Isla Mujeres (which translates into Island of Women) is a stunning little island just 20 minutes off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. Even though it’s so close to the well-known party zone, it’s almost the exact opposite. It’s a lot less busy, 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 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 during your visit!
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WHERE IS ISLA MUJERES?
Isla Mujeres is a small Caribbean island, located where the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea meet.
It’s a 7 kilometers long and 650 meters wide paradise 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.
HOW TO GET TO ISLA MUJERES
The easiest way to access Isla Mujeres is by 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 pier, they are only 5 minutes walk from each other.
I recommend taking the Ultramar ferry from Gran Puerto pier. It will be a comfortable air-conditioned 20-minute ride that will cost you roughly $16 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.
RELATED ARTICLE → 4 WEEK MEXICO ITINERARY
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 $21 for a roundtrip which is slightly more expensive.
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.
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.
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.
Playa Tortugas ferry terminal
On the way to the island
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. September and October are considered hurricane season. Due to this, these months are considered low season and prices will be considerably cheaper.
If you don’t mind a little rain and visit between June and September you might also be able to swim with whale sharks.
BEST ISLA MUJERES TOURS
21 AWESOME 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 21 unmissable highlights to discover during your visit to this tropical island in Quintana Roo.
VISIT PLAYA NORTE
Playa Norte is arguably the best beach on the island, 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!
Sunset at Playa Norte
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.
RELATED ARTICLE → 20 THINGS TO DO IN TULUM
Avenida Miguel Hidalgo
CHECK OUT THE WHITE SANDS OF PLAYA CENTRO
The second most popular beach on the island is Playa Centro. 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.
Chilling under the palms
SWIM IN TURQUOISE WATERS AT MIA REEF
Mia Reef is a hotel located on a private island at the northern tip just off Isla Mujeres.
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.
BOOK YOUR STAY → MIA REEF HOTEL
Sandbar at Hotel Mia
Turquoise waters beneath the bridge
STAY AT SELINA BEACH RESORT
Selina Beach Resort is a great place to stay during your visit to Isla Mujeres island, and just a stone’s throw to the ocean.
It offers access to a private beach, a luxurious swimming pool area, provides a great co-working space, has 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.
BOOK NOW → SELINA BEACH RESORT
Selina Beach Resort
Teepee huts at Selina
MORNING YOGA CLASS AT SELINA
Start your day with a vitalizing morning yoga session at Selina Isla Mujeres, 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.
Yoga at Selina – Isla Mujeres things to do
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.
Isla Mujeres sign
RENT A GOLF BUGGY & DRIVE THE ISLAND
One of my favorite things to do in Isla Mujeres was renting 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. This will cost you anywhere between $270 and $370.
In order to rent you have to be 18 years old and hold a valid driver’s license.
RELATED ARTICLE → 9 THINGS TO DO IN COZUMEL
Cruisin’ the island
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.
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 to Isla Mujeres 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. The animals are strictly not to be touched, not fed, and a certain distance must be kept at all times to ensure their safety.
BOOK NOW → WHALE SHARKS TOUR
Isla Mujeres whale sharks
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!
The entrance fee is only $3 per person 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 Isla Mujeres its name as well as well as an impressive sculpture garden, that 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 can watch some Iguanas wandering around the area.
Sunrise at Punta Sur
Punta Sur Isla Mujeres
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, go snorkeling, 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 start at $47 and boat tours are available from $70. Scuba diving prices range and depend on your level of certification.
You can find more information on the museum’s website: musamexico.org
RENT A BICYCLE AND EXPLORE THE ISLAND
For only 150 Mexican Pesos or roughly $8 per day, you can rent a bicycle to explore Isla Mujeres. 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.
Exploring the island
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 $54 USD and ranges up to $142 USD if you book at least one day in advance.
Garrafon Park entrance
The stunning reef
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 Caribbean ocean. The atmosphere is very chill and the homemade food and delicious cocktails don’t disappoint.
BOOK YOUR STAY → NOMADS HOTEL
Nomads Isla Mujeres
Breakfast at Nomads
Great place to chill
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?
Not bad for $3
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!
RELATED ARTICLE → BEST CENOTES IN TULUM
The colorful streets of Centro
HAVE BREAKFAST AT CAFE MOGAGUA
You’ll be surprised how many restaurants you will find on the 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 that offers reasonably priced, healthy delicious food with lots of 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.
Delicious eggs bene
CRUISE ON A CATAMARAN AT SUNSET
Looking for a special way to enjoy one of the magical sunsets around Isla Mujeres? Spoil yourself with a memorable Catamaran Sunset Tour. The price is $85 USD and includes wine, beer, refreshments, and a delicious snack while taking you all around the island.
Departure for the 3-hour tour from April – October is at 4:30 pm and during the winter months, the boat leaves the harbor at 3:30 pm.
DAY TRIP TO ISLA CONTOY
If you are in the area around Cancun, Isla 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 sea turtles. The beaches are stunning and you will find some quaint restaurants and cute souvenir shops.
Access to the island is limited to 200 people per day so make sure you book online ahead of time.
CHILL OUT IN THE ICE BAR
Quite literally the coolest experience in Mexico, the Ice Bar is as you might suspect a bar made completely out of ice. Absolutely everything, seats, tables, 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.
WHERE TO STAY IN ISLA MUJERES
Isla Mujeres has 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:
LUXURY: MIA REEF HOTEL
MID RANGE: CASA AZUL MAYA
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
LONELY PLANET MEXICO
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Mexico Guide!
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MORE MEXICO TRAVEL GUIDES
- Mexico Itinerary: 4 Week Mexico Itinerary
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- Tulum: 15 Things To Do In Tulum
- Bacalar: 9 Things To Do In Bacalar
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- Cozumel Island: 9 Things To Do In Cozumel Island
- Mexico City: Day Of The Dead Festival
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