One take of a map of Mexico and to the right of the country on the coast of its Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Mujeres can be found.
On the northern tip of the island, the dreamy Playa Norte can be found – an idyllic setting. Not only does it contain beach lands, but plenty of amenities such as restaurants and cafes for a full day out and about.
The south actually boasts the southernmost point of Mexico with the Mayan Temple – a must for the travel gurus and history enthusiasts alike.
Isla Mujeres is just a 13km boat ride from Cancun if visitors wish to spread their party wings. It’s just a short boat ride away, and ferries sail back and forth between sunrise and sunset each day.
As it is also just a four-hour flight from some parts of the United States, it is a very convenient destination for US vacationers too.
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun
For visitors staying on the mainland, there are tons of things to do in Cancun. But since Isla Mujeres is oh so close by, visitors may wonder how to get there.
The answer can be found in Puerto Juarez – a brief walk from the Cancun strip.
The trip to Isla Mujeres, organized by Dreamstime ferry company, takes around 15 minutes. Boats leave the bay every half an hour from 5 in the morning until 9.30 pm. This is a unique experience, since there is often entertainment, in the form of a band or guitarist, onboard.
A taste of the breeze and a few waves later and you have arrived at the ferry terminal in Centro.
A note about Tortugranja
One of the most known activities to do in Isla Mujeres is the turtle farm – Tortugranja – which has been closed since September 2021. It may be one of the most highly-rated activities to do on the island but it doesn’t look set to reopen soon.
To try and get a peek at the island’s turtles, snorkeling and diving spots are the best alternatives. Visitors can book introductory dives if they are not yet qualified, or take a four-day course in order to receive their SCUBA certification.
Ranging from a visit to Playa Norte – the most popular beach on the island, to taking a trip to the underwater museum and snorkeling in the Garrafon Reef Park, there are still many activities you can enjoy on the island.
Hire a golf buggy
Once visitors get to Isla Mujeres, they may be wondering how to get around the island.
A more obscure, but definitely fun way to traverse is to hire a golf buggy. A rental on Isla Mujeres can cost around $30 for two hours and that enables four people to glide around the island in no time whatsoever.
The roads are rather straightforward to navigate, with newly built and refurbished routes without potholes.
But how do you get to Isla Mujeres main attractions?
Thankfully, there is just one main road that circles the entire island. Some of the sights to take in on the way make it all the more special.
If a bike is a preferred mode of transport, then cycling is perhaps the most relaxing way to get around while making the most of the scenery. Isla Mujeres rentals for bicycles are even cheaper than golf buggies, from just $10 per day.
Taxis are also on hand to transport guests around Isla Mujeres. Walking is, of course, an option, but you might not make it from Playa Norte to the Mayan Ruins before dark.
Explore Temple Ixchel Mayan Ruins
Speaking of the Mayan Ruins, when taking another peek at Isla Mujeres map activities, something picked out very often is the Temple Ixchel Mayan Ruins.
In Mayan culture, Ixchel is the lunar goddess. Her feminine characteristics, including long dark hair and golden skin, helped her lore gain popularity among the Mayan women longing for fertility. As such, Ixchel is now associated with the white rabbit- so if you happen to see one on your visit, consider yourself blessed by the Goddess herself.
Moreover, Ixchel is celebrated in Mayan culture for farming, planting and harvesting, since those cycles are also controlled by the moon.
And one of the best things to do Isla Mujeres-style is to stroll past her statue which stands loud and proud on the southern tip of the island to take a look at the Mayan Ruins.
A 30-minute walk will take you around the ruins and down the side of some of the rocks for a vantage point like no other.
There may not be much left of the ruins but it is a reminder of the history of Isla Mujeres and it still remains a key activity to tick off the list on the island.
We can personally vouch for that too.
Zipline adventures at Garrafon Reef Park
On the Isla Mujeres map, activities vary in their adrenaline levels. But for those wanting to step it up a notch from sunbathing at the beach, how about a zipline at Garrafon Reef Park? Not much beats the elation and euphoria of being nearly 100 feet above the sea on a zipline that sends you off a 42-foot tower.
