Isla Mujeres is a small island located at a few km from Cancun, and although it has become super touristic with shops and infrastructures to welcome hordes of tourists every day, it hasn’t lost its original Caraibic charm of a small lazy town.
The town of Isla Mujeres is what you see when you get there by ferry and a few houses, lots of noisy streets vendors, multicolored shops and restaurants. If you move along the coast on the right you will get to the southern point on the rocky coast whereas if you turn left you will get to the beautiful north beach where you can enjoy the typical caraibean white sand and pristine sea.
WHAT TO DO IN ISLA MUJERES
- 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.
- 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.
- You can stop at El Garrafon a park with zip line and a beach. they offer snorkel equipment, life jackets, kayaks, hammocks, an infinity pool a bar and restaurant.
- 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.
- 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 open sea with crazy currents.
- Take a diving tour and visit the underwater museum Musa
- Lay on the beautiful Playa Norte, chill on the beach swim in the tranquil turquoise water. It’s located at 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.
- 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.
HOW TO GET TO ISLA MUJERES
If you wish to go 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.
Costs: 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 timetable here.
- If you wish to take your car to Isla Mujeres you must get to Punta Sam (the same direction as Puerto Juarez but I would not recommend it unless you want to move there. Otherwise, the island is small and if you want to explore you can rent a golf cart which much easier.
- 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 of the Hotel zone you should definitely leave from 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.
Where to stay in Isla Mujeres
Your most elegant hidaway on the island, a design hotel, simple, chic, elegant and right on the beach at a few minutes walk from the beautiuful 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, which include 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. 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, here 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 elegant interior design of the rooms and public areas 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.
HOW TO MOVE AROUND IN 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.
ORGANIZED TOURS FROM ISLA MUJERES
There are a few tours from the island that you need to do with an organization as it is either not permitted to go on your own or it is just more complicated. I don’t have a specific company to which address you, but I am sure the concierge or reception of your hotel will be able to help you.
- Swimming with whale sharks in the summer, my top favorite. Check out my full article on the amazing experience.
- Isla Contoy – a protected area a couple of hours distance from Isla Mujeres, it was before a reserve for birds nestling and only open to biologists to study the environment. It has been recently opened to the public to allow us to admire this still uncontaminated paradise. I had the fortune to visit the island once on a private tour and I suggest you should go as well.
- Dive or snorkel in the MUSA the underwater museum. If you love the water you cannot miss this underwater work of art.
ORGANIZED TOURS TO ISLA MUJERES
In the previous paragraphs, I spoke about how to enjoy Isla Mujeres if you go on your own either for one day or for a longer stay.
In case you have a short time available or you prefer sailing to Isla Mujeres while partying on a catamaran here are the options for you.