Legend has it that Francisco Hernández de Córdova named this place “Island of Women” in 1517 when he landed here for the first time. He called it “Isla Mujeres” in honor of the Maya temple that contained statues of Ixchel, goddess of love and fertility, located on the southern point of the island.
The temple was also used as a lighthouse by the Mayas. They used torches to orient navigators coming over from the mainland. Both windows lit up in a single line marked the entry point through the reefs to reach the salt beds where they stocked up on salt.
Puerto Isla Mujeres Marina is situated at 350 mn from Florida an only 5 mn from Cancún.
Almost all the lighthouses of today utilize the same system as the Mayas. They also say that the pirates used the island as a hideout for their women and to bury their stolen treasures.
Today, the island is a popular tourist resort. Those arriving by sea from any latitude will find the Puerto Isla Mujeres Marina situated at 350 nautical miles from Florida and only five from Cancún. Designed as a refuge from hurricanes, it has a 9 m-long access canal, and a capacity for approximately 65 vessels up to 24 m long and 10 mega-yachts up to 53 m. It has first-class maintenance and repair services: dry dock, carpenter, mechanic, pressure wash, and sale of nautical gas, Diesel and Magna gasoline. Additional facilities include wireless Internet access, satellite TV, baby sitters and water taxi to Cancún every half hour.
Isla Mujeres is one of the most visited international destinations in the Caribbean. The architecture of the island’s town is colonial and the part most frequented by tourists is located in the area surrounding the lighthouse. Major attractions are the Maya Temple of the goddess Ixchel, the turtle farm and Garrafón National Park. El Farito and Manchones are the perfect sites for scuba diving or snorkeling in the colorful reefs, among a great variety of fascinating species.
Text: Daniela Leiserson ± Photo: AMURA