Another must, the likes of snorkeling, swimming and kayaking are all activities Isla Mujeres’s Garrafon Reef Park has to offer. Alongside the adventure, tourists will get the chance to relax in the Mayan-style sauna and gaze at some of the most turquoise waters that can be seen from the island.
Sunbathe at Playa Norte
Forget snorkels, at one of the most stunning Mexico beaches, Playa Norte – or North Beach – the water is so clear that fish can be seen darting through the water.
Crystal clear water is a word used far too often but Playa Norte – based on the northern tip of the island – can definitely vouch for having that. It gives seriously good competition to nearby ‘paradise island’, Isla Holbox.
Moving away from the white sand, the water is shallow and benefits those keen for a gentle swim. And given its relaxed nature, it suits those wanting to soak up the peace and calmness that Isla Mujeres has to offer.
To complete a day out, there are several nearby restaurants to appease the hunger. Why not try a local dish, such as Mexican ceviche or tacos to feel more immersed in Mexican culture?
Food tour at Isla Mujeres restaurants
Speaking of local dishes, if eating out is an activity, then Isla Mujeres’ restaurants definitely cater to that.
The local restaurants boast dishes such as fresh ceviche, tacos, and enchiladas. Many are cheaper than you’ll find in the states, with some places serving tacos for $1 per shell.
There is less street food here due to commercialization, however, if you look hard enough you can definitely find it. Check the smaller routes between house streets in Centro if street food stands are proving particularly difficult to find.
As far as Isla Mujeres activities go, we’d recommend tacos de camarones (shrimp) or pollos (chicken). At just 20 pesos ($1) each, it’s an absolute steal – and they are delicious.
Take a Yoga class
As yoga is becoming increasingly an activity that is more prevalent in the daily routine of visitors, your Isla Mujeres hotel probably caters to wellness too.
And thankfully, there are tons of mental and physical benefits to a daily yoga practice, many of which are unable to be found in other exercise types. Yoga boosts mental clarity and provides a relaxing start to the morning- which we think is rather apt when surrounded by the tranquility of Isla Mujeres.
Even for those trying it out for the first time on vacation- this is one of the more idyllic activities from Isla Mujeres. Moreover, the release of feel-good endorphins are the best way to kickstart the morning as part of a digital nomad’s routine, enabling long-term travelers to keep physically and mentally fit.
At Selina, daily yoga and HIIT classes are available for guests and non-guests most mornings at 8 am.
Dive at MUSA
Tourists making their way into the Centro district will find yet another of the brilliant range of activities in Isla Mujeres. SCUBA MUSA allows you to visit the underwater museum of art in the form of sculptures.
More than 500 life-sized sculptures make up the diving grounds between Isla Mujeres and Cancun, with plenty of fresh corals and aquatic life to see too. Salon Manchones is the most packed dive site of them all, with the majority of sculptures found here.
And for those trying to weigh up a visit to Cozumel vs Isla Mujeres, it’s good to know that this museum is unique to the island. Keen divers would therefore likely prefer the Isla de Mujeres.
A three-hour scuba trip for pre-qualified divers will set you back at approximately $150 and is certainly likely to be an unforgettable experience.
Attend a beach clean up
When international visitors imagine Mexico beaches, they’ll likely picture white sand, crystal clear waters and beautiful sunshine. And while in some areas of the country that might be the truth, unfortunately, Isla Mujeres’ coastline is subject to seaweed wash-up.
This means that mountains of red and black seaweeds will come ashore on any given day and could potentially ruin the beach experience for tourists and locals alike.
Fortunately, there is a solution. Regular beach clean-ups are undertaken by volunteers in order to keep the sand free of obstruction, and it’s organized by many of the Isla Mujeres hotels. Selina facilitates their own beach clean-up for the local beach, Playa Norte, approximately once every two weeks, or immediately after a storm. This is when the seaweed turnout is particularly bad.
