Isla Mujeres is a paradise island: it has stunning white beaches and blue waters and is located just 20 minutes from Cancun. It’s a small island but there are many things to do in Isla Mujeres. From relaxing at a beach club to driving around the island in a golf cart to snorkeling with whale sharks, it’s all possible in Isla Mujeres! As it’s close to mainland Mexico you can easily visit Isla Mujeres on a day trip. But to fully enjoy the laid back vibes on the island, it’s best to stay longer. In this blog post, we will tell you about the 27 most exciting things to do in Isla Mujeres!
Fun fact: The translation of Isla Mujeres is “Women’s Island”.
The island is named after Ixchel, the Mayan Moon Goddess.
IN THIS ARTICLE
1. Pueblo Magico
2. Avenida Miguel Hidalgo
3. Playa Norte
4. The Zocalo
5. Drive around in a golf cart
6. Sleep at the Shell House
7. Swim with Whale Sharks
8. Punta Sur
9. Take pictures with the Isla Mujeres sign
10. Polos Mango Cafe
11. Discover the underwater world
12. The Underwater Museum of Art
13. Isla Contoy
14. Hunt for sea murals and statues
15. Playa Sol
16. Mercado Municipal
17. Turtle farm Tortugagranja
18. Catamaran trip
19. Eat delicious seafood
20. Water sports
21. Yoga class
22. Playa Sur
23. Parque de Los Sueños
24. Piscina del Rey
25. Ice Bar
26. Guadalupe Chapel and cemetery
Isla Mujeres Things to Do
Explore Pueblo Magico Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a magical place, that’s no secret! The Mexican tourism board named over 100 special towns in Mexico Pueblo Magico (Magical Town). Isla Mujeres is one of these magical towns. It means Isla Mujeres offers visitors a magical experience. That is because of its natural beauty, cultural richness, great hospitality, and historical relevance.
You can’t go to Isla Mujeres without exploring El Centro, the center of Isla Mujeres. Walk around and get lost in the cute streets with shops, restaurants, bars, markets and so much more. Transportation isn’t necessary to get around, as everything in El Centro is reachable by foot.
Walk on Avenida Miguel Hidalgo
Avenida Miguel Hidalgo is a pedestrian street in the center of Isla Mujeres. This is the main street in El Centro. By day it’s a nice shopping street, but at night it comes alive with fun nightlife. Restaurants on Avenida Miguel Hidalgo are usually a bit more expensive than at other restaurants in the center. So best is to make your way here after dinner to enjoy a drink (or more than one), listen to live music, eat some ice-cream or to buy some souvenirs. You will find everything on Avenida Miguel Hidalgo!
Relax at Playa Norte Isla Mujeres
Playa Norte is located about a 10-minute walk from the ferry jetty. The beach is the most popular one on the island and we can totally see why: beautiful white sand with palm trees and shallow blue waters. It isn’t weird Playa Norte is among Tripadvisor’s most beautiful beaches in the world. Therefore it can get quite crowded at Playa Norte, but there are enough loungers for some relaxing and sunbathing and beach bars for a drink.
Good to know: Isla Mujeres is seaweed free! Seaweed is a huge problem in the Yucatan peninsula, but the beaches in Isla Mujeres are clean.
Enjoy the evening at the Zocalo
The Zocalo is the main square of a Mexican Town. During the day there aren’t a lot of things going on at the main square but at night people gather here for food, dances, events, and celebrations. Both locals and tourists like to come here! The Zocalo in Isla Mujeres is located next to the Palacio Municipal.
Drive around the island with a golf cart
Renting a golf cart is truly one of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres. We were surprised by how many golf carts there were driving around. Apparently there are more golf carts than cars on the island. It’s a fun and easy way to explore the island if you know how to drive. By golf cart, you can reach places out of the center of Isla Mujeres.
Looking for a golf cart rental? All around the center you can find them. Expect to pay around $45-55 (USD) per day. Please make sure to drive carefully and responsibly, especially as the police have it out for tourists. And don’t forget to bring your driver’s license.
