There’s something about the Mexican Caribbean that is simply irresistible. The turquoise water of its beaches is in perfect synchrony with the beauty and peace of the surroundings.
You probably already know this and are planning to spend a few days in the beautiful Costa Mujeres.
While you are there, take the chance to visit the neighboring beach: Isla Mujeres. Surely at this point, you’re wondering, aren’t Costa Mujeres and Isla Mujeres the same place?
Well, they aren’t! Costa Mujeres is part of the Isla Mujeres municipality, but this and the similar name are the only things they share because they are entirely separate places. Even though the confusion is understandable!
Another important difference is that Costa Mujeres is entirely on the mainland, while Isla Mujeres is not.
Also, Costa Mujeres is physically closer to Cancun than Isla Mujeres itself.
Let's stop beating around the bush and get right into this ultimate guide to spending a day in Isla Mujeres. Here you’ll find the best places to eat, drink, stay, and much more.
Isla Mujeres owes its name to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of fertility, medicine, water, and the moon. Ixchel is also connected to happiness, which explains why all those who visit this tropical paradise fall in love with it.
Getting to Isla Mujeres and navigating your way around the island is a piece of cake. To get there, you have three main options:
Take a cab to Puerto Juárez. When you get there, go to the Gran Puerto Cancun (Ultramar) ferry dock to buy your tickets. Tickets cost about eight dollars for one-way travel and fifteen dollars for round-trip travel. From 5:00 am until 9:30 pm, the boats depart every half hour. It takes around 15 minutes to get to Isla Mujeres by ferry.
If spectacular entrances are your thing, you have to arrive on a catamaran to Isla Mujeres. These stunning vessels take you out for up to 10 hours of cruising, snorkeling, and free time for you to roam around the island and explore it on your own.
The service, on average, is about $40 per adult, but you can also have a fantastic meal for a few extra dollars. There are, of course, more opulent catamaran options that are well worth investigating if you're going with a company or for a particular occasion.
A day trip to Isla Mujeres on a private yacht is, undoubtedly, the most luxurious way to get there.
Since this is a private excursion, you and the captain may craft a schedule that suits all your interests. Prices vary from $590 up to $1300
Thanks to the island's size, which is about 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) long and barely half a mile wide (650 meters), you can see most of it in about 2-3 hours in one of the multiple options to get around.
Golf carts are the most popular way to get around Isla Mujeres. Available in the downtown area, the typical cost for a day is about $50. The rental cost per hour ranges from $14 to $16.
On the island, several cabs may be simply summoned or hailed down. To avoid being overcharged, be careful to negotiate the price before boarding the vehicle. This is a simple way to get around but can be the most expensive.
Renting a bicycle or scooter is a more cost-effective method of moving around. Both are available for hourly or daily rental. A scooter can be rented for about $12 per day, and a bike can be rented for about $6 per day.
Now that we know how to get there and how to navigate this little gem of the Mexican Caribbean, let's go over the best to-do things.
To give you some context, most of the transportation options to Isla Mujeres leave passengers in Isla's downtown north end. Here are most of the island's restaurants, bars, stores, and hotels, as well as the lovely Playa Norte.
In the center are districts like La Gloria, while the coasts include hotels, beach clubs, and private villas. The east coast has cliffside vistas and smashing waves, while the west shore has calm lagoon-like water and magnificent sunsets.
In the south is Punta Sur, a beautiful coastal preserve that is very much worth visiting.
This amazing water park is close to Punta Sur and is one of the biggest in the whole state of Quintana Roo. There you will get full access to all of their amenities, including inner tubes, kayaks, snorkeling, zip lines, and much more.
Tortugranja is a turtle sanctuary that protects breeding grounds, preserves endangered nests, and then lays the eggs and nurtures the hatchlings near the Sac Bajo zone.
A series of indoor and outdoor tanks containing several kinds of baby and adult turtles, including green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles, are accessible to see for an entrance fee of $3.
Turtles cannot be touched or held, but for about $2, you can buy a bag of food and feed them.
It offers lovely views of the Caribbean Sea from a distance, which are available at any time of day. Additionally, you may stroll along the east and western promenades.
While you're there, take the opportunity to explore Centro, the main street of Isla Mujeres, where you will find several places to dine, drink, and fill on any necessities you might need for your day of sightseeing. You may locate ATMs here, for instance, if you need extra cash.
