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History of Isla Mujeres, one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean


A historic paradise

transformed and respected

A paradisiacal destination formed on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, located off Cancun and considered one of the most important in Quintana Roo. Isla Mujeres it has become one of the favorites for many tourists. The history of Isla Mujeres It is very interesting to understand how it has become so important for tourism in Mexico.

Known for its clear, warm waters, it is the perfect habitat for pieces, sea turtles and dolphins, and is the ideal place to live with them. In addition, the island has different recreational activities that you will have to live the island life.

This is how this beautiful island went from being an ancient place inhabited by the Maya, to being one of the Magical Towns of Mexico most visited.

island history women -map

The beginning

The origin of Isla Mujeres dates back to the year 564, in the times of the ancient Mayan civilization. The island was part of a set of territories called Ekab, what we now know as Quintana Roo.

In those days this place it was a shrine where female-shaped offerings were offered to the goddess Ixchel, Mayan goddess of the moon, love, abundance and fertility. For this reason, the Island was consecrated to her. A large group of Mayan women followed her in various types of ceremonies, as in their transition to adulthood they begged to be blessed for fertility.

history of Isla Mujeres - goddess ixchel
Photo by @ fightinglion79

Legend has it that the great Mayan warriors were madly in love with her. There was no one who resisted her beauty, she was the perfect woman.

“El Meco” named after a local resident of the nineteenth century, but archaeological ruins that were part of Isla Mujeres. These establishments were said to have been abandoned in 600 AD and then repopulated by a group related to the Itzáes and Cocomes of Mayapán between 1000 and 1100, to carry out economic activities.

Spanish colonization

During an expedition from Spain commanded by Francisco Hernandez of Cordova in 1517, the Spaniards discovered Isla Mujeres. When they arrived, there were gold objects, figures and a stone statue, all in female form, which were given as an offering for the goddess Ixchél. That’s when they decided to call her Isla Mujeres.

women island - aerial photo
Photo by @tripinmexico

In July 1847, more than 200 Mayan fishermen fled the Caste War in the state of Yucatan, arriving in this territory, where they had to learn to live in conditions typical of a land surrounded by sea. Just as on August 17, 1850, the town of “Dolores”, today Isla Mujeres, was founded in the state of Quintana Roo.

One of the most interesting stories of its development occurs during this period, in which Fermín Mundaca, merchant, slave trader, architect, sculptor, painter, poet and farmer arrived on the island in the early nineteenth century. Once on the island, he decided to settle in this little paradise where he founded the Hacienda Vista Alegre, being a community establishment that generated important economic activities, such as animal husbandry and agriculture.


In 1964, before the founding of Cancun, Zacíl Há was built, the first hotel on the island. There were two ways to get to Isla Mujeres; Across the sea, or by road from Valladolid, Yucatan to Puerto Juarez where you take a raft.

Isla Mujeres had 651 inhabitants who preserved the seascape. It was mainly inhabited by fishermen and dressed by the boats that surrounded the place. Urbanly, Isla Mujeres was very limited.

In the destination we know today, we can enjoy its richness with the different places founded and created through history, stories such as the Punta Sur cliff, Tortugranja, Playa Norte, Etc.

Punta Sur, located in the highest part of the island, reaches 20 meters above sea level. It is an adjoining formation that offers a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea, and it is there that archeological vestiges of the temple to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of love and fertility are found.

currently It is a prosperous municipality and chosen by miles of visitors and foreigners, has 1,100 km² with a population of 19,495 people. From 2015, the coveted category of Pueblo Mágico de México was awarded.

You can reach Puerto Juárez by ferry or from the Hotel Zone. A journey that will leave you speechless, admiring the different shades of blue of the Caribbean Sea. If you are safe, you will be able to see dolphins in the open.

Since you know how Isla Mujeres was founded, you will better understand the places you visit when you visit them. Although it ceased to be a shrine specifically for the goddess Ixchél, its inhabitants still preserve and respect the ancient Mayan goddess, as well as the history of this beautiful place.

Read also: 6 islands in Quintana Roo that you can visit.

pinterest women island history


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