Mayan Beach Club Playa Norte Beach Isla Mujeres Mexico

Isla Mujeres, a small island located off the coast of Cancun, is a popular destination for travelers seeking a laid-back, local vibe and turquoise Caribbean waters. With its white sand beaches and world-class diving and snorkeling, beautiful Isla Mujeres is a perfect spot for vacationers looking to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Mexico Caribbean Sea.

Isla Mujeres is located just a stone’s throw away from Cancun in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo and is easy enough to get to from the Cancun Airport. Visitors can easily access the island by taking a half hour ferry or boat ride across the Bahia de Mujeres.

Use this Ultimate Guide to plan your next epic trip to Mexico’s tropical paradise, Isla Mujeres!

Isla Mujeres sign
Isla Mujeres Isla sign (located at the north end of El Malecon)

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Why Visit Isla Mujeres?

Island vibes!

If you’re looking for a relaxed laid back island vibe you’ve come to the right place! In comparison to the hustle and bustle and crowds of the Cancun area, vibrant colorful Isla is a bit of a hidden gem.

Beautiful Beaches and stunning water!

The beautiful Island Isla Mujeres is surrounded by crystal clear Caribbean water that seems, without notice, to change from baby blue waters to turquoise waters. Additionally, the island boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.

Isla Mujeres sargassum (seaweed)

Sargassum, a type of seaweed or brown algae, has been a problem for beachgoers in recent years. Although harmless, sargassum can really muck up a beach vacation in a quick hurry. It’s quite often the agent of ruined trips and squashed dreams but the potential for sargassum (seaweed) is much lower on Isla, even when the rest of the east coast of Mexico is being affected.

Isla’s favorable location and ocean currents mean that seaweed is less likely to wash up on shore. Of course, there are no guarantees but on Isla the odds are in your favor.

NOTE: be sure to pack biodegradable reef friendly sunscreen.

Isla Mujeres things to do

Wondering what to do in Isla Mujeres? Let’s go over some of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres!

(1) Beaches and Beach Clubs

Isla Mujeres beaches are some of the best beaches in Mexico! And visiting one of the beach clubs is THE most popular “Isla Mujeres things to do!” You have several to choose from.

Playa Norte Beach
Playa Norte (North Beach) is the island’s most popular beach, which boasts soft white sand, palm trees, colorful umbrellas, and stunning blue raspberry-colored waters. If you pick just one beach, make it Playa Norte!

Other popular beaches include:

Playa Lancheros (very popular with the day trip crowd and a popular stop with boat tours so it is VERY crowded) and Playa Sol.

Learn more about Isla’s beaches at Discover Isla Mujeres

Angie Kunze, We're Not in Kansas Anymore, at Playa Norte Isla Mujeres Mexico
Playa Norte

Beach clubs
No trip to the island is complete without a day at a beach club! These clubs sell day passes that get visitors access to beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and the club’s restaurant and bar are a great spot to spend the day! I recommend making a reservation and showing up early to get the best chairs at these popular places!

A few popular beach clubs include:

  • Na Balam Beach Club (Playa Norte)
  • Kin Ha Beach Club (west side, mid island, less crowded, no beach but bottled water clear and calm waters for incredible snorkeling!)
  • Mayan Beach club (Playa Norte)
  • Garrafon Reef Park (Garrafon Natural Reef Park) Beach Club (south Island, one of the more expensive options but includes opportunities for snorkeling, zip lining, and an infinity pool)

Our boutique hotel (Casa de la Suenos) came with free access to the Mayan Beach Club, a really great value! We had freshly made guacamole and chips, ceviche, and a delicious drink made with watermelon, cucumber and lime! YUM!

Mayan Beach Club Playa Norte Beach Isla Mujeres Mexico
Mayan Beach Club

(2) Sunset dinner on the beach

I’ve been dreaming of a romantic sunset dinner on the beach since I had to cancel a trip to Grand Cayman. I got my chance at the Mayan Beach Club. Never mind that I visited Isla Mujeres on a girl’s trip, it was still a fantastic experience! Contact the resort to make a reservation.

Sunset dinner on the beach, Mayan Beach Club Isla Mujeres Mexico
Sunset dinner on the beach, Mayan Beach Club

(3) Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

Isla Mujeres is a popular destination for those looking to scuba dive or snorkel due to its clear waters and diverse marine life.

