Isla Mujeres, meaning the Island of Women, a beautiful island in the Caribbean Sea right off of the coast of Cancun, Mexico. The entire island is only 5 miles long and half a mile wide at its widest point, but despite its size, this little island packs a punch.
For you see, there are so many things to do in Isla Mujeres that you might never want to leave. Whether you are here to relax, shop or enjoy some of the fabulous water sport of the area, Isla Mujeres has you covered!
For hundreds of years, this little island was a fishing village. Although it has since been discovered by tourists, Isla Mujeres still retains much of its small-town charm. Artists, fishermen, musicians, divers, and ex-pats all call Isla Mujeres home.
Combine all of that with the beautiful Caribbean Sea, and you have a diverse island that is just waiting to be explored.
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How to Get to Isla Mujeres: Isla Mujeres Ferry
Many people first want to know how to get to Isla Mujeres. So, let’s start there.
Getting to Isla Mujeres is actually pretty easy. After flying into the Cancun airport, you can choose your mode of transportation to take you to the Puerto Juarez ferry docks to catch the Isla Mujeres ferry.
For this journey, you can choose to hire a private car, take public transportation, or do shared transportation.
If you are choosing to hire a private car, I would recommend you pre-book this. This will allow you to pre-pay and have little to no wait time at the airport. This is a great option for families or those people traveling as a group with others.
For this option, you pay by the car instead of by the person. Once you exit the airport terminal, you will see many companies holding signs. Just look for the one with your name on it and you’re off.
The ADO Airport bus is another option if you would like to save some money. After exiting the airport, look for the stand with the large “ADO” sign in red to purchase your ticket. Buy a ticket to downtown Cancun (usually about $5).
The bus runs every 30 minutes or so, meaning you might have to wait a little while. Once at the downtown Cancun bus station, you can take a taxi to the Puerto Juarez ferry terminal (about $5) or you can get on the “Ruta 13” city bus and get off at the ferry dock.
Shared airport transfers are another option, but again, be prepared to wait. This option is usually cheaper than a private car because the price is split between all of the travelers riding. Here you pay by the person.
You will have to wait until the van is full and you will probably be the last one to be dropped off, so this can be a time-consuming option.
Of course, you can always take a taxi straight from the airport, but this is REALLY EXPENSIVE and will set you back about $70! We don’t recommend this option as hiring a private car is just as efficient and often cheaper.
Once at the Puerto Juarez ferry dock, purchase your ticket for the Isla Mujeres ferry and you will be on your way. You can buy a one-way ticket on the Isla Mujeres ferry for 160 pesos or a round-trip ticket for 300 pesos.
The Isla Mujeres ferry leaves every half hour beginning at 5:00 am and ending at 9:30 pm. The ride to the island takes about 15 minutes. There is luggage storage onboard, as well as refreshments.
You can also take the Isla Mujeres ferry from Cancun’s hotel zone, but the fair is more expensive ($14 one way per person). These leave from three different locations: Playa Tortugas, EL Embarcadero and Playa Caracol.
Where to Stay in Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is full of great places to stay. Whether you are looking for a great boutique hotel, a 5-star resort, or the best Airbnb in Isla Mujeres, they have you covered!
Things to do in Isla Mujeres
There are a lot of things to do in Isla Mujeres without stepping foot in the water. This little island is full of Mexican charm just waiting to welcome its visitors.
Explore the Island on a Golf Cart
Like we said before, Isla Mujeres is a small island, making it easy to navigate. One of the best ways to do this is to rent a golf cart and go exploring. This is a fun way to see the island and all of the great things to do in Isla Mujeres.
There are several stands on the island to rent from and prices are usually around 1140 pesos for a 24-hour period. While you have your golf cart, explore all of the following items on our list.
Visit Isla Mujeres Centro
The island’s Centro area is easy to explore. The entire area is contained in four by six blocks. Here you will find fun and quirky souvenir shops mingle in with loads of restaurants and bars.
It is also here that you will find some of the island’s colorful ceramics and clothes, making for great photo opportunities.
While you are here, be sure to try some of the local cuisine. Grab an ice cream at one of the many ice cream shops, enjoy some authentic Mexican food, or sip on a delicious homemade sangria or margarita.
Head to Garrafon Reef Park
Garrafon Reef Park is best known for the incredible reef that it is a part of. The park offers many recreational activities including snorkeling, kayaking, and zip-lining. Of course, you can do as little or as much as you choose.
For those of you just wanting to chill out at Garrafor, that is an option as well. You can enjoy the sauna, swim in the pool, or just lounge around on a lounge chair.
The park is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Park-goers can choose from several packages, including an all-inclusive offer that takes care of everything you need to have a great day in the park, even your meals!
Making this one of the fun things to do in Isla Mujeres.
See the Mayan Ruins at Punta Sur
For the perfect sunrise, head to the southern tip of Isla Mujeres to Punta Sur. Located 20-meters above sea level, this is considered the highest elevation in the Yucatan. Not only that, but it is also home to an ancient temple honoring the Mayan Moon Goddess.
Visitors love looking over the steep cliffs toward some amazing views of Cancun. The Punta Sur Sculpture Garden is also located in this area and displays work from 23 Mexican artists.
You can access Punta Sur through the Garrafon Reef Park.
People also enjoy doing stand up paddle boarding in this area. We have personally not tried this here yet, but after reading this great guide to stand up paddle boards, I might have to give it a try!
