Travel Guide for Isla Mujeres - Our Personal Paradise - Isla Mujeres Purple Guide

Isla Mujeres is our personal paradise! It features Playa Norte which is Mexico’s best beach, soft white sand, turquoise water and authentic Mexican food. Snorkeling is right off the beach - even for beginners. Our Isla Mjueres Purple Guide provides information about the best things to see and do in Isla Mujeres so you can have a relaxing vacation in Isla Mujeres.

Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres with MIA Reef Hotel
Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres with pavillion at MIA Reef Hotel

Table of contents

Why should I visit Isla Mujeres

General Information about Isla Mujeres

How to get to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres Weather by Month

The best time to visit Isla Mujeres

Where to stay on Isla Mujeres

Best beaches on Isla Mujeres

  • Playa Norte - Best beach on Isla Mujeres
  • Playa Sol - Wonderful beach on Isla Mujeres
  • Playa La Media Luna - Mostly deserted Beach on Isla Mujeres
  • Best snorkeling on Isla Mujeres

    Other places to visit in Isla Mujeres

  • Take a Photo at the Isla Mujeres Sign
  • Partying and shopping in downtown Isla Mujeres
  • Local history of Isla Mujeres

  • Punta Sur in Isla Mujeres
  • Hacienda Mundaca in Isla Mujeres
  • Museum Capitán Dulché in Isla Mujeres
  • Turtle farm - La Tortuga Granja in Isla Mujeres
  • Frequently asked questions about Isla Mujeres

    Why should I visit Isla Mujeres?

    Isla Mujeres in Mexico has stolen our hearts and we consider it to be our personal paradise! It features white sand beaches (Playa Norte is supposedly Mexico’s best beach), turquoise water and authentic Mexican food. Playa Norte has good swimming, good snorkeling - even for beginners - and good sunbathing.

    The island is a short ferry ride from Cancun, but really a world away. Cancun is busy, somewhat hectic and a tourist trap. Isla Mujeres is relaxed and much more authentic. With Playa Norte, it has Mexico’s best beach (that’s what they say and I totally believe that is true), it has a touristy downtown area but also plenty of authentic Mexican food that you can buy for very little money.

    For more detailed information incl. links to google maps locations, more reviews, website links, etc., check out our Isla Mujeres & Holbox Purple Guide.

    General information about Isla Mujeres

  • Currency: Mexican Pesos (MXN). US dollar are rarely ever accepted.
  • Time: the local time in Isla Mujeres can be found here
  • Language: Spanish. Most people in the tourist business speak at least some English.
  • Driving side: right.
  • Electricity: 110V, 60Hz
  • Power outlets: the same “Type B” three-pronged outlets as in the US
  • Internet code: .mx
  • Calling code: +52
  • How to get to Isla Mujeres

    Isla Mujeres can be reached from Cancun by the Ultramar ferry.

    If you come from the Cancun International Airport then, depending on traffic, it is a 25-50min taxi ride from the airport to the Ultramar ferry terminal and then a 20min ferry ride.

    The ferry leaves from Cancun every 30min. The Ultramar Ferry is located at Av. López Portillo SM-84 M-5 L-6, Puerto Juárez, Cancún. México. Please see this website for up-to-date information.

    Besides Puerto Juarez, Ultramar Ferries also depart from the Hotel Zone (zona hotelera) in Cancun and from Playa del Carmen. The above link provides itineraries and departure and arrival locations.

    Ultramar Ferry in Cancun with service to Isla Mujeres
    A musician playing aboard the Ultramar Ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres

    Isla Mujeres Weather by Month

    The weather by month that you can expect on your visit to Isla Mujeres is shown here:

    Average daily temperatures per month in Isla Mujeres
    Average daily precipitation per month in Isla Mujeres

    The best time to visit Isla Mujeres

    Isla Mujeres has warm weather throughout the year. Unlike Cancun and the areas further south on the Riviera Maya, sargassum is rarely an issue to to Isla Mujeres’ privileged location.

    The slow season is from May through November. High humidity and rain slow down life on the island. In December, vacationers come back for the Christmas holidays. The main tourist season with the best weather runs from January through April.