Underwater Museum
Visitors can explore the MUSA Underwater Museum of art dive site, a unique experience which features an underwater sculpture garden with over 500 life-size sculptures designed to promote coral reef growth and attract marine life.

Offshore and off dock Snorkeling
There are several great places with easy access to snorkel offshore or off dock in Isla and many of them are free so consider bringing your own snorkel gear! A popular spot is the bridge of the Mia Reef Hotel, which has shallow water (great for beginners!) and a small beach.

BUT my favorite spot was off of the dock at Kin Ha, the water was oh so clear and there were lots of brightly colored tropical fish!

footage I captured off of the dock at Kin Ha
Angie Kunze We're Not in Kansas Anymore snorkeling at Isla Mujeres Mexico
getting my snorkel on! best place I’ve snorkeled yet!

Snorkel and Scuba tours
There is no shortage of dive shops on the island. Some of them offer diving lessons and tours for beginners.

(4) Boating

Explore the Caribbean Sea from a boat!

Adventure Tours Isla Mujeres and Isla Spirit Adventures operate the following tours: (consider asking your accommodations for recommendations too)

  • Whale Shark tours
  • Deep sea fishing
  • Sunset Cruises
  • Diving and snorkeling tours (including a night diving and beginner scuba options)

Book a Catamaran Tour with Open Bar & Optional Lunch here on get your Guide!

Book a transparent boat tour here on Get Your Guide! OR a transparent boat tour with drinks here!

(5) Isla Contoy

Isla Contoy is a small island nature preserve with pristine beaches, crystal-clear water, and sea life including sea turtles, manta rays, starfish and more! Contoy National Park is also a bird sanctuary with more than 150 bird species. Access to Isla Contoy is restricted to protect the island’s fragile ecosystem, so you’ll need to take a tour with one of the permitted tour operators. Only 200 visitors are allowed on the island each day so be sure to plan ahead. There are several options but we used Isla Fun Tours, and paid around $105 per person.

NOTE: Neither sunscreen nor bug repellent are allowed on the island. Be sure to apply (reef-safe biodegradable options) before you board the boat and plan to wear sun blocking clothing such as a hat and long-sleeved rash guard.

Isla Contoy Mexico
Isla Contoy

(6) Take a Whale Shark tour

One of the most popular Isla Mujeres activities is swimming with whale sharks. Whale Shark Season in Isla is from early May until September.

(7) Food Tours

Spend the day trying the best of Isla’s authentic local dishes. Cultura Cruisers is a popular food tour option.

(8) Get a massage

There are places along the beach to get a massage. If you’ve never had a massage on the beach, I highly recommend giving this ultra relaxing experience a try!

There’s a little hidden gem called Mimi’s located on the El Malecon sea wall. This may be the BEST massage I have ever had! They’ll start you out with a nice cool foot wash and mini facial before starting your massage. Advance reservation recommended.

Mimi's Spa, the best place for a massage on Isla Mujeres!
Mimi’s Spa, the best place for a massage!

(9) Punta Sur (south point)

The southern tip of Isla Mujeres is rugged and beautiful. The stunning views reminded me very much of the coast of Ireland. Explore the trails, bird watch, and take in the views. Visitors can visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Ixchel, the remnants of a small Mayan temple. Particularly beautiful at sunrise, it’s one of the best places on the island to watch the sunrise.

Punta Sur sign on Mujeres Isla
Punta Sur sign on Mujeres Isla
The rocky coast of Isla Mujeres at Punta Sur
Punta Sur at the southern tip of the island

There are several statues located in the park. One of the most beautiful is dedicated to the Mayan Goddess Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of childbirth and Medicine. The name “Isla Mujeres” literally translates to “Island of Woman.”

Ixchel Goddess at Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres Mexico
Ixchel Goddess

(10) Hunt for sea glass

Of the free and fun things Isla Mujeres things to do is hunt for sea glass along the rough and rocky east coast of the island.

hunting for sea glass is one of the popular Isla Mujeres things to do
hunting for sea glass is one of the popular Isla Mujeres things to do

(11) Swim with dolphins or manatee

You can swim with dolphins and manatee at the Dolphin Discovery center. If you have concerns about wildlife tourism you’ll be glad to know that the facility is listed on the Humane Certified list from American Humane.

