Isla Mujeres is a Mexican corner of paradise just 20 minutes off of Cancun’s pristine beaches. If you love beautiful white beaches, palm trees, turquoise sea, colorful shops, and exotic views, you cannot miss it. There are so many things to do in Isla Mujeres and this guide will help you tour this tiny precious island in the best possible way.
Isla Mujeres, which translates to “Island of Women“, comes from a very interesting piece of history or better-said mythology. In fact, the ancient Mayan civilization used to carry offerings in feminine forms and leave them on the island beaches in honor of Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the Moon, lust, and fertility. That’s why the Spanish conqueror gave the name Isla Mujeres after they discovered those female figures.
Isla Mujeres is definitely one of the best places to visit in Mexico! So Make sure you include it in your Mexico bucket list. Oh! Did you know that Isla Mujeres is one of the Pueblos Magicos of the State of Quintana Roo? The other ones are Tulum and Bacalar. More news on them soon. Read on about the beautiful island of Isla Mujeres.
Who is Isla Mujeres for?
Isla Mujeres is that sort of destination that any beach-lovers and sun-chasers will love.
A romantic island for couples seeking an intimate and tranquil nest, an interesting hub for solo travelers, and a safe laid back place for families. Adventure-seekers will have plenty of opportunities for their shenanigans, and those who love luxury will find many places where to splurge in the ultimate luxury vacation on Isla Mujeres.
How do you pronounce Isla Mujeres?
Make sure you pronounce the name correctly. It’s not isla de las mujeres, nor isla de mujeres. But Isla Mujeres only. This is the best phonetic description I have found
Isla = ees-la Mujeres = moo-HE-res.
Repete after me : ees-la moo-HEH-res
Good! Now that you know how to say it let’s move on to the fun stuff!
Amazing things to do in Isla Mujeres
Despite the small size of the island, there are so many things to do that one might feel overwhelmed planning them out. But don’t you worry, here are some of the things you can do during your tour of Isla Mujeres.
Explore the island
Among the first and foremost things to do when you get to Isla Mujeres is renting a golf cart or mountain bike to get yourself a convenient method of circumnavigating the island.
Have Lunch on the beach
While you’re heading south on your newly-rented ride, don’t miss out on the restaurants on the beach to your right. You’ll find the best restaurants on Isla Mujeres on the southern point. Those are perfect places to have lunch and unwind. Try Rolandi @ Zoetry if you want to splurge.
Pay a visit to the statue of Ixchel
While you’re on the southern point, you can go pay a visit to the statue of Ixchel, the Mayan goddess mentioned earlier. There’s also a sculpture garden on the cliff with the added advantage of gazing at sunsets or sunrises (you can see both from the point) above the commanding waves.
Treasure the views
Didn’t get enough of the mesmerizing waves of the ocean? There’s more in store for you! The eastern side of the island has a few small beaches that offer striking views. However, it’s not recommended to swim there because of the heavy currents. (Not to worry, though. There are plenty of other adventures.)
Now that you’re all relaxed and oriented (and blessed), and have taken in the atmospheric views of the island, it’s time to sign up for adventures. This island of Mexico is full of adventurous things. Try the El Garrafon’s zip line, snorkeling, and kayaking.
You can go visit the underwater museum, Musa, which has an assortment of statues from various artists. What’s more, you don’t even have to be a certified diver to go diving in the underwater museum. All you need to do is book a tour and voila (you can even do it from the various dive shops in Cancun).
Chill on Playa Norte
Relax on the sand, swim in the calm turquoise water, and sunbathe on the lovely Playa Norte, one of the most popular beaches in Mexico. Preferably, stay there until the sun sets behind the city of Cancun, painting the sky with a rainbow of green, pink, and yellow hues.
