16 Best Things to Do in Isla Mujeres
A pristine island in the Caribbean Sea, Isla Mujeres is situated off the coast of Cancun, Mexico.
If you are looking to vacation in sun-kissed white beaches with turquoise water lapping against the shores, Isla Mujeres might be the precise destination you are looking for.
Named after the Mayan Goddess, Ixchel, ‘Isla Mujeres’ literally translates to “Island of Women.”
There are many ways to get to the island, but I would suggest the ferry if you are looking for something exciting.
You can also opt to travel by road.
The travel agencies in the Cancun airport can assist you with private vans and all the details you might need.
It is recommended not to make it a single-day trip.
Here are some things that might make you prolong your stay and enjoy every bit of the isle to the fullest:
Bask in the Sun-Soaked Playa Norte Beach
A paradise for beach lovers, Playa Norte is unarguably one of the most beautiful beaches of Mexico.
It is located on the northern side of Isla Mujeres.
Aside from all the other activities that Isla Mujeres offers, spending a relaxing day, basking on the sun-kissed beach of Playa Norte is a primary attraction.
Isla Mujeres is dotted with palm trees, local beach clubs, resorts, bars by the beachside, beach chairs, hammocks, and sun hats.
The eastern end of the beach is less crowded and is a nice retreat away from thronging tourists.
The water is warm and shallow, allowing for a good, relaxing swim. It is also safe for children.
Building sandcastles, splashing waters, or simply lounging on the beach provides an excellent retreat for families.
After a day of relaxing in the sun, you can visit one of the many hotels and restaurants on the beach to gratify your rumbling stomach.
White sand and delicious drinks, Playa Norte is a well-balanced combination of fun and subtlety.
Roam in a Golf Cart
Bizarre as it might sound, but this is one of the most exciting things one might do while at Isla Mujeres.
Renting a golf cart, one can glide through the town, seeing and visiting places that might, otherwise, be inaccessible via a car.
There are a number of golf cart vendors all across town.
All you need is a driver’s license, and you are set to roam the streets.
Those who enjoy playing real golf can visit San Pancho's town on the west coast.
San Pancho is popular amongst golfers with good golf courses.
Visit Punta Sur
Punta Sur is home to the ruins of the temple of Ixchel, the Mayan Goddess of fertility and happiness.
A good walk through a long winding road leads to the temple ruins, where you can learn about the Mayan Civilization.
There are sculptures and monuments strewn along the way.
Punta Sur, located on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres, is at an elevation of 20 meters above sea level and is the island's highest point.
It provides majestic views of the Caribbean Sea and the Bay of Cancun.
While at Punta Sur, you can also visit the Sculpture Garden in Garrafon Reef Park that boasts sculptures to depict the Mayan Civilization.
You can also take a stroll, go snorkeling, or choose to relax in lounge chairs to simply enjoy a mellow afternoon.
Walk Around Avenida Miguel Hidalgo
Avenida Miguel Hidalgo, in El Centro, is a street thronging with tourists.
It is a pedestrian street lined with shops selling items and souvenirs.
If you want to get the real feel of Isla Mujeres' ambiance, this is the place to be in.
The thing about Avenida Miguel Hidalgo is it has interesting nightlife.
This is an ideal place if you want to take a stroll after dinner or enjoy a drink or two with live music around.
There are several restaurants offering sumptuous meals across the entire street, though some can be a little expensive.
From handcrafted items to souvenirs, Avenida Miguel Hidalgo is where you will find it all.
Visit the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA) in Isla Mujeres
A trip to Isla Mujeres is incomplete without a tour to the Underwater Museum of Art, more commonly known as MUSA.
Glass-bottom boats glide through the museum interiors that houses over 500 underwater sculptures.
British creator Jason deCaires Taylor made the sculptures, and the Museum was inaugurated in 2009.
It was more of a way to create an artificial reef to divert tourists from the nearby reef area and protect the region's marine life.
A snorkeling tour around the place would be a good way to get the best view of the sculptures.
Scuba diving is yet another good option to get the most out of the tour.
Swim With Whale Sharks
One of the popular water activities to do in Isla Mujeres is to swim with Whale Sharks.
Whale Sharks are not really sharks and are not dangerous, though it is not recommended to touch them.
Whale Sharks are large, beautiful sea creatures that can grow up to 39 feet (ca. 12 m) or more.
Imagine diving with such a creature gliding beside you! Now, won't it be exciting?
The ideal time for snorkeling with Whale Sharks is between June to September.
You can easily book a tour for around $125 per person.
The tour includes swimming with the Whale Sharks, snorkeling through nearby reefs, breakfast, soft drinks, and snorkeling gear.
It is one of those things that you cannot give a miss.
Take a Tour to Isla Contoy
A bird sanctuary boasting over 200 species of registered birds, Isla Contoy in the Mexican Caribbean is a paradise for nature lovers.
It is located 30 kilometers to the north of Isla Mujeres.
Known for housing a wide variety of flora and fauna, Isla Contoy has been a protected area with a length of 9 km long and a width of 20 meters.
