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Trip Report Isla Mujeres 2024-Day One

My first walk down the malecon.

My first sleep in a new bed was amazing and that never happens! I left the drapes open because I only see walls from the apartment anyway. That way, as soon as I realize that the early morning light is changing, I am awake to catch the sunrise. I put my jean jacket on right over my pjs, grab a cup of coffee and I am out the door for my half a block walk to the malecon. I see so many familiar faces. Yes I am home!

The sunrise is spectacular but I do not linger as I am meeting the rest of my family at a new restaurant on Hidalgo for brunch. It is called the Raw Bar but has since been renamed to El Mexicana.

Here is the Restaurant Feature I wrote about it.

After brunch, Sue walked me to a TelCel store to buy a Mexican Sim Card for my phone. I was happy to have it but never actually used any of the data during my month long stay. Oh well, the $15 investment for peace of mind was worth it. I also stopped in at the Super Aki for milk for my coffee and another couple of must haves while on the island: lime mayo, cucumber and cilantro to make my favourite sandwich. But with leftovers for a mid afternoon snack, I didn’t need them anyway.

Although it sounds crazy, I spent the rest of the day in my little apartment. I strung up my new hammock and got back into my fabulous book. I had a malignant sore on my back removed since my last trip to a sunny destination so I didn’t want to rush my exposure in the sun. That was a great excuse to while away the afternoon in my hammock.

Later that day I joined old acquaintances downstairs at what we call the “compound” for Happy Hour and then one of them accompanied to dinner. There were three other solo women as well as a couple, (all of whom I had met previously) also staying in the apartment units. This was the primary reason that D was okay with my going to the island alone, because I wasn’t alone at all!

But first, we detoured to North beach to see the sunset.

That evening, we tried a brand new restaurant (new since the previous year), that was fantastic! It was called The Point (Punto Norte). See that Restaurant Feature here.

I always try to write a feature while it is still fresh in my head and spent the time until bed, writing. Three fabulous restaurants in three days! Yes, Isla is still an amazing food destination.

Kath’s quote: “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”– Luciano Pavarotti

Love never fails.

Trip Report-Isla Mujeres 2024, Arrival Day


Arrival Day. The wait hadn’t seemed as onerous as other years. Maybe it was the lovely mild weather at home, maybe time is ticking away more quickly as I age. Who knows, but I wasn’t desperate to escape winter and my cozy home.

The flight was uneventful. I was engrossed in my book and before I knew it we had commenced with our descent. The new immigration process was easy peasey and it felt like we would be ahead of schedule. I spoke too soon. The wait for our luggage was unreasonable. I was concerned because I was a fifth wheel, hitching a shuttle ride with a group of fellow Manitobans. My friend was so gracious to ask me along and I didn’t want to slow them down. They were with newbies that were very excited to make the final stretch to the island. But as luck would have it, my bag was one of the last to arrive. Our WJ flight had been delayed due to pilot minimum sleep regulations so our CARM van wasn’t waiting for us. It made the cervesas that we preordered taste that much better!

Another delay met us at the ferry terminal. Arriving at 610 led me to believe that we would be on a 630 ferry. They informed us that there wasn’t a 630 crossing (huh?) so we waited until 7. It gave us time to purchase more Modellos at the port. Luckily, there is free wifi at the ferry so I got caught up on messages from home and from the island! And a special surprise of seeing my Mexican friend Sara and her Pappy who were also heading home after dental work in Cancun.

There was a lovely welcoming from family at the port. Lorraine and Kelly had waited for 1 and a half hours for us! They had been on the same flight a week prior and we were that much later than them. Kelly lugged my 50 lb suitcase through the streets and then up a flight of stairs to my little apartment.

I changed shoes and was right out the door with Sister #3 as we were expected at Jax by my lovely friend Jackie. Sister Sue had already been on the island two weeks and even though I am thrilled that she got to do so, I had missed her at home.

The food at Jax was amazing as always. Sister Sue wrote this fabulous Restaurant Feature. Read all about it here:

By this time I was getting pretty strung out, but when I arrived home I wanted to unpack a bit and get back into my book. It was at least midnight (my time) when I turned off my kobo.

Oh Isla, how I have missed you, my second home.

