Isla Mujeres is a wonderful vacation destination in Mexico known for its pristine beaches and friendly locals. I absolutely loved my visit to this little slice of paradise. So I want to share my advice on where to stay and things to do on the island.
Getting To Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is best reached by flying into Cancun. Once your in Cancun, Isla Mujeres is just a short boat ride away.
Traveling to the island is easy and stress free, at least in our opinion. Upon arrival at the airport, we arranged for a taxi to take us to one of several piers that ferry across to the island.
Since we didn’t know which pier would be best, our taxi driver advised us that Puerto Juarez was the cheapest one.
Boats from Puerto Juarez also have more frequent trips between the island and Cancun. There are 3 piers within Cancun’s “hotel district”, but the times are more varied.
When we traveled we paid $300MXN (roughly $15 USD) each for a round trip.
Fares and times can change so be sure to check ahead of time, especially if your trying to figure costs into your trip budget. You can check out the ferry services via Ultramar.
Where To Stay On Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres has quite a few beautiful resorts to stay at. After some TripAdvisor research, we opted for the all inclusive route. Which in my opinion is the best bang for your buck in Mexico.
The name of the resort is Mia Reef Isla Mujeres.
Awarded “best beach in Mexico” by TripAdvisor, this exclusive resort does not disappoint!
From the well kept rooms, friendly staff, and private beach to the delicious food and tasty cocktails. (All of which is included!)
Upon checking in, you are given a bracelet to wear, this acts as your “ticket” to the food, drinks, activities.
It also verifies that you are a guest. The only way to Mia Reef is across a bridge which has a gate guard at the entrance. (Nice sense of security)
Rooms at Mia Reef
Mia Reef offers a variety of options for lodging. From a standard queen bed room to private villas along the island coast, this resort can accommodate any budget.
(Not to mention they run specials all the time!)
Since it was just my husband and I traveling, we opted for a standard room. We are “active travelers” so hotel rooms are just a place for sleep and showers. But their “standard room” was quite large and had a balcony overlooking their little bay and island. (They also have rooms with full ocean views.)
Food at Mia Reef
This all inclusive resort offers 3 restaurants to choose from. The main one is Sarimar, a buffet style spot (breakfast, lunch, dinner) which they often set up a grill just outside and grill up the best palenque steaks I ever had.
Then there is Las Marias, which offers more of the gourmet food and romantic setting. They are open for dinner 4 days a week, reservation required.
They also have a dress casual code, meaning no shorts for the dudes. Sorry fellas! Ladies time to bust out that cute summer dress!
Closer to the pier and next to their beach they have a little snack shack which offers some really good fish tacos! The hours are limited daily, lunch time being the best.
Don’t forget the ocean view bar and dance floor! This is where I had my best karaoke performance of Journey. (Queue the sarcastic laugh)
Other included amenities:
- Free paddle board rental
- Free snorkel gear rental (check out King’s Pool!)
- Beach toys for kids
- Complimentary beach towels
- Resort gym
- Free WiFi
Mia Reef also has a spa which is a separate fee, but it comes highly recommended and has great reviews.
If you’re thinking of a safe and fun beach getaway, I can’t recommend this resort enough!
(I was not compensated for my resort review, all opinions are my own.)
Isla Mujeres is a small island only 4 miles long and 2,000 ft wide, which makes getting around really easy.
You can save money and walk the island or you can rent one of the many golf carts or bicycles they have.
The southern part of the island has some really neat things to see including a lighthouse and the remains of a Mayan temple.
Things To Do On Isla Mujeres
For an island small in size, it is packed with enough things to do. Whether you are planning a day trip from Cancun or you are staying on the island exclusively. (We did the latter)
Looking for locally made souvenirs? Check out the shops all along the island. If you choose to stay at Mia Reef, there is a section of shops between Av. Guerrero and Av. Juarez.
