Looking for the best things to do in Isla Mujeres?
Located just 20 minutes off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, you’ll have a great time on the island! Even though it’s so close to the well-known party zone, it’s almost the exact opposite – quiet and peaceful.
That doesn’t mean boring though, there are still lots of fun things to do in Isla Mujeres, making it the perfect island for a vacation.
No matter if you are only coming for a day trip to take a break from the hustle and bustle in Cancun or if you are coming for a longer stay, the beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters won’t disappoint.
I have put together this ultimate guide to Isla Mujeres including how to get here, the best time to visit, and the best things to see and do on the island!
QUICK ANSWERS: BEST THINGS TO DO IN ISLA MUJERES
Before I dive into the main topic of things to do in Isla Mujeres, here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions by first-time visitors.
WHERE IS ISLA MUJERES?
Isla Mujeres is a small Caribbean island located where the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea meet.
It’s 7 kilometers long and 650 meters wide, covered with pristine sandy white beaches and surrounded by warm, turquoise waters.
The rocky east side of the island faces the Caribbean Sea and from the west side, you can see the skyline of Cancun a couple of kilometers across the water.
It belongs to the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico and you can get to Isla Mujeres with the ferry.
HOW TO GET TO ISLA MUJERES, MEXICO?
There are a few ways to get to the island, depending on where you’re coming from and the ferry you prefer to take – here’s everything you need to know.
GET TO ISLA MUJERES FROM CANCUN DOWNTOWN AND CANCUN AIRPORT
The easiest way to get here is to take the Isla Mujeres ferry. The ferry terminal is about a 10-minute taxi or a 20-minute bus ride from downtown Cancun.
There are two main terminals you can depart from – Puerto Juarez pier or Gran Puerto Cancun pier – they are only 5 minutes walk from each other.
I recommend taking the Ultramar ferry from Gran Puerto Pier, which is the most convenient Isla Mujeres ferry.
It will be a comfortable air-conditioned 20-minute ride that will cost you roughly $28 for a roundtrip.
The ferry operates every half hour from 5:30 am to 8:30 pm and every hour until 11:30 pm.
The prices for the Magana ferry from Puerto Juarez pier are the same, the only difference is that the pier is a little older and the times vary slightly.
If the Ultramar ferry is booked out, the Magana ferry is a great alternative to get to Isla Mujeres.
GET TO ISLA MUJERES FROM CANCUN ZONA HOTELERA
In case you are staying in the Cancun Hotel Zone, it will probably be easier to take a ferry from there.
You can choose between three different departure spots – El Embarcadero, Playa Caracol, and Playa Tortugas.
The ferry operates less frequently (every hour) and costs slightly more. All ferries arrive in Centro Isla Mujeres on the northwest corner of the island.
There is also an airport on the island, but it is so small that only private planes are allowed to land, so if you are planning on going straight from the Cancun airport to Isla Mujeres you’ll have to take a taxi or the bus to the ferry terminal.
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There is no Uber in Cancun and taxi prices are horrendous so if you are traveling on a budget I recommend taking the bus which will only cost you about $5.
At the ADO bus terminal at the airport, you can take a bus marked “Ruta 13” which will take you directly to the ferry in just 20 minutes.
Click here to check all routes, timetables, and ticket prices online, and book ahead of time to secure your seat.
Don’t forget to withdraw some pesos at the airport before you head off to Isla Mujeres. It can be difficult to exchange money or find ATMs on the island and only a few places accept credit cards.
GET TO ISLA MUJERES FROM PLAYA DEL CARMEN
There is no direct bus or shuttle from Playa del Carmen to Isla Mujeres, so you will have to get to Cancun first.
I recommend taking a Colectivo or a bus to get to Cancun ADO station and then calling a taxi to get to the ferry pier.
IS ISLA MUJERES SAFE?
Despite its growing popularity, Isla Mujeres remains one of the safest destinations in the country. The island has a low crime rate and you can feel at ease while exploring around, even at night.
On top of that, there are plenty of local police patrolling the area to ensure your safety, so you shouldn’t worry about safety when coming to Isla Mujeres.