Stay overnight at the Shell House
Looking for a unique place to stay? The Shell House, Casa Caracol in Spanish, is the place to stay at. The architecture of the house is incredible and really picture perfect. It’s amongst the most unique houses in the world! The Shell House is designed by the architect Eduardo Ocampo and not only the outside is shell themed, the inside as well! Make sure to book your stay way in advance, as the Shell House is often fully booked for months in advance. You can rent the place through Airbnb.
Sign up for Airbnb and get a huge discount!
Swim with whale sharks
Whale sharks are incredible sea creatures. They are the largest fish in the sea and can reach lengths of 39 feet (12 meters) or more. And you can swim with them in Isla Mujeres! Imagine swimming with a huge animal next to you. Sadly when we visited Isla Mujeres we couldn’t swim with them. The season to see them is from June to September. They are called sharks, but they won’t hurt you. Nevertheless, make sure to keep your distance and don’t touch them. Dive shops around the island offer snorkel tours to swim with them. Prices are around $125 per person.
Is it ethical to swim with whale sharks in Isla Mujeres?
Yes! The animals are being viewed in their natural state, not fed and not harmed. Read more
Make your way down south to Punta Sur
Punta Sur is located in the most Southern tip of Isla Mujeres. It takes about 25 minutes from the center to reach Punta Sur. The rocky coastal cliffs at Punta Sur are beautiful. Here you can also find a Maya ruins, which was a temple built in honor of the goddess Ixchel. There’s also a sculpture garden but the scenery and views are the number one reason to visit Punta Sur. The temple and the sculptures are destroyed or falling apart. If you are lucky you may spot some dolphins along the coast. Iguanas (lizards) are very easy to spot at Punta Sur too. Restaurant Acantilado is a great restaurant to go to, it has good food and even better views.
Take a picture with the Isla Mujeres sign
Everywhere around Mexico there you can find colorful town letters. They are perfect for pictures, don’t you think? Of course, there’s also a sign on Isla Mujeres. The sign is located on the East side of the center. Follow Calle Abasolo and you can’t miss it!
Have a delicious breakfast at Polos Mango Cafe
Polos Mango Cafe is amongst the best Isla Mujeres restaurants. The restaurant isn’t located in the center of Isla Mujeres but that doesn’t make the place less popular. Mango Cafe has a great atmosphere, friendly staff, and the best food. It’s often crowded, so you might need to wait to get a table. We highly recommend going here for breakfast!
Discover the underwater world
Isla Mujeres snorkeling & Isla Mujeres scuba diving
The waters of Isla Mujeres are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. Though it might not be the most interesting underwater world you will see, there are some really cool spots like the underwater museum (more about that below). Snorkeling with whale sharks is the absolute highlight of all snorkeling trips. It is only possible to snorkel, not to dive, with whale sharks as the area of the whale sharks is protected.
It’s possible to go diving and snorkeling in Isla Mujeres almost all year round, though, between May and September, the clarity of the water is the best. There are many dive shops that offer snorkeling and dive trips. We recommend to check out Pocna Dive Center, Mexico Divers, Sea Hawk, Carey Dive Center, and Mundaca Divers. If you want to go snorkeling from the shore, head to El Farito and Garrafón de Castilla.
Explore the Underwater Museum of Art
This is one of the coolest things to do in Isla Mujeres! MUSA, the Underwater Museum of Art, has 500 underwater sculptures, that you can explore. The sculptures are designed by the British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. In 2009 the museum opened its doors and was created to grow coral life and to encourage people to not only visit the popular reef nearby. It’s possible to explore the sculptures while snorkeling, scuba diving, and from a glass-bottomed boat. Some sculptures are located 10-13 feet (3-4 meters) deep and others around 26 feet (8 meters) deep. These deeper located sculptures are perfect to explore when scuba diving.
Go on a day trip to Isla Contoy
Isla Contoy is a small island about 19 miles (30 kilometers) north of Isla Mujeres. Every day only 200 people are allowed to visit the island. Therefore only certain travel companies can go here. Isla Contoy is a protected and uninhabited island famous for its white beaches, blue shallow waters and over 150 species of birds. Isla Contoy is a resting place for many frigatebirds, pelicans, and turtles. We saw so many animals when we visited Isla Contoy! Most tours include a snorkel trip to the nearby reef Ixlache. Ixlache reef is the start of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second-largest reef in the world! To protect the coral reefs, make sure to bring biodegradable sunscreen.
