This is a day trip guide to Isla Mujeres, an island located off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. Its name literally translates to ‘Island of Women’ and it’s a beautiful place to visit if you get the chance.
The island’s history dates back to 1500 years and it’s a great escape from the highly busy and touristy areas of Cancun and the Hotel Zone. So if you’re planning on visiting Cancun, Mexico anytime soon definitely put Isla Mujeres on your list to visit as it makes for an easy and enjoyable day trip.
How to Get to Isla Mujeres
Getting to Isla Mujeres is quite simple. There are 4 locations in Cancun from where you can grab a ferry that takes you straight to the island. The most popular and cheapest option is from Puerto Juarez. The other locations are located in the Cancun Hotel Zone: Playa Tortugas, Playa Caracol and El Embarcadero.
Please note that the ferry schedule for each of these locations may differ but typically they depart for Isla Mujeres at 9am. The trip to the island takes approximately 20 minutes.
If you have a car and would like to take it with you to the island, you’ll have to catch the ferry from Punta Sam, which is the only ferry that allows boarding of cars and is the only way to bring your car to Isla Mujeres.
Another option that exists is taking a water taxi directly to the island. This provides you with a more private experience but it can be a bit more costly.
Things to do in Isla Mujeres
If you’ve decided to take a day trip to Isla Mujeres, you won’t be disappointed as there’s quite a bit to do and explore on the island. Here are my top recommendations:
Rent a Golf Cart
If you’re unable to bring your car, then renting a golf car is probably the best and most popular method for getting around on the island. While the island is quite small (only 5 miles long) walking is not recommended as it can get tiring and hot quite quickly especially if you want to visit the southern points. Golf cart rentals range from around $40-50 USD for the full day.
Isla Mujeres is famous for its crystal clear water beaches and one of the best spots for that is Playa Norte. Located on the northern part of the island, it’s just a few minutes of a walk from the ferry terminal. This beach is one of the most popular ones on the island and for good reason. It’s absolutely beautiful and the water is very clear and calm, perfect for swimming.
Explore the Streets
The streets of Isla Mujeres are filled with tons of things to explore. Walk around, explore the various shops, streets, and restaurants and keep your eyes open for some quirky and cool sights.
Visit Garrafon Natural Reef Park
Garrafon Natural Reef Park is worth visiting if you’re into adventure. It’s located on the southern end of the island and requires an entry fee. The park includes packages for ziplining, kayaking, snorkeling, tubing, and more. These activities will take up the majority of your day so plan to spend most of your time here and plan your visit accordingly. Visit their website for more information.
Visit Punta Sur
Punta Sur, located on the southernmost tip of the island is definitely a sight to see. For a small admission fee, you can enter and get breathtaking views of the island, ocean, and cliffs. There is a walkway built along that cliff that you can stroll across and see some of the clearest waters in Cancun.
Punta Sur also features the ruins of a temple dedicated to the goddess Ixchel.
Check out the Turtle Farm
The next spot you should check out on your day trip to Isla Mujeres is the Turtle Farm (Tortugranja) that was created to help protect endangered sea turtles in Mexico. Isla Mujeres is a popular hatching ground for sea turtles that lay their eggs in the sand between the months of May to September. Their eggs are gathered and placed at pens in the turtle farm to keep them safe from predators. Depending on the time of year you visit you may be able to see hundreds of baby sea turtles in the outdoor holding tanks at the farm.
Isla Mujeres is one of the best places to snorkel due to the crystal clear waters surrounding the island. The best snorkeling spots are only accessible by boat but Garrafon Natural Reef Park offers snorkeling as well. Please note: Book your snorkeling trips in advance especially if you plan on swimming with whale sharks as they’re only present at certain times of the year.
Do Some Shopping
Last but not least, Isla Mujeres is filled with interesting, cute shops and stalls all within walking range of the ferry dock. It’s a great place to see what the locals are selling and snag up some souvenirs for your trip.