Swim with whale sharks
Yes, you read it right. Swimming with whale sharks is a thing if you’re visiting Isla Mujeres between June and September. All you need to do is sign up for this life-changing experience. If you want to know more before booking read my post on swimming with the whale sharks in Cancun
See the setting sun
Since you’re staying the night, might as well enjoy the amazing transition of day into night. You can either do this from Playa Norte or, if you find it too crowded for your taste, from Playa Sol, which offers a more peaceful escapade.
Spend a couple of nights on Isla Mujeres
Already thinking of calling it a day? There’s just as much to the nightlife of Isla Mujeres. As soon as the sun goes down behind the sea, the town brims with music, food, and life. With a lot of restaurants, you’ll never run out of food options and entertainment.
How to get to Isla Mujeres?
Excited to visit the amazing island after knowing all the things you can do in Isla Mujeres?
Now you need to get there, right? Well, we’ll make it easy for you.
Thre are many different way to go to Isla Mujeres depending on where you are. Here are all the ways to get to Isla Mujeres from different locations.
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun
You will have to take the ferry to Isla Mujeres from Cancun if you want to visit the island on your own. They run frequently during the day and from various terminals. The ferry ride is 30 minutes long, and the ride alone is worth it. The views of the turquoise water are simply stunning when you’re nearing the island.
There are three main terminals from where you can get the ferry to Isla Mujeres:
They’re all in the same area, called Zona Hotelera (hotel zone).
Another terminal is in Puerto Juarez, which is a little closer to the island (and consequently has cheaper fares).
It’s the most practical way of getting to Isla Mujeres from Cancun.
You can take a bus to Puerto Juarez if you’re staying in one of the hotels at Cancun, and then board a ferry to Isla Mujeres from there. For ferry timetables and prices, refer to this link.
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun Airport
If you want to go straight to Isla Mujeres after landing at Cancun Airport, there are a few ways to do it.
From Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres the cheapest way – If you’re on a budget, the ADO bus from the airport to the ADO terminal in Cancun and then a colectivo (shared van) to Puerto Juarez, which is not far, is your best choice. From there, it’s fairly easy to find a ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
From Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres on a Shared Shuttle – You can also pre-book a shared shuttle to skip the hassle of taxis and buses, and arrive directly to Puerto Juarez where the Isla Mujeres ferry will be waiting for you (they are very frequent from 6 am through 11 pm) – Book your shared shuttle
Private Transport from Cancun airport – Alternatively, you can make a reservation for private transport from Cancun Airport to Puerto Juarez in advance. It’s the most expensive choice, but also the fastest and safest, especially if you’re arriving late at night. Book your private transfer.
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Playa del Carmen
To get the ferry from Playa del Carmen, you must first travel to Cancun and then to the Cancun Marinas.
From Playa del Carmen, take the bus or the Colectivo to Cancun ADO station, then a taxi to the ferry.
You can always grab a taxi to take you back and forth from the bus station and ferry (make sure to agree upon the fare with the cab driver beforehand).
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Tulum
If you’re coming from Tulum, you’ll need to travel to Cancun, from where you’ll board the ferry from one of the above-mentioned terminals that will take you to Isla Mujeres.
From Tulum to Cancun You have two choices for public transportation from Tulum: ADO (direct to Cancun) or shared van (change in Playa del Carmen).
Otherwise, a taxi would set you back about 1500 MXN (75US), which is more expensive but more convenient. It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes in ADO and 2 hours in Colectivo. In a taxi, it takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
If you didn’t find all the information you were looking for, worry not. We’ve got you covered on this full guide on how to get to Isla Mujeres
Catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres
If you decide not to stay in Isla Mujeres, you can easily go on your own and spend a full day as the ferry runs from 6 am to 11 pm so you have plenty of time to enjoy the island.
However there is another way to enjoy Isla Mujeres and that’s by a catamaran tour, where you will also enjoy snorkeling in the turquoise waters and visiting the Isla Mujeres pristine coast.