Hunt for (sea) murals and statues
All around Isla Mujeres there are cool murals and statues! While Isla Holbox is famous for its murals, there are many to spot in Isla Mujeres too. We love street art and especially those with a message. There are many sea murals to find in Isla Mujeres. These murals (Sea Walls) were created by Artists for Oceans, a project which brings the ocean to the streets. The artists try to create awareness of threatened ocean species.
Enjoy the sunset at Playa Sol
Playa Sol is located close to Playa Norte and to the boat jetty. This beach is especially great to watch the sunset! From Playa Sol, you can see the sunset on mainland Mexico, which makes for beautiful views. We noticed also many people come here to play sports like volleyball.
Eat local food at Mercado Municipal
Mercado Municipal is the local market in the center of Isla Mujeres. This is a great place to go to for authentic Mexican food, which is very delicious and cheap here! It’s also a great spot to buy fruits and vegetables.
Visit the turtle farm Tortugagranja
This turtle farm is all about breeding grounds for turtles and to protect their eggs. As nearly all sea turtles are endangered, such farms are extra important. So if you love sea turtles a much as we do, make your way south to Tortugagranja. For a small fee ($3) you can enter the farm and learn all about the turtles. And who knows, maybe you are lucky and see turtles being released in the sea. This is usually from August to October. Yearly about 100.00 turtles are released from the farm.
Go on an Isla Mujeres catamaran trip
What’s a better way than to see Isla Mujeres and its surroundings from a luxurious catamaran? Go on a sunset tour to see the sunset while enjoying drinks and snacks on a catamaran. It’s a different way to see the island! We recommend checking out the tours of Isla Adventures.
Eat the most delicious seafood
As with most islands, they are great places for seafood! Isla Mujeres definitely offers delicious seafood, all freshly caught from the sea. Our favorite seafood dish is Pescado Tikin Xic. It’s a local dish where they marinate the fish and grill it on an open fire. Marbella Fish Market and Raw Bar is a great place to eat fish. It’s also a great sunset spot.
Be active ON the water: stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or wing diving
Bored with relaxing and looking for something active to do? Go stand up paddleboarding, kayaking or wing diving! At Playa Norte, you can rent SUPs and kayaks. It’s also possible to go on a SUP- or kayak tour. But if you are looking for something unique to do: go wing diving! Fly like a dolphin through the water, how fun?! A boat pulls you through the water while you hold onto a board.
Join a Yoga Class
Treehouse Yoga offers daily yoga classes with beautiful views on Playa Norte. Wake up early for a sunrise class and enjoy the peaceful sound of the ocean. Na Balam is Isla Mujeres’s first (and only) yoga hotel.
Visit Playa Sur
A quieter beach to visit is Playa Sur. Playa Sur is located in the South of Isla Mujeres and is a beautiful beach. The scenery is stunning and from here the views of the skyline of Cancun are great. When you tour around the island with your golf cart, don’t miss Playa Sur!
Have fun at Parque de Los Sueños
Parque de Los Sueños, Park of Dreams, is a great park to spend the day at. It’s a park that has multiple (infinity) pools, water activities like kayaking and stand up paddle boarding, rock climbing, slides ending in the ocean, rope swings, lounges, and hammocks! The water is beautiful here and from the wooden jetty, you can jump in the ocean. You enter the park through the restaurant Kin Ha and the entrance is free if you buy something at the restaurant/bar! You can even enjoy your drink from the pool next to the bar! Visiting the park is definitely amongst the most exciting things to do in Isla Mujeres!
Swim at Piscina del Rey
Swim at Piscina del Rey, or Kings Pool, a unique natural swimming pool! The little lagoon is filled when waves smash over the rocks. Piscina del Rey is part of the Mia Reef Isla Mujeres Hotel. The hotel has a fantastic location, as it’s an island on its own! The island is reachable through a bridge next to Playa Norte.
Cool off at the Ice Bar
Okay, it might be a little bit weird to go to an Ice Bar on a tropical island, though it’s definitely a great place to cool off at. The entrance fee of the Ice Bar is between $15-20, which includes some drinks. Don’t expect the best service and drinks here, but it’s definitely a very unique experience. Don’t worry about bringing warm clothes, you will get a furry poncho to keep you warm.
