fascinated my spouse for months as he dreamed about living on a long empty stretch of beach with no one and nothing around.


There is a total population of approximately 8,000 people (mainly English-speaking) in this former British colony, with the nearest city of Nassau 50 miles away by air.

Whoa! Stop! I’m good with rural, or semi-isolated, but not Robinson Crusoe remote.

It was in 2002 that we fell in love with the turquoise sea of the Caribbean, and the search began for the perfect property for our dream home. We had a choice of over 7,000 islands in and around the Caribbean Sea including 501 in the Bahamas, 43 in the British Virgin Islands, 12 in the Cayman Islands, 58 in the Turks-and-Caicos and 81 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Ah, but then, reality pokes its pesky little head up and says, what about obtaining building supplies for the dream home? A construction crew to do the work? Furniture? Milk? Meat? Veggies? Doctors? Dentists?

And what do you do when you finally get bored watching the ocean? As fascinating as it is, eventually you have to do something else with your day.

So when the opportunity arose to purchase a slice of heaven on Isla Mujeres we decided it was definitely worth considering. We opened a bottle of crisp, fruity sauvignon blanc, took two wine glasses and a bowl of mixed nuts and retired to our home office — our lakefront patio.


After lighting dozens of candles and lanterns to set the mood for serious consideration of our future, we started to list the reasons why Isla Mujeres would be a good decision:

• Close to the City of Cancún, population of approximately 800,000, with large, well-stocked stores such as Costco, Mega Commercial, Soriana, Walmart and Home Depot.

• Three excellent, and very affordable, hospitals in Cancún with American-trained doctors.

• Only 20 minutes via passenger ferry to the mainland, costing about $6 per person each way. Full-time residents pay less.

• Only 45 minutes via a car and passenger ferry to the mainland, for the cost of around $35 each way.

• Electricity available curb side.

• Internet service available curb side.

• Municipal water system.

• Municipal sewer system for the side of the island where we were proposing to purchase property.

• Easy air access from Canada to allow us to visit our families, and they to visit us.

• Easy air access to South America, next on our travel plans.

• A diverse and active expat community.

• Pleasant cool breezes and temperatures of between 20 and 33 C.

• Swimming, snorkeling and for the more adventurous, diving.

• Even in the rainy season storms passes quickly over the island’s low geographic profile.

• Two gas stations on the island.

• A variety of small grocery stores on the island, and more recently a Chedraui Super Store.

• A fabulous variety of restaurants.

• Three choices of banking options.

• Doctors at the new community hospital, and several dentists on the island with many more available in Cancún.

• And the best reason of all, we enjoy the Mexican culture.

By the time our bottle of wine was gone and the candles had burned down to nubs we had decided that, yes, Isla Mujeres would be the perfect place to build a dream home.

Almost 10 years later we are still happy with our choice.

The writers are Canadians who have been full-time residents of Isla Mujeres for nearly 10 years. You can read their blog here.

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Stories from our archives that you might enjoy

  • James Smith

    shoulder to shoulder with hippies and dopers most of the year. where the spring breakers go when kicked out of the cancun hotels. overpriced with the typical latino version of customer service……non existent. much better alternative albeit more isolated and not as developed: holbox island. unless you like being kept awake all night with drunks staggering back to their hostel beds.

    • Glen Olives

      Jesus, James, you need serious therapy, or should at least stop huffing paint thinner. As far as mad-at-the-world trolls go, you should be in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s sad that some people have never had an original, let along positive, thought in their life.

      • TioDon

        Great reply…..without saying anything…typical lib sissy.

      • James Smith

        you mistake my consistent vigorous criticism of your nonsense posted to this website with a negative outlook on life and mexico. i only have a negative outlook on hypocrites and suck ups to the corrupt mexican government and most public institutions. if the shoe fits glen…… (btw…i note you do not contradict the content of my statement.)

        • Glen Olives

          What’s to contradict? You don’t like hippies. You don’t like dopers. You don’t like Spring Breakers. You don’t like the customer service. You almost liked Holbox, but couldn’t quite bring yourself to do it. We all get it. You don’t like anything.

          • James Smith

            i like much of mexico. just not your version.

          • PintorEnMexico

            Bullshit James, you denigrate Mexicans when you aren’t even trying. You say you only take on pols, narcos, and educators. Add to the list hospitality workers, students, and health workers. How do you ever get the flag (U.S.) out of your ass to wave it? I mean it must be so crowded up there with all the “facts” you keep pulling out of it.

