Published On: Tue, Sep 20th, 2016

Celebrating a 50th birthday on Isla Mujeres

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To celebrate turning fifty quietly, my husband and I returned to the small, beautiful island of Isla Mujeres for a couple days.

The (ADO) bus ride from Merida is about 4.5 hours so I made some sandwiches and small snacks to bring. They usually show a movie or documentary in Spanish, but I stash a kindle, and a notebook in my bag for entertainment. On the bus, I also thought about turning 50, which is still hard to wrap my mind around, while musing about some ideas and plans like doing more writing and art, affording to maybe travel to New Zealand/Australia next year, and still exploring ideas for work I can pursue.

Once we arrive in Cancun, we take a bus to the Ultramar to catch the ferry to Isla Mujeres. The turquoise/jade color of the water is stunning once again. (It’s hot here too.) We walk past the vendors lining the main street, making our way to the Norte where we stayed at Na Balam. I chose this hotel because its location, and connection to the Vastu Yoga Studio/School so I could take a yoga class.

My husband asks, ”How does it feel to turn 50?” I reply, “It is strange, but I still feel a little young to be 50.” This is how we spent the day celebrating cincuenta años:

(PHOTO: George Aguilar)

(PHOTO: George Aguilar)

We had a nice complementary hotel breakfast with fruit, eggs, bread, and coffee. Then I went to take a class at Vastu Yoga, but it was canceled. So I walked down the beach to check out another option at the nearby, ‘Yoga in the Tree House’ which had a 9am class just starting. I joined two other yogis and our instructor Greg, and enjoyed a small group practice. After class we were all talking and I learned that one of the other women was from North Carolina, and happened to be celebrating her 40th birthday this day too! What are the chances I’d meet someone with the same birthday, on the same island, in a small yoga class, also celebrating a new decade? That was fun.

(PHOTO: George Aguilar)


During the early afternoon, my husband rented a scooter and we rode around the island. We visited the Punta Sur Sculpture Garden at the Garaffón Reef Park where you can see the ancient temple honoring the Mayan Moon Goddess; as well as, gorgeous views. We stopped for lunch at the Ice Bar, and then to see the little Sea Turtle Farm.

Later in the afternoon, I walked around the shopping area enjoying the colorful artisan stands and handicrafts, and treated myself to pistachio gelato, and a new hat.

(PHOTO: Andrea Aguilar)

(PHOTO: Andrea Aguilar)

We had a nice dinner at the Oceanvs Restaurant at a table on the beach, and ended up taking a slice of tiramisu to share later, as I am a big fan of birthday cake! If you want to spend an occasion on a beautiful island away from the party scene in Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a perfect place, in my experience, to begin a new decade.

By Andrea Aguilar for TYT


andrea-aguilar-thumb-e1463415550932Andrea Aguilar is an American expat. She spent a year traveling the world with her husband while they searched for a new community to call home after having lived in San Francisco for 20 years. Her interests typically include yoga, writing, reading, and once she leaves the house, discovering a new adventure.  Follow more of Andrea’s adventures on her blog andrea*poem, or Instagram (andreapoem).

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