Isla Mujeres is a beautiful island 13 kilometers off the Yucatán Peninsula from Cancun. It is 4.3 miles or 7 kilometers long and its width is 0.404 miles or 0.65 kilometers. This was once a sleepy, small island, something of a secret to the outside world. Isla Mujeres is now extremely popular with top resorts and upscale eateries. But the island with soft white sandy beaches has still retained its charm and beauty. It is more serene than the popular beaches of Cancun.
To the east is the Caribbean Sea, and in the west, you can see Cancun over the horizon. All around, the water is very clear, turquoise blue, and clean. Take a ferry from Cancun and you will be able to reach the island in just 20 minutes. Once there, you can rent a golf cart or scooter to explore in a day. But Isla Mujeres is always best seen on foot. Many like to stay here for a few days to relax, soak in the sun, charmed with this island paradise.
Isla Mujeres – Quick Facts
|Isla Mujeres||Beautiful island with white sandy beaches close to Cancun.|
|Size||Length – 4.3 miles/7 kilometers, width – .404 miles/0.65 kilometers|
|Distance from Cancun||13 kilometers off the coast to the east.|
|How to Reach||20 minutes ferry ride from Cancun.|
|Transport||Public ferry, and private sailboat, motorboat, catamaran service|
In local language, Isla Mujeres is called ‘the island of women’. This is for Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of medicine and midwifery.
What To See At Isla Mujeres
1. Isla’s Beaches, Playa Norte – Also called the North Beach, Playa Norte is one of the best beaches in Mexico. You will find delicate white sand, palm trees, and water so blue the sky looks pale. This is a great place to unwind and loosen up.
2. The MUSA Underwater Sculpture Museum – A commendable effort to neutralize the impacts of environmental change on our seas and reefs. See the sculptures below the water. They change with time with the growth of corals and colonies of marine life. A must-see.
3. Garrafon Park, Punta Sur – At the southern tip of Isla where the rising sun first reaches Mexico. Also called the El Garrafon, this is an aquatic park where you can swim in a big pool overlooking Cancun at a distance, see the colors of the water change, do some kayaking, and relax on a hammock between palm trees. You can also see a Mayan temple and a lighthouse. Chance to swim with dolphins if you are lucky. There are bike tours and zip lining too.
4. Hacienda Mundaca – 19th-century hacienda or plantation constructed by Fermin Mundaca who was a Caribbean pirate. It is now in ruins. See the arches, walks, gardens, exotic plants, the orchard, cattle, and the breeding place of birds.
5. Tortuga Granja – The turtle farm. This is a hatchery run by the government where endangered sea turtles are looked after and hatched. You will see many tanks here full of young turtles. They are released into the sea once they attain a certain age.
Whale Shark Tours – You can see hundreds of whale sharks in the waters around the island between the middle of May to September. July and August are the peak times. You will find plenty of operators at Isla Mujeres. Tours usually include snorkeling gear, breakfast, and lunch. Each boat carries 8 to 10 people. The tours are between 45 and 60 minutes. You can spend 2 to 15 minutes with the sharks depending on how many of them are there.
Dolphin Discovery – This is a small amusement park with dolphins.
Snorkeling, Scuba Diving – Just off the shore is the Manchones Reef, a good place for both advanced and beginners. There are 50 sites here.
Beach Volleyball – Go north to the Playa Norte beach with palm trees, bars, and restaurants. You will find many beach volleyball courts here.
Biking, Golf Carts – Isla Mujeres is small. But most don’t go outside the main tourist areas. Head to the southern or eastern coast, and you will find many private beaches. Rent a bike or golf cart for just $45 for 1 full day. Mopeds are even cheaper at $25.
Best Time To Visit
The high season runs from December to May, a month longer than Cancún. June to the middle of November is the low season. January to April is the best time to visit Isla Mujeres.