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Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

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Findlay, Ohio...
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Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

After a few years going to Cabo, we decided to make use of some advantageous airfare and head to Isla Mujeres in June, and we can't wait. Cabo is awesome, but Isla seems more laid back, and I've never seen the Carribean, so it's very exciting!

Help some rookies out though: how do the beach clubs work? We're used to staying at a resort on the beach, but this trip we're not, and we're not really sure what we need to do to enjoy the beaches we're reading so much about. Do we just show up and pay someone, do we just sort of stake our claim to an area, can we use credit cards or should we carry cash, should it all be pesos or do dollars work, etc.

Any recommended "gotta do this" or "gotta eat here" from any of you seasoned isla pros?

We're staying at the Villa Vera Puerto Isla Mujeres.

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

Oh boy. When you see the Caribbean your Cabo days will be over.

There are many beach clubs on Isla, all with differing policies, so you might want to check out the Top Question on "Can I rent loungers and umbrellas on the beach?" But a couple of things: first, you don't NEED a beach club at certain beaches--at Playa Norte we have simply spread a towel on the sand and sat under a palm tree. But if you want drink service or a lounger and umbrella you may need to either pay a fee or consume a minimum amount of drinks, depending on the location. And you WILL want to visit Playa Norte at least once. It's the crown jewel of Isla's beaches and was recently voted as the #10 beach in the world by TA members.

There are also many more separate beach clubs elsewhere on the island. We really liked Captain Dulche's on the Cancun side of the island toward the southern end. There was no cover charge, although they do expect you to buy drinks. A bit of sea grass but a sandy bottom. There is also Garrafon de Castilla, a popular place for shore snorkeling, just north of Garrafon Park. They do have a small admission fee. And all along the Caribbean side there are undeveloped beaches that are lovely when conditions permit, but obviously they have no services.

As for restaurants, there are more than 150 on the island. Again, check out the Top Question on Must Try Restaurants. Everyone has their favorites and you'll soon see why many of us consider Isla to be primarily a food destination. But sometime during your trip I do recommend you try the fish tacos at Bally-Hoo, behind the gas station on Medina (same road as the ferry) for the chill vibe. Try the tamarind sauce on the fish tacos!

You will want to order a map from mapchick, which is really a guidebook in map format, so that you can see where everything is located. It also includes a suggested itinerary for touring the island on a golf cart and will be of enormous help in planning your stay:

http://store.cancunmap.com/

Edited: 08 April 2014, 18:45
Wyoming
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2. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

You should use pesos...plenty of ATM's around...see money matters at the top right. The pool at Villa Vera is beautiful. If you want a pool day I would stay right there. Some great places to eat close to you...Pelayo for breakfast or lunch. Green Verde for dinner Wed- Sun. Cash Keken Chuc...chicken, ribs or Poc Chuc for lunch and for dinner authentic Mecican Taqueria. Seso Loco is great for dinner, too. All of these are very close by, no taxi needed.

Edited: 08 April 2014, 20:36
Ontario
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3. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

Dave C..I’m a Los Cabo area fan myself but between air fare and travel time I found it cheaper/faster to fly to the Cancun airport and move on from there. The 2 major differences for me between them...weather (LOVE Cabo weather) and the gorgeous turquoise ocean on the Cancun side. I agree that Isla is a lot more laid back than Cabo!

Beach clubs...as DMartin said, you don’t “need” a beach club if you don’t want one...if the place you’re staying at provides beach chairs then take them and claim a spot or the towel on the sand works too. I don’t go to flop around the beach very often so I don’t mind spending the money. When I do go I like the section of beach in front of Nautibeach and Sunset Grill...Sunset Grill has a 300 pesos minimum consumption...around $25 for 1-2 people total. You get 2 loungers, table, umbrella and use of their washroom facilities. Other places charge you to sit (ie. Tarzan I paid 100 pesos) and got the same 2 loungers, table and umbrella then you pay for your food/drinks on top.

Pesos or dollars...use whatever you want (doesn't make sense to use US if you're Canadian..you can get some here at the bank or use the ATMs on the island) but I use pesos as it’s more fun to use the local currency plus I get a bigger bang for my buck.

Any recommended "gotta do this" or "gotta eat here"

-Get a golf cart and go around the island – for me, mainly driving up and down the eastern road and through the colonias lol

-Walk the eastern malecon first thing in the morning

-Visit Punta Sur and Garrafon de Castilla (50 pesos entrance fee)

-Take a wander through the downtown cemetary or the one just past La Gloria

-Go to the juice store on Juarez

-Latest “gotta do this” is time the trip around the Artist Fair lol – usually 1st Thursday of each month

-Go to Casa Ixchel for a meal/snack/drink – I LOVE the view

-“gotta eat here” for me, my number 1 must visit place when I go is Picus

Have fun!!!

Edited: 08 April 2014, 21:01
Saskatoon, Canada
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4. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

Our favourite 'beach club' was the Sunset Grill. :)

I will also suggest you order some of these maps, they are invaluable and have all the tips you will want or need for Isla!

http://www.cancunmap.com/islamujeres-map.html

Midsomer Norton...
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5. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

Hi DaveC,

We are also Isla newbies & staying at Villa Vera in May.

From my research so far I've made a note to visit Zama Beach Club as it's close by. Mango Cafe for breakfast, Barlito at Marina Paraiso, both near enough to walk. Playa Norte obviously. Some places that sell not too spicy food (working on that one) & somewhere to watch Liverpool FC win the English Premier League (still working on that too but may have to pop over to Cancun).

Enjoy your trip.

DaveG

new york
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6. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

"Some places that sell not too spicy food (working on that one)"

Most places don't serve spicy food. You won't have a problem finding that. Usually they put some salsa on the side and some of those can be very hot. Be sure to ask if unsure before tasting. But in general the food is not what I would consider spicy at all.

Winnipeg, Canada
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7. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

I agree about the non-spicy food. Big misunderstanding about Mexico and spice. It's on the side usually and I must admit - can be incendiary. The fish and seafood is plentiful and so fresh! And surprisingly, good beef, chicken, etc. Lots of different places for different tastes.

Enjoy!

Edon, Ohio
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8. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

Another vote for the beach at Sunset Grill. We loved it there. It was quiet and we had no problem recovering our 300 pesos with food and drinks.

Corner Brook, Canada
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9. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

Another vote for Sunset Grill. I like that they will also provide beach towels in the cost so no need to bring your own.

Lori

Ontario
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10. Re: Planning first isla trip, need beach club help

"somewhere to watch Liverpool FC win the English Premier League"...Brisas Grill, JAX (maybe Bobo's)..they have big tvs.