(12) Walk the seawall

There’s a nice mile or so long walkway along the rugged east coast of the Island called El Malecon. It’s a great way to escape the grounds of the downtown area and take in the stunning views.

El Malecon seawall walkway Isla Mujeres
El Malecon
La triguena statue Isla Mujeres Mexico
There are many statues and sculptures on Isla. This one is called La Triguena (the brunette) and is located near the northern entrance to El Malecon

(13) Hunt for Murals

There are dozens of colorful murals around town. Here’s a murals map to help locate some of them.

murals map Isla Mujeres Mexico
murals map Isla Mujeres Mexico

some of my favorite murals:

isla Mujeres murals
Isla Murals
Isla Mujeres Murals
Isla Murals
Isla Mujeres Murals
Isla Murals

(14) Tortugranja Turtle Farm

CLOSED: One of the most popular Isla Mujeres Attractions and top things to do on the island closed down in 2021. However, there are plans to reopen the farm. The Turtle Farm is a conservation center that’s dedicated to protecting endangered sea turtles. Visitors can learn about the different species of turtles that live in the water that surrounds the island and witness the release of baby turtles into the ocean.

Love sea turtles? Did you know that you can swim with sea turtles at Akumal Beach?

(15) Explore the island on a golf cart

The entire island is just 7 km long, making it easy to explore the entire island. A great way to explore the island is on a golf cart! (more on renting a golf card in the “getting around” section.)

My recommended itinerary for golf cart day:

  • Head straight to Punta Sur to watch the sunrise and explore the park.
  • Stop and get some photos of the famous Shell House
  • Sop by the Crayola House for photos
  • Breakfast (Mango Cafe is a popular option)
  • Go hunting for murals (murals map)
  • Walk along the sea wall at El Malecon
  • If you’re feeling adventurous you can brave the crowds at Playa el Centro for souvenir shopping
  • Hunt for sea glass
  • Lunch at the Tiny Gecko
Golf Cart day on Isla mujeres en Mexico
Golf Cart day on Isla Mujeres en Mexico (photo credit: Tabatha Neubert)
The Crayola House Isla Mujeres Mexico
The Crayola House
Shell House Isla Mujeres Mexico
Shell House (photo via wiki commons)

(16) Take a dog for a walk

Consider participating in a little volunteer tourism. A popular pastime of tourists to Isla is dog walking. “there is always a need for walking dogs, socializing puppies, bathing and grooming, cleaning and repairs etc.” –Isla Animals (for more information)

(17) Shopping

Avenida Miguel Hidalgo (avenue), the main street in the downtown area, is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants. The shopping areas were incredibly crowded and shop owners were high pressure and followed you everywhere you went. I personally did not enjoy the experience and found another way to spend my time. The only thing I bought was a beautiful painted tile from a street artist.

Women’s Beading Cooperative
The Women’s Beading cooperative is a great place to purchase handcrafted beaded jewelry from a cooperative of local women for one of a kind, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, purses, and more.

Map of Isla Mujeres

Use this map to find popular attractions and other important places.

follow the link to be redirected to this interactive google map:

link to interactive google map of Isla Mujeres Mexico
link to interactive google map of Isla Mujeres Mexico

Where to stay on Isla Mujeres

There are plenty of accommodation options to make your Isla Mujeres vacation a great one!

Which side of Isla Mujeres is best to stay?
The North end is much more crowded, but you’ll be near the stunningly beautiful Playa Norte beach, and within walking distance of many restaurants and shops. The further south you go the fewer the crowds. The east side of the island is wild and rugged, the west side has calm and incredibly clear water, great for snorkeling!

Search over 100 Isla Mujeres properties on!

