It was a rainy day in San Pancho so we headed to our favourite restaurant to use the wi-fi. There, as we enjoyed our lunch of turkey sandwiches, we received a FaceTime call from one of our travel buddies:

“Hey guys, want to meet up at the end of January?”

“Sure! Where?”

“Yucatan area?”

“Yep, let’s make it happen!”

And so began the planning process of meeting up with two of our best travel friends. We first met Bernie and Toni-Lee when we were in the western desert of Siwa, Egypt back in 2011. We hit it off instantly and the long, 8 hour ride out to the desert was filled with the chatter of new friends.


We’ve since met up with this couple in 7 different countries around the world – Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Nepal, Mexico, China & Canada.

Meeting and interacting with people is one of the most incredible aspects of travelling. The bond created between travellers is indescribable, so when we got the call from Bernie, we knew we had to make the effort to meet up again, this time in the south of Mexico.

travel isla mujeres
A great reunion!!

During our trip around the Yucatan area in 2014, we had heard of Isla Mujeres, but instead decided to venture to Holbox Island. This time around, we didn’t want to miss out on the Island of Women and decided that would be the perfect place to spend a week with our friends. Now, don’t get too excited, it doesn’t mean that there are women all over the place, it’s just what the translation is in Spanish 😉

It had been 17 days since we had swam in the ocean, and although we absolutely adored the colonial cities of Guadalajara, Guanajuato and Mexico DF, the white sands and clear waters were calling us.

We flew from Mexico City down to Cancun, and getting to the island from the city was simple. We made our way to Puerto Juarez and purchased return tickets for 146 pesos each ($10USD). The super fast ferry had us flying over the turquoise water and arriving at the island in about 25 minutes.

ferry from cancun to isla mujeres
An enjoyable ride over to the island

As we hoisted our heavy backpacks over our backs, and stepped off onto the dock, waves of excitement flooded over us. There’s just something about the beach, and in particular the Caribbean, we absolutely love it! We practically ran to our guesthouse, Hotel Las Palmas, and couldn’t wait to meet up with our friends.

A note and hand-drawn map was left for us “I’m at the beach, Bernie is diving, see you soon! Love, Toni” We stripped down, changed into our bathing suits and immediately headed to the popular and stunning Playa Norte (North Beach).

Although the beach was packed with people, the beauty of it still shined through. Powdery white sands were lined with palapa styled beach bars and towering palm trees. The water was incredibly clear, warm, shallow and completely safe for swimming. After searching through the people, we spotted Toni. We greeted each other with massive hugs and picked up where we had left off last year in Canada.

playa norte beach isla mujeres
Playa Norte Beach

The week that followed was like a holiday for us. Days were filled with lounging on the beach, enjoying some delicious local and western food, and walking up and down the streets and waterside promenade. This cement walkway is the perfect place to go for a run, or just a stroll in the early morning or evening.

Nick and Bernie have been dive buddies since Egypt and were happy to be reunited under the water once again. The scuba diving was amazing with around 20 – 30 meters visibility! Many fish were spotted, as well as lobster, turtles and eagle rays. During this time, Nick logged his 65th dive!

scuba diving isla mujeres
Diving with Squalo Adventures on Isla Mujeres

A popular mode of transportation around the island is by way of golf cart, which was the perfect way for the four of us to explore this 7 km x 650 m island. After navigating our way out of the bustling north end of the island, the roads became virtually empty.

We visited the turtle sanctuary (which was sadly more like a zoo), stopped off at a beautiful church with glass windows, a colourful cemetary and the southernmost tip (Punta Sur). This was the spot that we decided to enjoy the picnic we had packed – guacamole with tostadas, pasta salad with veggies and tuna, hardboiled eggs and cantaloupe were on the menu. The food, the company and the views were all wonderful.

isla mujeres
The perfect spot for a picnic!

Punta Sur is the southernmost point of the island and the easternmost point in the country. If we were to stand there in the morning, we’d be the first people in Mexico to witness the sun rise…but we all know that would never happen!

We are, however, very interested in sunsets and for some reason, everyone cleared off of the beach during this time, leaving just the two of us and a couple of locals to enjoy the sun dipping behind Cancun in the distance.

punta sur isla mujeres
The rocky cliffs and gorgeous sea at Punta Sur

After lounging on the beach, eating delicious food and drinking way too many margaritas, it was time to move on. The four of us had one more night together in Cancun before parting ways. I wonder where in the world we’ll meet up next?!

Check out this GoatLife TV where we explore Isla Mujeres in a golf cart!

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“Reuniting With Friends in Isla Mujeres and Living the Beach LifeOur Beach Life With Friends in Isla Mujeres, Mexico“Reuniting With Friends in Isla Mujeres, Mexico


Do you have friends that you’ve met abroad and kept in touch with? Tell us about them below!

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Written by

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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6 thoughts on “Isla Mujeres, Mexico – Reuniting With Friends and Living the Beach Life

  1. Totally agree, the feeling when friends meet during travels is beyond any words can describe! Glad that you guys had a great time – the waters looks absolutely pristine and inviting!

  2. I will have an overnight in Cancun and I have been seriously considering Isla Mujeres 😀

  3. Yes, yes, yes! We too have met some amazing people through our travels. For example:
    Lise and Charlie – met on a Danube River cruise, then reunited in both Edinburgh, Scotland and Maine, USA
    Ben and Yulia – met on a tour in Turkey and just returned from joining them on a tour of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana
    And the most awesome connection with two couples, Dick and Karen, and Jan and Gary. We met them due to a trip to Guatemala to help build schools for Mayan children. Since that initial contact we have now traveled together to Spain, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, India, Moracco, Scotland and Peru.
    And this does not even include special people we have stayed in contact with over the years and in some cases have since visited their homes. As much joy as we get from traveling, the true treasures are the friendships we have gathered along the way!

  4. Hi Arti!

    It’s so true, the friendship formed between travellers is incredible 🙂 These two are a great couple.

    Thank you for commenting!

  5. Do it!!!

    Lots of people day-trip over, it’s only 20 mins 🙂


  6. Woah! What a great group of people you’ve met 🙂 You’ve definitely spent a lot of time with Dick, Karen, Jan and Gary – wow, that’s a lot of countries.

    Thanks for sharing your special friendships with us!


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