Most people have never heard of Isla Mujeres. Everyone has heard of Cancun, arguably the top spot for a spring break trip. Isla Mujeres is just a quick 15 minute trip from Cancun. It is a small, laid back, beautiful island with beautiful beaches, fantastic food, and friendly locals. It’s quiet and completely opposite of the hustle and bustle of Cancun.
Getting to Isla Mujeres
The best way to get to Isla Mujeres is to fly into Cancun airport. From there, there are numerous ways to get to Isla Mujeres. You can take a cab or a bus to the Puerto Juarez ferry station. There are also plenty of private car services that can take you there. This is our preferred way to get there. We have always used CARM. They are prompt, kind and very affordable.
The ferry leaves the dock every half hour and usually run right on schedule. You can purchase the ferry tickets at the ferry or arrange to have CARM include them in the price of your transportation.
The ferry has 2 levels, a sunny open-air top or an enclosed air-conditioned bottom. We love the views from the top!
Arriving on Isla Mujeres
Once you arrive on the island, you have many options for transportation to your house, hotel or resort. There are plenty of cabs waiting and are very affordable. You can also rent a golf cart. This is what we prefer. The island is only 5 miles long, so it is perfect for exploring on a cart. Isla Mujeres does enforce local laws, you must be 18 to drive a golf cart and there is no drinking or open containers of alcohol in the golf carts. We have rented from a few different cart operators and have been happy with all of them. The prices are all the same and the carts vary only in color.
Options for lodging
There are types of lodging for all budgets. You can stay in apartments or rooms for rent for as low as $40/night to lavish all-inclusive resorts. There really is something for everyone on the island. We have stayed at pretty much all of them. I love all-inclusives, but on Isla Mujeres, they just aren’t necessary, even with hungry teenagers!
Our favorite AI, was Privileges Aluxes. Now, adult only, it’s situated on beautiful Playa Norte. Its affordable and the food and staff are top notch.
We’ve also rented a beautiful house on the malecon. This is the eastern coast of the island with stunning ocean views.
This year we stayed at a friends apartment near the center of the island, overlooking the beautiful Caribbean sea. We had great access to both Centro and Punta Sur. We were also close to tons of amazing restaurants. See more on Isla food here.
What to do on Isla Mujeres
Whether you love being under the sea, on the water or prefer to have your feet firmly planted on solid ground, there are activities for everyone to do! The island has amazing snorkeling, scuba diving, whale shark tours, sailing, zip-lining, and lots to sightsee.
For our first day there, we love to explore and EAT! Hidalgo St. is the ‘main drag’ of the island. It has restaurants, stores, shops and stand to shop at. The atmosphere here is exhilarating. You really get a feel of the island on this street. If you’re shopping for something, this is where to find it. If a shop doesn’t have what you’re looking for, they will help you find it at a neighboring shop. No high-pressure sales tactics here.
Our favorite place on the island. This is the southernmost tip of the island. There are shops, a restaurant, and an eco-park. During normal business hours, there is a nominal fee to explore the park. The park has gorgeous views of the ocean to the east, south, and west. Getting here for sunrise will astound you. This is the first place in all of Mexico that the sun hits every day. Gorgeous!
We love going to the turtle hospital here. It’s on the southwestern part of the island. Here, they rescue and rehabilitate injured or sick turtles. We were lucky and got to see a tank of brand new baby turtles that were rescued the day before from some animals trying to get the nest.
They also have older turtle here that live in simulated tanks because they are too old or sick to survive in the wild. They try to get their environment as close as possible to the natural ocean.
Whale sharks are a big thing on Isla Mujeres. Not only does the island do whale shark tours, they do a ton to conserve the sharks and teach people about them. The week we were there, was the week of the whale shark festival. There was a fair, and lots of stands set up to teach people about the whale sharks. Check out our whale shark tour here.
Other things to see
There are a few other fun things to check out on the island. There is the floating water bottle island. This is on the same road and across the street from the turtle hospital. A man built a floating island completely out of water bottle and lives here. You can observe it from land or ring the bell to have him come over and get you for a tour (for a small fee).
There is also the shell house. Available to rent for your stay, this house is i the shape of a sea shell. Keep in mind that its usually booked way in advance! This is located on the southeastern side of the island, along the malecon.
Along this road, there are tons of beaches that are great to walk or pick up shells. These are definitely not swimming beaches. There are also stands with people selling homemade windchimes here. We buy one every year.
Next, there is the Crayola house. Not a huge thing to see, but still cool. The house is painted in lots of bring colors made to look like a box of crayons.
Isla Mujeres wrap up
What is your favorite thing to do on Isla Mujeres?