BEST ISLA MUJERES TOUR
25 BEST THINGS TO DO IN ISLA MUJERES
Isla Mujeres might be small in size, but there is lots of fun to be had on the island as there are many things to do and see!
Below I have listed 25 unmissable attractions and Isla Mujeres hidden gems to discover during your visit.
VISIT PLAYA NORTE
The beautiful Playa Norte (North Beach) is arguably the best of all Isla Mujeres beaches, located a short 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal.
Surrounded by several bars and restaurants, it’s a mesmerizingly beautiful white sand beach with swaying palm trees and shallow, warm turquoise waters.
You can hire umbrellas and beach chairs and spend a whole day relaxing and soaking up the Caribbean sun.
Playa Norte is also one of the best locations on the island to watch the sunset, so be sure to visit this beach at different times of the day to get the full experience!
Alternatively, if Playa Norte is too crowded for you, then consider visiting Playa Sol, which is only a few minutes away and it’s one of the quietest spots on the island.
VISIT PLAYA SOL
Next just minutes away from Playa Norte, Playa Sol is a more peaceful, chill beach that I recommend visiting.
The soft sands and the clear waters beckon for a swim or snorkeling adventure.
And unlike Playa Norte, Playa Sol barely gets busy, which is excellent for couples willing to relax or families.
Don’t forget to grab a refreshing drink from one of the nearby beach bars. And remember, the sunset views here are legendary – so stick around till dusk for a mesmerizing show!
DAY TRIP TO ISLA CONTOY
If you are in the area around Cancun, Mujeres, or Playa del Carmen, a very secret tip is to take a day trip to Isla Contoy.
Even though it lies in such close proximity to these famous tourist spots it has remained a hidden gem, making it one of nature’s best things to do in the area.
It’s an uninhabited tropical paradise and the only National Marine Park located close to the Mexican mainland.
Isla Contoy has continuously been ranked as one of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres by eco-tourists as well as nature lovers.
Isla Contoy is a bird sanctuary for more than 150 species of tropical birds and a nesting ground for 4 different kinds of endangered baby sea turtles.
The beaches are stunning and you will find some quaint restaurants and cute souvenir shops.
Access to the small island of Isla Contoy is limited to 200 people per day so make sure you book online ahead of time.
EXPERIENCE THE NIGHTLIFE ON MIGUEL HIDALGO AVENUE
Next up on this list of things to do on Isla Mujeres is Avenida Miguel Hidalgo, a pedestrian-only street and the main street in El Centro.
During the day, it’s a nice shopping street and as soon as the sun sets it comes alive with fun nightlife!
Besides countless little gift and souvenir shops, you’ll find a number of restaurants, bars, and clubs.
If you are traveling on a tight budget I’d recommend eating dinner before coming here as most restaurants cater mainly to tourists and are comparatively a lot more pricey than places in less crowded areas of the island.
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CHECK OUT THE WHITE SANDS OF PLAYA CENTRO
The second most popular beach on the island is Playa Centro Isla Mujeres.
Calm waters, picturesque palm trees, and usually fewer crowds than at Playa Norte make this beach a great spot to come for a nice swim followed by a delicious meal and cocktail at one of the many bars and restaurants nearby.
JOIN A SNORKELING TOUR IN ISLA MUJERES
The island is known for its snorkeling opportunities, and there’s simply no better way to go than joining a tour.
This affordable half-day tour will take you to three distinct locations, including the famous ‘underwater museum’ and Manchones – the area’s largest coral reef.
Swim among the fish and marine life in the turquoise waters and experience the breathtaking beauty of the underwater world.
Don’t worry if you’re new to this; no experience is needed as instruction and all snorkeling gear is provided. What’s more, a delicious fresh seafood lunch at a beach club restaurant.
This top-rated snorkeling tour has received hundreds of 5-star reviews, making it a must-do activity.
GO SWIMMING WITH WHALE SHARKS
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea and there is no better place to go swimming with these gentle giants.
They are incredible animals that can get up to 14 meters long and weigh around 15 tons.
Plan your visit during the summer months between June and September to get a chance to go swimming with the whale sharks. I can guarantee it will be an unforgettable experience.
Lots of places around the world are offering swimming with whale sharks and lots of them are not ethical as they involve feeding, touching, and disturbing the animals in their natural environment.
