Located east of the Yucatan Peninsula, just eight miles across the bay from Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a small isle measuring just five miles long and one and a half miles wide at the widest point. It is popular amongst tourists looking for a quiet, tropical destination to relax. Getting here may take a bit of extra planning than if you were to stay in Cancun, but it isn't so much of a struggle that anyone should be deterred from visiting.
Unfortunately, there is no direct way to get to Isla Mujeres. Those who fly will have to first touchdown in Cancun then take the ferry, and even visitors sailing aboard a private yacht will need to clear customs elsewhere before heading to the island. Cruising, which is typically a great way to get a taste of what vacationing in the Mexican Caribbean is like, is not recommended.
Many visitors staying on Isla Mujeres quickly discover that walking or taking a bicycle offered by your resort are perfect ways to get around this small island. If you're looking for a more substantial form of transportation, you can consider renting a golf cart by the hour or by the day, taking a taxi, or hopping on a collectivo, which is the local version of a bus.
Isla Mujeres does not have its own airport. Instead, tourists will fly into the major airport in the region, the (CUN), then take one of three ferries over to the island. You can read about the ferry options below, and learn everything you need to know about flying to this destination in our complete guide to Isla Mujeres. There you'll learn about the amenities at Cancun International Airport, as well as which airlines you can expect to book your flight with.
Isla Mujeres is home to several marinas and points where pleasure sailors can find anchorage. The area is known for its beautiful, calm waters, so even if you don't have plants to sail from international waters on your own, you may still consider finding some way to get out on the water. This could included doing some fishing or snorkeling, or simply signing up for a tour. Every option is explained in full here.
Mexico is an extremely popular cruise destination, however, with cruise ports in Catalina, the Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Playa Del Carmen it simply is not feasible to plan to visit Isla Mujeres as part of your cruise itinerary.
...Golf carts are a popular alternative...
Renting a car on Isla Mujeres actually is not possible; but those who prefer to drive themselves around do have other options. Golf carts are a popular alternative to full-sized vehicles, and you can rent them by the hour, by the day, or for several days in a row for reasonable prices. Scooters and bicycles are also available for those traveling alone or in a small group and have no need to get a few people around at once. If any of these options appeal to you, click here to learn more about the process of renting a vehicle on Isla Mujeres.
Taxis are a great option for tourists on Isla Mujeres for a number of reasons, but the most obvious one is the price. You can travel from one end of the island to the next for just $7(USD), and often you'll spend even less. Even when you add on the typical 10 pesos, which is about $0.80(USD) for a tip, this option is still incredibly reasonable. Everything you need to know about hailing a cab on the island can be read here.
Due to lack of popularity, the bus service on Isla Mujeres was discontinued and in its place a collection of large white vans called collectivos began transporting passengers from place to place for a low price. The collectivos are generally used by locals, but tourists are welcome to hop on and get a cheap ride. Unfortunately, because of this, they don't have stops at many popular tourist destinations like the beaches or resorts, but they can be a fun way to see Isla Mujeres through the eyes of someone who lives there. You'll pay about four pesos, which is well under $1(USD) for a ride.
Ferries between Cancun and Isla Mujeres serve as the main way that the island connects to mainland Mexico. There are four different options for tourists to choose from. Two leave from Cancun every half hour from 5:30 a.m. until midnight for between $3.50 and $7(USD), another is a car ferry that allows you to bring your rental car, scooter, or bike with you, and the final option is a water taxi from the hotel zone for $15(USD) round trip. Get more details on each ferry operator including schedules and costs here.
There are a few extra steps necessary in the planning process when you're traveling to Isla Mujeres, but nothing so complicated that it should derail any portion of your getaway. Take a look at all the transportation options that are available, decide how you'd best like to get around, and you'll be able to nail down your plans in a fairly quick manner.
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