Among all the amazing things you can do if you travel to Cancun, visiting Isla Mujeres is a must! A small island located a few miles off Cancun’s pristine coasts, Isla Mujeres (the island of women) is one of the beach-addicted favorite destinations. Whether you decide to stay for a couple of days or just visit on a day trip, you will fall in love with the island. In this post, I will tell you all about it!
Although it has become super touristy with shops and infrastructures to welcome swarms of tourists every day, Isla Mujeres hasn’t lost its original Caribbean charm of a small lazy town.
The town of Isla Mujeres is tiny, with a few houses, lots of noisy street vendors, multicolored shops, and restaurants. If you move along the south coast, you will get to the southern point on the rocky coast, whereas on the opposite side you will find the spectacular north beach where you can enjoy the typical Caribbean white sand and blue turquoise sea.
I will tell you all about it in a moment, but first thing first, let’s clarify the name.
How do you pronounce Isla Mujeres?
Since I have been reading and hearing Isla Mujeres being called all sorts of names, let’s make it clear and get it out of the way once and for all. The beautiful island has only one name and it is ISLA MUJERES, pronounced ‘izla mu’xeɾes‘. Repeat after me I S L A M U J E R ES
Isla Mujeres means Island of women.
It’s not la isla mujeres, islas las mujeres, islas mujeres, isla mujer, my favorite one, isla de las mujeres, isla de la mujeres, la isla de mujeres, isla de los mujeres, islas de las mujeres. You will need to forget all those variations, which are nice but it’s not what it’s called. It’s only ISLA MUJERES.
So now you can brag with your friends that you know what the real name is. 🙂
How do you pronounce Isla Mujeres?
ISLA MUJERES is pronounced ‘izla mu’xeɾes‘
Why is it called Isla Mujeres?
The island was discovered by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in 1517. In pre-Hispanic times the island was dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the Moon, love, and fertility, and believers would bring offerings in feminine forms and left them on the Beaches. When the Spanish conquerors arrived and found those feminine figures, they named the island Isla Mujeres.
Is Isla Mujeres Safe for a woman traveling alone?
The short answer is: “Yes, it is”. If you are concerned about traveling alone as a solo female, worry not. Isla Mujeres is a tiny island and relatively safe. With all the bars and hostels, it’s very easy to meet like-minded people on the same journey, if you want of course. Or you can just enjoy the island on your own without being bothered. Then, as usual, the most common-sense rules apply just like everywhere in the world. So, as I usually say, be friendly but not naive. 🙂 You can definitely do all the following activities alone with no problem at all.
Amazing things to do in Isla Mujeres
Rent a golf cart
First thing first, rent a golf cart or a mountain bike so that you can ride around the island. It’s only about 21km to completely circle it. it’s 4km wide.
Have lunch on the beach
Riding towards the southern points you will find on your right a few restaurants on the beach where you can chill and have your lunch there.
Sign up for some adventure
You can stop at El Garrafon a park with a zip line and a beach. they offer snorkel equipment, life jackets, kayaks, hammocks, an infinity pool a bar, and a restaurant.
Pay a visit to the statue of Ixchel, you never know…
On the very southern point, you will see the statue of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility in the Mayan history, and a sculpture garden right on the cliff where you can admire amazing views including a magnificent sunset or sunrise being on the very further edge you can have both.
Admire the spectacular views of the rough side of the island
On the way back you can ride along the eastern side of the island where you can find a few small beaches but not recommendable to swim as it’s the open sea with crazy currents.
Dive through the underwater museum
Go diving in the underwater museum. It’s called Musa and it is indeed and underwater installation made of statues from different artists with the purpose to promote conservation. It’s a spectacular scene and being in such shallow waters, you can dive there even if you are not certified. You can also book this tour from Cancun in one of the dive shops of your choice. It’s not necessary to be in Isla Mujeres to dive to the Musa.
Check out the unmissable Playa Norte
Lay on the beautiful Playa Norte, chill on the beach swim in the tranquil turquoise water. It’s located just 400 mt from the ferry terminal on the left side. I recommend you to stay till the sun goes down behind the city of Cancun coloring the sky with all different shades of orange, pink, and yellow.
Swim with the whale sharks
If you happen to be around from June through September, you will have the opportunity to sign up for one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Swimming with the whale sharks is possible in Mexico either from Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Holbox, or also from Baja California.
Spend one night on the island
Spend at least one night in Isla Mujeres and hang out in the small town, which comes to life with music and great food as soon as the sun sets behind the sea. There is quite a good variety of restaurants of all sorts and taste where you can choose from.
Watch the sunset from Playa Norte
The perfect way to say goodnight to a beautiful day on Isla Mujeres. If Playa Norte is too crowded check out the less populated Playa Sol for a more tranquil experience.
How to get to Isla Mujeres
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun by Isla Mujeres Ferry
If you wish to go to Isla Mujeres on your own, which I always recommend, you must get the ferry from Cancun. It runs quite often all through the day and from different terminals.
The ferry ride is 30 minutes and just the ride itself makes it all worth it. The views of the turquoise water while you approach the island are just breathtaking. Here are the different terminals:
- Puerto Juarez – there are different ferry terminals from Puerto Juarez but the most convenient and modern is the Ultramar. You cannot miss it and it’s the most practical place to get to Isla Mujeres if you reach the terminal on your own car, since that’s where you can easily find a parking spot, either within the terminal ( a little more expensive) or just outside.
You can either join a tour or get to Isla Mujeres on your own by ferry, which I recommend so that you will be free to enjoy the island at your own pace.
Here are the places from where you can get the ferry. Click on the links to check their schedule and price.