Stop by the Guadalupe Chapel and the cemetery
Close to the Polos Mango Cafe (the spot for breakfast we mentioned before), there’s the Guadalupe Chapel. It’s a peaceful and serene church with a huge glass wall that offers a view on the ocean. It’s possible to attend a mass too. The chapel is also very popular for destination weddings. Another interesting place to visit is the cemetery southwest of the island. Mexican cemeteries are often very colorful and beautiful decorated.
Spot all three lighthouses
Isla Mujeres has three lighthouses! The biggest of the three is El Faro (The Lighthouse) and is located in El Centro. El Faro is 62 feet (19 meters) tall. The second lighthouse is located at Punta Sur. And the third one is the smallest and located at the entrance of the harbor.
Isla Mujeres Map
How to get to Isla Mujeres?
Cancun airport to Isla Mujeres
The easiest (yet most expensive) way to reach Isla Mujeres from Cancun airport is to take a taxi to the jetty (more about the jetty and ferry below). Taxi drivers in Cancun easily overcharge, so definitely use your bargain skills to negotiate a lower price. Tell the driver you want to go to Isla Mujeres or you want to go to the Gran Puerto pier and they will understand! Sadly, Uber isn’t available in Cancun.
A cheaper option is to take an ADO bus to Cancun’s downtown bus terminal. Look for the ADO sign at the airport and buy a ticket at the ticket counter. It’s about $5 per person to get to downtown Cancun. There are hourly buses to downtown Cancun.
The bigger resorts often offer transfers from Cancun airport to Isla Mujeres. So if you stay in one of these resorts in Isla Mujeres, ask them about the possibilities.
TIP: Make sure to get pesos before you head to Isla Mujeres. On the island, it can be difficult to get pesos and only a few places accept credit cards.
Downtown Cancun to Isla Mujeres
To get to the ferry terminal from downtown Cancun you can go by taxi or by bus. The price for a taxi should be about 50 pesos (though they can easily ask 100 pesos ($5)). A cheaper option is the bus. Opposite of the ADO bus terminal you can take a bus marked ‘Ruta 13’, the bus ride takes about 20 minutes to the ferry terminal. Read everything about the ferry to Isla Mujeres below.
Isla Mujeres Ferry
Taking the ferry from Cancun is an easy way to reach Isla Mujeres. It’s also the most common way to travel to Isla Mujeres independently. In Cancun, either go to the Puerto Juarez pier or the Gran Puerto pier, they are a 5-minute walk from each other. The boat ride to Isla Mujeres takes about 20 minutes and costs 300 pesos ($16) for a roundtrip. We recommend taking the Ultramar ferry from the Gran Puerto pier. The boat ride is comfortable with air conditioning and good seats. The Ultramar ferry from the Gran Puerto pier leaves about every half an hour, from 5:30 AM till 11:30 PM. Check the departure times here.
In case the Ultramar ferry is full, head to the Puerto Juarez pier and take the Magana Ferry. The Puerto Juarez pier is older than the Gran Puerto pier but totally fine to go to as well. The prices are the same.
If you are staying in the Cancun Hotel Zone it might be more convenient to take a ferry from there. From the Hotel Zone, there are 3 different departure spots: El Embarcadero, Playa Caracol & Playa Tortugas. Tickets are more expensive from the Hotel Zone and boats go less frequently. Tickets are $15 one way and $21 for a round trip. Boats go about every hour, but make sure to check the schedule on UltraMar’s website.
Isla Mujeres Airport
Isla Mujeres has a tiny airport but it’s so small it’s only used for private flights. There are no scheduled flights flying to Isla Mujeres.
Traveling through Mexico? Check out our other Mexico blogs.
Best time to visit Isla Mujeres?
The high season in Isla Mujeres is from January to April. Weather-wise these months are the best months of the year to visit Isla Mujeres. Though, it will be very crowded on the island. Spring Break is the busiest time of the year, so don’t visit Isla Mujeres (nor Cancun) during this week if you aren’t coming for that. May to September is the highest chance of rainfall. September and October are the months with a chance of hurricanes. These months are the low season and the prices will also be cheaper. From June to September it’s possible to swim with whale sharks, so we highly recommend to visit Isla Mujeres these months!
