Isla Mujeres, Guide and Essential Tips for Visiting it

Who I am
Aina Martin
@ainamartin
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

It's no secret that I loved Mexico - the warm blue waters, white Caribbean beaches, snorkeling, and loads of adventures (and cuisine!) Make this country one of my favorites.

Isla Mujeres is together with Cozumel and Isla Holbox, one of the three islands of the Yucatan Peninsula and, although tourism here did not develop in a responsible way, it's worth it if you're in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, take an excursion of one or more days by staying in one of the many nice hotels and B & Bs.



How to get to Isla Mujeres

There are mainly 3 different ways of I will arrive to Isla Mujeres: with the Ultramar fast ferry, taking part in aorganized excursion or with a service always from Ultramar which starts from the hotel area for tourists but which I personally discourage as it is considerably more expensive (22 euros each way).

Consiglio: why not join an excursion from Cancun that also includes snorkelling? You can book the tour online here!

Il Ultramar fast ferry departs from Cancun and is safe and efficient. There is air conditioning in the cabin, but I preferred to enjoy the sun and the wind in my hair on the upper deck.

The Gran Puerto Cancun Ferry Pier (Ultramar) is located at Puerto Juarez (Av. Jose Lopez Portillo MZ 84 M 5 L 6 Puerto Juárez), a few minutes from the center of Cancun. Boats depart every half hour from 5am to 00pm and every hour thereafter. The crossing takes about 21 minutes and the fare is 00 pesos one way, or 15 return.



To get from Puerto Juarez to the ADO bus station in the center, you can take a collectivo, which costs a few pesos (when I was there it was 8) and stops on the road just in front of the ferry terminal.

The Gran Puerto facilities are very comfortable with nice bathrooms, an Oxxo (similar to 7 / Eleven), a small food stall selling quesadillas and a tourist clothing shop where you can buy hats, sunglasses, beach bags and clothes.

If you take your luggage with you, you are directed to the back of the boat which, especially in high season, is terribly crowded and you find yourself piled on top of each other.
In this case it is better to have the carriers (“maleateros”) load the suitcases.

Don't forget to tip!

Hotel and Where to Sleep on the Isla

About travel on economy, should take a look at the Poc Na Hostel Isla Mujeres (attention, it is a party place not good for those seeking tranquility), located on Av. Matamoros and Carlos Lazo.

Camping is available at 80 pesos / person. Dorm beds range from 145 to 185 pesos / person. Double rooms start at 350 pesos / room.
A small breakfast is included in the rate.

For those looking for one instead highest standard,aparthotel Nautibeach Condos Playa Norte it is a top choice: the apartments are equipped with all comforts and overlook North Beach, the most famous beach on the island.


Obviously, the swimming pool is not to be missed, open 365 days a year.
Highly recommended for couples, the Nautibeach Condos Playa Norte it is almost always full and it is therefore better to book it well in advance.


For those looking for a all inclusive right on the island the choices are not many, the prices are staggering but the quality is very high.

Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres Cancun-All Inclusive: the structure (best quality / price ratio) offers a sea ​​view that takes your breath away, Swiss cuisine, all possible and imaginable comforts and organizes for its guests all kinds of activities.

Isla Mujeres Palace – All Inclusive Adults Only: an all-inclusive for adults only, Isla Mujeres Palace is a luxury resort quietly located in an old fishing village. There cuisine and gourmet and the resort offers guests plenty of activities, as well as nightly live entertainment and themed parties.

Mia Reef Isla Mujeres Cancun All Inclusive Resort: the resort is located on a kind of private island connected to Isla Mujeres by a wooden bridge e a stone's throw from Playa Norte.

The rooms are decorated in Caribbean colors.

In Isla Mujeres, however, there is no shortage of top choices. Look here on Booking all the hotels!

beaches

There are around six beaches large on Isla Mujeres and a group of smaller ones. Some, like Playa Norte, have bars and lounge chairs, and on most you can rent SUPs, kayaks and snorkeling equipment.


North Beach (North Beach) is by far the most famous beach on Isla Mujeres and is often considered one of the best in the Caribbean. Playa Norte is minutes from the center, and the palm trees and white sand definitely make it muy hermosa. Playa Norte is perfect for everyone, but especially for families as the lack of strong currents and the shallow water allow parents to be quite calm when the children are bathing.


Posada Beach, which is located along the west side of the island, is not as crowded as Playa Norte, however the water is not as clear while Media Luna Beach it is a beautiful crescent-shaped beach.

Indios Beach, Playa paraiso e Lancheros Beach they are all more secluded beaches that are on the west side facing Cancun. Sun loungers and parasols can be hired while outdoor restaurants, souvenir shops and public baths are nearby.

What to see and do

Rent a golf "carrito"

The best way to get around the island is definitely to rent a "cart", a toy car like those of the golf courses. There are dozens of rental companies on Isla Mujeres, and although they do sell out from time to time during the holidays and busier times of the year, most days you won't have a problem finding one of these (but go there before midday!).

