Welcome to Isla Mujeres
Wake up each morning in a beautiful tropical paradise, only a short 20 minute ferry ride away from Cancun, getting here is easy. Isla Mujeres is a small island in Mexico’s beautiful Caribbean sea. The island is 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) long and is broken down into Downtown (Centro) – North Beach (Playa Norte), the Airport Strip, the Colonias, South Point (Punta Sur) and Sac Bajo. The best way to get around the island is by golf cart or scooter, but the main town area is compact and very walkable. Taxis from the ferry terminal will take you anywhere in town for about 50-100 pesos, but for day trips around the island’s beach clubs etc the best option is to rent a scooter or golf cart.
Best of Isla – Who We are
We are a large global community of people who love, cherish and continue to visit Isla Mujeres year after year, it is a special place in all of our hearts, we love it for the people, the vibe, the culture, the food, the fun and the fun in the sun!
Best of Isla represents the very best Isla Mujeres has to offer and that is decided by you, the Isla Lovers, Islaholics and Isla Addicts etc. We have asked you what your favourite tacos, margaritas and places to stay are and here you will find the top 10 “Best of Isla” lists decided by you. Of course if you have other questions about the island we can of course help you with that as well. With almost 20 years experience on Isla we do our best to be helpful in any way we can.
Whether you are looking for a place to stay on the island, how to get here, the best place to eat Mexican food, or perhaps you would like to go scuba diving? You will find it all here. Are you looking for a wedding planner or a real estate office? Check out our Non Profits on Isla who could always use your support or the Isla Contacts when you are the one in need. And of course don’t forget the most important part of any holiday…a map!
CLICK THE MAP TO SEE A LARGER VERSION
Getting to Isla Mujeres
Getting to Isla Mujeres is fairly simply from Cancun airport. Check out our interactive map to give you a better idea of Isla’s location.
Coming straight from the airport you will be arriving to the Ultramar Ferry Terminal in Puerto Juarez which is about a 30 minute journey, located minutes outside of downtown Cancun. Your options of getting from the airport to the island are many and they do range in budget.
Taxis are the most expensive way, whereas you can book a direct shuttle for less, alternatively there are shared shuttle buses for much less, but they do all the stops around Cancun and the ferry terminal is usually the last. The cheapest way would be the ADO bus (equivilant to a greyhound) which takes you to the downtown bus station in Cancun. From the bus station you can take the R15 local bus, but taxi is easiest and only 10 minutes to the ferry terminal. The safest and easiest bet that we recommend is a private shuttle.
CARM Tours and Transfers has been in operation since 1999 and offers a private Airport Transportation service for $69US return trip, which will get you safely from the Cancun International Airport to the ferry. If you would like to stop at the grocery store (Costco, Walmart) on your way to the island they can also do that for an extra fee. CARM Transfers has many professional and reliable services available. If you are traveling with children for example you can request a baby car seat at no cost. You can book your Cancun airport transportation today with CARM Transfers!
The Ultramar Ferries to Isla Mujeres (Puerto Juarez) leave every half hour running from 5:30am to 8:30pm and then every hour until 11:30pm. The cost is $300pesos return.
Click here to see all the Ferry Schedules
Once you arrive on Isla Mujeres: your options of reaching your hotel are walking (porters are available), taxi or renting a golf cart. Walking is fine with minimum luggage to a nearby place (consider the heat – especially in summer); a taxi is recommended for ease and comfort and definitely recommended if you’re staying out of town. Or of course you could always rent a golf cart at one of the many distributors available. If taking a taxi be sure to secure the price with the driver before you leave.
Isla Mujeres Accomodation
There are plenty of option when it comes to Isla Mujeres Accommodations. There are a wide variety of Isla hotels, including all inclusive, vacation rentals and budget options as well. Prices can really range all over the place, depending on what you’re looking for and where it is on the island, but there is something for everyone.
A Few Tips in General
- Use pesos on the island as you will never get a great exchange rate in town. The best rate is at a money exchange or bank. Keep mind there are many place to exchange money on Isla, it is recommended to do this either before you arrive or once you have settled in.
- Also note that most places don’t accept credit cards. You can always get a travel card before you travel so you don’t have to card loads of cash with you.
- If you are going to rent a golf cart please drive responibly and do not drink. It is taken very seriously here, especially with the increasing traffic on the island and too many unfortunately accidents.
- Don’t be afraid to eat out on Isla, there are over 200 restaurants on the island, which is a lot for this little island! There is some really amazing food at some amazing restaurants not to be missed!
- When in Isla please travel responsibly by bringing reef safe sun blocks to the beach, bring your own reusable water bottle, straws, shopping bags etc. The island could use your help!
- And last but not least we’d like to share a few of our favourite spots with you before giving you the Isla things to do and see list.
- Favourite Restaurant: Fuego del Mar
- Favourite Dessert: Rosa Sirena
- Favourite Bar: Tres Mentiras
- Favourite Beach Club: Green Demon
- Favourite Place to Stay: Casa Flor de Mayo
- Favourite Golf Cart Company: Indio’s Golf Cart Rentals
- Favourite Shopping: Jenny Penny Beach Boutique
Things to Do and See in Isla Mujeres…
Playa Sol. At the northwestern tip of the island and is the neighboring beach to Playa Norte. Playa Sol is the best location to watch the sunset and is usually a little less crowded than the neighboring beach.
