Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Mon March 23 2015

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  • Nick and Dariece | March 23, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    Isla Mujeres: Mexico’s Island of Women

    Isla Mujeres: Mexico’s Island of Women

    All photos by Nick and Dariece Swift

    Bobbing out in the Caribbean sea, just a mere 15 kms from Cancun is Isla Mujeres, or, "Island of Women.” This atoll is popular with day-tripping locals, travelers looking for more than the all-inclusive resort experience and backpackers wanting a chilled-out scene.

    The quick 20-minute boat ride will whizz you across the turquoise waters and within no time, you'll arrive at the port. The island isn't big and basically all of the hotels are scattered around the northern end. Hiring a taxi can be costly, so either walk to your accommodation choice, or perhaps your hotel will pick you up in a golf cart!

    That's right; people on Isla Mujeres tend to get around on golf carts, or motorbikes. At only 7 kms long and 650 meters wide, it's recommended to get some friends together, rent a golf cart (around $50/day) and explore this island.

    Starting in the northern end, you'll find Playa Norte, a powdery white sand beach, with a few palapa bars beckoning you to come and enjoy an ice-cold cerveza! The water is incredibly translucent, shallow and calm.

    Venturing along the coastline, you can enjoy the view looking back to Cancun. There are a few must-sees along the way as well. Visit the turtle sanctuary, or for something more adventurous, go zip-lining across the sea. Stop at the church with glass windows and the colorful cemetery. Pull over and check out the seashell house and stop at the furthest southern point for beautiful views and to see a Mayan temple.

    There are numerous places to eat along the way as well. Everything from small, local taco stands to western fare is available. The wide range of cuisine available is remarkable, with Hebrew, Italian, Caribbean, Mexican, French, Thai, Cuban and more on offer! Definitely try the fresh seafood, no matter which restaurant you're at.

    As far as water sports go, scuba diving around the island is incredible. There are over 50 dive sites off shore and the visibility is great at around 25 meters. The coral is healthy and colorful, while you are almost guaranteed to spot eagle rays, turtles, eels and more. There are also a few shipwrecks for you to explore. If you're not interested in diving, the snorkeling is excellent as well.

    For views of the water, definitely wander around the Malecon - a cement promenade which extends from the main plaza to the south. This is a great place for walking or running, but make sure to do it early in the day, or late afternoon, as the sun can be quite intense.

    Swimming, diving, yoga, running, biking and walking are all great activities for the less "lazy" traveler!

    At the end of the day, after you've done some exercise, explored the shorelines and eaten some delicious food, grab a cocktail from one of the local bars at Playa Norte and enjoy the sun setting over Cancun in the distance. Isla Mujeres is a fun island with the perfect mix of authenticity, relaxation and activities.

    Have you ever been to the island? What did you think of it? Share with us below!

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Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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