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Isla Mujeres is a short ferry ride from Cancun, but feels worlds away. If you’re looking to experience life on a Caribbean island, this is the place. The island is only half a mile wide by 5 miles long and was named by Spanish pirates who kept their women secluded here while they went out to plunder. Most of the developments are located along the main pedestrian mallway in the island’s only town. The island does get its fair share of day trippers, however, which might actually help stave off island fever. But at night, when the crowds disappear and the sound of lapping waves returns, it’s hard to imagine ever regretting a move to Isla Mujeres. The nearest mainland point to the island, Playa Mujeres, has become a popular retirement enclave with a pace and lifestyle closer to the island than bustling Cancun to the south.

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