Kath’s quote: “If you know that you are going home, the journey is never too hard”.-authour unknown

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Features- Marea located in Selina Poc Na


By Sister #3

To say finding Marea restaurant is tricky is an understatement. It’s a bit like discovering a speak easy during prohibition. If you know, you know. And it’s time that everyone know about this fantastic restaurant. Located in Selina Poc Na, the hotel on the south east corner of Matamoros and Carlos Lazo. Marea is a separate entity from the Selina resort centre in which it is housed. A small sign provides a hint that you are in the right place. Don’t be thrown off the scent by Coffee Break, a great place where you can pick up a coffee and bagel to go.  For a sit down breakfast experience you want to keep trekking through the lobby area.

Then hang a left and continue till you come to a  large palapa, across from the pool,

juice bar, and yoga platform.  

The palapa itself is spacious and furnished with picnic tables, sofas with low tables, and regular dining tables like ours. Marea currently attracts a lot of guests of the hotel who are young and hip. So the people are as beautiful as the surroundings. 

We ventured in for breakfast the other day and were introduced to Romiro and Omar.

This dynamic duo who met on the Island in 2020 call themselves “brothers from another mother”.  Both bringing gifts of incredible creativity. Omar from Monterey in Northern Mexico is passionate about food.  It’s palpable as we discuss the dish he is currently developing for the restaurant’s new menu. It’s a croque Madame, but more on that later. The key to great food is great ingredients and he has sourced homemade prosciutto right here on the island, and is now in pursuit of some fine Emmental and Gruyère cheeses to make the dish perfection. 

Originally from Argentina, Ramiro has a talent for design. You only need to look at the brilliance of the duos other property Chile & Maiz to see his vision, full of colour and art. The decor at Marea is more understated, letting the beauty of nature speak for itself. One really doesn’t need to gild the lily when you’re located in a giant palapa on a fine white sandy beach on the Caribbean Sea. You can see Romiro’s artistry in all their promotional material and general aesthetic. 

We started our morning with freshly squeezed orange juice and mango juice and good American style coffee.

For breakfast we enjoyed fluffy hotcakes served with plenty of fresh fruit and the coolest syrup dispenser ever.

The Marea sandwich of egg, cheese, spinach, on toasted homemade bread, was served with chipotle mayo,

while the chicken quesadillas came with a green salad.

I had the huevos rancheros, as I’m partial to variations of Mexican style eggs. Described as crispy tortillas bathed in ranchero sauce, they were topped with fried egg, avocado, and crema. 

I also got a chance to taste the croque madame which is currently in development. You may have heard of a croque monsieur- it’s a French grilled ham and cheese smothered in béchamel sauce. And the feminine version is topped with a sunny side up egg. This signature dish is sure to be the talk of the town. Can’t wait to let you know once it’s available. 

Marea is open daily from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All the menus are currently being reinvented and will be unveiled later this month. I for one can’t wait. 

If you were under the impression, like I was, that Marea was just for millennials living the yoga retreat lifestyle, think again.  Its relaxed vibe will make you feel like you’re on a retreat and the delightful food and beachy atmosphere will not disappoint.  So “your mission, should you choose to except it” is to seek out Marea and enjoy all it has to offer. 

Kath’s quote: The people who give you their food give you their heart – Cesar Chavez

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Feature-Piacere Restaurant and Beach Club


Right off the bat, don’t let the label Beach Club fool you. This is not a place where Cancun day trippers spend the day. In fact, our cab driver didn’t know the exact location, as you have to walk through Maria’s Kan Kin to find it. Once at Piacere, there is a mix of the persons staying at the hotel, a family who arrived by boat and people like us to enjoy the benefits of a day.

Coincidently, I am reading a novel set in the village of Bella Piacere. “Bella Piacere” was named in the sixteenth century, or round about then, by and Englishwoman who spoke only a couple of words in Italian. Fortunately, though not grammatically quite correct, the two words expressed her emotions on first seeing the the lovely hamlet in the Tuscan hills-Bountiful Pleasure. And, anyhow, the name sounded better than “Bel Piacere.” Piacere on Isla Mujeres is also about beautiful pleasure.

It was explained by Simone, the Chef and Manager of the facility that there are two manners to enjoy the property. You can pay for a Day Pass and order from the snack menu or order from the more formal dining room menu and sit in the dining area.

