I roll my eyes – about 100 meters ahead of me, I only spot the rear lights of the bus I was supposed to take to get back to the center of Isla Mujeres. Instead of waiting at the curb, I decided to start walking. I don’t expect another one of the local busses within the next hour or so. It’s straightforward walking on an island that is about 8 km long and only max. 650 meters wide. I won’t get lost. So I walk – along the concrete road in the early afternoon heat. I pass many impressive holiday homes where non-Mexican people wash their big cars in the driveway, and tall fences separate neat properties from a not-so-awesome environment. There is garbage everywhere, and the pandemic adds its share with light blue worn face masks thrown away carelessly. Not much later, I walk past the island’s dumpsite. It’s almost absurd: to my right, the spectacular Caribbean Sea with this unreal turquoise color, and to my left, the undeniable sign of human consumption as trash piles up. Keeping on walking, I feel the sweat soaking my shirt. I like that feeling; it’s cleansing. From time to time, groups of golf carts, the preferred mode of transport on the island, pass me. I almost wish that one would stop and give me a ride. Suddenly there is that random coconut stall at the side of the road. I stop by and buy a coconut. The vendor is almost covered up as he is wearing a scarf as a face mask, and I look into my face because he wears reflective sunglasses. But I guess he smiles when he gives me a second coconut for free. He offers me his chair for a rest, but I decide to keep on walking. Not long after, I hear a bus approaching – I turn around and wave my hand. The driver smiles. It is the same person that dropped me off at Punta Sur, the most southern point of the island, over two hours ago.
Apart from Playa Norte, the Mayan archaeological site at Punta Sur is the major attraction in the area. In former times the island was sacred to the Maya goddess of childbirth and medicine, Ixchel. A small temple for Ixchel was located air the most southern tip, but hurricanes destroyed it. Also, the shallow lagoon waters on the western side of Punta Sur were an excellent spot for sailors to sit out storms. Around the early 1800s, Isla Mujeres was also a favorite stopping place for pirates. Today, it is only a few giant lizards that scare tourists.