Mexico has very few islands, and the Isla Mujeres is one of them. Although close to Cancún, the island is a cozy tropical holiday paradise without the hectic high life of Cancún or Playa del Carmen. However, the Isla Mujeres with its colorful houses has an incredible charm, and the beauty of its beaches is breathtaking.
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What to expect
Isla Mujeres is a small tropical island with a very relaxed ambience. The only village on the island with its colorful houses makes you want to go for a walk. The food is delicious and consists mainly of seafood and Mexican cuisine. And the beach is just too beautiful to be true.
Climate: Pleasantly warm at around 30°C / 80 °F, high humidity all year round.
Rainy Season & Hurricane Season: June – October. Mostly only short but intense showers.
When to visit: High season December – April.
Language: Spanish. Many locals work in tourism and speak rather good English.
Currency: Mexican Peso.
Credit cards: Most shops and restaurants do not accept credit cards. Better rely on Mexican cash. There are banks and ATMs on the island.
Safety: Isla Mujeres is very safe for tourists. You can also walk at night without worry if you know how to use your common sense. As everywhere else, however, you should pay attention to your valuables.
How to get there: Cancún airport. Then take a cabor a shuttle service to Puerto Juárez and from there, the ferry to the island.
Getting around: The only village on the island can be easily explored walking. For an island tour you can rent a bike or a golf cart.
Isla Mujeres (“Island of Women“) is a small island on the Mexican Caribbean coast about 13 km north of Cancún and is accessible via the ferry service of the port of Puerto Juárez. The ferry runs every 30 minutes, the journey takes 15-20 minutes.
The island has an area of about 7 km in length and 650 m in width, with an area of 4.2 km ². The west coast has been part of the National Park Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc since 1996.
History of the island
Isla Mujeres has been visited by the Maya since 550 BC. At the time, however, the island was not permanently populated, there was a sanctuary in honor of the Mayan goddess Ixchel. Spanish conquistador Francisco Hernández de Córdoba discovered the island in March 1517.
Isla Mujeres now has a population of just over 11,000 people, mainly living from tourism and fishing.
Life on Isla Mujeres
The island’s most beautiful beaches are located on the north side near the city center, where the water is calm and looks like a gigantic turquoise swimming pool. The most famous of them is the Isla Mujeres North Beach.
To the south is Garrafon National Park, with the temple ruins of the Mayan goddess Ixchel and a breeding station for sea turtles. Wide coral reefs full of colorful life invite you to snorkel. Only suitable for experienced and tested divers are the reefs of Punta Norte and Manchones in the south, as well as the grotto of the sleeping sharks and the positions of two sunken ships.
Time passes slowly on Isla Mujeres. The center of the only village is just four by six blocks in size and has retained the charm and tranquility of the former fishing village. During an evening walk between the colorful houses of the island you can watch the fishing families repair their nets, and taste the day’s catch in the restaurants of the island, prepared with delicious traditional recipes.
Hotels on Isla Mujeres
If you don’t just visit Isla Mujeres for a day from Cancún, you’ll need a place for the night. You will certainly find a place that you love and would like to come back to.
Most hotels are located in the north of the island, where most activities are also offered for tourists. For a more secluded stay, you better turn south. From upscale resort to small cheap hotels, everything is on offer – perfect for enjoying the ambience on Isla Mujeres for a few days.
Restaurants on Isla Mujeres
The cuisine on the island is of course dominated by seafood and fish, and you should not miss that … it doesn’t get any fresher than that! Traditional spices and local ingredients promise unforgettable taste experiences.
In addition to many Mexican restaurants, Isla Mujeres also offers a variety of restaurants with the cuisine from other countries, whose owners could not escape the charm of Isla, so they simply stayed after a holiday.
Cheap food is also available during the day at the market Mercado Municipal on Avenida Guerrero and in the evening at the food stalls in front of the church Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción. Warning: many locations don’t accept credit cards, better take cash with you!
Isla Mujeres nightlife
On Isla Mujeres, the entertainment definitely doesn’t end as the sun sets. Although the nightlife of the island is very relaxed, there are some nice places where you can enjoy a few drinks, listen to music and mingle with the locals.
Don’t miss out on visiting the idyllic restaurants and bars on the beach of the island, where you can enjoy not only great food but also the fresh breeze from the sea and the sound of the waves on the beach.
Also in Avenida Hidalgo in the center there are a lot of trendy bars and restaurants and you will certainly find something that best suits your mood and taste. Or you can simply enjoy the shows of street performers, dancers and fire swallowers, which are offered for a small tip in the evening in Avenida Hidalgo.
Things to do on Isla Mujeres
During the day, Isla Mujeres offers activities around the turquoise Caribbean Sea for all ages: Scuba diving and snorkeling in the breathtaking Caribbean underwater world, sailing, fishing, swimming with dolphins and sharks or the discovery of the spectacular underwater museum with sculptures by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. You can also rent a bike, moped or golf cart and explore the island on your own.
When visiting the turtle farm in the south of the island you can be enchanted by the majestic sea turtles. Or spend the day exploring the ruins of Hacienda Mundaca: according to legend, it was built by the notorious pirate and slave trader Fermín Mundaca, who wanted to conquer the heart of a woman from this island with it, but he should not succeed in doing so. Relaxing massages, yoga classes and shopping complete the island’s offerings.
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