            Last word is yours. Make it your best schoolyard “oh yeah?!?” french taunting…

      • Cool Hand Luke

        Make up your mind.
        Is James Smith Jesus or James?
        If you can’t find another name to use in vain then call him a MF, at least then you don’t dishonor the Name of Jesus.
        BTW James was Jesus brother. but you already knew this.

        • Glen Olives

          Um, okay. It’s just an expression. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone’s delicate religious sensibilities.

          • Cool Hand Luke

            Um, wrong. It’s not only an expression.
            If it is, then use MotherF in full spelling and see how people’s delicate sensibilities are offended.
            After all, it’s only an expression.
            Even if it is not your “cup of tea”, then at least respect anothers cup of tea.

          • Glen Olives

            I guess I’m not just so easily offended by common expressions, even pejorative ones. I’ve been called worse and haven’t been offended. Respecting others’ views are one thing, but coddling political correctness is another. Isn’t that what Islamists want? No criticism of Islam? No taking of Allah’s name in vain? No drawing cartoons of the prophet? I wouldn’t have expected you to come down on that side of the coin, unless of course your just being philosophically inconsistent. By the way, had I said, “Damn, James…” wouldn’t that have equally offended your thin skin? After all, it refers to damnation, the biblical kind. Silly conversation over a simple world.

          • Glen Olives

            Almost forgot — James called my a goof, a hypocrite, a suck up, and many worse things in previous posts, but I’m not whining about it (never have), and neither are you. Odd, don’t you think? Or does the whole “I’m offended” street only run one-way?

          • Cool Hand Luke

            First of all, you don’t offend me or should I say it this way, it is not me you are offending but the Lord.
            Now, if you profess to not believe in Jesus as Lord, that’s your issue to deal with and you will at some point.
            There is considerable distance between using”damn” and using the Lord’s Name in vain and as a person who likes to present himself as well read, I hope you can discern the difference.
            Your last sentence shows how the world attempts to penetrate and water down the truth of God’s Word, a little here and a little there and the yeast works it way through the whole loaf.

          • James Smith

            always remember you are dealing with not only a virulent vicious anti american bigot but also an atheist fascist and anti-christian bigot. to argue with glen about taking the lords name in vain will get you nowhere because the dude doesn’t recognize the existence of such a being.

          • Glen Olives

            Thank you for the reply, which actually explains why this pedantic conversation over a simple and commonly used expression that didn’t even offend you has gone for so very too long — you’re a religious nut case. (No offense.)

          • Cool Hand Luke

            You brought a smile to my face! Really, you did.
            You just love to show your “higher education” and arrogance at every opportunity. The latter you do very well and makes me smile. Thank you.
            Oh, by the way, I’ve been called a lot worse by a lot better. (No offense.)

          • Glen Olives

            Glad I could entertain you. 🙂

          • PintorEnMexico

            God, now we’re arguing over who has the best imaginary friend! For the record, I think James’ friend is the most imaginary of them all…

          • James Smith

            no way, latrine painter. for you live in an entire world of imagination. the empty recesses of your vacuous mind.

          • Cool Hand Luke

            James, you know when you answer them like that you only lower yourself to that level.
            Kill them with love because as the good Book says, it conquers all, even those who hate you.
            There will always be mockers – Christ Himself had them – actually they killed Him or so they thought but the Truth always comes to light.

          • PintorEnMexico

            “Kill” is the operant word here. Whether with love or ire, you preachers always get to the killing part. There’s no blood lust like a believer’s. Whether by your own hand or through your proxy god, you aren’t satisfied unless there’s bloody justice as you imagine it.

          • Cool Hand Luke

            So sad for you! 🙁

          • Cool Hand Luke

            Not sure who you think is arguing that point but I’m certainly not.
            I know my friend is not imaginary but perhaps yours is.
            So sad for you. 🙂

  • Steven Broin

    It is true that there are three choices of banking options in Isla Mujeres: ranging from bad to worse to downright laughable.

  • Happygirl

    Sounds lovely, we chose Puerto Progreso and area for most of your reasons. Everyone finds their own piece of heaven…we love ours because it is far away(4 hours by bus) from Cancun and its artificial/tourist mecca atmosphere, but close to the capital of the Yucatan, Merida with its culture, history and safety. Great healthcare, cheap living and reasonable housing. Mexico offers something for everyone…it is yours to discover. Love your writing.