Sunday, June 5, 2022

Similarities Between Isla Mujeres and Sayulita--Are All Pueblo Mágicos Like This?

Isla Mujeres, Mexico Centro

     Isla Mujeres reminded us a little of Sayulita which is also a Mexican Pueblo Mágico. Both towns started as small fishing villages and then were discovered. They’ve become popular and crowded, especially during high season. Both towns have narrow streets filled with tourists driving golf carts and motos. We were glad we had experienced the dangers of an out-of-control golf cart flying toward us much too fast, driven by an inexperienced person who had just been handed the keys for the first time and likely had already enjoyed two or three margaritas at the beach bar. We know of too many pedestrians in Sayulita who have been hit by amateur golf cart drivers. Best to be ready to jump out of the way while walking the streets of these tourist towns!

     One other thing that reminded us of Sayulita was the electricity outage. One evening while lounging in our condo on Isla Mujeres, the power went out—all over the island! It was a hot evening in early Spring and most likely too many people had turned their air conditioners on and overloaded the capacity of the village’s electrical system. Déjà vu—memories of hot summer nights in Sayulita with no air conditioning because the power had gone out and stayed out for hours, sometimes days. That was another reason we’d moved to Puerto Vallarta.

     By morning, much of the island had electrical service restored. But not at the north end where we were staying. A crew of four men and a woman were working on the electrical transformer next to the condominiums—something must have blown out. We were told they would have the parts from Cancun in two hours. Two Mexican hours? We were without power for over 24 hours.

     The worst part was that there was no water flowing to the condos either.  Water was pumped into the buildings with electrical pumps—no electricity, no water pumps, no water. That meant no showers and no water to flush the toilet. Fortunately, we still had two-and-a-half garrafónes of drinking water and knew how to do the “bucket flush”. We poured a couple of gallons of purified drinking water into the mop bucket and then dumped it into the toilet bowl. Down went the waste products.

     I have to admit, after returning from our snorkeling trip to find we still couldn’t take a shower, we used the swimming pool to cool off and rinse the dried salt from our bodies. And we weren’t the only ones… Thankfully, the pool bar was open and the bartender was keeping all of us happy.

     Are all Pueblo Mágicos becoming too popular? Are the infrastructures not being improved quickly enough to keep up with the number of tourists visiting and foreigners moving there? I would love to hear some feedback on this before we travel to another Magic Village.

      This is an excerpt from my new book Living in Mexico More Lessons Learned (Healthy Living in Mexico #5). I hope you enjoy the rest of the book. Available worldwide from Amazon.

Happy Travels!


  1. Nice excerpt, Terry! I think many (formerly) quaint Mexican villages received the Pueblo Magico designation before foreigners overburdened the infrastructure. Ajijic is another example of crowded conditions due to the expat invasion. That's one reason I lasted only a year at the lake before moving to Guadalajara more than nine years ago.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Mikel. I had forgotten that Ajijic is a Pueblo Magico. These small towns got the publicity, but maybe not enough of the government's money to support the influx of visitors and developers.