There are several large hotels on the island but if you are looking for something a little more unique here are some of my favorite picks: (rates based on double occupancy)

Boutique Hotels

We stayed here and I HIGHLY recommend this amazing little boutique hotel. It is simply gorgeous! And consider upgrading to a room with a view! Guests have access to the Kin Ha Beach Club, located just downhill from the hotel, and the Mayan Beach Club located at Playa Norte.

entrance Casa de los Suenos Isla Mujeres Mexico
entrance Casa de los Sueños Isla Mujeres Mexico (photo credit, Tabatha Neubert)
Infinity pool at Casa de los Seunos Isla Mujeres Mexico
Infinity pool at Casa de los Sueños, Cancun Hotel Zone in the distance
the dock at Kin Ha Isla Mujeres Mexico
the dock at Kin Ha, a great place to swim, snorkel, and kayak
kayaking at Kin Ha Isla Mujeres Mexico
kayaking at Kin Ha


If you are considering an Isla Mujeres all inclusive these are some good options:

Budget options

For rock bottom prices check for some of the apartments available for rent on the island.

Eating on Isla Mujeres

Head to Isla for fresh and delicious food! Get ready to dive into some fresh seafood like ceviche and traditional Mexican cuisine, like chicken mole and street tacos.

Pro tip: We got much better food, services, and reasonable prices outside of the tourist core. When it comes to the best restaurants, even just as far off as the perimeter at places like the Tiny Gecko.

Street food

Street food is where it’s at in Isla! You’ll get delicious and budget friendly options.

local market

There is a local market if you want to pick up inexpensive drinks and snacks. Shop for fresh fruit and vegetables at Mercado Municipal market.


Samura Japanese
I ended up in and out of the bathroom several times on the night I ate here. So, while I can’t recommend that you eat here, you might stop in for a drink (something out of a bottle perhaps) just to take in the beautiful atmosphere! Sit under tree tops adorned with lanterns.

Los Tacos de Humo
This little hole in the wall had some really good tuna crackers! (fresh ahi, and other savory toping on a tortilla shell)

The Tiny Gecko
Be sure to go here! It’s located opposite the sea wall on the east side of the island, so you’ll get great food with a view!

Search more options

My favorite place to search for the best places to eat is Trip Advisor. You get customer review ratings and lots of photos!

how do I get to Isla Mujeres?

Visiting Isla Mujeres, located just off the Yucatan Peninsula, is easy! It’s a convenient ferry or private boat ride from Cancun.

Closest airport:
Cancun (CUN) approximately 26 km to the ferry terminal, Cancun side. You will need to arrange transportation from the airport to the ferry dock or private boat dock.

Cancun airport to Isla Mujeres

ask your hotel: If you are overnighting on the island, your accommodations will likely offer options at an extra cost. Our hotel charged $100 per person for transportation from and to the Cancun airport to the ferry. The cost of the ferry, both ways included in the price. It was a pretty no hassle way.

Other options to get from the airport: taxi, bus (explore the ADO bus schedule) and shuttle. Compare our options on Rome2Rio.

Here are the three main ways to get across the water to the island:

By Ferry

The most popular way to get to the island is with the Isla Mujeres Ferry. Ferries depart from three locations in Cancun: Puerto Juarez, Gran Puerto (this is the one we used) and Punta Sam.

The ferry ride takes approximately 15-20 minutes and prices for a round-trip ticket start around $30 USD per person. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines.

Purchase ferry tickets on Get Your Guide from: Ultramar or Grupo Xcaret

By Private Boat

For a more luxurious experience, visitors can also take a private boat to Isla Mujeres from companies like Adventure Tours Isla Mujeres (24/7 service!). Private boats can be chartered from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. This great option is more expensive than the ferry, but it offers a more personalized experience and allows for more flexibility in terms of scheduling, and often includes free drinks!

Tours from the mainland

There are an abundant number of tours from the mainland that include trips to Isla Mujeres.

You can search them here on Get Your Guide

When is the Best Time to visit Isla Mujeres?

Time of year

The best time to visit Isla Mujeres is from late November to mid-April. During this period, the weather is pleasant, with lower humidity, mild temperatures, and less rainfall. This makes it an ideal time to enjoy outdoor activities on Isla Mujeres such as swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.

From December to February, the humidity is at its lowest, making it the best time to visit for those who are sensitive to high humidity levels. Additionally, this period is the best time to see turtle hatchlings and whale sharks, which are popular attractions on the island.

Summer months are HOT, while winter months bring the crowds.

During the off-season, which runs from May to December, the island experiences higher temperatures, humidity, and rainfall. However, this is also the best time to visit for budget travelers, as prices for accommodation and activities are significantly lower than during the high season.

