Isla Mujeres is an island just 13 km off the coast of Cancun. It has beautiful beaches and cliffs, perfect places to go snorkeling on your own, offers lots of nightlife and also historical sites and Mayan ruins. All this makes it a perfect day trip from Cancun, although if you have a little more time, we recommend staying at least one or two nights and exploring the island more thoroughly. So that you can organize your visit on your own, we bring you this guide to Isla Mujeres, with useful information on what to see and do and the best points of interest, how to get there on your own and on tour, where to eat and how to get around the island.
What to see and do on Isla Mujeres
- Like every other island, Isla Mujeres offers a few great beaches to enjoy a day of swimming and sunbathing. These are the best beaches on Isla Mujeres:
– Playa Norte: is considered one of the best beaches in this area of Mexico. We were a little disappointed, it’s true that the postcard of crystal clear waters, white sand, and coconut trees fulfills it perfectly, but the number of people and the resorts a few meters away from the coast take away a little of its charm. Still, it’s worth a visit, especially at sunset. Access is free.
– Playa Lancheros: This is a fairly large beach, where you will find several clubs with restaurants and bars. It is also usually quite crowded, so we recommend it to come for a drink, or to eat. We made it in the restaurant Playa Lancheros / La casa el Tikinxik, ceviches for 180 pesos (huge), and the fish Tikinxikla specialty of the house for 290 pesos for two people (it takes about 40 minutes to be served). Access to the beach is free.
– Playa Garrafón: next to the national park with that name (where they have set up zip lines and other adventure activities) is the Garrafón de Castilla beach club. To use its facilities, including sun loungers, the price is 4.5 USD per person. The beach is quite small and the sand is not that fine, but when you enter the water you will be amazed. It’s a super cool spot to snorkel, with hundreds of fish right next to the sand! If you don’t have your glasses, here they rent them for 2 USD.
- On the other side of the island, in its farthest part from the village, is the Punta Sur. Here you can admire a beautiful view of the cliffs, there is also a statue of an iguana and a lighthouse. If the ideal is to see the sunset from Playa Norte, where the idea is to come at sunrise.
- But the most interesting part of this place is the park with 23 sculptures, and the ruins of the Mayan temple to Ixchel, the goddess of the moon and fertility, to whom the island is dedicated. In order to access both the park and the ruins, an entrance fee of 30 pesos is required.
- If you’ve rented your own transport, you can’t miss the road trip on the East Coast. For us, it is the most beautiful panoramic road of Isla Mujeres. It also has a bicycle path where you can walk quietly a few meters from the cliff.
- You can not leave the island without taking a picture with the famous colored letters of ISLA MUJERES. This time it comes with a prize, as on the wall right in front of it there is a very cool and huge mural.
How to get to Isla Mujeres
If you are going to go from Cancun airport the ideal is to use a private transportation company from Cancun to the ferry station, it is the most recommended way, however, you can also rent a car in Cancun, some companies like City Car Rental, sell you ferry tickets in advance from the moment you rent your car, more information here.
The ferry takes about 20 minutes, the frequency is very high, every 30 minutes, practically nothing moves, and leaves you at the main port of Isla Mujeres, in the center of town. From there to Playa Norte, for example, is a 10-minute walk.
If you prefer to visit Isla Mujeres on an organized day tour from Cancun, there are several options: we recommend a catamaran trip with lunch and snorkeling, or an excursion to Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy.
How to get around on Isla Mujeres
Although the center of the village is small and you can move around perfectly on foot, we strongly recommend renting your own means of transport to discover other more charming places.
The most typical way is to rent a golf cart. Yes, just like you hear it. Here almost everyone moves around in a cart, including the locals! There are lots of shops where you can rent one and almost all of them have the same prices. Normal prices are 800-900 pesos for renting from 9 am to 5 pm. They also rent by the hour (not very interesting if you stay on the island) and for 24 hours (about 1000 pesos). In high season these prices usually go up a bit. We haggled with a man who was in front of the port and got 9 to 19 for 700 pesos. They ask for your driver’s license from your country (you don’t have to leave your license) and it’s very important that they give you a contract, with the phone number in case something happens. You don’t have to pay for the gasoline. The cars are usually limited, so you will see that the speed is not to be shaken, but they do it for safety. Another interesting fact is that it has lights, in case you want to go see the sunrise in Punta Sur. Oh, and watch out for the highlights!
Another option is to rent a motorbike. The price for a whole day from 9 to 17 is about 350 pesos. They ask for the motorcycle license, at least in the places we ask.
The third alternative is the taxi, they are fixed rates depending on the distance, but we don’t know the prices. In the past there was a bus that went around the island, unfortunately, it has been removed and the only one that circulates now is one for local workers.