The most common question people asked about traveling to Mexico.
Isla Mujeres has an extensive water purification system but no one on the island drinks the water from the tap. Bottled water is readily available at all Restaurants, Hotels and grocery stores. There is no problem brushing your teeth using tap water and don't worry if you swallow a bit in the shower. Nine times out of ten the dreaded "tourista" is caused by too much sun and overindulging during "Happy Hour" and too few glasses of water to keep yourself hydrated. Use common sense and be sure to drink lots of bottled water!
Clothing: Isla is very casual, t-shirts and shorts are fine anywhere though you might want to bring something dressier for evening. Obviously your swim suits, cover-ups and comfortable walking shoes/sandals. If you burn easily and/or plan on spending a lot of your vacation time directly in the sun, bring a swim shirt. Also, be sure to bring a light jacket or sweater, it can sometimes get a bit chilly at night, especially on a golf cart.
Toiletry items: shampoo, shaving gear, deodorant, tooth brush and paste, etc. If you forget anything the stores on Isla stock all of these items but they might not have your preferred brand.
First aid kit:. Band-Aids, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, Benadryl pills (great for bug bites but may make you sleepy so I use the children's formula!)
If you need any medication bring it as well as the prescription from your doctor.
Bring instant hand sanitizer and keep a small bottle with you to clean your hands before meals and throughout the day.
Carry a travel-size package of wipes, non-scented, for cleaning hands before and after a meal or just to get the sweat off.
Take a ten foot piece of light nylon rope (1/8") and a few clothespins to hang clothes and swimsuits to dry on your balcony. Clothespins are also good to close the gaps on hotel drapes, making for better sleeping.
Bring light ponchos for rain gear. They are small and light and easy to carry anywhere you go as a rain cloud can come in no time and dump a monsoon on your head.
If you love snorkeling, purchase your own gear and bring it with you on vacation.
Most airlines allow 1 piece of luggage and 1 carry on per person. Pack light so that there is plenty of room for souvenirs or better yet, fill the extra space with with donations for the people and animals of Isla Mujeres. Click on the logos of the charitable organizations at the bottom of the page to find out more.
Mark every piece of luggage inside and outside with your last name and first initial only, mobile number and the name of the hotel you are staying at. Do not put your home address on the tag.
Put something brightly colored on the outside of your luggage so that it is easier and faster to pick it out on the luggage conveyer.
Be sure all your travel documents, tickets, money, credit cards, medications, valuables and personal items are in your carry-on or purse.
We recommend you bring a change of clothes in your carry-on or dress in layers. If your luggage is "delayed" at least you'll have something to wear!
If you are bringing anything that can be ruined if it gets wet - pack it in a plastic bag. Occasionally tropical rain storms soak the luggage on its way from the plane to baggage claim. I learned this the hard way :-)
Put your clothes into large Zip lock bags, roll out the air, seal! This helps to create more space.
If bringing nail polish always put it in a Zip lock bag or it might explode all over your belongings.
Place your toothpaste in a Zip lock bag so that it does not explode in your luggage during flight.
Always put shampoo and conditioner (and any other liquid containers) in plastic bags so they do not leak onto clothes during travel.
Pack a dryer sheet in your suitcase for long flights - this helps to eliminate that musty "airplane odor" and you'll have a "just washed" air to your clothes when you unpack.
In your quest for a good time on your vacation, your eating and drinking habits are often radically different than what you're used to back home. In addition, climate changes can throw your system off. To ensure you enjoy your vacation to its fullest, consider the following:
Be sure to drink lots of fluids; especially the day before arriving and during the flight.
Try not to go overboard your first night. Give your body a chance to acclimate.
If you start to feel a bit headachy and slightly feverish, drink an electrolyte replacing beverage straight away. Most people will reach for a Gatorade or Powerade and though they do replace electrolytes they are filled with processed refined sugars and can actually make you feel worse.
Instead buy a few bottles of Pedialyte from the super market on the town square, Cedraui mid-island or any pharmacy (my favorite is the grape flavored served with ice). In fact if you want to avoid any dehydration issues during your vacation, drink a bottle everyday especially when you are active and/or in the sun. Pedialyte is also great for hang-overs :-)
Start eating yogurt daily before a trip and during your trip, it will fight bacteria in your system and you'll have less of a chance of getting Montezuma's Revenge.
Valuables, Documents and Credit Cards
Keep all your valuables in the room safe or in the hotel’s safe.
Make sure to write on all charge slips as you sign whether the currency is in USD or PESO as both use the "$".
Write on the charge slip right away after purchasing something, the amount, items, date, and place of purchase so you can read it when the statement comes at the end of the month, the ink used on charge slips fade very quickly.
Clearly print your name, address, e-mail and phone number on a piece of paper: Take a picture of the paper so it is the first photograph on each memory card. Hopefully if the person who finds your camera looks at the images on the card they will see your contact info and return the camera to you.
WARNING - Be careful using cameras on the beach because sand gets on the zoom-lens and when it closes the sand can jam the zoom-lens making your camera inoperable. To avoid this make sure the zoom-lens is free of any debris before closing it.
Buy batteries and memory cards before you go to Mexico. Yes you can purchase these items almost anywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula and especially Cancun but you will find it is less expensive to buy these items at a store back home.
Use the highest quality setting when taking pictures. Simply carry more than one memory card with you in case you run out of space. Set your camera up before you even leave for vacation and do some experiments. Once you are comfortable with all settings, leave them there.
Of course mobiles take care of all of the above for you!
One of the first things that parents seem to notice when they travel with their children is that Isla welcomes them with open arms. Children are loved and adored in Mexico, they even have their very own day (like Mother's and Father's days) on April 30th, known simply as Dia del Niño.
Diapers and the usual basket of basic necessities (clean wipes, generic moisturizing creams, etc) are readily available on Isla. However, if you have specialist creams, medicines, etc for your children - take these with you as well as any prescriptions. You should also bring insect repellent made for families/children. Do a patch test before your vacation to make sure your child doesn’t have any skin reactions.
Water and Beach Toys
Chedraui Supermarket does stock basic beach/pool toys as well as inexpensive floaties, towels, sun-hats, etc. So save some space in your luggage and buy on the island.
Sun Care for Children in Mexico:
Children accustomed to living in a temperate climate will burn severely in Isla blazing sun without adequate protection. Ensure your children are fully protected by making them wear eco-friendly high-factor waterproof sun block lotion as well as a swim shirt with protection. Remember to pack a hat and sunglasses for them.
2 way radio's are a great. They come 2 mile and 5 mile rage to bring on vacation when traveling with kids.
Pack a first aid kit for your children: Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, cold and fever pills/syrup with a plastic spoon, rash cream and tummy upset medication.
Every parent knows how easily kids can get board; a long flight, departure delays, the occasional rainy day, etc. You know what your child likes best and what to pack.