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All Aboard for a Day Trip to Beautiful Isla Mujeres

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Whether your winter holiday to the tropics takes you to Cancun or to the Riviera Maya, an excursion to neighbouring Isla Mujeres in an absolute must, not just because of its proximity to the Mexican mainland, but also because of Transat’s expansive range of simple and easy day trips.

The best and almost only way to explore the island is by golf cart. Guests staying at local resorts will be able to get one from their hotel, while out-of-towners will have to rent one from the many shops scattered across the port. A little tip: don’t hesitate to haggle if you are quoted more than $45 USD for 24 hours.

How long is the ferry ride to Isla Mujeres?

There are several departure points and ferry terminals, depending on where you’re staying. Puerto Juarez is the most popular departure point, with a ferry service provided by Ultramar, with regular departures from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Day trip to Isla Mujeres from Playa del Carmen

The Puerto Juarez ferry terminal is located close to El Niño Beach in the northern end of Cancun. The ferry ride takes just 20 minutes. 

Day trip to Isla Mujeres from Costa Mujeres

There are two options, here. Visitors can either go to Punta Sam, but ferry service isn’t as frequent. They can also choose to depart from Puerto Juarez ferry terminal, which is located close to El Niño Beach in the northern end of Cancun. From there, the ferry ride takes just 20 minutes. 

Day trip to Isla Mujeres from Tulum

This is a bit of an all-day adventure! There are no direct ferry services from Tulum to Isla Mujeres. Instead, visitors must drive to Cancun (a 2-hour ride) and take the ferry from there. Cozumel Island may be a better fit as far as fay trips from Tulum are concerned!

Day trip to Isla Mujeres from Cancun

Visitors must drive or get a taxi to Puerto Juarez ferry terminal, which is located close to El Niño Beach in the northern end of Cancun. The ferry ride takes just 20 minutes.

How to plan your trip to Isla Mujeres

How do I get around Isla Mujeres?

Once on the island, the best way to get around is to rent a golf cart. It’s the most popular form of transportation on the island! Tourists staying at local hotels can rent one, while those coming from the mainland can rent one at the shops around the harbor. A word of advice: if you’re offered more than $45 USD for the day, negotiate!

Can you go to Isla Mujeres without a tour?

Yes, absolutely! You can enjoy all the best things to do in Isla Mujeres on your own, as long as you find a means of transportation to get around the island. If you want to! It’s perfectly possible to just go to Isla Mujeres to enjoy the beaches and not do too much. Know that return ferry tickets costs around 300 pesos per person.

How do I get to Isla Mujeres by catamaran?

Admire the view at Punta Sur

Coast line, Isla Mujeres

Welcome to the southernmost tip of Isla Mujeres! The dramatic cliffs jutting dangerously into the Caribbean Sea are a sight to behold, as are the stoic iguanas that live peacefully there. Though there’s little to see due to the numerous hurricanes that leveled the Mayan temple dedicated to the fertility goddess Ixchel, leaving only the ruins, rest assured that the view alone is well worth the short detour.

Dive with whale sharks on Isla Mujeres

The most seductive attraction of Isla Mujeres is undoubtedly the chance to swim within inches of the largest fish on the planet: whale sharks, which can weigh between 10 and 20 tons each. They come to the Yucatan Peninsula during the summer season after a long migration.

To realize this dream of excursions from Cancun, you must travel to Isla Mujeres between May and September. It’s worth mentioning that there are strict rules for diving with whale sharks in order to protect them. So it’s best to book your trip with an official operator and to prefer small groups. What’s the point? Because only two people can dive at a time.

Visit the best dive sites in Isla Mujeres

Being a Caribbean island, it goes without saying that it’s a paradise for all forms of diving! In fact, Isla Mujeres is one of the best places in the world for water sports.

It’s here that visitors will find the most beautiful underwater museum in the Caribbean. In addition to some of the most colorful coral reefs in the northern hemisphere, the marine life is absolutely breathtaking! Barracudas, rays, starfish, sailfish and hundreds of colorful fish such as damselfish, creole wrasse, bayolle surgeonfish, rainbow parrotfish and many more call this place home.

Shop on Avenida Rueda Medina

Despite its small size, there is no shortage of shopping on Isla Mujeres. The downtown area is filled with little shops. From baskets, rugs and Mexican folklore-inspired jewelry to beachwear and shell necklaces. There really is something for everyone!

Shopaholics will also be interested in the Isla Mujeres Artisan Fair. It takes place on the first and third Thursday of each month from November through April from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It features the creations of local artisans, with proceeds going to local charities.

Take a trip to Isla Contoy

Isla Contoy is a haven of peace, a paradise for nature lovers. This little island is a national park. This means that its exceptionally biodiverse ecosystem is protected and preserved. It is the gateway to the Ixlaché Reef, part of the second largest reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

Here you’ll find pristine beaches, over 150 species of birds, fascinating marine life (including turtles!), and pristine coconut forests.

On this excursion you’ll have the opportunity to discover an incredibly rich and varied flora and fauna. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some rare and endemic species.

Finally, don’t forget that access to Isla Contoy is limited to a certain number of visits per day. It is therefore highly recommended that you book your visit in advance.

Relax at Playa Norte

Road to Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres

Away from the powerful, unforgiving waves of the east coast of Isla Mujeres, the crystal clear, azure waters of Playa Norte are the perfect place to relax or swim in peace after a long day of exploring. While the public beach is free, the sunbeds and umbrellas are not. You have to pay to use them! It’s a good investment, as the beach has fine sand and shallow water. And it’s only a few meters away from the shore.

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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