    Best beaches on Isla Mujeres

    The map shows the locations of the three best beaches:

    Playa Norte - Best beach on Isla Mujeres

    Playa Sol - Wonderful beach on Isla Mujeres

    Playa La Media Luna - Mostly deserted Beach on Isla Mujere

    Map showing the best three beaches in Isla Mujeres

    Playa Norte - Best beach on Isla Mujeres

    The star attraction of Isla Mujeres is Playa Norte - it is often called the best beach in Mexico and I believe there is some truth to it. It runs the entire length of the Eastern side of Isla Mujeres.

    As you may have guessed, Playa Norte is busy, so if you look for tranquility, then you mauy want to cnsider other beaches or go there early. It will be packed in the afternoon, especially the Southern parts of this beach.

    Tip: Since most visitors don’t get to the Playa Norte beach before 10am or even 11am, you can still have some quiet time and a mostly empty beach before 10am.

    The Souther part of Playa Norte consists of compacted seashell powder with a thin soft seashell powder layer on top. The seashell powder is much thicker in the Northern part of the beach and walking there is a lot easier.

    Playa Norte has good snorkeling. Please visit our Isla Mujeres Snorkeling page for more detailed information and photos and videos.

    Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres
    Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres
    Fish seen during snorkeling at Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres
    Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres
    Backpack and Snorkel Travel Store

    Playa Sol - Wonderful beach on Isla Mujeres

    Playa Sol lies directly to the South of Plya Norte. It has the same compacted seashell powder as the Souhern part of Playa Norte.

    Should you be in town for the New Years’s fireworks, then Playa Sol is a good place to be as you can watch the Isla Mujeres and the Cancun fireworks.

    Playa Sol has a wide beach, but only a comparably small area is roped off for swimming.

    Playa Sol in Isla Mujeres
    Playa Sol in Isla Mujeres

    Playa La Media Luna - Mostly deserted Beach on Isla Mujere

    If you look for tranquility, you can go to beautiful Playa La Media Luna which is only a short walk away. As this is a no-swim beach, you will find very few people there. As a matter of fact, in some cases we were the only people on the beach during busy Christmas season.

    Playa La Media Luna in Isla Mujeres
    Playa La Media Luna in Isla Mujeres

    Best snorkeling on Isla Mujeres

    There is good snorkeling at the rocks facing the Atlantic Ocean East of the bridge to the MIA Reef hotel at the Northern end of Playa Norte. Please visit our Isla Mujeres Snorkeling page for more detailed information and photos and videos. It will also tell you about snorkeling at Piscina del Rey.

    You want even better snorkeling? Try Garrafon de Castilla or Garrafon Reef Park in the Southern part of the island. For a small admission feeyou can get wonderful snorkeling at the beautiful reef and beach umbrellas and chairs are included. As the beach is a bit rocky, we recommend to bring water shoes.

    Or join a boat tour to Marine Park of Isla Mujeres where you will snorkel at the Manchones Reef (Lighthouse reef) and may see colorful fish including barracudas, lobsters, angel fish, parrot fish, turtles, and stingrays. Another highlight is MUSA Isla Mujeres, an Underwater Museum where you can see over 500 life-size sculptures of six different artists underwater.

    If you like to try scuba diving, check out this article Getting SCUBA Certified on Vacation, Without Spending Your Vacation in Class.

    Best snorkeling on Isla Mujeres

    Other places to visit in Isla Mujeres

    In the unlikely event that you plan to go to any other places then Playa Norte or the other beaches in the Northern part of Isla Mujeres, there is actually a lot of other things to see and do. I am listing the most important here and the following map shows you where they are located:

    Map of Isla Mujeres showing places to visit

    Take a Photo at the Isla Mujeres Sign

    The ISLA MUJERES sign is located here.

    Isla Mujeres Sign in Isla Mujeres

    Partying and shopping in downtown Isla Mujeres

    The busy downtown area with tons of restaurants and souvenir stores, a bank and supermarkets is only 3 blocks away from the Isla Mujeres sign.

