Isla Blanca: So This Is Where All The Kite Surfers Hang Out

Ok, fine. I didn’t actually do any kite surfing myself, but I found out where everybody else is doing it!

On Saturday morning, Jorge woke up to a text message from his friend Benja saying his family was going to Isla Blanca, and did we want to join them? I was dying for a beach day and since we don’t have a car, I jump at every opportunity to get a ride all the way up there.

I’ve been to Isla Blanca before (read about that in this old blog post!) and it had always been pretty busy, but this time we had the beach almost all to ourselves. Something tells me Isla Blanca must just get really busy on Sundays. Isla Blanca is a strip of land with the ocean on one side and a huge, shallow lagoon on the other. The best part of all: it’s virgin land. Apart from one or two little seafood restaurants and a handful of beach homes on the way there, it hasn’t been touched. With tourism booming, we don’t have many places like this left in the Mexican Caribbean. Every time I go, I see so many birds!

The downside was the large amount of seaweed on the beach. We’ve been getting a lot of seaweed in Cancun this year, but I hear it helps prevent erosion to make the beaches bigger! Nobody seems sure what is causing it this year, but I guess that’s nature for ya. 🙂

It’s not that easy to reach. Isla Blanca is about 30 minutes north of Downtown Cancun, and a large part of that drive is unpaved road. You really need a car (preferably a sporty one!) to get to Isla Blanca. But it’s so worth it.

When we got there, Benja’s parents had already set up lunch under the shade of a lone tree. A very cool location!

After chowing down on some chips and ceviche, we headed to the lagoon to explore a little. In addition to some brave guys wakeboarding behind a truck, which looks REALLY FUN, we also found some baby mangrove trees, a family playing with their dogs, and even a horseshoe crab! (I was so excited about seeing my first live horseshoe crab, but later my friends from Philly tell me they see them all the time back home… I guess it all depends on where you’re from!)

A 5-minute walk by the lagoon led us to a campsite with trucks and tents, which turned out to be a big group of kite surfers. It was the first weekend of “Semana Santa” (a 2-week Catholic holiday in Mexico), so I’m guessing that’s why it was so busy. I may be wrong. But there were dozens of kites over the shallow lagoon water taking full advantage of the windy day. We saw some jumps, some pretty fast kites, and even a few wipeouts!

There’s not much to say about the rest of our day at Isla Blanca. We spent the afternoon exploring, watching the ocean, eating and listening to music. Can’t wait til my next chance to go back!

Sunday at Isla Blanca Beach

Let’s go to the beach -each,

Let’s go get away.

Those are the lyrics I listened to while I packed our backpack for our beach trip yesterday. Nothing works like Nicki Minaj to get me pumped for a day out!

I’ve always heard great things about Isla Blanca, a beautiful spot just up the coast from Cancun. It’s a mostly virgin area, with just a few mansions set along the beach along with 1 or 2 restaurants. The drive from downtown Cancun took about an hour, first passing through Puerto Juarez then heading north along a jungle-lined highway filled with pink flowers. Eventually, the highway turns into a rough, winding path through the jungle that takes you to an almost untouched beach and lagoon.

We parked the car on the side of the road and were immediately greeted by the loud chirping of bugs all around us. I’d never heard bugs that noisy, and it was so cool being in the middle of nowhere.

Spotting the bright turquoise water on the horizon, I knew the trek north would be worth it.

We had arrived before most of the crowds and had our choice of spots on the sand. To lay out our pareos, we had to clear some of the seaweed out of the way. Then, Jorge turned on our iPod speakers and we took in the scenery while listening to some Sugar Ray and reggae.

The water itself was ideal: crystal clear! There were no plants underfoot and the temperature was cool but not too cold. It’s no secret that Jorge and I hate waves, but the waves here were soft enough not to be a problem. We also had some pretty good views of Isla Mujeres and Cancun’s Hotel Zone off in the distance.

After a swim or 2, the blogger in me had the urge to explore. I walked to the nearby lagoon and a bit up the beach, and found tons of beautiful sights!

Taken from the beach, with the lagoon on the horizon

The lagoon

The only negatives of this beach were the large amounts of seaweed on the beach and the lack of shade. Other than that, it was amazing. No beach is perfect, right?

Our little group of friends filled the afternoon with napping, exploring, swimming and snacks before trekking back to Cancun. I loved the untouched feel of Isla Blanca, and I hope to make it back someday.

 

Gringation’s Isla Blanca Tips:

  • Sunscreen. Always.
  • Umbrella. A secluded, untouched beach also means no beach club, so loungers and umbrellas are in short supply. There was lots of jungle, but alas no palm trees for shade. Bringing along your own umbrella is a great idea if you’re not used to a lot of sun.
  • Snacks and several large bottles of water. Again, a secluded beach means hardly any restaurants.
  • Got a well-behaved dog? Bring him along! We saw tons of people with their dogs on this beach, and it looked like so much fun. Just make sure to be near some shade and to supply plenty of fresh water for your pet.
  • Pocket change. There was a bathroom area on our stretch of beach. Cost: $5 pesos
  • Go on a weekday. We went on a Sunday, and tons of locals showed up by early afternoon. Luckily there was still plenty of room right by where we were, but certain areas got quite crowded.

 

Yucatan Folklore Part 4

I promised you a story about how Yucatan’s mystical aluxes are known for getting even. Here, it’s commonly known that you NEVER, EVER make fun of or insult aluxes.

Maria, a close friend of mine, is really into bike riding. From time to time, she’ll go biking up north towards Isla Blanca with her bike group. This is a fairly undeveloped area north of Cancun, and the roads are lined with jungle.

On one particular trip, Maria had stopped to eat an apple, then she threw the apple core into the jungle and yelled, “Take that, aluxes!!”

Big mistake.

She used to never have any problems riding there. But now, every time she drives along that stretch of road towards Isla Blanca, her tires go flat 3 times.