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The ultimate guide for Isla Mujeres, Mexico: main stream & off the beaten path

Isla Mujeres – the little island paradise just off Cancun in Mexico. Just 7 km long and 650 m wide, this paradise attracts a lot of attention by travelers within the reason. That is why most places are pretty much main stream. Without any question, they are popular for a reason. Crystal clear water, snorkeling opportunities and more are waiting for you. Nonetheless, there are still some hidden gems worth exploring.

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres

This is the ultimate guide for Isla Mujeres – main stream and off the beaten path.

Playa Norte

Playa Norte is one of the most famous beaches in the world. It was voted among the top beaches of the world from Tripadvisor. And it got what it deserves.

Playa Norte

Playa Norte

The water is crystal clear, you can look to the bottom as you can in your bathtub. The sand is white without any rocks. And please don’t miss the sunset.

Sunset on Isla Mujeres

Sunset on Isla Mujeres

When coming from the ferry station, just turn left. Follow the main road, you will get to the most famous beach of the island.

If you want to eat though, don’t stay on Playa Norte. Food is not the best here. Go to either one of the restaurants along the street to Playa Norte or go into town if you want to eat cheaper. You can find my food recommendation at the end of the post.

Joya Beach

If you prefer to have a quiet beach time, I got the perfect beach for you. Head down to the south of the island, always along the west coast of the island. Between Dolphin Discovery and the leisure park Garrafon, you will find Hotel Joya. Head down the stairs and find a small but stunning beach with almost no people.

Beach at Hotel La Joya

Beach at Hotel La Joya

Dolphin Discovery

If you want to swim with dolphins, you can do so on Isla Mujeres. The best idea is to book a tour directly in Cancun as the ferry is included in the price.

Swimming with dolphins on Isla Mujeres

Swimming with dolphins on Isla Mujeres

Garrafon water park

A bit further south, you’ll find the leisure park Garrafon. You can zipline and snorkel here among others in a beautiful environment. If you want to go to Garrafon and swim with dolphins, there is a package for that, so you’ll get a discount price.

Turtle farm

If you love turtles, there is an opportunity to visit a turtle farm on the island. On this farm they have breed grounds and protect the eggs of the turtles.

Mayan pyramid/South end

Right on the other end of the island, you’ll find Punta Sur. Here you’ll find a small Mayan pyramid. Even though if you do not want to visit the ruins, the cliffs and the view are worth going.

Punta Sur Isla Mujeres

Punta Sur

Admire architecture on east coast

When heading back, take the road along the east coast. Here’s where the water is rougher and darker. That’s because it’s the side of the open ocean.

Riding along Isla Mujeres' east coast

Riding along Isla Mujeres’ east coast

Along the coast you’ll find some pretty villas bringing joy to the architecture nerd inside of you.

Houses along the island's east coast

Houses along the island’s east coast

Apart from that, the coastal line is remarkable as well with its differently formed cliffs. Sometimes you find some kind of hippie places in between. Keep your eyes open.

East coast Isla Mujeres

East coast Isla Mujeres

Local neighborhood

You are looking for off the beaten path places? Heading down to the south of the island, you’ll find the Chedraui supermarket. Turn slightly left and you will make your way through the local neighborhood.

Some colorful houses are strung together here.


Around Isla Mujeres you can find various reefs which invite to snorkel or to dive. Apart from that you can find the famous underwater museum just a stone’s throw away from the island.

MUSA Cancun

Underwater Museum

If you stay in Cancun, I genuinely recommend you to go with Scuba Cancun. It’s my trusted dive company. I go with them every time I go diving. If you end up staying on Isla Mujeres though, there are various companies available as well.

From June to September is the famous season of whale sharks. When staying during this time, don’t miss hopping into the water with these giants.

Snorkeling with whale sharks - June to September

Snorkeling with whale sharks – June to September


Of course in paradises like Isla Mujeres, yoga opportunities are often present. To find a suitable class, check on Yogafinder.

Yoga on Isla Mujeres

Yoga on Isla Mujeres

Floating Bottle Island

On the west coast of the island, you find a small lake with a floating island. It is made from natural and recycled materials. The so-called floating bottle island has a diameter of 66 feet.

Floating Bottle Island

Floating Bottle Island

According to isla-mujeres.net, over 100,00 plastic bottles were used for the base of the island.

Souvenir shopping

If you want to bring some gift home, Isla Mujeres has it all. Several souvenir shops are accommodated in the center of town. From t-shirts, to sculptures or the traditional Mexican skulls. You name it, you find it.

Getting there
I recommend you to go to Isla Mujeres from the ferry station in Puerto Juarez, a suburb of Cancun. The ferry costs about half the price than it does in the hotel zone of Cancun.
You can either take the bus R1 to Puerto Juarez (10 MXN) or catch a taxi. This shouldn’t cost more than 50 MXN from the city center of Cancun. From the hotel zone it’s much more expensive. The R1 bus also passes the hotel zone if you stay there.
Get off at the first ferry station of Ultramar (there are two in Puerto Juarez). This one leaves Puerto Juarez every 30 minutes. The second one only every hour. Both ferries cost 146 MXN return. It is an open return ticket which is valid for 3 months.
Getting around
The most popular way to get around Isla Mujeres is to rent a golf cart followed by scooters. Vendors will get to you with offers as soon as you get off the ferry.

Getting around by golf cart

Getting around by golf cart

If you want to be more active and save money, you can also rent a bike. I rented a good one for 150 MXN per day including a basket. The island is very small and mainly flat. You find some hills going inland on your way to the south. But nothing undoable. You can easily make your way around with a bike.

Biking around Isla Mujeres

Biking around Isla Mujeres

Where to eat

My food recommendation is the bar Coconuts in the town center. I ate coconut fish for 105 MXN which I consider a pretty good price considering it’s a touristy island.

Coconut Fish

Coconut Fish

Have you been to Isla Mujeres? What did you do? Do you have any additional tips on what to do or where to eat?

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2 thoughts on “The ultimate guide for Isla Mujeres, Mexico: main stream & off the beaten path

  1. Agness

    You have no idea how much I would love to visit Mexico this summer. If I don’t choose to explore Peru, I’ll definitely pay Mexican beaches a long visit :).

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