All You Need To Know Before Visiting Isla Mujeres in Quintana Roo, Mexico
Isla Mujeres is a Caribbean island located off the coast of Cancun, in Mexico. If you are heading there for a holiday, we highly recommend visiting this paradisiac island, as it has gorgeous white-sand beaches and is a great spot for sunbathing, snorkelling and even partying if that is what you are looking for!
The island is only a short 30-minute boat away and the vibes are unmatched. The streets are colourful and the cristal-clear blue water beaches are a complete dream.
Ways To Visit Isla Mujeres
- Stay at a hotel in Isla Mujeres: This is not the obvious choice for people visiting Cancun, but Isla Mujeres also has some great hotels in the island. Better than the ones in Cancun if I dare to say so! This is because Isla Mujeres being an island, the beaches are generally cleaner and nicer, and there is slightly less people than in Cancun. If you are going to look at beach-front resorts in Cancun you might as well also check out some locations in Isla Mujeres. It makes a great beach destination and is super family friendly!
- Take the public ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres for a day of exploring: Alternatively, one day is enough to see the island of Isla Mujeres. If you are not a fan of organized tours, you can choose to explore the island by yourself. All you need to do is book a return ferry ticket and take the boat from X. This is the official ferry website where you can purchase the tickets, which cost X.
- Book a day tour to Isla Mujeres: Another great option is to book an organized day tour to the island. This is the best option if you are staying in Cancun and want to experience the island differently. We recommend taking a tour that sails to the island by Catamaran, for an extra enjoyable experience. Be mindful that some guided tours take you in the public ferry so when you speak to the travel agency make sure to ask about the type of boats they offer. Tours start at $50 USD per person but can go up to $100 USD depending on the type of tour you choose. Usually the more expensive the nicer the type of boat. But regardless of what you choose, make sure to always negotiate with the agency and they tend to lower the price when you do so!
Our experience on an organized day tour to Isla Mujeres
When we arrived in Cancun we booked a day tour to the island with an agency. We decided on this option because the tour cost us $53 USD per person, including lunch, drinks and all transportation. Had we taken the public ferry for $22 USD per person, plus the transport to and from the port, plus lunch at the island, the total cost would have been similar or higher. So for us, it was cost effective to take the tour!
We booked a tour that took us by Catamaran and had an open bar onboard. Sailing to Isla Mujeres by Catamaran made the whole experience extra enjoyable, as the journey was smooth and you really get to enjoy the sea views and Caribbean landscape from the boat. There was music, drinks… and we could sit in the net at the front. We absolutely loved it!
At the start of the day we were picked up by the travel agency who dropped us at the port. Once there, we had to pay an additional $13 USD per person, which apparently is a government tax for port usage, which everyone has to pay. Make sure to keep this extra cost into consideration.
Once on the boat, the first stop was the underwater museum. But if you like snorkelling, don’t make the same mistake as us. We believed we were going to see this….
But in reality, they only took us to see a very small part of the museum. It was still beautiful, we saw a lot of fishes and even a needle fish, but we really love snorkelling so for us, not being able to free dive around the whole museum was a bit of a slap in the face. We had to wear life-vests throughout the whole tour.
We did some further research and turns out that the famous statues of the underwater museum that you see in the photos above, are for diving, not snorkelling. But the official museum do also sell tours for snorkelling, which are most likely longer and better than the one we took. Although these start at $50 USD per person. You can check out the tours they offer here.
After snorkelling, they took us to Isla Mujeres and gave us over 2 hours to explore the island. This was the highlight of the tour because the island is nothing short of amazing. We definitely recommend that you walk up north, soak in the views and head to Playa del Norte. This beach doesn’t get any waves and is gorgeous. A real Caribbean beauty.
Alternatively you can either get a taxi to drive you around the island to see the main touristic spots, or rent a golf cart for about $34 USD to roam around the island as you wish.
For the last stop of the tour, they took us by boat to another part of the island. We stopped at a dolphin park where we had lunch, included as part of the tour. This is the part we liked the least.
The resort was beautiful, but at arrival we saw that they keep dolphins in very small cages. What annoyed us the most was hearing the tour guide saying “the dolphins are in their natural habitat, we just have some barriers so they don’t leave”.
We don’t support these types of practices, or any type of animal tourism for that matter. For us, this was a big turn off from the tour. Should we have known this from the start, we wouldn’t have booked with this agency.
Knowing what we know now, we would personally not recommend this tour. In general, it had huge potential, but the disappointment of the snorkelling experience plus the dolphin attraction park, it just wasn’t our style at all. However, we would 100% recommend visiting Isla Mujeres. We cannot stress enough how good the vibes were in the Island. If you can go by Catamaran, do so! We do recommend that experience.
We hope that this information helps you make an informed decision on how you want to visit Isla Mujeres. By all means we encourage you to visit this beautiful island.
I’m curious, will you be paying a visit to Isla Mujeres after reading this? Let us know in the comments!
And if you are visiting Mexico soon, don’t forget to check out our blog about Chichen Itza before booking a tour.
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