Isla Mujeres Day Trip
We highly recommend staying in Isla Mujeres for a couple of days. Though it’s also possible to go on an Isla Mujeres day trip from Cancun. If you don’t have much time, this a great way to still visit Isla Mujeres. In one day you can still do some of the top things to do in Isla Mujeres!
A day trip to Isla Mujeres is easy to organize independently. Make your way to the ferry in Cancun and take the short boat trip to the island. At night, there are boats that can bring you back to the mainland.
It’s also possible to go on an organized day trip to Isla Mujeres. If you are really short on time and want to see as much as possible, Alleivatravel offers a great tour that shows you both Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy and the beautiful reef close to Isla Contoy.
Isla Mujeres Restaurants
All around Isla Mujeres there are fantastic restaurants to go to. And you won’t only find delicious Mexican food, there are all kinds of cuisines represented on the island. We will tell you all about the best restaurants in Isla Mujeres.
- La Lomita: La Lomita is a Mexican restaurant that serves delicious authentic food for good prices. Definitely try their guacamole, ceviche and bean soup! The restaurant is located south of the center, but that doesn’t make it less popular. Also, the portions are big at La Lomita.
- Madera Food & Art: Food & Art is a great combination! At Madera Food & Art it’s possible to buy artwork and to eat their delicious foods. The restaurant has views over the ocean and it has a great atmosphere. Must eats are the lobster rice bowl and homemade burgers. Madera Food & Art isn’t open all day, often from 12-5/6 PM, so go here for lunch! On Sunday and Monday, they are closed.
- Lola Valentina: This restaurant is one of the best spots to go to for food and cocktails in the center of Isla Mujeres. The food and the staff here are both fantastic. Lola Valentina has Mexican fusion dishes with vegan and gluten-free options. Definitely try the coconut shrimp dish!
- Polos Cafe Mango: We already talked about Cafe Mango before, but to remind you, come here for breakfast. Make sure to come early, otherwise, you might need to wait to get a table.
- Olivia: Olivia is a Mediterranean restaurant that is only open at night. It’s recommended to make a reservation before you go. The setting of the restaurant is romantic with some candlelight tables. Their home-made cherry ice cream is very delicious.
- Javi’s Cantina Restaurant Bar: This restaurant and bar is a good spot for delicious food and live music. The seafood here is very good as it’s very fresh. And the courtyard at Javi’s is very cozy!
- Ruben’s: Ruben’s isn’t a fancy restaurant but a great choice for authentic local food. Both tourists and locals like to go here. The homemade Mexico food at Ruben’s is cheap and delicious.
Where to stay in Isla Mujeres?
Isla Mujeres has a lot of accommodations options, there’s something for every budget. If you like to spend money on accommodation, we highly recommend staying at the Shell House. It is such a unique place. A cheaper place to stay at is Hostel Poc Na Isla Mujeres. Poc Na is located on the beach and a really fun place. They have great parties! For an absolutely stunning place (if you feel like splurging), check out Lotus Boutique Hotel. It’s an adults-only hotel with a private beach and a beautiful pool. Read on for the best all-inclusive resorts in Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres all-inclusive resorts
- Mia Reef Isla Mujeres: Mia Reef is located on a private island at the Northen tip just off Isla Mujeres, and is very secluded. With a long bridge next to Playa Norte you can reach the resort from Isla Mujeres. The resort is stunning, very luxurious and the food is very good here! If you stay at Mia Reef, you can easily visit the natural pool, Piscina del Rey. The resort is also perfect to go to with children.
- Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres: This small resort has 35 oceanfront suites, almost all with a private whirlpool. The views from the suites are stunning over the ocean and the food and service at Zoetry Villa Rolandi are outstanding. Besides going to one of the three pools, you can also go kayaking or stand up paddle boarding from the resort.
- Isla Mujeres Palace: This all-inclusive resort is for adults and couples only. So if you are looking for a luxurious place to stay with your partner, you don’t have children and you like your peace, this is the place for you! Isla Mujeres Palace is located South of the center of Isla Mujeres. The resort isn’t a huge resort with hundreds of rooms and multiple restaurants, it’s an intimate place to stay at.
Enjoy this beautiful Mexican island! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. And if you loved our article, please pin it to Pinterest or share it on Instagram and Facebook!
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