Isla Mujeres allowed two programs - one by day, mainly consisting in snorkeling or diving -, and the one that we made.
We had to choose, snorkell was something that only some of us would do, and we had already done somewhere else, and that's why wh choose the nightly program. However, I was told that the island is great for fish, so the program for the day would also be very interesting.
Why not making both?
one of the best things I've did when on the the island was to rent a "golf cart" and go exploring on my own. The rental is inexpensive( need valid I.D.) .The rental was for 2 hours and we drove out to the lighthouse and then toured the island. This is the best way to see the island
Cancun Catamarans offer great days out on the Caribbean. 6 hour tour, including Snorkeling over Coral Reef, Open Bar, Buffet Lunch and Shopping on Isla Mujeres and Fly on the Spinnaker Sail.
Thoroughly enjoyable, nice boats, fantastic crews. A Must do Trip in Cancun, Mexico.
Prices are cheaper if booked directly online than if you try to book the tour through your travel agent in the Resort.
Isla Mujeres is 1.5km wide and 8km long and has three parts. There`s Punta Norte, Punta Sur and Garrafon. Punta Norte is where you`ll usually arrive from Puerto Juarez and it is the downtown area. Punta Sur is where you`ll find a mayan ruin built for the goddess Ixchel, and El Garrafon is a national park. In between those two areas is mostly residential area.
We arrived on the island at 6PM, too late for swimming or any sort of activities except browse for souvenirs, but found the prices to be higher than in Playa del Carmen.
Directions to get there: From Centro (downtown) Cancun bus station, cross the street to the other side of Avenida Tulum that is in back of the bus station and catch a bus or minibus that has the sign that says P. Juarez or Puerto Juarez. You must stand on the side away from bus station to be headed in the right direction. Tell the driver to let you off at Ultra Mar ferry terminal.
You buy the ferry ticket at the dock (70 pesos return).
Isla Mujeres is an island about an hour by boat from Cancun. We took a catamaran which had a very happy crew on board. The sailing trip is great and then just before disembarking you can try some scubadiving. The streets in Isla Mujeres are extremely colourful. Watch those tequilas on board !! I didnt !!!
If you do not have an all-inclusive package at one of the hotels along the hotel strip in Cancun, you may not find the hotel zone to be all that attractive. To be honest, it is rather overdeveloped with many American malls full with American brands. The hotels are built right up to the beach so there is not much of a beach left either. the waves are strong, however, and is therefore grateful surfing.
If you would like to have a more authentic experience, try Isla Mujeres which is a small Highlands that can be easily reached by speech boats all car ferry. His islands is very good for stalking or just for a leisurely day out on the beach. There are also some excellent restaurants on this island.
For those who are thinking of staying here for several days, budget hostels and hotels can be found here as well. Porters by the ferry docks can also help you carry your luggage. don't forget to tip them as this is their only source of income.
see my other tips for more on Isla Mujeres.
Take a public bus to Puerto Juarez to board the tourist speedboat which will take you to the island in 15 minutes (USD 3.50). Alternatively, go to Punta Sam just north of Puerto Juarez and take the car ferry which will take you there slower (USD 1.40).
It may be a good idea to take the speedboat there first and return on the car ferry as there is an open air top deck on the car ferry that allows you to enjoy some stargazing at the end of the day when you are returning to Cancun.
We visited Isla Mujeres both times we went to Cancun. In 2000, we took a snorkeling tour that went to the island via catamaran. The snorkeling was great. The island was fun also. On our next trip in 2003, we chose to take a ferry there. We went by bus to Puerta Juarez to catch the ferry. We then rented a golf cart and toured the entire island via golf cart. This was great fun and we got to see all of the island. We discovered that not only are there beautiful beaches, but there are also people on the island who do not share the wealth. Either way you visit the island, it is well worth the visit.
Of all the things I've done on vacations, this tops them all. I highly recommend it. I was surprised to learn that dolphins are playful like dogs -- if you swim off, they will chase you and they like you to chase them. The encounter is so personal, I can't imagine not being effected by it.
A great island. While staying in Cancun we did a day trip. This is a small island approx. 3.5 miles long. On the end where the boats come in is the center of town. This is shops stores and great little eating establishments. You can rent scooters for $25.00 , bicycles $8.00 or golf carts (for four) for $45.00 per day. There is a little room for negotiations if you rent a block or two from the dock. Locals rate is $5-10 lower. this area has hostels on beach front for $5.00 camping, 11.00 room and up to 32.00 for room with private bath and windom overlooking water. Hotels about $80.00 per day. Food is cheap in htis area example Miguels Hamburger with fries 5.00 quesid. 5.00 tacos (3) 5.00. Soda 1.25. vendors are very friendly. Choice of beaches with crashing waves or bay side gentle. RENT some form of transportation and travel on one road (stay on right side of island)to the end of the Island. Follow to end and visit lighthouse and ruin of fertility ( about 30 minutes). Small ruin at enge of island. $3.00 admission. Pay it see sculptures and ruin close up as well as walk on path undre ruin to be close to water. Very pretty site. Take road to right on way back. Beautiful homes and views of water as well as a shanty town. Back in town visit flea market on right side end of island across from a hostel. WONDERFUL, FRIENDLY PEOPLE AND A GREAT TIME. THE FERRY SERVICE FOR TOURISTS IS $10.00 ONE WAY OR $15.00 ROUND TRIP. THEY TAKE PICTURES AND TRY TO SELL TO YOU FROM 10.00 -5.00 NEGOTIATE IF YOU WANT THEM (VERY TACKY) IF YOU DON'T WANT THIS EXPERIENCE GO PAST DOWNTOWN CANCUN AND TAKE THE PUBLIC FERRY FOR 3.50 EACH WAY. THIS IS HOW LOCALS TAKE THE TRIP. When back in the Cancun area the bus transportationis great. 6.5 pesos or .65 US. Cheap and reliable, we never waited more that two minutes for the bus and it goes to all of the hotels. Also available turtle, dolphin and other spots to stop at when going out of town to light house most are free or donation.
