It is located in the Caribbean Sea, very close to the Yucatan peninsula, southeast of Mexico. The island is part of one of the eleven municipalities of the State of Quintana Roo, the municipality of Isla Mujeres (which includes part of the mainland) and is located thirteen kilometers from the city of Cancun, the main tourist pole in the region.
The island was discovered by the expedition of Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in 1517. In pre-Hispanic times the island was consecrated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the Moon, love and fertility, who received offerings in feminine forms that the believers deposited in her Beaches. When the Spanish conquerors arrived and observed the figures, they baptized it as Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres is located across the bay. Its warm and transparent waters are the perfect home for dolphins and turtles, and swimming with them is one of the most attractive activities that can be done here. To get to the island, you have to take a ferry from Puerto Juárez or a ferry from Punta Sam (cars); The crossing lasts 15 minutes from Puerto Juárez (Cancun) or 45 minutes from Punta Sam.
At the southern tip of the island there are vestiges of a Mayan temple. Archaeologists know that Isla Mujeres was a sanctuary dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of fertility, and that Mayan women had to make a pilgrimage to the island as part of their transition from girl to woman. Today, the pilgrimage to the island is carried out by lovers of marine animals and the beauty of its tropical nature. Isla Mujeres was also a refuge and home to famous pirates and slave traders, such as Fermín Mundaca and Marecheaga.
HOME OF A PIRATE
Fermín Mundaca y Marecheaga, quien aparentemente radicó en la ínsula en el año de 1858, siendo relacionado en esos años de la Guerra de Castas con el tráfico de prisioneros mayas a Cuba.
Fermín Mundaca y Marecheaga, who apparently settled on the island in 1858, being related in those years of the Caste War with the trafficking of Mayan prisoners to Cuba.
According to the Ecclesiastical Archive of the Province of Vizcaya, Mundaca was born in the Villa de Bermeo, of Santa María, of that Spanish province, on October 11, 1825. His arrival in America has not been established with exactitude, although it must have happened between 1840 and 1845, when many Spaniards, particularly from the aforementioned province of Vizcaya, emigrated as a result of the severe economic crisis that this Spanish region experienced. After spending some years in Cuba, he had to move to Isla Mujeres taking advantage of the special and exclusive fishing permits that the Yucatecan government extended to Cuban-Spaniards such as Francisco Martí and Torrens in 1847.
Mundaca carried out his architectural work between 1862 and 1876, according to inscriptions on the estate itself, which he dedicated to a native woman: Martiniana Gómez Pantoja, better known as “La Trigueña”. Oral testimony tells that the islander never reciprocated, and that Mundaca, tired of insisting, fell ill with love and died.
CAVE OF THE SLEEPING SHARK
Isla Mujeres Several decades ago there was a myth that sharks did not sleep, because if they did not move the water would stop passing through their gills and they would die asphyxiated. At least that was believed.
It was a Mexican who discovered the truth. Carlos Castillo García “Valve”, a humble old-school lobster fisherman, who dived only with the air he had in his lungs, discovered the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks in Isla Mujeres.
He noticed that the sharks were entering but not leaving and bravely, he inhaled air to submerge. He managed to make out large gray stones, however, when his eyes began to look better, he realized that they were sharks! More than 20 marine animals were there, peacefully, literally sleeping. Among them were huge blue cleaners, and yes, they were sleeping. Excited, he told what happened to his great friend, Ramón Bravo Prieto, the best underwater cameraman in the history of Mexico. They both went back to the cave and there they were, sharks of different species: cat, blue shark, tiger, mako, white tip and leopard, some dangerous.
Dr. Eugene Clark from the Scripps Oceanographic Foundation of La Joya in California contacted, and that was how they recorded the unreleased show for the first time.
This discovery, which shocked the scientific world, was captured by Commander Jacques Y ves Cousteau, at the time commander of the oceanographic vessel Calypso, who through his son Phillippe came into contact with Bravo.