Fortunately, this is not the case in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The animals are strictly not to be touched, not fed, and a certain distance must be kept at all times to ensure their safety.
Capture All Your Adventures!
GARRAFON DE CASTILLA
Next on our list is the tranquil Garrafon de Castilla. This hidden gem offers an idyllic setting for a day of beach relaxation and snorkeling.
The reef here is brimming with vibrant marine life, making it a paradise for snorkelers. Plus, you’ll see iguanas walking around everywhere, which is a cool added bonus!
Despite being peaceful, it’s conveniently located next to the bustling Playa Garrafón, so you can go and work on your tan after snorkeling here.
The entrance fee is 150 pesos per person, which is reasonable, and I recommend staying here for the sunset if you have more time available!
Note: Do not confuse Garrafon de Castilla with Garrafon Natural Reef Park, as they’re 2 completely different things to do in Isla Mujeres and we’ll discuss the latter later in this guide.
TAKE A PHOTO AT THE ISLA MUJERES SIGN
Located right next to Selina on the east side of the island you will find a colorful Isla Mujeres sign that is perfect for some insta-worthy pictures.
You could check it out right after your sunrise yoga class when you are all warmed up and able to show off your yoga skills with a peak posture.
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STAY AT SELINA BEACH RESORT
Selina Beach Resort is a great place to stay during your visit to Isla Mujeres island and is just a stone’s throw from the ocean.
It offers access to a private beach, a luxurious swimming pool area, a great co-working space, a bar and restaurant with many delicious drinks and meals on the menu, and the teepee hut option for accommodation is adorable and will give you that authentic Caribbean feel.
MORNING YOGA CLASS AT SELINA
Start your day with a vitalizing morning yoga session at Selina, one of the top hostels and co-working spots on the island.
The breathtaking ocean views from the large yoga terrace make waking up early enough in time for sunrise a lot easier.
The feeling after a good yoga session is totally worth it and you are on vacation, so you can always get a nap in after breakfast.
RENT A GOLF BUGGY & DRIVE THE ISLAND
One of my favorite things to do in Isla Mujeres was cruising around in a golf cart.
It’s such a fun and easy way to get around the island, especially if you are only here for a short time and want to pack as many little adventures as possible into your day.
There are multiple golf cart rentals in Isla Mujeres around the ferry port.
A two-seater buggy will cost you between $45 and $55 per day. Weekly rentals are available as well, costing anywhere between $270 and $370.
In order to rent you have to be 18 years old and hold a valid driver’s license.
SWIM IN TURQUOISE WATERS AT MIA REEF
Mia Reef is a resort located on a private island at the northern tip.
It’s very secluded and if you are not staying there you can’t cross over the long bridge that leads up to the hotel from Playa Norte, but you can still swim in the turquoise waters around the bridge, walk out onto the sandbar, and snorkel the reef.
This area of the island is simply stunning and not to be missed on your list of what to do in Isla Mujeres.
The BEST Hotel in Isla Mujeres
GRAB A CHEAP FEED AT MERCADO MUNICIPAL
Mercado Municipal is a local eatery with cheap and delicious Mexican food.
It’s a great place to try authentic Mexican meals for a very reasonable price. The people are super friendly and as an extra plus, you are supporting the local businesses.
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HAVE SOME FUN AT GARRAFON NATURAL REEF PARK
If you are in the mood for some extra fun and adventures make sure to check out Garrafon Natural Reef Park.
It is known all over the world for its astonishing reefs, cliffs, and the number of recreational activities it offers.
From snorkeling and kayaking to zip-lining tours across the island, as well as panoramic pools, saunas, and the possibility to swim with dolphins there are not many things you can’t do at Garrafon Park.
The entrance fees vary depending on what package you choose.
The most basic package is available from $89 USD and ranges up to $378 USD if you book at least one day in advance. However, they often add discount codes to their prices, so you’ll probably pay less than that.
That being said, I recommend getting a VIP Pass ahead of time, which includes hotel transfers, a VIP lounge, an international open bar, access to the zipline, and much more!
WATCH THE SUNRISE AT PUNTA SUR
Punta Sur is located at the very southern end of the island and it takes a short 25 minutes to get there from the town center.
