Note: My ex and I are no longer together but I wanted to keep this post up because I liked the location I traveled to. None of the text has been changed.
Alternate title: Can I Still Call it a “Honey”moon Even Though I’m Vegan?
After Shane and I became husband and wife, we were whisked away by a royal steed (his blue Vibe decked out in paint and soda cans) to begin our happily ever after. But before all the real life stuff began, we sailed off to an island in the sun for our honeymoon. There’s a cute little island off the coast of Cancun called Isla Mujeres, where my aunt owns a house that she let us stay at as a wedding present! We were excited to experience island life in a beautiful home, and it was Shane’s first trip abroad! We had so much fun, and it was just nice to relax and not have to worry about work or school for a week.
Isla Mujeres is very different from Cancun. Yes, there are resorts and tourists but it’s a lot more laid back and homey. There are lots of people who live there and work and go to school and just live their normal lives. There were some cars on the road- and a lot of taxis- but a lot of people just rent (or own) golf carts to get around. A lot of the locals have bikes as well. From one end of the island to the other is about a 20 minute drive, so there isn’t really a need for much more.
The ocean surrounding the island is beautiful and so blue. Our house was at the end of the island (away from downtown) so our drive home each day gave us amazing views of the water. Once we stopped on the side of the road just to take everything in. It was breathtaking.
Another thing about the island that I really liked was that there are murals everywhere. If there’s a wall, there’s probably a mural on it. There are so many beautiful paintings, but there was one we drove past every day that quickly became my favorite.
There’s a giant grocery store near where we lived, and we went there a few times over the course of the week. We managed to buy some snacks, bread, almond milk, and some chips and salsa! Luckily, some of the few Spanish words I know are “leche” and “huevo” so I’m pretty sure everything I ate was vegan?
Overall, the whole island is very beautiful, laid-back, and homey. Most of the people we encountered spoke English, which made it easy to communicate with them. We did have some instances where we had to get by on the small amount of Spanish we know- it’s an island in Mexico, it was to be expected- but we made it and had a great time.
Like I said before, we stayed at my aunt’s house, Casa M. We looked at pictures on their Facebook page before we went, but wow it was so much more beautiful in person. It was huge for just the two of us- three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms- but it didn’t feel overwhelming. The size of the house was perfect, and the interior was amazing too. Each bedroom has a view of the ocean and a place outside to sit and take it all in.
Shane and I slept in the master bedroom, and the ocean view from those windows was definitely my favorite. We kept the blinds back at night and then just let the sun wake us up in the morning. Don’t even get me started on how comfortable that bed was.
We also had a beautiful view of the sunset at night, either from the balcony outside the bedroom or from the rooftop.
The whole house was amazing and it was such a blessing to be able to stay there. They rent Casa M out to people looking to vacation on the island and I’m honestly so blown away by how low the cost is per night, considering how amazing each room is. For more information you can check out their VRBO page here!
Shane and I ate at a lot of really good restaurants on Isla Mujeres. We had a few on our “bucket list” that we read about before we went there, but a couple times we just walked around downtown until we found something that looked good! On our first morning on the island, we took a taxi downtown to a cute little place I found on TripAdvisor called “Elements of the Island”. They have vegan options and serve a lot of different things for breakfast, so I figured Shane could find something good there, too! I got tofu scrambled in vegetables, which was so good, but my favorite part was their bread and jams. The bread was delicious by itself, but their homemade jams blew everything else out of the water. My favorite was the pineapple and coconut kind.
Walking around downtown one day, we found a restaurant called Lola Valentina. I saw that they had multiple vegan options on the menu, so we decided to go in! I got really yummy cactus tacos and Shane ate his favorite meal of the whole trip- a giant burrito.
Another favorite on the trip was a newer restaurant called Chaya & Cacao. They only use ethically sourced, local, and organic ingredients, and I’m pretty sure they don’t use cows’ milk at all in their whole restaurant, which is awesome. I’m not even entirely sure what I ordered, but it had lots of spinach and it was so delicious. I also had a really yummy smoothie with blueberries, cinnamon, and almond milk!
A lot of people keep asking us if we drank while we were in Mexico, since the drinking age there is 18. We tried a couple drinks at some restaurants we went to, attempted wine from the giant grocery store (the kind we got wasn’t very good) as well as some vodka coolers (which were really good). We also stopped at a swing bar I read a lot about online called Villa la Bella. I ordered a pina colada, which was very tasty. The drink plus the view from the sand-covered seating area made for a pretty great last day in paradise.
What We Did
Shane and I did a whole lot of nothing while we were in Isla Mujeres. We relaxed, watched some movies, and swam in the pool at Casa M every day. We really used up our time resting, which we haven’t been able to do since who knows when.
One day we went to Playa Norte on the other side of the island! The sand was so soft, probably the softest sand I’ve ever felt at a beach! The water was beautiful, and there was a sand bank pretty far out so we were able to go in the water for a while. I read online that the beach gets busy very early on, but we never encountered that. Yes, there were people there, but it was not crowded at all. The weather was nice, the water was cool, and the beach overall was perfect.
Closer to where Casa M was, we went to Punta Sur, the southern tip of the island! We went in the middle of the day to explore the area and ending up spending a lot of time there. There are paths to walk by the ocean as well as Mayan ruins near the very tip. Everything was beautiful. I’m definitely more of a mountain person than an ocean person, but I could not get over the view and the color of the water.
The coolest thing about Punta Sur is that it’s not only the southern tip of the island, but it’s the first place in Mexico where the sun touches the earth! We walked down to the southern tip and watched the waves crash against the rocks, excited to come back the next morning.
On our last full day on the island, we were the first people in Mexico to see the sun rise and feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on our skin. We went back to Punta Sur and got a good spot on the rocks to watch the sunrise. It was such a cool experience, and I’m so glad I got to do it with my husband.
While our honeymoon was beautiful, I was reminded once again that mental illness never takes a vacation. I was hit with pretty bad depression and anxiety the first couple days in Mexico, and I didn’t want to leave the house or do anything but lie in bed. I was so anxious about being somewhere I didn’t speak the language and not knowing how to do anything. Shane was such a loving, supportive husband and I’m so thankful for his patience with me and my mind. Mental illness isn’t easy, I can’t imagine being married to someone who struggles with it. Thank you, Shane, from the bottom of my heart, for everything you have done for me.
Overall, our honeymoon was filled with much needed relaxation, yummy food, and quality time with my sweet husband. Despite the anxiety and depression, I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe the anxiety and depression). I’m so thankful to my Aunty Mo for letting us stay in Casa M and experience why she loves Isla Mujeres so much. The water, the people, the atmosphere… Everything I hoped for and imagined listening to Weezer’s “Island in the Sun”.