Nomads Hostel and Hotel in Isla Mujeres is located near the middle of the island, resting quietly on the coastline away from the busy downtown area. I stayed in Nomads for two nights, travelling solo and hoping to make a friend or two along the way. Here’s how it went …
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Booking a dorm or bedroom in Nomads Hostel, Isla Mujeres
I tend to do a lot of my hostel bookings with Hostel World. I’ve used the platform for years and I like the way they allow travellers to rate the accommodation. Check Nomad’s Hostelworld availability.
At the time of booking, my bed in a single female dorm cost £26 per night (plus Mexican taxes).
It’s also worth checking out Nomads Hostel on Booking.com. Every now and again, I’m able to get a room on here for a different rate (or a dorm that appears sold out elsewhere).
How to get to Nomads Hostel, Isla Mujeres
After docking at the Ultramar ferry port in the north of the island, there’s a couple of ways to get down to the hostel:
Taxi: Heading out of the ferry terminal, you’ll find a taxi rank on your left hand side. Taxis down to Nomads should cost you around 100 pesos and will drop you off right outside the hostel reception.
Bus: Turn right as you exit and you’ll find a bus stop. There are a number of buses routing around the island, you’re looking for the one that goes to Ponte Sur (I took the number 5 bus). The journey cost 20 pesos.
Golf cart or scooter: There are tons of vendors in the downtown area looking to rent you a golf cart. For those who can afford it, it’s an efficient way around the island. Nomads Hostel does provide rental for push bikes and carts, but they are often fully booked. I found that rental costs ranged wildly from 50-80 US dollars.
As per a lot of the reviews I’d seen, the hostel staff at the front desk were polite, but not particularly warm. There was little introduction to the hostel (I had to discover the kitchen and the restaurant next door for myself) and many of the social activities listed had been cancelled.
Pros: One of the great things about this place is that they provide you with an electronic wristband that gets you into your room. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, bit it saves you carrying about a loose card that might otherwise be lost. The team member that showed me to my dorm also carried my bag down – unheard of in the hostel world!
How easy is it to meet people in Nomads Hostel?
Walking down from reception to the hostel dorms is a treat. The main building sits in a jungle setting decorated with boats, macarame, and stone furnishings. Passing through the walkway, you’ll find yourself at the hostel’s private beach, complete with wooden bar, sun loungers, hammocks, and swimming pool. It’s absolutely beautiful, and certainly the main attraction to the accommodation.
However, all that being said, I personally feel the layout is slightly flawed when it comes to entertaining solo travellers. With so much space, people were quick to pair off into their own little groups. I’d planned on taking part in one of the hostel’s arranged walks down to the Ponte Sur (in the hopes of naturally picking up conversation with other solo travelers), however, that was cancelled. I did meet people, but it was done on the bus down to the hostel rather than on site.
Nomads Hostel dorm rooms
I slept in an 8 bed female dorm. The room was extremely comfortable, boasting air conditioning, 2 hot water showers, 2 toilets, and a small outdoor space for drying clothes.
Beds come with a personal lamp, USB, and plug socket, and the thick individual blackout curtains meant you had complete privacy. I’d just come from Mayan Monkey Hostel in Cancun, where they had small storage shelves in each pod. This would have been a good addition here, but I’d be nit-picking if I knocked points off for just that.
On arrival, you are given the WhatsApp number of the hostel team to report any issues. Another handy feature! The toilet in my particular dorm stopped working twice (and two girls that had been staying longer told me that this has been a regular occurrence). That being said, the hostel team were very fast to respond.
Nomads Hostel beach
Nomads boasts its own private beach space, alongside a dock from which they host yoga at 8am each morning. Although small, the sandy set up is beautifully laid out for relaxing and the evening parties that they throw. On my final evening at Nomads, the hostel played host to a beach fiesta, which outsiders had to pay for, but residents had access to for free. Despite the heavy music, the rooms were located far enough away that I was still able to drift off to sleep (with the aid of my trusty ear plugs) – remember, this place is advertised as a party hotel!
Nomads Hostel restaurant
As per a lot of the reviews, the service at the hostel’s restaurant is painfully slow and oozes disinterest. It’s a real pity, because the menus is pretty robust, in line with the price of others, and had a decent selection for vegans. I ordered a ‘protein burger’ (made from chickpeas), fries, a beer, and water. The beer was the first to arrive, followed by a half hour wait for the burger, followed by a further 35 minute wait for the fries. The water never surfaced. Eat elsewhere if you can.
It’s worth noting that the bar team downstairs next to the beach were much friendlier.
One of the main attractions to Isla Mujeres is the crystal blue beach around the Playa Norte area. Whilst busy, it’s still relatively easy for tourists to find their own little spot of heaven in the sands here, and the restaurant offering is plentiful.
Getting here from Nomads Hostel is relatively simple – golf cart, taxi, scooter, or bus will all do the job. The journey for my 2-day stay was fine, but it would have quickly become monotonous having to do it across multiple days. I has queried whether I could make the journey by bike, but hostel staff warned me against it due to the distance (around 6 km) and the safety of the roads.
With the (cancelled) activities list alerting me to the fact that Ponte Sur could be visited on foot, I took the opportunity to head down to the south of the island for sunset. The walk will take around 20-30 minutes, following the main road and passing by some of the more secluded luxury hotels on the island. Although the south point itself was pretty underwhelming, the walk down there was dotted with charming roadside bars, all with their own personal style. I passed by a more traditional Mexican venue complete with mariachi band, an Instagram swinging seat bar, and a reggae hut.
Value for money
Despite all my grubmles around slightly unsociable set ups, Nomads Hostel really is beautiful, and oh so clean. Walking through the grounds, you forget for a moment that you’re even in a hostel at all. Secure yourself a spot in one of the hammocks or (better yet) day beds at their beach, and you’re transported to a luxury vacation for the fraction of a normal beach-side resort cost.
That being said, I need these guys to get their service act together a little better. As a seasoned hostel go-er, it’s the memories that get you raving about a backpacker accommodation – not just the fancy plants and Instagrammable extras.
Would I stay again? The jury’s out. Possibly, if I was travelling with friends. I really wanted to love this place, but it lacked the personality I needed for it to claim a coveted spot in my ‘top hostel experiences’ book. However, it certainly changed the opinions around hosteling for a lot of my Instagram followers!