For quite awhile now, the Kinnon family has considered Isla Mujeres the perfect family getaway. We often joke that we are Isla's "bridge and tunnel" people! If you lived in Manhattan and took the Jitney to the Hamptons every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day you will know exactly what I mean. Generally, it's a family affair. Me and Rob and the kiddos, often accompanied by Jill and, most recently, our pal and photographer Kat. Last weekend, there was a rush on the island. One of our customers and half a dozen Playa friends, knowing we spend so much time there, rang us up to see if they could join us at our favorite hotel Casa Ixchel and spend a weekend exploring the island. As we would essentially be taking over the whole place, this promised to be big fun!

Friends JJ and Kim and son Kaj met us at the hotel accompanied by Ashlie and Gerry and birthday girl Judy. Damon followed later that afternoon. Everyone settled in quickly, acquired golf carts and set about sightseeing. Unfortunately, Rob picked up a nasty stomach virus, the one that seems to be circulating through Playa, so we stayed behind to keep him company and floated in the pool with a few "boat drinks".

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
Daddy and the Bird

Casa Ixchel Boat Drinks
Casa Ixchel Boat Drinks!

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres

A few hours later and a quick run around the island, they returned to find us still pool side, cocktails in hand! We enjoyed a few appetizers on the deck watching the sunset, then moved upstairs where Miguel and the boys had set up a long table for us under the palapa, over-looking the ocean. We settled in for a delicious dinner and more cocktails. The perfect ending to a lovely relaxing day.

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
The crew poolside

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
Calamari with Asian dipping sauce

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
Kim chillin'

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
Sun setting

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
The Casa Ixchel pool at dusk

The next day would bring sad news to the Kinnon family and Rob returned to the mainland, leaving us to our own defenses. Not in the mood for much of anything, we hung by the pool while our friends enjoyed a fabulous breakfast at Mango Cafe and toured the island a bit. JJ and Kim had some friends to meet on the island so, late in the afternoon, we all met up for cocktails at another island favorite, Jax. Owners Michael and Jackie were both on hand to greet us as well as Mel and Sally from The Soggy Peso. We chatted about island life, real estate and live music and enjoyed the beautiful views over Playa Norte. No Kinnon trip to the island would be complete without stopping in for breakfast or lunch at Jax and it was nice to finally chat with Jackie in a more social setting.

Dinner was a less than intimate affair at Olivia, one of our very favorite restaurants on the island, where we were joined by another Playaense Joe Colada and a friend. We all tucked into the delicious Mediterranean fare and enjoyed the atmosphere under the palapa in the garden. Later, we carted over to the zocalo where The "Abuela" was being crowned. It seems that every resident on the island was in attendance to root for their favorite Grandma or Auntie! The kids amused themselves on the rickety wheeled vehicles set out for rent while we strolled about and took in the scene. As we had a big morning planned the next day, we returned to Casa Ixchel and (some of us) turned in early.

Isla Mujeres
Damon at the helm

Isla Mujeres
Cart races!! (Just kidding Wayne)

Olivia Isla Mujeres
Restaurant Olivia

Olivia's Isla Mujeres
Delicious Mediterranean food

Olivia's Isla Mujeres
Greek tapas

Isla Mujeres
Las Abuelas Bonitas

This being the migration season, we had all planned to swim with the Whale Sharks this weekend and take in the festivities of the annual Whale Shark festival in Centro. Ceviche Tours was running with very competitive discounts for all of us FM2-3 holders and we were looking forward to a fun day on and in the water. Rob and I have wanted to do this for several years but really wanted to be sure the kids could handle the snorkeling comfortably. After our recent trip to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley, we knew they were totally up for it! Unfortunately, the seas were very rough, with swells of 10-12 feet and the Whale Sharks in the area, were diving low to avoid the turbulence. On a recommendation from our operator, we decided to postpone our tour for a week or two. As we live so close by and can come back any time, there was really no reason to brave the vomit inducing waves with little or no chance of actually seeing these magnificent creatures.

After a few more hours of much needed sleep and a good breakfast, we headed out to explore the island a bit. Damon and I played tour guides and led our merry crew to the Tortugranja (Turtle Nursery) over on Sac Bajo. This is a favorite stop for our kids and I knew that Kaj would go nuts for all the baby turtles. If you haven't been here before, I highly recommend it, with or without kids.

Isla Mujeres
Kaj discovers tortugas

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres
Cole spies some Seahorses

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres Turtle Nursery
Relocated turtle nests

Isla Mujeres
Birdie incoming!

Isla Mujeres
One of the outdoor holding tanks

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres
Handsome fellow

Next, the obligatory photo op stops at Garrafon and Punta Sur and a place to buy some pretty shells for the kids. This guy is set up just in front of the "squatters' village" and is super nice. His shells are also about a 1/4 of the price of those at Punta Sur.

Isla Mujeres
Birdie in charge

Isla Mujeres
The birthday girl

Garrafon Isla Mujeres
Zip lines at Garrafon

Garrafon Isla Mujeres
Yeah, I know.

Isla Mujeres
Family photo

Punta Sur Isla Mujeres
Ixchel

Punta Sur Isla Mujeres
The sculpture garden at Punta Sur

Punta Sur Isla Mujeres
New locales for the vendors

Punta Sur Isla Mujeres
The residents of Punta Sur

Punta Sur Isla Mujeres 

Shell House Isla Mujeres
The famous Shell House

Isla Mujeres
The not-so-famous Shell Guy

After our whistle stop island tour, we made our way back to the hotel for a quick swim, a nap for some and a few more adult beverages. The clouds were really starting to roll in, the wind kicking up and we were glad to not be out on a boat. Mel and Sally had invited us over to their place for Sunday BBQ, so we piled back into our wet carts and headed across the island to The Soggy Peso.

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
Cole

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
Incoming!

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
Birdie and Damon

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
Geronimo!!

Casa Ixchel Isla Mujeres
JJ and Cole

As the rain came down in buckets, soggy was certainly the theme of the afternoon but we managed to put together a large table under cover of the palapa to enjoy some beers, a few shots in honor of Judy's birthday and a fabulous BBQ complete with slow cooked ribs, chicken and sausage. Despite the B&B and bar being strictly "adults only", they welcomed our kids for the afternoon letting them play in the yard in the rain while we all relaxed and stuffed ourselves silly.

The Soggy Peso
Indeed!

The Soggy Peso
The Soggy Peso

The Soggy Peso
A BBQ essential

The Soggy Peso
Kaj and Cole

The Soggy Peso
JJ and Mel - Gringos in paradise

The Soggy Peso
Words to live by!

The Soggy Peso
Freddie preps Judy

The Soggy Peso
Birthday shots!

The Soggy Peso
Looks like Birdie will be driving home....

The Soggy Peso
Well, that pretty much sums it up.

Isla Mujeres Ferry
The ferry back home...

It was another lovely weekend on Isla Mujeres and it was nice to share our little slice of paradise with friends.  We were disappointed that Rob was sick and that we were unable to see the Whale Sharks but plan to return in a few weeks to try it all again. Who wants to join us this time?