With the cart you can practically drive to any place on the island, and if you spend several days, you can visit a different beach every day. It is true that if you want you can walk or take a taxi, but the real freedom is to rent one of these.

The Tortugranja

I love sea turtles, I swear to you, terribly and that is why I always try to go to places where I can see them as a Mouth of Heaven where I saw him running towards the sea as soon as he was born.

Since large sea turtles have made Isla Mujeres their breeding ground for generations, the Turtle farm, is an important place of interest to visit.

Inside the large tanks it is possible to observe the 3 species of sea turtles, both small and adult, very closely. La Tortugranja is the ideal place to learn more about marine life and is particularly educational for children who love the sea because they are shown, in addition to the turtles also all conservation measures that are put in place to preserve the species.

Tortugranja boys, for example, collect turtle eggs from the beach and bring them here and then free them once they are born, thus increasing their chances of survival (let's not forget that in Mexico turtle eggs are sold in restaurants and cooked and this is endangering some species).

Depending on the time of year you visit Isla, you can see hundreds of turtles growing in the large tanks. The day the baby turtles are released into the sea there is a big party.

There is also a small aquarium in the main building with seahorses, lobsters, crabs, tropical fish and even an octopus. There are also some land turtles and family of iguanas strolling along the sides of the building.

Punta sur

Located at the southern end of the island of Isla Mujeres, Punta sur it is not only the highest in all of Yucatan, but it is also the easternmost point in all of Mexico. That's right, the sun hits Punta Sur before anywhere else in Mexico and it's a glorious sight.

With an ancient Mayan temple in honor of the Mayan goddess Ixchel, Punta Sur also boasts a lighthouse and dozens of modern sculptures. Due to some of the most spectacular sea cliffs in all of Mexico, Punta Sur is a great place to grab a bite while gazing out to sea.

MUSA Submarine Museum

Concepito da Jason deCaires Taylor, Isla Mujeres ospita the largest underwater museum on earth.

The clear waters off Isla Mujeres are a great place to dive or snorkel and observe how thousands of underwater sculptures change over time thanks to coral growth and interaction with the marine world. The scope of the project is mind-blowing and the combination of marine art and conservation is fantastic to see.

Garrafon Reef Park

Il Garrafon Reef Park it's a great place to spend an afternoon. Its all-inclusive packages include a buffet lunch and an open bar. Not only do they have ziplines over the crystal clear waters, but you can also rent kayaks and snorkeling equipment.

For those who just want to laze or relax with a good book, the structure offers the wonderful infinity hammocks on the water of the pool. The entrance includes bathrooms, lockers, showers and entrance to the sculpture garden and Punta Sur.

Garrafón de Castilla

Il Garrafón de Castilla it's located right next to Garrafón Reef Park on the south end of the island, and the entrance fee includes lounge chairs with umbrellas, toilets, and shower areas.

Snorkeling equipment and lockers can be hired.

Lo Zocalo (town square)

Located in the city center, lo Plinth o the square comes alive almost every evening with celebrations, dances and events in which local Mexican families and tourists of all kinds participate.

You can eat tacos and pastries from the vendors lining the park or buy souvenirs from local vendors. For children there is also a small playground.

Water fun in Isla Mujeres

For lovers of the genre, the waters of Isla Mujeres are the paradise for deep sea fishing. From fishing for marlin, sailfish and dorado to fishing for tuna and barracuda, Isla Mujeres is the best place in all of Mexico for this kind of activity. Tours and guides can be hired for a day or even for a whole week.

1 day excursions from Isla Mujeres

Being so close to Cancun, from Isla Mujeres it is possible to visit not only Cancun but also Playa del Carmen or ruins of Tulum. There are really no shortage of choices, but my advice is to take part in a tour at theIsla Contoy.

Isla Contoy is a small uninhabited island about 30km north of Isla Mujeres, where the Caribbean meets the Gulf of Mexico. Isla Contoy is internationally recognized for its flora and fauna, especially birds, and was declared a National Park in 1998.

Isla Contoy is also an important nesting site for sea turtles: During the summer, three species of sea turtles come here to lay their eggs: Carey, White and Caguama.

Most tour a Isla Contoy includes a stop to snorkel on the nearby reef, a tour of the island and small museum, lunch on the beach, usually freshly caught fish from the grill.

Tours typically leave enough time to explore the winding paths, relax on the beach, and make friends with manta rays that approach tourists asking them to be petted.

How long Isla Mujeres is a paradise, personally I found it too touristy and ruined by irresponsibility. Photographs with sharks, illegal sale of corals and shells, overly intrusive hotel structures have strongly ruined the environment. Try not to fall into the trap of business and avoid all the tours and activities that are not very responsible: you will thus help to preserve the sea and protect the animals that live there.

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