It was declared a National Park in 1998.
Once you set foot on the island of Contoy, you will witness the most magnificent collection of forests, mangroves, and lagoons.
It is the nesting site for various birds, including the brown pelican, long-eared cormorant, and frigate.
While in Isla Mujeres, a visit to Isla Contoy is definitely a must.
It allows a total of 200 visitors per day.
Isla Contoy provides you with an escape from the mundane and transports you to another world that is lush green, quiet, and serene.
Make a Stop at La Tortuga Granja (The Turtle Farm)
If the idea of watching baby turtles trotting along is exciting to you, then a tour of the Tortugagranja is the right stop for you.
Tortugagranja is a hatchery and sanctuary for turtles, formed for the preservation and breeding of endangered turtles.
It is the place for turtle breeding as well as nursing injured turtles and other marine animals.
Turtles lay eggs on the protected beaches from the month of May to September.
Volunteers move the eggs to a pen, where they can hatch without the predators' interference.
From August to October, locals and tourists release the baby turtles into the sea.
Tourists can feed the turtles and befriend baby turtles and watch how the eggs hatch.
It is a very heart-warming experience to have.
Fishing in the Bay
Fishing can be another activity you can do while you are in Isla Mujeres.
There are different seasons for different kinds of fishing.
The best months for fishing Tuna are between April to August, while sailfishes are best fished from December to July.
You have the option to charter boats or yachts and spend a rejuvenating day fishing in the blue waters outdoor.
Go Scuba Diving
If you are in Isla Mujeres, you must most certainly indulge in the scuba diving experience.
It provides one of the best scuba diving experiences in the Caribbean.
You can take full benefit of viewing an abundant underwater world complete with corals, eels, and turtles.
The Cave of the Sleeping Sharks is home to reefs, bulls, and nurse sharks slumbering on the ocean floor.
There are dive shops all across town that train and aid new divers and sell diving gear.
Scuba Diving is open to tourists round the year.
It is an experience worth having.
Treat Your Taste Buds With Mexican Food
What is a vacation without trying the place's best delicacies?
Isla Mujeres is known for Mexican delights.
Tacos and Margaritas are most certainly a specialty.
There are many restaurants on the beachside and in El Centro or the Zocalo, the center marketplace.
They offer sumptuous Mexican delicacies and seafood.
Vendors throng the side street with local street food that you might enjoy while strolling through the town.
For breakfast, you can check out Café Mogagua and Café Mango.
The food there is not only good, but the Wi-fi is good too.
Now, that is something we definitely need!
Tacos are the best at the restaurants on Avenida Hidalgo.
You can find restaurants of all types, some expensive while some utterly reasonable, and they all have the best Mexican food to offer.
Watch the Sea Wall Murals
All across the town of Isla Mujeres, you will find murals of sea animals adorning the walls.
Isla Holbox is the place for murals.
Few of the best street artists have left their work plastered to the walls to raise awareness and send a message to protect the marine ecosystem.
A stroll amidst these murals is a mind-freeing experience.
It lets you leave all the care in the world behind as you stroll through this town, admiring sea animals peeping at you through colorfully painted walls.
If you have never gone snorkeling before, your trip to Isla Mujeres might be the right place to start.
It has some snorkeling options with agencies provisioning gears and tips.
El Farito, to the north of the island, and Los Machones are a few of the best places for snorkeling.
Also, the Underwater Museum of Art allows you to snorkel through, giving you a glimpse of the most vivid underwater life.
For beginners, snorkeling in Isla Mujeres can be an experience to cherish forever.
Browse the Many Shops
Isla Mujeres is a great place to shop, from jewelry, wooden boxes, ceramics to handcrafted artifacts and souvenirs.
You can don on a sundress, set atop the sun hat, and saunter through the streets, diving from one shop to the next.
For those who love to shop, you will find it to be a treasure trove.
The streets are colorful and bright, with shops selling hand-woven rugs, hammocks, dresses, masks, and unbelievable folk art.
You can buy souvenirs for friends and family.
You can also purchase something special that you want to keep with you as a reminder of the place.
The elaborate displays of shops are found in the local markets in El Centro, items sold for reasonable prices.
A day spent shopping well is a day spent well overall.
Go For a Yoga Retreat
Yoga is a popular practice in Isla Mujeres.
It has several yoga studios and retreats, where you can take a break for a week to replenish your mind.
Beach Yoga is common too.
Many Yoga centers around the place offer training to beginners as well as to advanced practitioners.
For yoga lovers, the combination of the beach's white sand coupled with Yoga in sunsets can be a heavenly experience.
It is a must ‘go to’ for Yoga enthusiasts and can also be a rejuvenating experience for those new to yoga.
Watch the Sunset at Playa Sol
Playa Sol is a beach close to Playa Norte.
Playa Sol is mostly famous for its exceptional sunset views.
The sky bursts into hues, illuminating majestic views in the Mexican mainland.
Sitting by the waters watching the sun go down or indulging in evening sports like volleyball, this is definitely a spot to enjoy the beautiful vista of the Caribbean.