Fast easy trip, definitely worth the effort
On Day 5, Tuesday Jan 19, I took the fast ferry out to Isle Mujeres. My main reason in going was to do a little reconnaissance around a bird trip I hoped to take. My one guide book, Cancun & Cozumel, published by Moon, recommended on page 72 a bird trip to Isle Contoy operated by Captain Tony Garcia. It leaves from Isle Mujeres. My plan was to show up at his office and scope out the situation. I knew that it was an all day adventure to Isle Contoy so I would have to give up biking and travel to Isle Mujeres early in the day.
Side note: Doesn't one always need an organizing principle? In some situations for some hours I can just drift. Just walk the streets. Ride the bus. But, in reality I have something on my mind. I am walking a certain area. Riding for a certain distance or time. Does it mater what the organizing principle is? Not really. I was worried that I might need some focus outside of biking. It could rain. I could be too tired. One idea I came up with back in New Hampshire was birding. I'm a mid level birder. I don't keep a life list but I sometimes write down all the birds I see at our summer home in Maine. I went out and bought my first pair of mid level binoculars. (Zeiss Terra Ed 8x42 $450 at Mass Audobon). I actually spent days back in NH talking to knowledgeable sales people about options for taking pictures of birds. In the end, I dropped the idea of a SLR digital camera and just took the iphone and these new binoculars. In any event, I had an idea to see some birds in Cancun.
So, I had to figure out how one got to Isle Mujeres. There are lots of ferrys from lots of places. One even leaves from the Hotel Zone very near my Playa Gaviota Azul beach? Online resources, which one exactly I can't find now, (I had wifi in my Airbnb rooms) directed me to UltraMar Service from Gran Puerto, Puerto Juarez. This was the correct one. Puerto Juarez is north of Cancun. At first I went down to where I meet my bikers at the start of the hotel road and tried to find a bus to Puerto Juarez. I could not find one or anyone to help me. So, I just got on the normal R1 bus that goes out the Hotel Zone and to the bus station in Cancun. The driver was able to communicate to me that he did not go to Puerto Juarez but he could help me on my way.
I have not talked much about the R1 and R2 buses. They both pick up passengers at a point 10 minutes? from my Airbnb. The place they pick up is the "wrong" bike park that I went to the first day. They are almost "constant". As one pulls away, another arrives. R1 goes up to the Bus Terminal that is north of this point and the R2 takes a more southerly route to Walmart. The cost is 10.5 peco, about 50 cents or 1$ if you would like to use US money. I rode these buses every day, often 4-5 trips on one day.
So, back to Isle Mujeres. After we had veered right from the Bus Terminal, my R1 driver signaled that I should get off and take a small yellow decorated van labeled UltraMar Isle Mujeres. This was my first Cancun ride on what I had learned about in Albania. There they are called a Furgon. It is a van with benches in the back. The driver just packs the people in until there is no more room and then takes off and the next van pulls in. It is definitely not for your mother. I think the cost was the same 50 cents. It was a short ride to the Gran Puerto, Puerto Juarez terminal. I bought my ticket, ($6 each way) got in line and boarded the boat.
This is what the boats look like:
They are wonderful. 15 minute ride. I sat on top both too and from. This is the view before we left
And here I am on the main street. This is honky tonk. Makes Oak Bluffs on Martha Vinyard look like a classie resort.
Note the Golf carts. They are the main mode of transportation. The torists rent them and cruise the island. I just stayed in this main town.
When I got off the boat and understood the "environment" I had landed in, I looked around for someone who might have been here before. A 50 year old man was sitting on a flower bed near the boat egress. I approached him and asked where I should eat lunch. He directed me to walk to the end of the street where I would find Jax's. Here is what Jaxs looks like from the street.
I had my normal chicken and beans with Mole sauce,
I am on the balcony level but did not make the effort to get a table outside.
The houses have some real color.
You can see they have left room on the beach for the local fisherman.
I found Captain Tony Garcia's office/house. It was not obviously open so I did not knock on the door. There was a sign saying to be here at 8:15 for the boat. I took a picture but don't have it now? I never got to take the bird boat ride. I called Tony regularly over the next few days and was more than willing to give up my morning ride and catch the boat to Isle Mujeres instead. But, Tony could not predict the weather and each evening said it did not look good for the next day. He did go one day without me. I had a plan B, in case I got out there and he did not go. My plan was to ride my bike up to the ferry, take the bike on the ferry and then have it to ride on the island, along with my beach operation. Maybe next time.
We are ready to go back
This is what the Hotel Zone looks like from the water.
On the ride out, I did have one of my rare opportunities to chat up a tourist couple. They were in medical residence at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. He in anesthesiology and she in psychiatry. I think he had been down with his parents or other guys years ago but this was her first time.