Let me start by saying I’m definitely more of a planner than a non-planner who just likes to ‘wing’ things. I like to have my trips carefully detailed, while only allowing a little bit of time for free range and ‘on the go’ decisions.
In a move unlike my normal planning self, I booked a flight to Cancun exactly one week before departure.
I was actually in the big apple for work, contemplating if this last minute trip would actually work. Let me explain how I even got to thinking about going to Cancun the very next week. My best friend from Cincinnati (we’ve been super close since the 7th grade!) lives in Isla Mujeres, an amazingly beautiful island just a 20 minute ferry ride from Cancun. She’s been over there for close to 8 months, not including another 6 months when she lived on the island previously.
I would be DUMB not to go visit my bestie in Mexico while she’s there!
That thought, mixed with the fact that she’s moving back soon, she had the week off work, and this was my last free weekend out of the next 8 weekends, made me click the ‘Purchase Flight’ button.
So, I had two days to prepare for my Mexican adventure once I got back from New York City. I was set to leave on a direct flight out of Chicago on United on a Saturday at 9am, and arrive in a hot, sunny Cancun around 12:45pm. Perfect!
It was only a 3.5 day trip, so I fit everything in a giant purse and backpack the Friday night before, and I was ready to go.
Despite a hurricane that hit Belize a few days prior, my flight took off without a hitch. The tropical storm had moved out of the area and I arrived on-time in Cancun – after getting bumped to economy plus. More leg room? Yes please!
I had arranged for a shuttle to pick me up from the Cancun airport and I’m SO GLAD I did! After getting through the madness of customs and immigration, and hitting the hot air outside with hundreds of other travelers, it was a mess! So many crowds wanting to get to their destinations and so many companies harassing you about giving rides. I booked my transportation with CARM. They were amazing!
Luckily, I could bypass the crowds and solicitors, and find CARM pretty easily. They had my name on a poster board (making me feel rather important). They handed me my ferry ticket I would need to get over to Isla Mujeres and immediately pulled my shuttle around. I highly recommend CARM to anyone visiting Canun, Riveria Maya or Isla Mujeres. All they need during booking is your flight number, number of passengers, where you’re heading and your credit card information. I loved how easy the process was, and it was worth every penny to not have to worry about getting to an unfamiliar location! You can also book round-trip transportation with them, so I didn’t have to stress about getting off the island and back to Cancun’s airport.
Since they allow you to buy your ferry tickets through them, as well, I was all ready to go when I got to the Gran Puerto Juarez Ultramar ferry dock. My total cost for CARM transportation was about $80 – but again, worth every penny! I boarded the 2pm ferry to Isla Mujeres and I was in the final stretch, so eager to see my friend (and hoping I was heading to the right place!)
I didn’t have any cell phone service, wifi or means of communication, so I did start to get a little nervous when my friend’s face wasn’t the first face I saw when I got off the boat. But, she assured me she’d be at the Isla Mujeres ferry dock at 2:30, and since we arrived a little early, I waited patiently. It was all of about 3 minutes when I see her rolling up on her golf cart, and I was SO HAPPY!
I hadn’t seen her since Christmas, so in about 8 months. I knew this was going to be quite the adventure! We also had never been outside the country together, so I couldn’t wait to embark on this last minute, short journey.
Over the next few days, we ate too many tacos, spent too much time at the gorgeous Playa Norte, drank a lot of Mexican beers and watched the most perfect sunsets. It was AMAZING.
I’ll be posting more about my time well spent in Isla Mujeres, including all the good eats and my favorite things to do while there! The next time you’re in Cancun, think about taking a day trip on the ferry over to Isla Mujeres, you won’t regret it. Just check out some of these pictures!