Isla Mujeres Stories and Tips

Villa Kiin Hotel

Villa Kiin    Photo, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

There are lots more expensive hotels on Isla. Like Na Balam across the street, for instance, where you can shell out $300 a night. Or spas in the South End that swaddle you in serenity and ectasy. But if price was no object for me, I'd stay at the Villa Kin. If I had little kids, I'd be that much more inclined.

The big reason: location, location, location. Let me explain the layout a little. Right off the north beach of Isla is a tiny sub-island connected by a bridge and sporting a high rise hotel complex. This creates a small lagoon, about the size of a football field. A coral reef that keeps big waves out of the lagoon, but allows fresh water to flow through. This little lagoon is so shallow you can usually just walk actross it. No motorboats enter. To the north, you can wade or walk on the sand to North Beach...or swim out to the reef. To the east you can see the Caribbean waves. It's about a quarter mile to the center of town. Out by the reef are tidepools and rocks that offer fun snorkeling or exploration. On the other side is a gentle white sand beach that drops off very slowly. And that beach is where Villa Kin is located.

The Villa has been there a long time, by Mayan Riviera standards, and it's not very modern or fancy or the height of luxury. It doesn't need to be. What it is, it's the perfect blend of Isla's laid back beachcomber atmosphere and contemporary conveniences like good plumbing, electricity and service. It's not "funky" or "rustic"'s what you might think of when you hear the words "beach cottage". Rooms are nice, with tables and chairs on verandas looking out at the lagoon and Caribe. Or you can wander down to the hammocks hanging between the palms, or hang out in any number of public patios and nooks. Or step through the gate and be on the beach. No lobby, no elevator...just barefoot access.

The beach has been described as one of the world's greatest waterholes for kids, and it lives up to it. The gentle shallows are safe and welcoming enough for babes in arms, hazard free for toddlers and frolicking grade-schoolers. Older kids can swim across to do some real snorkeling, never in more than five feet of water. Past the bridge is a sand shelf that extends the azure shallows a hundred yards out into open sea.

This is no protected tourist preserve, though. It's a favorite with locals: attracting family groups, not young hotdogs and boozers. On Sundays, the beach is full of Mexican families and their cute little kiddos. Some expatriates pack folding chairs down and pass the day there. It's a spot that appeals to young Japanese tourists. It's lowkey and serene, but also an international community. If you want to experience what Isla life is like, this is the place and no doubt about it.

But how about your lifestyle while there? To give an idea of the Villa Kin concept or a relaxing personal hotel, they have no restaurant or bar. Not a problem to find either close by, but you see the point. And how it fits with having two kitchens so you can do some light cooking if you want. They serve a free light breakfast of breads, yoghurt, fruit and coffee/tea each morning, as well. In the "Diego Rivera Room", which is an eclecticly decorated space full of Mexican art and books about local and regional subjects.
And hey, NO phones and NO TV.

And there's no need to part with $300 a day to hang out here, either. In fact, it's one of the major bargains on the island. The rooms are all different, and in several categories. Rates range from $49 USD for rooms with 2 double beds in low season to $180 in high season for ocean view rooms with king sized beds.

It's a few blocks to the market, around the corner to snorkle gear rental (in case you were dumb enough to come here without a mask and snorkle) three blocks to the restaurant row downtown...and a few sandy steps to the water.

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