This type of activity is well-suited to long-term volunteers or vacationers who don’t mind spending their own time giving back. Tasked with a rake, some latex gloves and trash bags, it’s a long but rewarding, fulfilling way to spend your time on Isla Mujeres.
With the Centro district being the downtown area of the island, it’s located right in the middle. This makes it the perfect place to head for everyday essentials and souvenirs alike during a trip. For some shopaholics, this could constitute Isla Mujeres best activities.
In Centro, visitors will find a couple of distinct groupings of stores;
Locally-made souvenir shops
High-quality boutique clothing stores
Handmade jewelry stalls
Cafes and restaurants
As you can see, on Isla Mujeres, things to do are not just limited to off-island activities, there is also plenty to explore even in the downtown areas. Why not get together with a group of friends and create a treasure hunt, finding obscure and unique items in all the stores?!
Take a Catamaran Trip
Isla Mujeres rentals don’t just cater to golf buggies, tourists can also hire out a Catamaran or jetskis in order to make the most of their time on the water.
For a full day out, boat hire comes with an open bar, all-inclusive food, snorkel gear and the ability to map out your preferred route. Let’s say your group is keen divers or snorkelers; this means that the captain can customize the trip and divert towards the best wreck sites. Alternatively, those who would prefer to lounge and jump off the boat might prefer a spot closer to one of the Mexico beaches.
Catamarans are best organized in large groups of at least 15-20 people. Expect to pay approximately $80 per person for an all-inclusive experience complete with onboard DJ. Select a half-day for a shorter experience, or the full eight hours to experience one of the craziest Isla Mujeres / Cancun activities the way it was always intended.
Action-packed or relaxed?
Some choose to visit Isla Mujeres for the heart-racing, blood-pumping and adrenaline-filled activities. Others prefer the tranquil, relaxed quiet spots on the island.
Either way, Isla Mujeres activities can cater to your preferences. With a range to rival much larger destinations, this location is truly a gem in the pacific ocean. Now, it’s just about sorting the itinerary.
Fortunately, Selina has you covered on accommodation. With luxury private suites and social dorm rooms, there is something for every type of traveler to Isla Mujeres. Learn More.
Isla Mujeres FAQs
Where to stay in Isla Mujeres, Mexico?
Since Isla Mujeres is only 7km long and a few km wide, you could technically stay in any area. However, not all districts are made equal. Playa Norte is just footsteps away from Selina Isla Mujeres, where guests will find arguably the best hotel Isla Mujeres has to offer.
Spacious co-living apartments are great for short and long-term guests who want to relax and unwind for up to weeks and months at a time. With bicycles, golf carts and electric scooters ready for hire, we’ll give you the best local recommendations to explore the island in style.
Is Isla Mujeres safe for solo female travelers?
Isla Mujeres tends to be very safe for all types of travelers and has been rated as ‘okay’ or medium for female safety on popular nomad websites. We always recommend that tourists take the proper precautions when visiting a foreign land and remain vigilant throughout their travels.
TIP: book Isla Mujeres activities for group settings so that you can meet other solo travelers and make some friends for the rest of your trip,
Is snorkelling good in Isla Mujeres?
Yes, the biodiversity around Isla Mujeres is some of the best you’ll find off the coast of any Mexico beaches. Those who time it right can spot turtles, pufferfish and plenty of corals. Snorkeling can be performed off the coast by boat or on the beaches themselves, and the rental equipment is widely available on the island.
Which is better for activities, Isla Mujeres or Cozumel?
As the other local island, Cozumel rivals Isla Mujeres in terms of its convenience and relaxed vibe. But it’s a much larger island, which means that getting around by car is advisable. Cozumel has less of a local feel and is more commercialized, which means great access to American brands like Starbucks.
If however, you are going on vacation to escape the States, we recommend Isla Mujeres for a better experience.