A Weekend on Isla Mujeres Will Make You Happy
I’m an Australian with a giant soft spot for Mexico and in particular the Yucatan Peninsula. My husband Thom and I traveled to Mexico for our honeymoon and spent a few days enjoying the island life on Isla Mujeres. Let me share with you my tips for visiting Isla Mujeres and why it’s a must visit destination to include when you’re planning your trip to the Yucatan!
Getting to Isla Mujeres
For those of you who haven’t heard of Isla Mujeres before, it is a beautiful paradise located just off the shore of Cancun. The closest airport to Isla Mujeres is Cancun International Airport (CUN). From the airport, a short 25 minute ride by taxi, shuttle or private transfer gets visitors to the Gran Puerto Cancun Ferry Dock. In our experience, the easiest way to do this is via private shuttle. This way you avoid wasting time dropping off other passengers at their hotels all along the Cancun Hotel Zone, and save time getting to the ferry! The Ultramar Ferry is the easiest way to actually get to the island, the direct service only takes about 20 minutes to arrive on Isla Mujeres. You can buy return tickets from the ferry dock.
Getting Around the Island
Once you arrive on the island, there are very few cars and motor vehicles around. The most popular, and fun way to get around the island, is to rent a golf cart! We heard a rumor that 500 golf carts were on the island and they ALL get booked out every day. To make sure there is availability, reserve one early and book one for the day. We found that booking one for 24 hours was the best option. The golf cart cost us $1140 Mexican Pesos for 24 hours and was our favorite way to get around the island. It takes about one hour to drive around the island and provides the freedom to travel at our own pace.
Make sure to enjoy stops along the way for photos, shopping, and eating!
Where To Stay
During our visit to Isla Mujeres we stayed at the Mia Reef Resort. On it’s own little island, connected to the actual island by a jetty, Mia Reef offers it’s guests and all-inclusive experience that will make you never want to leave. With all restaurants and most rooms overlooking the ocean, staying here just adds to the island life vibe.
The waiters bring you drinks and snacks to your beach cabanas as you let go and relax.
Mia Reef boasts a private beach, marina on site, swim up bar and food and drink service all day and night, as well as all the water sports you could imagine (think sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, beach yoga, scuba diving, parasailing and snorkeling!). If you stay there, make sure to visit the secluded King’s Bath – an ocean rock pool with super clear blue water overlooking the ocean.
What To do
Number one? RELAX! Isla Mujeres offers the ultimate island life. Where time slows down and the only thing to think about is whether you should lie by the beach or the pool! It is one of the most relaxing places I have ever visited and I think the great thing about it is that there’s not really anywhere else to go. I mean, you can drive around the whole island in one morning. After that, kicking back and relaxing by the beach seems like the perfect way to spend the day.
Playa Norte Beach
Rated the #7 beach in the world by Trip Advisor, it’s easy to see why. Stepping into the perfect white sand, Playa Norte Beach is surrounded by tall palm trees overlooking the clearest ocean water ever seen. The water is the perfect temperature for swimming all year round and barefoot bars line the sand where you can grab a local cocktail and enjoy it on a swing right at the bar! When you imagine Mexico, this is what you’re thinking of!
If you want to get a little more active, rent a paddleboard from the beachfront and paddle your way around the beach and inlet.
No matter how long your time on Isla Mujeres may be, Playa Norte is a must visit!
Visit Tortugranja Turtle Farm
This place has a beautiful story. A few years ago some of the local fisherman became concerned with the amount of turtles and turtle eggs that were being captured along the shore each night, so they began collecting eggs in order to preserve the species. They have been doing an amazing job!
Located near the center of the island, visitors can walk through indoor and outdoor pools to observe young turtles. Since opening, thousands of sea turtles have been released now six species of turtles are living on the island. Entry is only $30 pesos and being located on the water makes a peaceful location!
Punta Sur Sculpture Park
Punta Sur is located on the opposite end of the island with the highest elevation in the Yucatan and home to an ancient temple honoring the Mayan Moon Goddess. This is also where you will find the Punta Sur Sculpture Garden – an outdoor art exhibit in a tropical setting with the azure blue water surrounding you on all sides. The Sebastian Foundation, along with 23 artists from Mexico and around the world, created the exhibit in 2001 using modern shapes and colors to interpret the legendary spirit of the Mayan civilization. Don’t miss a stop at the Acantilado Restaurant for some GIANT cocktails before you continue on your journey.
When should you go?
Isla Mujeres is a perfect island destination year round! It’s prime location in the Caribbean Ocean offers many sunny days and a great climate year round. Warm enough to swim and lower humidity! The high season for Isla Mujeres, like the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula, are winter months and holidays. Summer months from June – September are considered low season and deals can be found. Our visit was during February and the weather was perfect.
Isla Mujeres vs. Tulum vs. Playa del Carmen
Three of the top destinations along the Riviera Maya all offer something completely different. While Isla Mujeres offers the perfect island life surrounded by white sand beaches, Tulum offers more of a beach meets jungle experience. Tulum offers unique treehouse accommodations, beach side cabanas, and eco-friendly lodges between the beach and the untamed jungle. Somewhere in the middle of the two is Playa del Carmen, where the party scene is much stronger and the main street is now overflowing with designer brands and shopping malls.
Playa del Carmen is in a great location if you would like to explore several different destinations during your trip (could not recommend Xcaret more highly), however it is becoming increasingly overpopulated with tourists and Western brands. For a more authentic experience in Mexico, I would definitely recommend looking into either Isla Mujeres or Tulum for your stay.
Our honeymoon was our second visit to Mexico and we could not have loved the country any more! Every destination offers a different experience, new flavors, activities and historical sites to explore.
For us, Mexico is where we found the BEST guacamole on earth!