Welcome To Isla Mujeres
This idyllic, tiny island has been held in high esteem and cherished for centuries. Revered by the Maya as a holy place, it continues to be celebrated by locals and tourists alike. The history of the island dates back 1500 years when it was the sanctuary for the Mayan goddess Ixchel, known as the goddess of the moon, happiness, medicine and fertility. A temple to honor Ixchel was known to exist on the southern tip of the island and doubled as a lighthouse for those who would come to worship or harvest salt. The island remained a Mayan sanctuary until it was “discovered” by Francisco Fernández de Córdoba in 1517.
These days, Isla Mujeres is celebrated as a different kind of sanctuary. One that provides a calm serenity from the intensity and party culture of its neighbor across the bay, Cancun. The tranquil environment, charming people, gorgeous beaches and of course, delectable food are a warm welcome for all who visit. Although most visitors only come for a day, there are more than enough activities to keep people of all ages entertained for several days.
Where is Isla Mujeres?
Located on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-longest coral reef system in the world), Isla Mujeres is in a perfect spot for turquoise Caribbean waters, white sand beaches, and world-class diving and snorkeling. This is DEFINITELY the island life!
Northern Islands Map - click to enlarge
When To Visit Isla Mujeres
February to June is considered by most to be the best time to visit Isla Mujeres. The days are sunny with daytime temperatures lingering around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit… and the nights are a warm 65-75 degrees.
July & August can be too hot for some with daytime highs reaching the high 90’s.
September to mid-November is peak rainy season. Great for no crowds though!
Late November to early January are the chilliest months but still quite sunny and nice. Temperatures range from the lower 60s to the lower 80s, so bring a light jacket or layers.
How To Get To Isla Mujeres
There are two ways to visit Isla Mujeres.
By Ferry: From the Cancun bus station you can take a taxi (around $5 USD) to the Puerto Juárez ferry terminal or, if you are up for a more local experience, you can catch the “Ruta 13” bus that will drop you off at Puerto Juárez near the ferry dock. This is far and away the most economical way for one or two people.
Once in Puerto Juarez, buy your tickets at the Gran Puerto Cancun (Ultramar) ferry dock. You can buy a one-way ticket for 160 pesos or round-trip ticket for 300 pesos. The boats leave every half hour from 5:00 am until 9:30 pm and every hour after that. The crossing takes about 15 minutes.
By Catamaran Day Cruise: Throughout Cancun & Playa del Carmen you can book a day trip to Isla Mujeres. These fun boats take you out on beautiful catamarans for a whole day of snorkeling and cruising. Full-day trips typically include all-day rum punch and buffet lunch on Isla Mujeres. Bring Sunblock!
The boats will visit Isla Mujeres, but you will have a very limited time to explore the island. If you only have one day to visit the island this can be a fun adventure, but if you have more time, we recommend spending a night or two on the island.
Isla Mujeres Highlights!
The Top 6
Where to Stay in Isla Mujeres
Just eight miles offshore from Cancun is the enchanting island of Isla Mujeres. This magical place has pristine beaches, a laid back vibe and excellent snorkeling.
The main restaurant and entertainment area is around Hidalgo Street in the Centro (town center) area located at the northern end of the island by Playa Norte. However, you can find great hotels spread throughout Centro, the Mid-Island Bay Area, and the Sac Bajo beachfront road along the island’s western shore.
For hotel recommendations, check out our Isla Mujeres Hotel Guide
What to Do in Isla Mujeres
There is plenty to do on Isla Mujeres. From relaxing to getting into adventure, you’re sure to find something amazing to do. Here are some of our favorite recommendations.
1. Take A Beach Day
If it is pure relaxation you are seeking, Isla Mujeres has you covered. Easily laze away the day in a hammock at one of several beach clubs, splash around in the gorgeous sea, sip on a refreshing beverage in a coconut or get a massage at a pop-up stand on the beach. Your beach side options are endless. Playa Norte is possibly the most famous beach on the island.
2. Visit A Turtle Sanctuary
Tortugranja a government-owned Turtle Sanctuary and hatchery for endangered sea turtles. The sanctuary helps to breed the turtles, rehabilitate sick or injured turtles and occasionally other marine animals and prepare them for release back into the wild. When available, you may also have the opportunity to purchase food for the turtles and feed them from a distance. A treasure of an experience.
3. Go To A Mayan Spa
Whether you have aching muscles from your last scuba dive excursion, need a cooling treatment for a sunburn or just want to treat yourself, this spa will soothe it all away. Not only will you find classic spa treatments at reasonable prices but you can also try some traditional Mayan massage treatments at this family owned spa. Highly recommended.
4. Parque De Los Suenos at Kin Ha
Looking for something a bit more adventurous? Diving, snorkeling, ziplining, boating, and everything in between are always on offer here. No matter where your mood guides you, you won’t be disappointed. This unique and wonderful beach club also has several terraced pools to relax and look out at the sea. The entrance fee gives you access to everything you may need such as lockers, towels and washroom facilities. Food and beverages are at an additional fee.
5. Garrafon De Castilla
This off the beaten path place to swim, sun and snorkel is a perfect place to relax. A spectacular setting, soft sand, lounge chairs and just the right number of amenities. With very affordable prices and few crowds, this may become your favorite place to snorkel on the island.
*DO NOT CONFUSE THIS with the Garrafon National Reef Park, which is an entertainment center that uses captive animals to entertain tourists. Not to mention houses said animals in the tiniest of cages. We at Island Life do not support such places because we feel places like these are unethical and we love animals.
Yucatan Highlights Map
This map shows many of our Mexican Caribbean highlights. To open the table of contents, click on the icon in the top left corner of the map. This will allow you to sort through the different types of highlights! Click on the points of interest or the icons on the map itself to access additional info. You can open the map in its own window to make it larger if you’d like.