Swim With Dolphins
Dolphin Discovery is the perfect place to fulfill your bucket list item of swimming with dolphins. Dolphin Discovery offers several packages that you can choose from.
They have the Dolphin Encounter, Dolphin Swim, or the Dolphin Royal Swim, all offering different encounters with the dolphins.
History states that a Spanish pirate named Fermín Antonio Mundaca de Marechaja and slave trader fell in love with a girl from Isla Mujeres and was inspired to build Hacienda Mundaca. At its origination, Hacienda Mundaca occupied almost 40% of the island!
Today Hacienda Mundaca is a large park containing several crumbling structures including the house built by Fermin. There is also a well tended to botanica garden and a lake on the property.
At the southern end of the property, there is an impressive stone arch that served as the entryway to the property.
Visit a Turtle Farm
Come to Isla Mujeres between May and September and you just might witness giant sea turtles laying their eggs in the soft sand of Isla Mujeres. To keep the eggs safe, they are gathered and placed in pens at the Turtle Farm on the island.
Visitors are invited to visit the turtle farm. Depending on the time of the year, you might see hundreds of baby turtles in the holding tanks! One of the highlights is the release of the baby turtles that occurs between August and October.
While at the turtle farm, you can also see aquariums with sea horses, crabs, lobsters, and tropical fish. The turtle farm has worked tirelessly to ensure that the sea turtle population continues. They are open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
There is a small entry fee that goes toward caring for the animals.
Visit the Fabulous Beaches
The beaches of Isla Mujeres are known for their beautiful soft white sand surrounded by crystal clear Caribbean waters. While the major beaches are on the north and west sides of the island, there are beaches all the way around the island.
Playa Norte (North Beach) is one of the best beaches not only on Isla Mujeres but in all of the Caribbean. Combine the powdered white sand with the crystal clear waters and gorgeous palm trees and you will quickly see why.
Playa Norte is one of my favorite beaches for sure. I love that you can wade out really far and still only be waist-deep in the clear blue water. There are beach chairs and umbrellas for rent as well as water toys and snorkel gear.
On the west side of the island, you will find Playa Posada, Playa Paraiso, Playa Lancheros, and Playa Indios. These beaches are less crowded than North Beach, yet still beautiful.
Here you will have access to restrooms, gift shops, chairs, umbrellas, and beach toys.
MUSA Underwater Sculpture Museum
One of the coolest things to do in Isla Mujeres is to experience the MUSA Underwater Sculpture Museum. In collaboration with marine biologists and other experts, artist, Jason deCaires Taylor developed the MUSA Underwater Sculpture Musuem.
MUSA is an underwater museum containing sculptures that were specifically designed to be a part of this outstanding and unique exhibit. The museum officially opened in 2010 and will eventually contain 12 galleries and over 1,300 unique habitats.
The sculptures will change in appearance over time as the coral and ocean life grows up around them.
You can visit the museum and either snorkel or scuba dive in order to enjoy the exhibits.
Enjoy a Massage or Spa Treatment
Enjoying a massage while on vacation is a great way to unwind. Whether you want a massage on the beach or in a relaxing spa facility, Isla Mujeres has you covered.
You can find tents on North Beach offering beachside massage, or book one through your hotel. There are even mobile massage therapists that will come to you. Now that’s service!
Snorkeling tours are one of the top things to do in Isla Mujeres. The beautiful blue water surrounding the island makes it easy to see the ocean life in the water surrounding the island.
There are several tour companies to choose from and most will offer you more than just snorkeling. Many include all of your equipment and most offer a lunch option as well.
Go Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is one of the top things to do in Isla Mujeres. One of the most popular locations is the Manchones Reef which begins just off of the island’s shore. Of course, you are surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, so you can also explore the surrounding area including the Banderas Reef.
The waters are clear and calm making it a great diving experience for beginning or advanced divers.
Go Deep Sea Fishing
Like we mentioned before, Isla Mujeres started out as a fishing village, so you know there are fish just waiting out there for you to catch! While on a deep-sea fishing journey, you have the opportunity to catch sailfish, marlin, and more.
Of course, the best part is that you charter the boat and the captain and their crew take care of all of the necessities for you.
They provide the equipment, the bait, and even refreshments to ensure you have a great day out on the water.
Swim with Whale Sharks
One of the most popular things to do in Isla Mujeres during the summer months is to swim with the whale sharks. You see, the whale sharks naturally migrate to this area in the summer months making this an unforgettable experience.
Although massive in size, whale sharks are docile creatures. They are actually considered the world’s largest fish and are happy as can be to share the waters with the snorkelers around them.
Be warned though, this is not a cheap excursion. The price is regulated and is set at $125 minimum per person. This is a highly regulated industry and the tour operators must be licensed.
Do Some Beach Yoga
If you are unlike us and you enjoy waking up early and experiencing some sunrise yoga, then you are in the right place. Sunrise yoga on North Beach is actually a really popular activity on Isla Mujeres.
As for Marty and I, we will watch from a lounge chair with a fruity cocktail in hand. LOL!
Final Thought on Things to do in Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres and the Cancun region are one of our favorite getaways from Texas. The region is packed full of amazing food, kind people, and incredible ocean activities.
I hope we have inspired you to explore the Cancun area and to especially spend some time on the glorious island of Isla Mujeres. We know that you will fall in love with it as much as we did!
While You’re Here, Check Out Our Other Posts About Mexico
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time.
Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.