We were blessed to experience the best of both worlds. We started with cocktails under umbrellas at the beach club-vodka & cranberry, Pink Panther (rum and passionfruit juice) and a margarita.

After which we switched to water, but knowing that there were more cocktails to be had!

Shrimp Tacos were chosen from the snack menu as well as fish and chips. The fish was so fresh that it prickled my tongue.

We had been briefed that Simone had worked Milan, Thailand, Australia, London and Dubai and we hadn’t yet, tasted his fare. We had spied a pizza oven on the way into the restaurant, so we ordered a couple of those to finish our late lunch. By this time, the shade had disappeared from the beach so we moved up to the pool area which also happened to be by one section of the dining room. We had a last round of cocktails as we enjoyed the authentic Italian style pizza with its flame kissed crust, light and uncomplicated sauce and just a smattering of cheese. Had we ordered the Marguerita Pizza we would have been in the Tuscan hills again.

Our server was Adrian who we had met at Amazona last year. We really enjoyed seeing him again. If you want to check their hours of operation or their menus, check out the mapchicks app. The best money you will ever spend.

We would love to visit the restaurant at sunset one day. I predict it would be stellar.

Kaths quote:  “Tuscany is the gentle embrace of beauty in every corner.”

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Features-Pizza Rock


When I walked into Pizza Rock, I experienced two things, but I will share my second thought first: I had been there before. I truly did not recall being in the stylish well-appointed spot. But then I looked at the ceiling and remembered.

Pizza Rock has been on the island for 26 years years and was the island’s very first pizza restaurant! When I visited earlier it was more of a “pop in after the beach” feel. This sleek spot did not pull up memories of that sand on the floor feel.

After visiting the island for almost 20 years, I don’t expect to experience any firsts anymore but Pizza Rock provided me with two. I tried Mescal for my first time, albeit mixed with passionfruit which would make anything absolutely delicious. My Island Newbie had a Mango Margarita. Both drinks were beautifully garnished. I could have had mine rimmed with worm salt, had I chosen so. (ah…no thanks).

The second was that I had never had lobster pizza on Isla! In fact throughout my travels I have only ever had lagostino in the Cariibbean once before and that was in Cuba, many years ago. Being a Canadain, lobster is really something very different than the Caribbean species. I get to enjoy Nova Scotia lobster once a year at the restaurant that I consult for back home. Pizza Rock’s presentation was gorgeous with the meat pulled out and adorning the pizza and two glistening red shells crowning the dish. There was a lesser amount of cheese on the pizza so that the lobster taste would shine through, and it did. Do you know that in Italy it is a faux pas to ask for grated cheese on a seafood dish?

I miss Angelo’s on Isla Mujeres. There I have said it. If you are new to the island, Angelo’s was purchased by new orners last year. It was an annual visit for both fruitti de mare pizza and pasta. Pizza Rock’s Seafood Farfel was very different to Angelo’s but dare I say truer to an Italian recipe. Squid and octopus had been marinated for both thenderness and taste in white wine and olive oil. But it was the tomato based sauce where I tasted expertise and quality ingredients.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mentioned the appetizer that we commenced our dinner with. The spinach dip with pepper strips and toasted homemade bread (in fact everything is made from scratch) reminded me of this decadent treat back home. Their version was so rich that I had to stop myself from indulging before our decadent entrees.

The wine we chose for dinner was from their extensive list and was a healthy pour.

I mentioned two impressions when I first walked into Pizza Rock. The other was love. I met the owners who love their restaurant and their patrons-many more locals than tourists. There was a birthday party dinner at the next table. The little girl wore a tiara and was about nine or ten. Her parents were showing their love of her through food, which is obviously my “love language” too. Carlos the manager who was also our waiter, spoke of love as well. Love of his fiancé who also works there but is a dentist on the island. She is an Isleno, loving her island so much that she shares her educated skill. The restaurant itself is adorned with enormous lit up hearts (I gotta get me one for home).

Pizza Rock is on Hidalgo right next to Jenny Penny. There is a second entrance from the plaza behind, where you can have a quiet dinner away from the crowds of Hidalgo. For hours of operation and their full menu, check out the mapchicks app. The best money you will ever spend.

Kath’s quote: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…”

Love never fails.

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