I went on an unintentional hiatus with this blog right before taking two especially amazing tropical vacations in 2015, including one to the Mexican island of Isla Mujeres (literally “women island”). As a result, I’ve posted little to nothing about either trip, which is a shame as both were wonderful. They also took a lot of planning to make them so great – especially Isla Mujeres. I couldn’t seem to find any good maps or travel guides to help me out – everything I found was either quite outdated, or was a small part of a much larger travel guide for the Yucatán Peninsula. I had started to just print off whatever decent-looking maps I found on tourism websites online. Then, days before we left, I stumbled across the MapChick set of maps/travel guides for Isla Mujeres. They sounded like exactly what I needed, and I liked that the company is run by a couple who travel frequently to the island, so I took a chance and rush ordered their 4-map set so it would get to us in time! And I am so, so glad I did this, because it made our trip a thousand times easier, and here’s why:
- These maps are beautifully illustrated and easy-to-read with clear, large print.
- Although the Isla Mujeres maps come in a “4 map set”, you actually get 8 maps divided among 4 brochures!
- Each map also functions as a full travel guide, as it has call-out boxes with tips, suggestions, insider info and warnings, and insight, along with showing you where everything is! There is even a suggested self-guided snorkeling tour around the “Secret Beach” which Eric and I tried out and really enjoyed. It added a great deal to our trip!
- The set includes a main map that helps you “get to know” the island, while the other maps cover specifics on hotels/rentals, downtown attractions, downtown restaurants, island restaurants, island attractions, and two different self-guided golf cart tours! The golf cart maps were the only ones we never used as we didn’t end up renting a golf cart. It never felt like we were carrying too many maps around as we were able to easily pick and choose the ones we’d like to use at any given moment. The main map also did a great job in getting us acclimated with the entire island.
- Considering all that you get and the effort that obviously went into making these, I found the price very reasonable.
- There had been a couple of updates since the map set I ordered went to press, so the MapChick team included a handy slip indicating those changes with my order. It was the same size as the folded maps so it was easy to bring along with me as a reminder. I found that to be a very helpful and thoughtful touch that I doubt you will encounter with larger companies.
- In addition, if you check the proper box when checking out, you’ll get a great two-sided map of the Cancun airport added to your order, for FREE! (I took this option and was very happy with it!)
If you’re looking for a great map and/or travel guide to Isla Mujeres, I don’t think you can do any better than MapChick. They also carry maps for other areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, and provide helpful information and a digital vacation planner and fish identification guide right on their website! It’s so much fun to browse around. Check it all out at the MapChick website right here.
–Las Vegas for our first wedding anniversary! It was fabulous as always. It was my second trip and Eric’s first. We had a fantastic time in our gorgeous luxury GO suite at the Flamingo and trekking all over the Strip. We did get slowed down a bit by an unfortunate case of tendonitis I developed – talk about painful! Because of that we did not make it over to Sam’s Town, the Stratosphere on the North End, the Vegas sign on the South end or to downtown (Fremont Street or “Old Vegas”). However, that’s what follow-up trips are for! We hope to get out there again this summer and experience “hot Vegas” for once.
–Austin, a first time trip for me, for a week for business. Didn’t get out to see much on this first trip which didn’t bother me because I knew I’d be back at least twice in 2014 – but I definitely ate my weight in Tex-Mex. One of my best friends, Beth, made the trip down from Lubbock to visit on my last night there which was GREAT. I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Airport Austin which I highly recommend. I’m finally at Elite Silver status for Marriott which is encouraging me to seek out Marriotts more often.
–Corpus Christi for Christmas with my wonderful in-laws! I got the grand tour, including stops at the Texas State Aquarium and Padre Island, and ate lots of great food including fabulous Puerto Rican homecooked Christmas dinner. We also ate at a great restaurant in San Antonio. Christmas this year will be in KG, but I’m sure we’ll be back to Corpus again before then. His parents very nicely put us up in a Residence Inn Marriott.
-Return to Austin for nearly two weeks – this time my husband joined me for a good deal of the trip. It was nice to have him there and we did lots of fun things including walking all over the famous 6th Street, where we visited a quirky arcade bar, bought way too many books at BookPeople, chilled out in a city park, and ate a ton of good food including a fabulous meal at one of Sandra Bullock’s restaurants, Bess Bistro. Sadly, it was not bat season or we would’ve seen an impressive display from the winged critters, some of Austin’s most famous residents! I will be back in April. And yes, it was the same Courtyard Marriott again – impeccable service!
–Albuquerque, another first time trip, for another long business trip of about 12 days. I love it! I had seen New Mexico before, but only briefly. ABQ is full of friendly people and gorgeous views. Even the highways are decorated with art – glowing blue “mountains”, pottery jars, a giant rattlesnake – and in the background you can see the lovely Sandia Mountains. Eric flew out just for the weekend and we saw two old friends (and groomsmen) of his, Seth and Mike. We discovered we love New Mexico’s famous green chile at the Owl Cafe with Seth and tried a homegrown ghost chile at Mike’s (and some tasty homemade peanut brittle made with ghost chile by his father-in-law). We rode the tram up to Sandia Peak and ate at the High Finance restaurant at the top while snow whipped around outside. I stayed at a Residence Inn at the “25” development.
Upcoming trips include (for work) Miami and Austin and (for play), our annual Lynch family Beach Week to the Grand Strand in September! I’m also trying to plan a birthday-week trip driving up the East Coast to visit Portland, Maine. That would add at least three new states to my U.S. state checklist! Currently, I’m just 20 states away from having all seen all 50.
My current U.S. “states visited” map courtesy of visitedstatesmap.com:
30 down, 20 left to go!