Punta Sur sign, Isla Mujeres Mexico

There’s no doubt about it, Isla Mujeres is the gem of the Riviera Maya! This tiny Island is located just off of the hotel zone coast of Cancun in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo and boasts crystal clear turquoise water, white sand beaches, palm trees, and a fabulous island vibe. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Cancun. One of my favorite places on this amazing little island is Punta Sur (south point) where visitors can take in panoramic views of the Mexican Caribbean Sea (Mar Caribe) and Cancun skyline.

This article has all the info you need to plan your time at Isla Mujeres’ Punta Sur.

Headed to Isla Mujeres? Check out this complete Isla Mujeres visitor guide!

Punta Sur sign Isla Mujeres Mexico at sunrise
Punta Sur Isla Mujeres sign at sunrise

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Why visit Punta Sur Isla Mujeres?

Most visitors to Isla flock to the northern end of the island with its pristine white sand beaches, calm waters, and palm trees. Here is where you’ll find fancy beach clubs lining Playa Norte, Isla’s most popular beach. While the north end certainly has its charms, you’ll find something quite different at the far southern tip of the island.

You’ll find fewer crowds on the south side of the island. It’s a good option for nature lovers and the best place to get a completely different perspective of the island and see some truly spectacular scenery. This is the rugged coast of the island where the jewel-colored Caribbean waters lap and churn against jagged rocks and create a mesmerizing scene. Winding paths dotted with colorful statues cut their way through the tip of the island allowing visitors to navigate their way closer to the churning waters.

Explore the trails, bird watch, take in the views, and visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Ixchel, the remnants of a small Mayan temple.

Punta Sur rocky coastline, Isla Mujeres Mexico
Punta Sur rocky coastline, in the south of Isla (sur de Isla Mujeres)

visitor guide to Punta Sur

Here’s everything you need to know to see this Isla Mujeres attraction:

Sculpture Park (Parque Escultórico)

The sculpture park features over 20 sculptures honoring the ancient Mayan civilization. The sculptures were created in bright colors by Mexican artists like Jose Luis Cuevas and other famous sculptors.

This is the Island of Women! The name “Isla Mujeres” literally translates to “Island of Woman.” One of the most popular statues in the Punta Sur Sculpture Garden is dedicated to the Mayan Goddess Ixchel (Diosa Ixchel), the Mayan goddess of childbirth and Patroness of the Medicine (Patrona de la Medicina.) Ixchel is the Mayan Goddess of the Moon, and the wife of the Sun. Mayan women came to Isla Mujeres on yearly pilgrimages to seek her help. Scan the QR codes located at each statue for further details and information.

Ixchel Goddess statue at Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
Ixchel Goddess statue
Iguana Statue at Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
Iguana Statue
Mayan Goddess Punta Sur
Mayan Goddess Punta Sur
Mayan Statue, Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
Mayan Statue
Mayan Sculpture Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres
Mayan Sculpture

Walking Paths and Exploration

The Punta Sur Eco Park has a network of walking paths for visitors to explore. The well-maintained paths are within easy walking distance of the parking area. It’s an ideal destination for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike. The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including iguanas, sea turtles, and exotic birds.

walking paths Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
walking paths on Punta Sur
tunnel with ocean view Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
tunnel with ocean view, Punta Sur
coastal walkway, Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres
coastal walkway
aerial view of the walking paths on punta sur at the southern tip of Isla Mujeres Mexico
aerial view of the walking paths on punta sur at the southern tip of Isla Mujeres

Iguanas love to bask in the sun on the warm rocks at Punta Sur Isla Mujeres.

Iguanas Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
Iguanas are a common sight at Punta Sur

Mayan Ruins

Punta Sur is also home to ancient Mayan Ruins, which are believed to be dedicated to the Mayan goddess of the moon, Ixchel. At 20 meters above sea level (about 60 feet), this area is the location of the highest elevation on not only the island but the entire Yucatan. It is here on these rocky cliffs that the rising sun first touches Mexican soil, and where you can be the first in all of Mexico to see the sun rise! The temple was rebuilt after it was partially destroyed in Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Archaeologists believe the temple was also used as a lighthouse to guide trade boats coming from Cozumel, Tulum, and Xaman-ha (Playa del Carmen).