A fun fact about this location is that it’s the easternmost tip of Mexico and the first place the sun touches every morning! As you’ll see, this is the best place to watch the sunrise Isla Mujeres!
The entrance fee is only $3 per person (100 pesos) and there is plenty to do and see to justify this price.
The rocky coastal cliffs are stunning and you will get to explore Maya ruins that used to be a temple for the fertility goddess Ixchel that gave the island its name as well as well as an impressive sculpture garden, which is fun to see for young and older visitors.
The best part is undoubtedly the scenery, breathtaking views are the number one reason to visit this spot.
If you are lucky, you might even see some dolphins on the horizon or watch some Iguanas wandering around the area.
STOP AT THE MAYAN RUINS OF IXCHEL
For those with a taste for history and archaeology, stopping at the Mayan Ruins of Ixchel is a must-do when visiting Isla Mujeres.
Nestled at Punta Sur, the southernmost tip of the island, you’ll find the ruins of the Temple Ixchel. This sacred site honors the Mayan goddess of the moon, fertility, and happiness.
Despite the temple’s small size, it’s incredibly impressive when considering the challenges the ancient Mayans must have faced in its construction.
It provides a fascinating glimpse into the past, offering an insight into the rich cultural heritage of the Mayan civilization.
Moreover, the site’s location on the island’s highest point ensures breathtaking views of the surroundings.
SEE THE UNDERWATER MUSEUM OF ART
A very special thing to do in Isla Mujeres is to visit the famous underwater museum of art, featuring a collection of impressive sculptures each telling a different story underwater.
There are different ways to see this amazing exhibition. You can book a glass boat tour, take a snorkeling tour, or if you would like to get as close as possible for as long as possible you can go for a scuba dive.
Snorkel tours only cost $58 per person, and 100% worth it. Scuba diving prices range and depend on your level of certification.
RENT A BICYCLE AND EXPLORE THE ISLAND
Another fun of the Isla Mujeres attractions is renting a bike to discover the island, and you’ll definitely have a great time.
For only 150 Mexican Pesos or roughly $8 per day, you can rent a bicycle to explore Isla Mujeres, Mexico. It’s a fun way to get around and comes with the bonus of getting a little workout in.
There are a number of bike rental shops to choose from in the main town and it’s a great way to go sightseeing at your own pace.
Plus, since Isla Mujeres Mexico is pretty small, you could get from Playa Norte to the south in less than an hour!
CHECK OUT NOMADS HOSTEL & BEACH CLUB
Nomads Hostel & Beach Club is located at the southern end of the island and a great spot to spend a couple of hours relaxing by the pool even if you are not staying there as a guest.
It’s located right on the beach, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean Ocean.
The atmosphere is very chill and the homemade food and delicious cocktails don’t disappoint. While there are other beach clubs in Isla Mujeres, Nomads Beach Club is the best one.
TRY A DELICIOUS STREET BURGER
Indulge in a delicious street burger for only 50 Mexican pesos, less than $3, from one of the many local food carts you’ll find spread out all around Isla Mujeres Centro.
You can choose from lots of toppings and sauces. Luckily calories don’t count while you are on vacation right?
While it’s a pretty standard meal, it’s definitely one of the things to do in Isla Mujeres, and it’s also one of the most delicious!
GET LOST IN ISLA MUJERES CENTRO
There are many colorful streets to explore in and around the main center (centro) if you’re still in search of what to do in Isla Mujeres.
The streets are lined with souvenir shops, stores that offer free tequila tastings, cafes, restaurants, bars, and much more.
It is unlikely that you will run out of food or shopping options, no matter if you are here for a couple of hours or a couple of days, it’s all happening in Centro!
And if you have more time available, make sure to end the day at Playa Norte to see the sunset!
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HAVE BREAKFAST AT CAFE MOGAGUA
You’ll be surprised how many restaurants you will find on the entire island and it can be really hard to choose from, especially if you are only here for a short period of time and won’t get the chance to try them all.
If you are looking for a breakfast place in Isla Mujeres today with good prices and healthy delicious food options, I highly recommend Café Mogagua, one of the best places to eat in Isla Mujeres.