    Downtown Isla Mujeres
    Downtown Isla Mujeres

    Local history of Isla Mujeres

    Punta Sur in Isla Mujeres

    This Mayan Temple is located at the southern tip of Isla Mujeres. This is Mexico’s Eastern-most point and thus the first place where the sun rises in Mexico. At this ancient temple, which is honoring the Mayan Moon Goddess, you can get breathtaking views of Cancun and the reef with its turquoise water. Take the path and go down to the water but beware, it will be hot. So, bring plenty of water.

    Hacienda Mundaca in Isla Mujeres

    Hacienda Mundaca was built by 19th-century slave trader Fermín Antonio Mundaca de Marechaja who fell in love with a local woman who was called La Trigueña which means "The Brunette". To impress her, he built Hacienda Mundaca. Sadly, La Trigueña was not impressed and married someone else which broke Mundaca’s heart, he died, and the hacienda fell into disrepair. Even today, the grounds look neglected.

    Museum Capitán Dulché

    Dedicated to the memory of Captain Ernesto Dulche Escalante, who founded the 5th Naval Region on Isla Mujeres. It contains a large collection of photographs and model ships, many maritime tools and artifacts and a large replica of Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso. If you are interested, the museum also shows videos featuring Ramon Bravo and Jacques Cousteau.

    The museum is part of the Capitán Dulché Beach Club located on the south end on Isla’s bayside, where you can grab a cold beer and enjoy life under the shade of a palapa.

    Turtle farm - La Tortuga Granja in Isla Mujeres

    Isla Mujeres is hatching ground for giant sea turtles that lay their eggs in the sand from May through September. Those eggs are collected and placed in pens at the Turtle Farm "La Tortuga Granja" to keep them safe from predators and tourists. If you visit before they are released between August to October, you may be able to see hundreds of baby turtles in the holding tanks. If you come afterwards, then you may only find a few turtles that are either injured or unable to survive in the wild.

    There is also a small aquarium which displays tropical fish, sea horses, crabs, lobsters, and baby manta rays. There are also some iguanas and land turtles.

    Frequently asked questions about Isla Mujeres

    HOW FAR ISLA MUJERES FROM CANCUN?

    It is a 15min ferry ride from the Ultramar terminal in Cancun to Isla Mujeres.

    HOW BIG IS ISLA MUJERES?

    Isla Mujeres is 4.3mi x 2,130ft (7km x 650m). The Northern part of the island, where Playa Norte is located is completely walkable.

    HOW IS ISLA MUJERES PRONOUNCED?

    The "j" is pronounced "h" in Spanish. So, the pronunciation is Isla Mu-ha-res

    HOW TO GET TO ISLA MUJERES FROM CANCUN?

    Depending on traffic, it is a 25-50min taxi ride from the airport to the Ultramar ferry terminal and then a 20min ferry ride.

    The ferry leaves from Cancun every 30min. The Ultramar Ferry is located at Av. López Portillo SM-84 M-5 L-6, Puerto Juárez, Cancún. México. Please see this website for up-to-date information.

    HOW MUCH IS THE ISLA MUJERES FERRY?

    There are ferries from Puerto Juarez which is North of Cancun which run all day and ferries from Cancun’s hotel zone which run less frequently and cost about twice as much. Puerto Juarez is a 25-50min taxi ride from the airport, depending on traffic.

    At the time of me writing this, the cost from Puerto Juarez is 160 Pesos (US$8) per adult (130 Pesos = US$6.50 per child) for a one-way trip and 300 Pesos (US$15.50) for adults, 250 pesos (US$13) per child round trip.

    Please see this website for up-to-date information.

    HOW TO GET AROUND ISLA MUJERES

    Tourists typically get around by foot, bike, taxi, golf carts or moped scooters.

    HOW SAFE IS ISLA MUJERES

    Isla Mujeres is a small island with friendly locals. It is very safe and likely the only crime that you may encounter are crimes of opportunity. As in any other tourist destination, don’t leave your valuables unattended. When it comes to crime, it is a world away from Cancun.

    Are you interested in more white sand beaches and turquoise water destinations?

    Check out my reviews of other Caribbean islands.

    Are you interested in more destinations in Mexico?

    Check out our reviews of other destinations in Mexico.

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