How to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, Mexico – the ferry and other options
If you are wondering how to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, stay with me. In this post, I will tell you absolutely all the different options you have to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun
Isla Mujeres is a beautiful island just 30 minutes ferry-ride from the pristine Cancun coast.
Isla Mujeres is without a doubt one of the places you should visit if you are in the area.
Its spectacular white sand beaches, the underwater museum, and the rugged coast on the ocean side, are just a few of the amazing things you can do in Isla Mujeres.
It is a real gem, although a little touristy but still worth a visit, at least once. There are different ways to enjoy the island, depending on how much time you have and how you have fun.
You can either join a catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres, or you can stay on the island for a few days and run around on a golf cart.
Oh, yes! Renting a golf cart in Isla Mujeres is your only way to drive around on your own, as they don’t have car rentals on the island.
If you decide to visit the island for a few days (best choice!) you might want to check out the fabulous vacation rentals in Isla Mujeres.
Now, once you have decided how you want to enjoy the island you’ve got to know how to get there, right?
Read on! In the below section of the article, I will tell you all the possible ways to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
Take the Ferry to Isla Mujeres from Cancun
If you want to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres on your own, you can just use the ferry service. It’s only 20-minute ride on one of the best spots of the Caribbean ocean where the color of the water is such an intense shade of turquoise that the view alone makes the trip worth it.
The ferry leaves from different terminals in Cancun every 30 minutes and it takes about 20 minutes to get to the island on a very frequent schedule from before 7 am till midnight.
That gives a good range of time for those who love to visit Isla Mujeres in one day in total freedom.
Depending on where you are staying there are different Ferry terminals along the coast in Cancun so you can choose the one that is more convenient for you.
Isla Mujeres Ferry from Cancun Hotel Zone
From the Cancun Hotel Zone, you can find 3 terminals from which you can get your ferry to Isla Mujeres.
- Isla Mujeres Ferry Terminal Playa Caracol
- Isla Mujeres Ferry Terminal Playa Tortugas
- Isla Mujeres Ferry Terminal El Embarcadero
Wherever you choose to leave from the price is the same, 15 USD one way and 21 USD round trip.
If you are not staying in the hotel zone you should consider leaving from one of the Puerto Juarez ferry terminals which is way cheaper.
Check out their location on the below map so that you can choose the one that’s closer to your hotel. All of them have parking lots nearby but the one in Puerto Juarez is bigger.
All of the departing points have more or less the same schedule.
How to reach the Isla Mujeres Ferry Terminal in the Hotel Zone.
To reach The ferry terminals in Playa Caracol or Playa Tortuga you can hop on a bus (R1) from your hotel in the Hotel Zone. If you are staying in the downtown Cancun area, it’s more convenient to call a taxi (there is no UBER in Cancun).
Puerto Juarez Ferry to Isla Mujeres
In Puerto Juarez there are 3 ferry terminals to Isla Mujeres:
TERMINAL ULTRAMAR – it’s the most practical for its frequent schedule and it’s much cheaper than leaving from the hotel zone (190 MXN vs 300 MXN one way.). Kids below 1.20mt (3.9ft) pay 150 MXN) below 1ys old free of charge, although the boarding pass is required) Please check schedule and prices on their official web.
TERMINAL PUNTA SAM – It’s only used if you want to take your car to Isla Mujeres and they only accept the driver, no other people on the ferry. You check their price and schedule on their website. You might need to contact them in case the website is not updated.
TERMINAL MARITIMA PUERTO JUAREZ – This terminal is located at only 400 mt from the Ultramar terminal. It’s smaller but there are two companies that leave from there to Isla Mujeres.
One is NAVEGANTO. At the moment as I am writing this they have suspended their service for maintenance, but they will come back in the near future.
You can check out their updates on their official page. The other company is a small one that leaves from the same terminal. Unfortunately, I don’t have their details, but I just wanted to give you the option.
How to get from Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres
If you are planning to go straight to Isla Mujeres as soon as you land at Cancun Airport, here is how (in order of price).
➡️ If you are traveling on the cheap your best option is the ADO bus from the airport to the ADO terminal in Cancun and from there a “colectivo” (shared van) to Puerto Juarez, which is not far.
➡️ Pre-book a shared shuttle from Cancun Airport to Puerto Juarez – there is a ferry every 30 minutes and the last one is at 11 pm (at the time of writing.)
➡️ Pre-book a private transfer from Cancun Airport to Puerto Juarez. Definitely the most expensive option but faster and safer, especially if you arrive late at night.
Day trip to Isla Mujeres
If you prefer to visit Isla Mujeres on a tour you really have endless options for a day trip to Isla Mujeres from Cancun.
If you want to do it the cheap way, you can head to Puerto Juarez and right before the terminals, you will see many people selling tours.
