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Reviewed 21 December 2011

Having been to Isla Mujeres before, we wanted a different, more integrated experience with the people who live there rather than the regular hotel/North Beach stay. My husband Bentley found Zina's on the internet and it was exactly what we wanted. It was simple, clean and charming with little arty touches like the tiny white lights illuminating the roof and the shell mobile against sheer turquoise curtains with bottom beads adorning a bedroom window. The full bed and single twin accommodated us and our 12 year-old daughter well. She often played on the terrace with Zina's well behaved and sweet dog dog Punta, a delight. We often had breakfast overlooking the coming and goings from our rooftop. We explored the neighborhood, the local hangouts and bakeries and volunteered at La Gloria English School with kids and Cydnee volunteered independently at the local animal shelter run by Alison Sawyer and her husband Jeff Currant, lovely, giving people. We had so many rich experiences from the La Gloria neighborhood where Zina's is located to the markets, nearby El Meco ruines, snorkeling, body surfing good waves, watching sunsets while eating great local fish, and meeting many good people. The key to all of it was Zina and her connections. Zina is an amazing and very interesting, warm person- striking a great balance between being available and respecting your privacy. If we had stayed in a regular hotel we'd never heard the corn vendor, the roosters, eaten at the scrumptious corner taco restaurant, or learn about the intracacies of the island and the good work that folks are doing with the people there. I think it will be a home away from home. Much better than the noise and bustle of moneyed Cancun and the swim up bars of Cozumel. We've already put our deposit down for our week next December. The weather is perfect this time of year and the exuberance displayed by the island residents with their religious alters to the Virgin of Guadeloupe and creative and colorful Christmas decorations make it an especially festive time of year to go. Isla had heart and soul and Zina is the interpreter par excellence. Ten stars, hands down.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank Debra K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 October 2011

The recorder concerts have progressed through the years from practicing the scales and "Mary had a Little Lamb" to Bach's "Joyfull, Joyfull, We Adore Thee". I am often tempted to throw a recorder into my bag when returning to Zina's so I can join in with the impromptu recorder concerts. The neighborhood is always changing but still the same. My stay was three weeks this time and time is the factor in improving language skills. Usage perks up the vocabulary. Zina has been perking up her verb skills at the language class every week and I ordered a cervesa and listened. Highly recommended but I had a hard time commiting to a one hour lesson each week. Maybe next time. My big accomplishments on this trip other than seeing old friends and meeting new ones was buying a cell phone and my biggist accomplishment, a Mexican senior pass for public transportation. It was so easy, photos and copies of rental agreements, passport and power bills. I felt confident enough of my language skills that I walked the short distance from Zina's to the senior center and made my application. When asked my owners phone number for emergency purposes, I whipped out my new cell phone, scrolled down through my contact list and showed it to the processing agent. Zina can attest to the fact that I was beeming when I picked up my pass several days later. I guess the felling of satisfaction came to me because I was starting to assimilate. I love the feeling of community when I stay at Zina's Guest House.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled solo
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3  Thank KathrynIowa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2011

WOW!! Talk about an amazing vacation made even better by an amazing host. We totally lucked out finding Zina’s Guest House. We could not have imagined a better place to stay. Ever. Zina definately gets an A++ for the best host, as does her dog, Punta.

Upon our arrival Zina took us upstairs to our new “home” for the week... I think I may have squealed with delight! The patio is fabulous, with a beautiful view, hammocs, wading pool and a little cabanna. We actually slept outside one night! The inside was just as perfect... a kitchenette with everything you may need, fresh goodies in the fridge, crisp linens on the bed and in the bath, and even a TV with a million channels (but who needs a TV when youre here?!).

Zina also gave us a private tour around the island pointing out the best veggie stands and bakeries all while giving us the history of Isla Mujeres. This woman knows the island, the language, and the people! And lucky for us she knows Enrique Avila. If youre going to Isla Mujeres to scuba dive (or snorkel) go with Enrique - www.divingislamujeres.com - you will NOT be disappointed. The 7 dives were the best I have experienced. He is amazing.

My trip to this gem of an island was the first will definitely will not be the last (we’re already looking at staying with Zina in September!). I don’t think our experience here would be near as special if we had stayed at a resort or hotel. Zina is a special lady with a big heart and a welcoming home. We have left with wonderful memories, new friends, yummy smoothie recipes, and a little sad face because we won't be back to stay here for a few more months.

  • Stayed: May 2011
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1  Thank kateybandrobertm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2011

After 15+ trips to Isla Mujeres I took my first solo trip. I decided to spend the first 4 days in centro and the last 4 in the colonias. I wanted to ensure that the last 4 days were spent relaxing. Zina's guest house in colonia La Gloria was the perfect place for that. I was greeted by Zina and her sweetheart of a dog Punta. (I just love the way Punta rests her head on my lap when I sit down.) I stayed in the upstairs apartment which has a great breeze. Having all the windows open and hearing the activity of the island from the time the rooster crows =) and into the night when the high school aged boys were play boxing in the street was all music to my ears. The apartment is very spacious with a large bedroom and a very well equipped kitchen. I could have made all my meals there if I so desired but who wants to do that when there are so many good restaurants around? Also, being up top you have direct access to the rooftop relaxation area. Having the wading pool and the mattress to stretch out and sun your buns was pure HEAVEN! I spent my first afternoon doing just that! It was the perfect way to ease into La Gloria living.
That evening Zina drove me over, in her golf cart, to Bastos Grill. This was one of the restaurants I had on my list. When I had asked people downtown where this restaurant was no one seemed to know. Well, Zina knew right where it was and was a frequent visitor! Our meal there was delicious! I had some Mayan soup (sorry can't remember the name) that was perfectly spiced. I also had a delicious and artistic caprese salad. I watched as the son snipped the basil right off the plant. Talk about fresh!! While at dinner Zina educated me on the "piano bars" on the island. Great food, great conversation. After dinner Zina gave me a tour of the island and helped me associate myself with places I wanted to go, things I wanted to see and all of the new buildings and playground that have popped up in the last year and a half since I had been on the island.
Being this was my first stay in the colinia's I wanted to stay in a place where I felt safe and with someone who could point me in the right direction of where I wanted to go and things I should not miss out on. Zina's was the perfect place!

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank lagovistajenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2011

We stayed here for 5 days in April. We stayed in the apartment upstairs, and it was great. Zina had stocked the kitchen with great snacks (including fresh fruit and vegetables), and the apartment was super-clean and tidy. The location is awesome. This is a neighborhood where the people of Isla Mujeres live. It’s not for tourists. We loved this. We went to the open market down street in the mornings and got fresh fruits and vegetables; we watched kids in the neighborhood make kites at dusk; we ate fabulous tacos at a little stand down the street; we walked a few blocks to buy fresh-squeezed juice from a little juice stand. And we ate dinner several times at Bastos—an awesome neighborhood restaurant.

Zina is an excellent host and invited us out lots of times, to the beach, to the yacht club, to a really fun fisherman’s bar with live music, etc. We met a lot of people and saw a lot of things we wouldn’t otherwise have. She also gave us a great tour on her golf cart our first day there.

But what really made this trip memorable: I got really sick. As in, really really sick and needed a doctor. (This had nothing to do with Zina’s of course, just one of those crappy things that can happen occasionally on vacation.) Zina contacted her primary care doctor, who sent over his nurse to administer care and later came by himself. Zina was incredibly helpful through the whole thing. It can be terrifying being sick far from home, but I felt in safe hands.

Bottom line: great price; awesome, interesting location; and a wonderful guide to show you the beautiful island.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank RAAMAA13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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