Mayan temple Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
Mayan temple Punta Sur, photo courtesy of Wikipedia

restaurants and shops

The park is also the location of the “Caribbean Village” which consists of shops, a restaurant, and a gazebo where you can sit and relax and enjoy the view of Cancun across the water.

Lighthouse

Until the late 1990’s, the only other structure at Punta Sur other than the Maya temple was the lighthouse and home of the lighthouse keeper and his family. The station was established in 1899.

lighthouse Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
lighthouse, Punta Sur Isla Mujeres

Visitor Information Punta Sur Isla Mujeres

Entrance fee: 130 pesos (around $7 USD) 3 pesos for residents of the island. Cash only, NO credit card payments accepted!

Opening times: 24-hours a day 7 days a week

Bathrooms: There are paid public bathrooms located at the park. 10 pesos to use the restrooms.

Other information: This activity can include lots of walking, uneven pathways and stairs, and climbing. Alternately, you can choose to stay on the upper paths and forgo exploring the lower rockier paths. There are benches scattered around the park, and rock walls where you can sit, rest, and take in the scenery and the sounds of the crashing waves.

Can you swim at Punta Sur? No, swimming is not permitted at Punta Sur due to the unsafe swimming conditions.

what to bring: cash for the entry fee, water, a hat, sunglasses, sunblock

How long does this activity take?
You can be in and out, see everything in the park, and transverse the trails in about 45 minutes. However, I recommend spending more time to sit, linger, relax, close your eyes, feel the sea breeze on your face, and commune with nature! Give it 1-2 hours!

pay station, Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
pay station, Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico

Best Time to Visit Punta Sur

The weather on Isla is perfect year-round. May through November is hurricane season in Mexico, but you may find lower prices during this time. (most storms develop between July and October) The park can get crowded during the day, especially since the sculptures have been added back. (many of the statues were missing for a time due to restoration efforts)

Punta Sur is the sitio ideal (ideal place) to watch the sunrise! It’s the best time to visit the park! First thing in the morning you’ll be there to see the spectacular sun rising over the island, temperatures will be cooler, and the heaviest crowds haven’t set in yet. You may even have the place all to yourself! Midday brings crowds and the sun’s rays bring the heat. Sunset is a nice time to visit too after the midday crowds have left. (for the best sunset views head to the northern part of the island and book a sunset dinner on the beach!)

sunrise if the best time to visit Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres Mexico
sunrise is the best time to visit Punta Sur!

Can’t get there yet? see it in this YouTube video!

Where to eat on the south end of the island

Worked up a hunger and ready for a delicious meal? Get ready to dive into some fresh seafood like ceviche and traditional Mexican cuisine, like chicken mole and street tacos. The south end of the island is a great place for those looking for authentic delicious Mexican food at a reasonable price. Here are some popular options that serve great food on the south end:

  • Maria’s Kan Kin
  • Kin ha Isla Mujeres Restaurant
  • Lacandona Coffee Bus
  • El Borracho Burro Cantina
  • Rancho Capricho
  • The Joint

Where to stay on the south end of the island

Isla is very small. It’s a mere 7 miles from tip to tip so it’s easy to visit Punta Sur if you’re staying on the north end of the island. The southern part of the island is much quieter and less crowded. It has a relaxed laid back island vibe and is the perfect place to stay in my opinion! Accommodation on the southern end of the island include everything from all-inclusive resorts, to vacation rental homes, to hostels which are the perfect option for those on a tight budget.

Here are my top choices for accommodations on the south end of the island:

boutique hotels

Casa Azul Maya
Prices starting at: $161 per night Guest rating: 9.0

Casa de los Sueños Hotel Boutique
Prices starting at: $200 per night Guest rating: 8.9

All-inclusive

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

Impression Isla Mujeres by Secrets – Adults Only – All Inclusive
(Luxury option) Prices: starting at $1,200 guest rating: 8.7 (this is a brand new property)

Budget options

Hotel La Joya Isla Mujeres (favorite budget pick!)
Prices: starting at $130 guest rating: 8.7

Nomads Hotel, Hostel & Beach Club
Prices: starting at $140 for hotel rooms, $22 for a single bed in the hostel guest rating: 8.4

entrance Casa de los Suenos Isla Mujeres Mexico
entrance Casa de los Suenos Isla Mujeres Mexico (photo credit, Tabatha Neubert)

other activities on the south end of the island

Hunt for sea glass

The wild and rugged east side of the island with its stunning coastal views is a great place to hunt for sea glass. It’s free and it’s fun!