Check out other amazing tours to Isla Mujeres
How to get around Isla Mujeres
It is really easy to get around Isla Mujeres. Just make sure you have an Isla Mujeres map readily available. You can hire a golf cart or a bicycle and take a leisurely tour of the island. Remember to bring water, particularly during the hot summer months, but you’ll need to stay hydrated all year. You may also ask the concierge or receptionist at your hotel to book it for you because they usually have the best prices.
If you’re close to town, it’s better to just walk around and to the beach because everything, including the ferry terminals, is within walking distance. If you want to explore the island and visit other beaches along the coast or try different restaurants, you’ll need bicycles or golf carts.
Is Isla Mujeres safe?
In short, yes, it is. You don’t have to be nervous about traveling there alone. Isla Mujeres is a small, and therefore, secure island. With so many bars and hotels, it’s very easy to find like-minded fellow travelers.
Even if you don’t like socializing with strangers, you can simply enjoy the island without being bothered. Then, as is usual, the most basic rules apply, just as they do anywhere else in the world. Just be polite without being naïve and you’ll be good to go.
Isla Mujeres Hotels
The best way to experience Isla Mujeres vibes is to stay overnight, which is even better if in a seafront room surrounded by silence and tranquility with magical views of the ocean. And with so many things to do there, you will need to stay there for a while, so might as well comfortably and in style.
With Isla Mujeres’s having become extremely touristy, with shops and facilities designed to accommodate throngs of visitors on a daily basis, many hotels and resorts can be booked to make a luxurious stay there.
But you can easily find nice cute stay for reasonable prices.
Below are a few of those places that you can check out or you can check my dedicated post on Isla Mujeres hotels
The island’s most luxurious hideaway, a design hotel that is plain, sleek, and elegant, and is located directly on the beach, just a few minutes’ walk from the beautiful Playa Norte.
Hotel Secreto has it all: peace and quiet, breathtaking views, excellent service, and proximity to town and beaches. Your spacious contemporary quarters, which include a sofa, iPod dock, and plasma TV, also serve a delicious breakfast. You can also enjoy the hotel’s spa service if you want to finish your day with a relaxing massage.
Zoetry Casa Rolandi
Zoetry Casa Rolandi easily tops the list of Isla Mujeres’s all-inclusive resorts. It is one of Isla Mujeres’s finest hotels. You can relax and enjoy the tranquility of a small boutique hotel, which is rarely found in this kind of hotel. If you want peace and quiet and don’t intend on leaving the resort during your stay, this is the spot for you.
Icaco Island Village
Icaco Island Village is the epitome of laid-back luxury: spacious, minimalist, and seductive. While it is not directly on the beach, it does have spectacular views of the ocean on the island’s eastern side, and the concierge will arrange anything for you, including tours, intimate dinners, a private chef, and everything else you want.
The elegant interior design of the rooms and public areas incorporates new white polished cement furniture and linen with wooden homemade decorations and finishes, as well as fine art. The property’s opulent elegance is enhanced by the inviting rooftop terrace and pool.
If you’re not one for all-inclusive resorts or hotels, you can always rent an apartment on Isla Mujeres. Renting an apartment will give you all the freedom to go grocery shopping, prepare your own meals, and enjoy more privacy. Some of the most beautiful rental homes in Isla Mujeres can be found on VRBO.
Weather in Isla Mujeres
The weather in Isla Mujeres is just what you’d expect from the Caribbean, making it ideal for long days of sunbathing, boat tours, and watersports. In Isla Mujeres, summer lasts all year.
The only thing to keep in mind is the high humidity levels during the rainy season, which runs from June to October.
That means more rain, but just a light shower that will make your day hotter and more humid when the sun returns. So, pack light but still carry a good sunscreen, preferably one that is environment friendly.
That brings our guide on amazing things to do in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, to an end. We covered everything from beaches, snorkeling, best restaurants, and all-inclusive resorts in Isla Mujeres, to ferries, transport, and golf cart and bicycle rentals, as well as the Isla Mujeres weather.
Hopefully, you gained valuable insights from it to enhance your experience on Isla Mujeres. Let me know if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you.