Isla Mujeres is a Mexican island in the Yucatán Peninsula. Located only twenty minutes by ferry from Cancun, it is popular among tourists for its perfectly turquoise water, white beaches and ideal conditions for snorkeling and diving trips. In addition, Playa Norte beach is a very lively town full of affordable restaurants, cafes and bars where young people enjoy the nightlife.
Although Isla Mujeres is crowded with tourists, if you know where to go, you can avoid them very comfortably. Let’s take a look at everything you can do here. Isla Mujeres is a common day trip from Cancún, but if you’re planning a snorkeling trip, we recommend spending at least two days here.
How to get to Isla Mujeres
From the airport
First you have to get on the ferry that leaves from the port of Puerto Juarez in Cancun. You can either take a taxi, but expect to pay about 400 CZK, or take the buses to the centre of ADO for about 120 CZK, and then change to the bus “RUTA 13” (which costs a few crowns). One trip by ferry will cost you about 250 CZK and the return trip will cost 450 CZK. For more information, please visit
From the hotel
Ask the hotel how to get to the nearest bus stop, “RUTA 13”, and get a ride to Puerto Juarez for a few crowns or flag down a taxi. Never take the first offer, you can usually undercut the taxi driver by about 20-30%. We drove from the hotel for 150 CZK. Then board the ferry.
The 10 best things to do on Isla Mujeres
1) Popular Playa Norte Beach
A 10-minute walk from the ferry is a beautiful beach with perfectly turquoise water. Playa Norte is the main beach on Isla Mujeres, and has been voted one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. The beach is public, so if you don’t want to pay for umbrellas and sun loungers, you can pull up your own beach blanket anywhere and lie down wherever you like.
2) Punta Sur
The southernmost point of the island is Punta Sur, and it is also the easternmost point of Mexico. If you come here at sunrise, you will be the first people in Mexico to see the sun rise that day! It is also probably the most beautiful place on the whole island, where the water is again perfectly turquoise and crashing against the rocks.
On Punta Sur there is also
Garrafon Reef Park
which, since 2001, has been scattered with artistic sculptures representing the Mayan civilisation.
3) Rent a golf cart
The best way to explore the island is by renting a golf cart… One day will cost you more than 1000 CZK, but the freedom of movement is worth it. And if you choose not to invest in one, you’ll find it very difficult to discover all the beauty the island has to offer.
4) Yoga overlooking the beach
If you’ve always wanted to practice yoga surrounded by palm trees and overlooking a perfectly turquoise beach, head to The
just off Playa Norte. The most popular are the lessons at sunrise and sunset. Lessons cost around 250 CZK.
5) Turtle Rescue Station – Tortugranja
Although protected, turtles are poached for their meat and eggs throughout Latin America. That is why for more than 30 years, local people and volunteers have been working together to protect the turtles.
V 80. was founded by a local fisherman
a turtle rescue station
. It has created a safe place where the turtles can lay their eggs and the station helps with the rearing of the hatchlings. Each year, over 100,000 turtles are released back into the wild. Entrance is only 40 CZK per person.
6) Street art promoting ocean conservation
Take a careful look around the streets of Playa Norte, but don’t just look at the shops and restaurants. Focus on street art. You’ll find that most of the paintings relate to life in the ocean. The works were created by artists from around the world to raise awareness of marine animals that are threatened with extinction in local waters.
7) Trip to Isla Contoy
If you are spending a longer time on Isla Mujeres, you should definitely not miss a visit to the small adjacent island of Isla Contoy, which has been protected by the Mexican government since 1961 and has been a national park of Mexico since 1998. In the south of the island is Ixlaché – the second longest coral reef in the world – home to 234 species of fish, including the majestic whale shark and the giant manta ray.
The local lagoons, mangroves and lowland forests are home to 152 species of birds including phragmites, cormorants, bobo, herons and pelicans. In summer, it is possible to see three species of sea turtles laying eggs on the beaches of the island.
8) MUSA Submarine Museum (Museo Subacuático de Arte)
You can go to the underwater museum either from Cancún or from Isla Mujeres. There are over 500 sculptures underwater, created by Jason deCaires Taylor. You will see statues of people and cars at the bottom of the sea and it’s definitely worth it if you haven’t been to a museum like this before. There are several ways to visit the museum. You can go snorkeling, diving or watch the action through a glass boat. Since we don’t have a diving license, we decided to go snorkeling.
9) Snorkelling and snorkelling again
Isla Mujeres definitely has some of the best snorkeling conditions in the area. Therefore, if you are interested in underwater life, you will be in paradise here. Apart from the aforementioned MUSA underwater museum, you can choose from a wide range of snorkelling excursions. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, this island has something for everyone.
10) Swimming with several meter sharks
If you arrive on Isla Mujeres between June and September, you won’t want to miss the biggest attraction – swimming with the giant shark (whale shark). They are the largest sharks in the world and are between 8-10 meters long. They are the largest known pariba in the world and are characterised by their bright spots and stripes. They are not dangerous to humans because they feed on plankton.
Be prepared to pay around 3000 CZK per person for this experience, but the trip includes breakfast, lunch and drinks in addition to swimming with the sharks. They will also rent you equipment and usually include snorkeling stops at the corals. Beware, it is illegal to touch sharks and you should always keep a distance of at least two metres.
Where to eat on Isla Mujeres
Chayo and Cacao
Generally in Mexico, it can be quite a challenge to find vegetarian and vegan food that not only looks great, but tastes amazing. Avocado lovers will enjoy the
Chayo and Cacao
will definitely be in the mood, as well as those who watch their lines.
If you have both carnivores and vegans in your group, in
you can all eat. Their menu offers vegan and vegetarian dishes, but also something in the style of steak or Pad Thai.
Where to stay on Isla Mujeres[lgc_column grid=”33″ tablet_grid=”33″ mobile_grid=”100″ last=”false”]
If you want to choose the cheapest accommodation with the best location, check out the Azucar hostel. It’s a bit punk, some rooms don’t even have windows, but you’ll find a nice reception and a kitchen where you can cook.[/lgc_column] [lgc_column grid=”33″ tablet_grid=”33″ mobile_grid=”100″ last=”false”]
This 3-star hotel is located a short walk from Playa Norte and includes a continental breakfast. It is not a design highlight, but a good option if you want to live close to Playa Norte and the town.[/lgc_column] [lgc_column grid=”33″ tablet_grid=”33″ mobile_grid=”100″ last=”true”]
If you’re going as a family, the Suites Lorens costs just 1,100-1,500 CZK per night for four people and offers beautiful, stylish suites. Please note that Suites Lorens is not located at Playa Norte, but in the middle of the island.[/lgc_column]
Luxury option – Shell House
Everyone would probably want to spend the night in
a shell-shaped house
. This is probably one of the most original houses in the world where you can stay overnight. A week in the house costs over 34,000 (depending on the season) and is usually booked up. Designed by one of Mexico’s most famous artists, Octavio Ocampo, for his brother, it is truly the ultimate embodiment of the atmosphere of summer intertwined with sea and sun.
Tips and tricks for travelling in the Yucatán
What to pack
Take a look at our
Where to get tickets
We commonly use a grader
Reservation of accommodation
Don’t forget about insurance
Travel insurance is an absolute must. For shorter journeys, choose AXA (
Recommended Lonely Planet Yucatanguide