we took the catamaran over to Isla Mujeres for the day. We went snorkeling out in the national park it was gorgeous but the waves were pretty strong and kept pushing you away from the group. If you are not a good swimmer, you will want to make sure you are with a "buddy". We came back and swam with the dolphins. What an amazing aventure. I would suggest if you have never swam with a dolphin, you do it at least one time in your life. The catamaran ride over was quiet and calm but on the way back, let the drinks flow!
I will admit that I've never had a huge desire to do this, but since I was with my best friend and it's something she has always wanted to do, we did it. I have to say it was a lot of fun, once you get past feeling sorry for the dolphins. But I imagine they are well loved and well cared for (as any animal can be in captivity) so off we went. This was about $99 US dollars, and we were able to do 5 or 6 "tricks" with the dolphins (kiss, shake hands, dance, hold in our arms, etc) Our dolphin was Donna, and it was so funny to watch her smile! I'm not sure if she was actually smiling, but it looked like it from time to time. The entire experience took about 2 hours, and they take plenty of pictures and video for you to buy at the end (of course!)
When we left Cancun on the ferry to Isla Mujeres, the weather was gorgeous and sunny. Within an hour, the weather turned for the worst and what was a sunny day became overcast. That is the main reason for why we didn't fully enjoy the island, but of what we saw, it is a cute Caribbean island, very easy to get around. The other drawback was that in order for us to go out snorkeling, we had to take one of the boats. We paid US $30 for the two of us to go out for two hours. We went to an area with a "shipwreck" and that's where we ended up snorkeling by but close to a few rocks. When you're out with the tourist boats, it is mandatory to wear a life vest. This is pretty annoying in shallow water to get around but it is their rules. I didn't enjoy the snorkeling trip that much because the water started to get rough as a storm came that evening and we were just surrounded by dozens of other tourists and we just kept banging up against each other...
TO BE CONTINUED...
Most call the trip out to Isla Mujeres (Isle of Women, sounds inviting doesn't it) a "booze cruise". But the booze only comes out at the end of the day, so don't focus on that. The trip to this small island off Cancun is definitely worth it. There is a big jewelry market on the Island, with pretty decent prices. The excursions usually include snorkeling, which is great out there. (which is also why the booze doesn't come out until the trip home, they don't want to get you snockered, then give you a snorkel and fins and dump you in the water. But I digress...)
The town on Isla Mujeres is very quaint. Definitely book a trip out there if you get a chance. Ask you hotel for a recommendation if a trip there isn't already included (as it is with a lot of the all-inclusive resorts)
You can have a tour almost in each hotel to this amazing island in the tour includes snorkeling in the second biggest arecife in the world after Australia's.
Of preferences get this tours in the hotels or official sites, due to many people promise you tours and ask for money in advance. Don't accept this ones.
Our resort, Moon Palace, gave us two free daytrips as part of our package and our favourite trip was to Isla Mujeras.
We set off by boat from the hotel's private jetty to this incredible island. The sea was a little choppy and we were told that this trip cannot be taken any time the sea is rough. I would have suffered any amount of sea sickness to experience this Island Xanadu.
We disembarked onto the softest white sandy beach, and along the jetty friendly staff from our hotel waited to greet us with cold drinks. We could have spent the day lazing on the pristine sand, but a number of further trips were offered at a very reasonable additional cost. I opted for one of these, and will do a seperate tip on it shortly.
For those who opted to stay beachside, there were comfortable beach chairs, umbrellas, soft towels, and non stop food and drink. I spent about an hour and a half lazing here at the end of the afternoon and laughed out loud as I was floated in the sea on a lilo. I felt sixteen again, and even then I don't recall laughing so joyfully.
Isla Mujeras is perfect - the people are friendly, it's very picturesque, the sand is white, the sea is crystal clear by the shore and pure turquoise out at sea. I saw a little place for sale by the ocean side and was tempted to buy - the only thing that deterred me was the threat of hurricanes.
There are many things to do on this Island - swimming with the dolphins, visiting a turtle farm, wander the typically Mexican village, take a trip by boat around the Island perimeter - you could spend a week here alone!
I am still longing to go back.