Playa Norte is regarded as one of Mexico's most stunning beaches. It is located at the island's most northern tip and is endowed with warm, shallow water and gentle sand.
You may schedule an hour or two out of your Isla Mujeres day trip itinerary for a swim and time to soak in the sun because the beach is nearby (only a 10-minute walk from the dock).
Isla Mujeres has a wide (and delicious) gastronomic offer, from trendy beach clubs and chic restaurants to traditional taquerias. These are our recommendations:
Start your island adventure with a coffee from this charming place. With a menu that includes everything from pancakes and bagels to the traditional Mexican meal and any kind of egg, Cafe Mogagua not only makes good coffee but also shines at breakfast and lunch.
Lola Valentina is known for its creative Mexican and Caribbean food and hip-swinging at the bar. Located downtown, this place also offers many gluten-free and vegan alternatives.
Mango Cafe prides itself on being Isla Mujeres' best breakfast spot thanks to its amazing dishes like the coconut French toast that have made the place famous beyond its borders.
Marbella Fish Market and Raw Bar, located on the west coast, offers a beachside location where you can savor a variety of seafood straight from the ocean while sipping a glass of wine and watching the sunset.
Close to Punta Sur is Acantilado, which offers a wide menu for all tastes, from seafood, burgers, and salads to traditional Mexican meals.
This restaurant owes its name to its amazing views of the surrounding cliffs and ocean.
If the adventure day results longer than expected, you can spend the night in one of the excellent establishments that Isla Mujeres has to offer:
On Isla Mujeres' northwest shore, there is a brand-new boutique hotel called Bahia Tolok, which has 14 rooms. The rooms range in size from studios to one-to two-bedroom homes, some of which include kitchens, balconies, and breathtaking sea views.
The rooms are modern, elegant, and very comfortable. They have many details that remind you of islands to get you in the mood for a trip. The whole property is beautiful and well-built, from the swimming pool with a waterfall to the private beach with hammocks in the water to the on-site restaurant and bar.
Stay at Icaco Island Village for a genuine relaxation experience. With only the sea breeze and palm trees for company, this boutique hotel puts you close to the action while also making you feel worlds away. It is only a 5-minute drive from the island's downtown.
There are just 6 rooms total on this trendy, bohemian property, all of which have balconies, hammocks, kitchenettes, and elegant, rustic-chic décor. Most importantly, all of them face the ocean.
Zoëtry Villa Rolandi, which is situated on Isla's exclusive Sac Bajo peninsula, is revolutionizing all-inclusive vacations. There are just 35 rooms in this exclusive refuge, all of which have ocean views, private terraces, Bvlgari bath products, a pillow menu, free 24-hour laundry service, and more.
In addition to your room's premium mini bar, two gourmet restaurants on-site provide great cuisine and specialty beverages. Room service is also available around-the-clock.
The hotel also features a saltwater whirlpool, two beachfront pools, one of which is adults-only, a spa, and a fitness center.
The best part? There are no specific check-in or check-out timings, and a private yacht will pick you up from Cancun to the resort for free.
This oceanfront boutique hotel is situated on Sac Bajo and radiates all the island vibes. The 123 hotel suites have private balconies with garden or ocean views, and some also have in-balcony baths or plunge pools.
Café Izla and Numa Restaurant are two of the on-site dining options, while two of the swimming pools have bars.
Additionally, the IZLA Hotel has a spa on-site where you may pamper yourself with a massage, facial, body treatment, mani/pedi, and other services.
That's the end of our look at how to plan a day trip from Costa Mujeres to Isla Mujeres. We hope this guide has clarified any confusion you may have had and helped you plan the ideal getaway to this stunning island in Mexico.
Are Costa Mujeres and Isla Mujeres the same place?
No, Costa Mujeres is part of the Isla Mujeres municipality, but this and the similar name are the only things they share because they are entirely separate places.
How can I get to Isla Mujeres?
You can take a ferry, book a catamaran day cruise, or choose the luxurious way and rent the services of a private yacht to get to Isla Mujeres.
What should I bring on a day trip to Isla Mujeres?
There are some essentials you should bring with you to enjoy your trip to Isla Mujeres, like comfortable clothes and shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat or cap, insect repellent, a towel, and a swimsuit.