The food is always fresh and the service is amazing. It is a very comfortable spot, and if you are looking to get some online work done, free wifi for customers is available as well.
CRUISE ON A CATAMARAN AT SUNSET
Looking for a special way to enjoy the magical sunset when you visit Isla Mujeres? Spoil yourself with a memorable Catamaran Sunset Tour.
The price is $65 USD and includes wine, beer, refreshments, and a delicious snack while taking you all around the island.
Departure for the 5-hour tour is at 4 pm, and you’ll even have some time in downtown!
Note that this tour leaves from Cancun, so I recommend booking it in case you don’t plan to spend the night in Isla Mujeres or if you are still in Cancun.
CHILL OUT IN THE ICE BAR
Quite literally the coolest experience in Quintana Roo, the Ice Bar is as you might suspect a bar made completely out of ice. Absolutely everything, seats, tables, and glasses is made out of ice.
Combined with delicious food and drinks this is a special experience you don’t want to miss on your list of things to do on Isla Mujeres.
The $18 admission gets you two drinks and one shot and you can walk in and out until you have finished your allotted drinks.
It’s the perfect way to cool off after a day under the hot Mexican sun on your Isla Mujeres vacation.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Now that you know all the best activities in Isla Mujeres, let’s discover everything else you should know before visiting.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ISLA MUJERES?
The high season on Isla Mujeres is from January to April, that’s when the weather on the island is the best, and this is commonly known when most people visit.
The absolute busiest time is Spring Break. Unless you specifically come to party in Cancun and take a day trip to Isla Mujeres, I highly recommend avoiding coming during that time.
Between May and September, the chance for rainfall is the highest so you won’t really be able to enjoy all the Isla Mujeres things to do.
September and October are considered hurricane seasons. Due to this, these months are considered low season, and prices will be considerably lower.
If you don’t mind a little rain and visit between June and September you might also be able to swim with whale sharks.
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HOW LONG DO YOU NEED IN ISLA MUJERES MEXICO?
It really depends on what kind of activities you’re interested in doing and how much time you have to visit. If you just want to relax, stay for a night or two.
However, if you plan on exploring the island’s many attractions, like snorkeling to see the marine life, swimming with dolphins, visiting Mayan ruins and cenotes, or taking a day trip to Isla Contoy, then I would recommend staying three days.
HOW TO GET AROUND ISLA MUJERES?
The best ways to get around the island are renting a golf cart, a bike, or simply walking around.
If you plan to rent a golf cart or a bike, make sure to ask your hotel as they usually have better deals than you’d find on the street.
This is the best option to see the island entirely, from Playa Norte to the southern tip.
In case your time on the island is limited and you plan on taking day trips, such as a whale shark tour, then walking around should be enough as everything is within walking distance.
HOW TO PRONOUNCE ISLA MUJERES?
One important thing when traveling is to be understood by locals, and knowing how to pronounce the island’s name is essential
This is how to pronounce Isla Mujeres: “Izla Moo-Heh-rez.”
Also, remember the correct name of the island – Isla Mujeres, not La Isla Mujeres, Isla De Mujeres, or Isla De Las Mujeres.
WHY IS IT CALLED ISLA MUJERES?
The beautiful island was discovered in 1517 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba and, in ancient Maya times, it was dedicated to the Maya Goddess of the Moon, love, and fertility – Ixchel.
There were several feminine figures representing Ixchel and, for this reason, the Spanish conquistadors called the island Isla Mujeres, which translates to Island of Women.
WHERE TO STAY IN ISLA MUJERES?
There are hundreds of accommodations to choose from so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to suit the needs of luxury travelers, budget backpackers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend after a day of enjoying the things to do Isla Mujeres.
LUXURY: MIA REEF HOTEL
MID RANGE: CASA AZUL MAYA
FOR MORE HOTEL OPTIONS, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
WHAT TO PACK FOR ISLA MUJERES?
When visiting Isla Mujeres, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you.
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SUMMARY – THINGS TO DO ON ISLA MUJERES MEXICO
I hope you enjoyed reading this Isla Mujeres blog and if you have any questions at all about Isla Mujeres things to do, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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