Downtown. If you take a walk down Hidalgo (the main drag – pedestrian street) you will come across many restaurants, bars, shops and soon to be familiar faces. The town is very laid back and if one goes with the flow, it works well. If you treat the local folks with respect, you will be treated in kind.
The Isla Mujeres Turtle Farm (Tortugranja) is located on Sac Bajo (North of Playa Paraiso). This is a government sponsored hatchery for endangered sea turtles. The turtles come to Isla Mujeres beaches in the summer to lay their eggs and the team at the Turtle Farm come to collect their eggs for their 60 day incubation period. You can visit the Turtle farm year round to see turtles (young and old) in tanks as well as other marine life that they work on rehabilitating.
Hacienda Mundaca is located on the Cancun side road leading to Garrafon park, before Playa Lancheros. It is a 19th century Hacienda built by the Caribbean Pirate Fermin Mundaca. The Hacienda includes walls, arches, exotic plants and gardens and a pond.
South Point is located at the southern most tip of the island. There is a small ruin at the tip of the island, which is Mexico’s most easternly point, it is also a beautiful walkway along the water. You can also visit the Island’s Goddess Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and the many iguanas that call this beautiful spot their home.
Garrafon Park (Garrafon de Castilla) The southern side of the island lacks a sandy beach but offers snorkeling and the crystal clear water makes for an enjoyable swim. For a small entrance fee you can use their kayaks and snorkel this part of the bay.
Snorkeling and Diving are great options in Isla Mujeres because there is always an option for everyone. The best snorkeling is by boat which can also be shared with divers. The underwater museum as well as Manchones is a great spot that both divers and snorkelers can enjoy. There is also some snorkeling in the small bay south of Hotel Mia suitable for children or Garrafon park is another great spot for snorkeling as mentioned earlier.
Fishing. Whether your looking to go out for the day with the whole family or maybe just a guys trip for the day, there are many reputable companies on Isla that can cater to your needs.
Whale Shark Tours. From June through September hundreds of whale sharks gather in the waters near Isla Mujeres, with peak season in July and August. Trips can be booked anywhere on the island, but official operators who have agreed to uphold certain standards and implement safety measures to protect the sharks operate mostly out of dive shops and charge a set price of $125 (2011) with possible discounts available for multiple trips. Tours will generally include breakfast, snorkeling gear, 8-10 people per boat, a 60-90 minute trip out to the whale shark area, and then 3-4 trips in the water with the sharks for 2-15 minutes each time, depending on the number of sharks (more sharks, more time in the water). The return trip includes lunch, ceviche, and a snorkel at a local reef.
Golf Cart Rentals. Having a golf cart on Isla sure does make your trip a lot more interesting and convenient. In the last couple years a lot of great restaurants have opened up outside of the downtown area and having a cart also makes those trips to chedraui a lot easier too. There are many golf cart vendors located downtown. You may get a small bargain from one or two of them, but generally they hold a pretty strong monopoly on the island.
Restaurants. There are many to chose from and they all differ a little in price, menu, location, ambiance and service so it really depends on what you’re looking for but you can find everything from a local taco stand to a romantic Lobster dinner on the beach. Make sure to check out the Best of Isla Food section to see some favourites.
Nightlife. is definitely quiter than the Cancun scene although you can usually find something going on any night of the week. Most of what you will find is top 40, rock or latin music. Many bars and restaurants have live music as well.
Shopping. You have the typical items available like blankets and jewelry, stone carvings, silver but be very careful as most of it is not authentic and actually comes from China. A couple shops we love with unique items are Lmentoarte, Jenny Penny Beach Boutique, El Negrito Boutique and Gianeti Home and Fragrance.
Weather and Seasons in Isla Mujeres
Peak season is during the winter months when temperatures are cooler. Summer temperatures are sweltering with high heat and humidity with little breeze with highs well over 32 °C (90 °F), although summer visitors (from mid-May through September) have the opportunity to see whale sharks which gather in nearby waters in groups that can contain up to 100-200 sharks and don’t forget the turtles are mating and hatching at this time of year as well!
In Pre-Columbian times the island was sacred to the Mayan aged goddess of childbirth and medicine, Ix Chel. When the Spanish arrived here in the 16th century they named it “Isla Mujeres” because of the many cult images of goddesses here. But the first news we have about Isla Mujeres are from the period between the years 564 – 1516 AC, when the island was part of the mayan province called Ekab (there where 4 mayan provinces in what is today the State of Quintana Roo). Since then, the island was considered sacred by the mayan civilization, therefore, this was not a mayan village where to live in, but a sanctuary dedicated to mayan goddess Ixchel. Besides this, the mayan also exploited the salt that the island produced in the “salinas” (small interior lagoons) that back in those times, the salt was used not only for the conservation of food and medicine but also has a generally accepted currency for commerce of goods along the whole mayan region. The Mayan goddess Ixchel had a temple in what is today the Hacienda Mundaca (Mundaca’s Plantation House)
There was a small Mayan temple on the south tip of the island, however in 1988 Hurricane Gilbert caused extensive damage to it, leaving most of the foundation and a very small portion of the temple. Since the 1970s along with Cancun there has been substantial development for tourism in Isla Mujeres.
Soul de Isla – Your Isla Mujeres GuideThanks to WikiTravel for helping us out with some Isla info.
Isla Mujeres Map