Zona Hotelera (hotel zone) – In the hotel zone you can find 3 terminals from which you can get your ferry to Isla Mujeres.
They have more or less the same schedule. If you are staying in one of the hotels in the Hotel Zone you should definitely leave one of them. It’s a little more expensive than the ferry from Puerto Juarez but it’s closer and you can get there by bus. You can jump on any bus running along the hotel zone and tell them where you are heading to. They will tell you when it’s time to get off.
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Tulum
Whether you are coming from Tulum Merida or Playa del Carmen, you will need to get to Cancun from where you would catch the ferry in one of the above-mentioned departing points.
From Tulum, you have two public transportation options either by bus (ADO), direct to Cancun, or Colectivo, which you change in Playa del Carmen. Otherwise, you can get a taxi for about 800 MXN, more expensive but more comfortable. It’s about 2 hrs, 30 minutes in ADO and 2 hrs by Colectivo. 1h 30” in a taxi.
Check how to get from Cancun to Tulum to Cancun in details.
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Playa del Carmen
From Playa del Carmen you will need to get to Cancun first and then to the Cancun Marinas to get the ferry. Take either the bus or the Colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Cancun ADO station and then a taxi to the ferry. You will always find a taxi to take you back and forth from the Ferry to the bus station. Make sure you negotiate the price before.
Isla Mujeres Tours from Cancun
Choose among amazing different tours to Isla Mujeres
How to get around Isla mujeres
To move around Isla Mujeres is very easy. You can either rent a golf cart or a bike and have a nice tour around the island. Remember to bring water, especially in the humid summer season, but mainly all year round you will need to stay hydrated. You can also ask your hotel concierge or reception to book it for you as they normally have the best deals.
If you are close to town, it’s best to just walk around and to the beach as it’s everything at a walking distance, including the ferry terminals.
Bikes and golf carts are needed if you wish to explore the island and check out other beaches along the coast or try different restaurants.
Where to stay in Isla Mujeres
Your most elegant hideaway on the island, a design hotel, simple, chic, elegant, and right on the beach at a few minutes’ walk from the beautiful Playa Norte.
HOTEL SECRETO has it all, quite, simple, with astonishing views, exceptional service, and close to town and beaches. The delicious breakfast is also served in your spacious contemporary rooms, including a sofa, iPod dock, and a plasma TV.
And if you wish to end your day with a relaxation massage you can enjoy the spa service of the hotel as well. Hotel Secreto has been selected by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as one of the 50 Best New Hotels in the World.
Zoetry Villa Rolandi – all inclusive
Among the All-inclusive hotels, I would definitely choose Zoetry Casa Rolandi. It is one of the best hotels in Isla Mujeres. I haven’t seen this property since it was rebranded, but I know very well the brand, which belongs to AM resorts, a guarantee of quality among the Top All-inclusive Resorts. Besides, you can also enjoy turquoise beachfront views and the tranquility of a small boutique hotel, rare to find among this type of property.
If you are looking for peace and quiet and planning not to leave the resort for your stay this is the place for you.
Icaco island village
Icaco island village is what I call laid-back luxury; cozy, minimalist, and sexy.
Although it is not located right on the beach, it still offers great views of the ocean on the eastern coast of the island and the concierge would organize everything for you: tours, romantic dinner, a private chef, or anything you need.
The rooms and public areas’ elegant interior design combines the modern white polished cement furniture and linen with wooden homemade decorations and finishes and fine art. The cozy rooftop terrace and pool adds up to the fancy style of the property.
Find a home to rent in Isla Mujeres
Sometimes I love to rent a place on my own, mostly an entire house, or apartment because I love to go grocery shopping and cook my own meal with fresh veggies and also because I have more privacy.
Renting an apartment is the perfect solution.
I have selected the most beautiful Airbnb in Isla Mujeres and other gorgeous apartments for different price range to help you find the best home for your Mexican vacation.
Also you can navigate through the map here below to compare prices and select your place by location.
Visit Isla Mujeres FAQ
How much is the ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
A return ticket to and from Isla Mujeres is 300, one way is 160 for adults from 15 yrs and older or taller than 120 cm, younger kids get a discount. You can pay either by cash (MXN or USD) or credit card. You can check the schedule here.
Is it possible to take a car to Isla Mujeres?
It is indeed possible, but only from the Punta Sam ferry service, located just 10 minutes drive north of Puerto Juarez. You can check the price and schedules here.
You will need to arrive at least one hour before departure and buy your ticket before boarding.
Mind though, that it’s really not recommended to take a rental car to Isla and pretty much a useless and time-consuming hassle.
Parking on the island is very limited and it’s much more enjoyable to get a golf cart or a bike to move around the island and walk around the tiny village.
What’s the weather in Isla Mujeres?
The weather in Isla Mujeres is exactly how you would expect Caribbean weather, perfect for long sun-soaked days, boat tours, and watersport activities. It’s summer all year round in Isla Mujeres. The only thing you should consider is the high humidity levels in the wet season from June through October. That means more rain but it will be only a quick and passing shower to make your day hotter and more humid when the sun comes back :). So make sure you pack light but always bring with you a strong sunscreen, better if eco-friendly, such as Raw Elements.
That’s all for now! I hope this guide was helpful, please let me know if you have any questions! I’ll be happy to help!
For Further Reading
- How to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, Mexico – the ferry and other options
- Isla Mujeres Golf Cart Rental: where to find it, costs, and practical tips
- 15 gorgeous VRBO vacation rentals and Airbnb in Isla Mujeres Mexico
- Top 7 Aldea Zama Tulum rentals and practical tips
- Bacalar Restaurants – The top 7 places where to eat in Bacalar