Hurricane Season

Visitors should be aware that Isla Mujeres is located in a hurricane-prone area, and the hurricane season runs from June to November.

Festivals and events

Big fan of festive events? Or avoid crowds at all costs? You’ll want to pay close attention to Isla’s festival calendar.

Safety Travel Tips for Tourists

While the island is generally safe, tourists should always exercise caution and take certain safety measures to ensure a trouble-free vacation.

Here are some things to be careful of in Isla Mujeres:

  • Be mindful of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and valuables. Use hotel safes to store your passport and other important documents.
  • Use only licensed taxi services. Negotiate the fare before getting in the cab to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • I myself prefer to stick to bottled drinks and I skip the ice just to be on the safe side.
  • If you plan to go out at night, stay in well-lit areas and avoid walking alone.
  • Some of you may not want to hear this but getting intoxicated makes you vulnerable.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance. My favorite place to shop is Travel Insurance Payouts

Getting money

You are going to want to have some cash. For tips and things USD dollar bills are accepted but since you are in Mexico, pesos are preferred. Most of the larger businesses accept credit cards but smaller businesses may only accept cash.

For 5 days on the island I got 4,900 pesos ($250 USD) which I mostly used for shopping, bus/taxi fare, massages, and that was plenty.

If you didn’t already get pesos at an ATM at the airport you have a couple of options once you arrive at the island.


Isla says that a good place is CIBanco Isla Mujeres, located on the north side of the island, because their atm doesn’t take the card all the way in (prevents it from being eaten) Always be sure to pull on the reader to make sure it’s not a skimmer.


I actually used Remitly, a service that allows you to send money online and pick it up at an authorized location. It was a quick and easy way to get pesos, and the exchange rates were competitive.

Getting around on the island

Golf cart rental in Isla Mujeres

The most popular way to get around the tiny island is on a golf cart. Unfortunately, the golf cart rental is very expensive, most of the companies have terrible customer reviews, and the carts are old and in bad shape. However, I recommend renting one for at least a day because it’s a fun way to explore Isla Mujeres! Our hotel reserved a cart for us, which in my opinion is the best way since we were not required to leave a driver’s license. For 24-hours we paid around $60.

Golf Carts on 
Isla de Mujeres
Golf Carts on Isla de Mujeres

Hop on Hop off bus around the Island/taxi

The hop-on-hop-off bus Runs 6 am-10 pm. Tourists pay $38 pesos (approx $2 USD) per person per ride, or you can purchase an all-day pass for $175 pesos (approx $9 USD) per person. You will need to wave the bus down if you want them to stop.


Taxi is a popular way to get around the island. Expect to pay around $6 per ride to get from one end of the island to the other. Ask about the rate BEFORE you get in the taxi.

hablas español?

Want to learn a few Spanish basics before you head out? Learn a language for travel, the easy way! My favorite tools:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some free things to do in Isla Mujeres?

Free things to do in Isla include:

  • Hunting the dozens of colorful murals around town
  • Search for sea glass
  • Snorkeling
  • Sunbathing and swimming
  • Walk along the beach
  • Taking a cute dog for a walk
  • walk the paved sea wall path
  • Explore the vibrantly colored town

Is Isla Mujeres safe for tourists?

Wondering “Is Isla Mujeres dangerous?” Because of the nature of its location, being locked in on all sides by the sea, Isla Mujeres is generally a safe destination when it comes to violent crimes against tourists. Visitors should exercise caution when traveling around the island, especially at night, take care of your belongings at all times, be on the look out for scam artists and be short changed.

I found the streets to be very shabby and in need of repair. While I understand that this isn’t one of the wealthiest nations in the world and this is to be expected, you need to take precautions and watch where you are stepping. I saw several places where a person could be seriously injured by stepping in a hole so watch your step!

If you are concerned about crime, check the US Department of State for travel warnings and advisories.

How many days should I spend in Isla Mujeres?

We stayed for 5 glorious full days, and I wasn’t ready to go home at the end of those 5 days!

Is it possible to take a car to Isla Mujeres?

Possible yes but recommended no. The island is small and since there are other ways to get around you will probably want to skip the car.

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