Those are tours on a small boat organized by the local fishermen, that will offer different programs and include many different stops on the way to Isla Mujeres to snorkel but also along the coast of Isla Mujeres.
They are cheaper than the fancier tour on a catamaran but they are all legit and it can be a different way to explore. They may cost around 700 MXN per person but you will need to check with them as each one has its own price.
Isla Mujeres catamaran tour
You have the option to sail on a catamaran to Isla Mujeres if you chose one of the daily tours available.
Usually, these tours offer an all-inclusive experience in Catamaran where you will make a stop along the way to Isla Mujeres, to snorkel, and then a few others along the coast of Isla Mujeres, or you will just get off the catamaran and explore the island on your own.
It depends on each tour. Usually during the crossing, after snorkeling, you can enjoy an open bar.
Find some tour options here below.
Sailing Experience to Isla Mujeres in a Catamaran with Open Bar
On this tour, you will have the Isla Mujeres full-inclusive catamaran tour. After snorkeling around a reef before getting to Isla Mujeres you will dock at a private beach club for a delicious buffet lunch and even more downtime.
Then you will be taken to Isla Mujeres downtown to enjoy free time to explore and shop. You can include a transfer from your hotel in Cancun or Playa del Carmen when you make the reservation.
Beach Escape: Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres with Snorkeling, Breakfast and Lunch
This is a full-day tour that combines the untouched island of Contoy and Isla Mujeres, departing from Cancun or Playa del Carmen.
You will enjoy snorkeling in a coral reef location, watch the birds in a nature sanctuary in Contoy, and bask in the pristine beach of the virgin inhabited island.
At Isla Mujeres, you will have free time to enjoy the shops and the beach at your own pace. Breakfast, lunch, and hotel transport are included.
Catamaran Tour to Isla Mujeres and Snorkeling in the Underwater Museum of Art
This tour includes one of the highlights of Isla Mujeres if you love the underwater world. In fact, you will spend the day sailing, snorkeling, and sightseeing at Isla Mujeres, including exploring the incredible underwater Museum of Art (MUSA)
Not satisfied? Check out more catamaran tours to Isla Mujeres
FAQ: How To Get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
Can I fly to Isla Mujeres airport?
No, you can’t. The airport is primarily used for general aviation, and occasionally by the Mexican Armed Forces. No commercial service is currently offered from the airport. The nearest airport with commercial service is Cancún International Airport, located on the mainland.
Can I rent a car in Isla Mujeres?
In Isla Mujeres you can rent golf carts, which is a fun way to explore the island. But there are no regular cars for rent.
How long is the ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
The ferry to Isla Mujeres is only 20 minutes, it’s a beautiful ride on turquoise waters, alone worth the trip.
How much does it cost to go from Isla Mujeres to Cancun?
The Ferry ride price varies. It depends on where you are leaving. In Puerto Juarez, the Ultramar ferry costs 190 MXN each way ( about 8 USD) from the Cancun hotel zone is 15 USD one way and 21 USD return.
Are cars allowed in Isla Mujeres?
Yes, they are allowed and you can take your car with you, but the only way to get to Isla Mujeres is from Punta Sam, in Cancun.
How to get from Playa del Carmen to Isla Mujeres?
It depends on how you chose to visit Isla Mujeres, if you take a tour, many of the tours have the transfer included.
If you decide to explore the island on your own, the best way is to hop on an ADO bus or a Colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Cancun and from the terminal take a colectivo from Puerto Juarez Ferry Terminal.
If you love comfort as I do, you might want to look into private transportation from Playa del Carmen directly to Puerto Juarez. A taxi might charge around 1000 MXN (50 USD approx)
Is it better Cancun or Isla Mujeres for a vacation?
This is a very popular question among travelers who want to spend some time on the Mexican Caribbean coast.
There is no absolute answer. It all depends on what kind of vacation you want to have.
Isla Mujeres has more of a small-town vibe while Cancun is a big city with high-rise hotels and all-inclusive resorts although you can find a few Isla Mujeres All-Inclusive Resorts too.
I wrote a detailed post on Cancun vs Isla Mujeres which will clarify some doubts about how the two main destinations compare to each other.
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun: Final thoughts
This is all! I hope this post was helpful. Please get in touch if you have any questions and if you have doubts about visiting Isla Mujeres check out my Isla Mujeres Travel Guide or my other posts on How to rent a golf cart in Isla Mujeres, and last but not least, the 15 best homes to rent in Isla Mujeres
About the Author
Hello there! This is Isabella, the author of this blog, and a cat lover. I am an Italian expatriate with a Mexican permanent Residence. After 7 years of living in Cancun, I have decided to leave my job and explore my beloved Mexico and the rest of this beautiful world, starting from South America, while sharing my travel stories and offering useful travel tips about traveling as a solo female traveler and digital nomad.