I am an Australian with a giant spot for Mexico and in particular for the Yucatan Peninsula. My husband Thom and I traveled to Mexico for our honeymoon and spent a few days enjoying island life on Isla Mujeres. Let me share with you my tips for visiting Isla Mujeres and why it is a must-see destination when you are planning your trip to Yucatan.
How to get to Isla Mujeres
For those of you who haven’t heard of Isla Mujeres before, it’s a beautiful paradise on the edge of Cancun. The nearest airport to Isla Mujeres is Cancun International Airport (CUN). From the airport, 25 minutes by taxi, shuttle or private transfer, visitors will arrive at the Gran Puerto Cancún ferry dock. In our experience, the easiest way to do this is through a private transfer service. This way, you avoid wasting time leaving other passengers in your hotels throughout the Cancun hotel area and save time on arriving by ferry. The Overseas Ferry is the easiest way to get to the island, the direct service only takes about 20 minutes to reach Isla Mujeres. You can buy round-trip tickets from the ferry dock.
How to move around the island
Once you reach the island, there are very few cars and motor vehicles around. The most popular and fun way to get around the island is to rent a golf cart. We heard the rumor that there were 500 golf carts on the island and they are all booked every day. To make sure there is availability, book one early and book one for the day. We found that booking one for 24 hours was the best option. The golf cart cost us $ 1140 Mexican pesos for 24 hours and was our favorite way to get around the island. It takes about an hour to get around the island and provides the freedom to travel at our own pace.
Be sure to enjoy stops along the way to take photos, shop and eat.
During our visit to Isla Mujeres we stayed at the Mia Reef Resort. On her small island, connected to the royal island by a jetty, Mia Reef offers her guests and all-inclusive experience that will make you never want to leave. Staying here, with all the restaurants and most rooms overlooking the ocean, helps to enhance the vital atmosphere of the island.
The waiters bring drinks and snacks to the beach huts as you unwind and relax.
Mia Reef has a private beach, marina, bar and food and beverage service throughout the day and night, as well as all the water sports you can imagine (sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, beach yoga, diving, parasailing and snorkeling!). If you are staying, visit the secluded King’s Bath, an ocean rock pool with super clear blue water and ocean views.
What to do
Number one? RELAX! Isla Mujeres offers the best life on the island. Where time slows down and all you have to think about is whether to lie on the beach or in the pool. It’s one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever visited and I think the best part is that there is nowhere else to go. I mean, you can drive around the whole island in one morning. After that, stepping back and relaxing on the beach seems like the perfect way to spend the day.
Beach North Beach
Ranked as the world’s number 7 beach by Trip Advisor, it’s easy to see why. Upon entering the perfect white sand, Playa Norte beach is surrounded by tall palm trees overlooking the clearest ocean water ever seen. The water is the perfect temperature for swimming all year round and barefoot bars line the sand where you can grab a local cocktail and enjoy it on a swing at the bar. When you imagine yourself in Mexico, that’s what you’re thinking about!
If you want to be a little more active, rent a paddleboard on the beachfront and stroll along the beach and entrance.
No matter how much time you spend on Isla Mujeres, Playa Norte is a must.
Visit Turtle Farm Turtle Farm
This place has a beautiful history. A few years ago, some local fishermen were concerned about the amount of turtles and turtle eggs being caught along the coast each night, so they began collecting eggs to preserve the species. They have been doing an amazing job!
Located near the center of the island, visitors can stroll by indoor and outdoor pools to observe young turtles. Since the opening, thousands of sea turtles have been released, there are now six species of turtles living on the island. The entrance costs only 30 pesos and the location on the water is a quiet location.
Punta Sur Sculpture Park
Punta Sur is located at the opposite end of the island, with the highest elevation in the Yucatan and is home to an ancient temple in honor of the Mayan moon goddess. Here you will also find the Punta Sur Sculpture Garden, an outdoor art exhibition in a tropical setting with blue blue water surrounding you on all sides. The Sebastian Foundation, along with 23 artists from Mexico and around the world, created the exhibition in 2001 with modern shapes and colors to interpret the legendary spirit of Mayan civilization. Don’t miss a stop at the Acantilado restaurant for GIANT cocktails before continuing your journey.
When should you go?
Isla Mujeres is a perfect destination on the island all year round! Its prime location in the Caribbean Ocean offers many sunny days and a fantastic climate all year round. Warm enough to swim and lower the humidity! The high season of Isla Mujeres, like the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula, is the winter months and holidays. The summer months of June to September are considered low season and deals can be found. Our visit was during February and the weather was perfect.
Isla Mujeres Vs. Tulum against Playa del Carmen
Three of the top destinations on the Riviera Maya offer something completely different. While Isla Mujeres offers the perfect life on the island surrounded by white sandy beaches, Tulum offers one more experience on the beach and jungle. Tulum offers unique tree-lined accommodation, beachside cabins and eco-friendly accommodation between the beach and the indomitable jungle. Somewhere in the middle of the two is Playa del Carmen, where the party scene is much stronger and the main street is now overflowing with designer brands and malls.
Platja del Carme is in a great location if you want to explore various destinations during your trip (you might not recommend Xcaret anymore), although it is increasingly populated by tourists and western brands. For a more authentic experience in Mexico, I would definitely recommend looking for Isla Mujeres or Tulum for your stay.
Our honeymoon was our second visit to Mexico and we could no longer have loved the country. Each destination offers a different experience, new flavors, activities and historical places to explore.
For us, Mexico is where we found the BEST guacamole on earth.