Fodor's Expert Review Playa Lancheros
On the western side of the island, this stretch between Laguna Makax and El Garrafón National Park is a popular spot with an open-air restaurant where locals gather to eat freshly grilled tikin xic (whole fish marinated with adobo de achiote and sour oranges, then wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked over an open flame). Playa Lancheros has grittier sand than Playa Norte but more palm trees. Calm water makes it good for children, although it's best if they stay close to shore as the bottom drops off steeply. Souvenir stands here are fairly low-key, and most bars and restaurants will give you access to their beach facilities provided you order a drink. The closest hotel is Isla Mujeres Palace, an all-inclusive resort open to hotel guests only. There's a small pen with tame tiburones gatos (nurse sharks). You can swim with them or just get your picture taken for a M$20 tip. Amenities: food and drink; parking (free). Best for: snorkeling.