Rhonda and I are still too new at this cruising lifestyle to be able to articulate exactly what we’re hoping to get out of it. We started with no particular destination in mind, just vague notions of an endless vacation in exotic locations with nice beaches, warm tropical breezes, and comfortable, affordable tiki bars. But we’ve come far enough in our travels to start forming opinions about places we enjoy. I guess it’s a case of “hard to define, but we’ll know it when we see it.” And we definitely felt very comfortable on the island of Isla Mujeres. It seemed to offer a near perfect mix of the exotic, the interesting, and the affordable that made it a great place to linger for a month.
One of our favorite places on the island was Hidalgo Street. Closed to traffic, the street is an eight to ten block long promenade lined with shops, bars and restaurants. It would take weeks to work through all the possible drinking and dining opportunities on this one street.
I’d originally wanted to take the boat down to Cozumel for a few days. It’s a place we’re very familiar with, as we’ve visited it numerous times on Carnival cruises. I thought it would be fun to spend a bit more time there than a cruise allows. But after experiencing Isla Mujeres and the street life that is Hidalgo, I lost interest. This was so much better. The prices were lower, the atmosphere was less hectic, and we didn’t have to share the streets with thousands of cruise ship passengers. There wasn’t a Diamonds International, Del Sol or shop hawking Tanzanite to be seen. No Carlos and Charlies or Senõr Frogs full of crazy drunks. Just blocks and blocks of authentic Mexican island life.
Saturday, June 11th was Rhonda’s birthday, and she was craving Pescado Frito, or Mexican fried fish. After considering many of the options, we eventually found ourselves at Don Chepos on Hidalgo Street.
After a bowl of sopa de lima (which we’ve really grown to love), a great meal of fresh fish, and some four dollar (75 peso) margaritas, we then started ambling back towards our marina. But we hadn’t made it very far when the beautiful sounds of jazz guitar drew us into Sardinian Smile. Here’s a taste of evenings on Hidalgo Street.
And to put a perfect finish on the evening, while we sat sipping our Jim Beam con hielos, the guitarist starting playing this. Those who know us well understand this song’s significance for us.
As often happened during our time on Isla Mujeres, we set out with no specific plans, and the island delighted us with an enjoyable and truly memorable evening. We look forward to the time when we can return once again to this Caribbean jewel.