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

Garrafon Natural Reef Park

Garrafon Natural Reef Park Beach Club, located on the south west side of the island, is a popular destination for those who love water activities. The adventure park offers a variety of water sports and activities including snorkeling, kayaking, and zip-lining, or just relax on the beach!

Snorkeling the bottled water clear waters of the west side of Isla!

Angie Kunze We're Not in Kansas Anymore snorkeling at Isla Mujeres Mexico
“getting my snorkel on! best place I’ve snorkeled yet!” -Angie Kunze

Underwater Museum

Consider a visit to one of the world’s most unique nature parks! The MUSA Underwater Museum of art dive site, features an underwater sculpture garden with over 500 life-size sculptures designed to promote coral reef growth and attract marine life.

Getting there

(for more detailed information on getting to Isla see my Ultimate Isla Mujeres guide)

Closest airports:
Cancun (CUN) approximately 26 km to the ferry terminal

Getting to Isla Mujeres

The easiest way to get to the island is by taking the Isla Mujeres Ferry from the ferry terminal in Cancun. If you are visiting on a day trip from Cancun, be sure to purchase a return trip ferry ticket. The ferry ride takes approximately 15-20 minutes and prices for a round-trip ticket start around $30 USD per person.

Getting around the Island

golf cart rental

The entire island is just 7 km long, making it easy to explore the entire island and a great way to do that is on a golf cart! Golf cart rental is very expensive, most of the companies have terrible customer reviews, and the carts are old and in bad shape. I recommend renting one for at least a day because it’s a fun way to explore Isla Mujeres! Make Punta Sur the first place you visit on golf cart day!

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, and because they booked the cart, we had an intermediary with some sway if something went wrong. For 24-hours we paid around $60. If you decide to take a golf cart to Punta Sur you’ll find a parking lot at the entrance with sufficient space to park.

Car

There are few if any places to rent a car on Isla. It is possible to bring a car over by ferry, but it really isn’t recommended. The island is just too small for extra cars and parking is scarce. The main mode of transportation is by taxi, bus, or golf cart.

Taxi

Plentiful taxis zip their way up and down the main road that circles the perimeter of the island. Taxi prices vary depending on the distance traveled and the time of day but are usually around $10 USD from one end of the island to the other. Confirm the prices BEFORE you get in the taxi.

Bus

Isla has a hop on hop off bus that covers the island and is an inexpensive way to get around if you’re on a budget. The bus runs from around 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. The bus makes a stop just outside the entrance of the Punta Sur Nature Park and can be taken from the ferry station.

Map of Punta Sur Isla Mujeres

Click the link to be directed to an interactive Google Map of Punta Sur, and the restaurants and hotels on the south end of the island.

map links to google map of Punta Sur, hotels, and restaurants south side of Isla Mujeres Mexico
map links to google map of Punta Sur, hotels, and restaurants south side of Isla Mujeres Mexico

¿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

Is Punta Sur worth it?

If you love stunning scenery, coastal views, colorful art, winding trails, and sea breezes then yes, Punta Sur is absolutely worth it!

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
  • 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 lookout for scam artists and short change thieves.

If you are concerned about crime, before your next visit to Mexico check the US State Department for travel warnings and advisories.

hidden gems in the Cancun area

Looking for more great places to see in the Cancun area? Then you may be interested in:

Catalonia Royal Tulum, all-inclusive jungle paradise

Serenity Luxury Glamping, jungle hideaway with a beach!

How to see the Sea Turtles at Akumal Bay

This post was originally published at We’re Not in Kansas anymore. You can read the article in its entirety at: https://www.werenotinkansasanymore.com/punta-sur-isla-mujeres.

Want to hear more about my travels around Mexico and the rest of our amazing planet? You may be interested in my Tropical Trips page and be sure to submit your email address to my subscriber sign up at the end of the page to be the first to know when a new blog publishes!

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