Also, don’t be afraid to try and bargain on prices! Just don’t get rude or insulting about it. (My Spanish is god awful, but I managed a deal on a beautiful hand painted whale shark)
While you are out and about keep your eye out for some awesome murals! I loved the half jaguar half Mayan warrior. I would tell you where to find it….but where’s the adventure in that?
On the Northern end of the island Mia Reef has two lagoons for snorkeling. You can also snorkel at the south end of Isla Mujeres.
There is a less crowded spot next to Garafon Park and it’s a lot cheaper. Garafon Park does offer swimming with dolphins, but paying to swim with animals in captivity is not my thing.
Some whale shark tours also offer snorkeling drop off points too. There is a really cool reef beyond the northern shores that our tour guide took us too. More of that below!
Swimming With Whale Sharks
If this is on your adventure bucket list, then Isla Mujeres is among the top destinations in the world to see and swim with whale sharks.
This was the biggest reason why I chose to come to Isla Mujeres in the first place! All I wanted was to swim with these guys!
Peak season to swim with them is from May to September. This is a prime opportunity to be amongst hundreds of them.
I promise I do not exaggerate this number. The one location (of many) we went to, there was a pod of 40-50!
If sharks make you want to avoid the waters, don’t run yet! Whale sharks are gentle giants and pose no threat towards humans.
In fact, I’d almost refer to them as cattle of the ocean. They just mosey along eating krill and plankton. The only thing you have to watch out for is getting bumped into by them.
They will not move out of your way, and their tails pull a pretty good current that can suck you closer. I know this from experience, got a good little bruise on my shin from a tail fin bump. (You can watch that video here!)
There are plenty of dive shops that offers tours on the island. We went through Searious Diving. The owner Ramon is a big environmentalist and takes his job seriously and is extremely passionate about the whale sharks.
This company is also one of the earliest boats to head out to the location. Meaning you get there before the other tour boats show up. The prices are very reasonable and a light breakfast is provided. (Coffee and pastries)
After your time with the whale sharks, they will take you to a coral reef area to do a bit of snorkeling. This is then followed by ceviche and drinks on the beach shallows on the north end of the island.
What I liked about this tour company the most is you can either swim in a wetsuit or life jacket. I prefer wetsuits since it’s less bulky and allows you to swim faster in the waters. (Not to mention it looks cooler in pictures!)
There isn’t too much to do on the island, aside from diving and snorkeling.
But to me that’s just perfect, some vacations don’t require constant action. Some call for a little R&R on the beach.
Catch up on that book you have been wanting to finish while sipping margaritas. Or enjoy the company of your travel companion at an outdoor cafe.
My husband and I went for 3 and a half day. The half day was the last day which included an evening departure back home.
One day was spent doing the whale shark tour, another exploring the island by foot and snorkeling, and the rest of the time was just us plopped on the beach sunbathing or swimming.
Packing And Travel Tips For Mexico
If you are only going for a few days like we did. Then I highly recommend packing smart and as minimal as possible.
I only brought a Nike backpack that fit everything. Since most the time was in or around the waters, the daily outfit was a swimsuit.
So all I packed extra was 3 pairs of lounge shorts, 4 tops, 1 pair of flat sandals, 1 pair of walking shoes, and underwear.
I did not pack shampoo and such since the hotel provides some. The only toiletries I brought was face wash,a moisturizer, and a razor. I bought biodegradable sunscreen on the island (safe for reefs).
Packing lighter makes travel that much easier. No need to go to baggage claim and wait for luggage or risk it getting lost.
It also makes getting through customs quicker.
Another tip would be to exchange your money to the Mexican currency before getting there. (At least as much as you can figure for your budget to start)
Your local bank or credit union will offer the better exchange rates and fees as compared to waiting until you get to Mexico.
Airports and kiosk spots will have high rates and fees almost always. So those places should be a last resort.
If you need money once your there or prefer to wait until you arrive, then seek out an ATM first before the above mentioned.
Read Up On Other Adventures:
Isla Mujeres: The Perfect Little Getaway
Well that sums up our trip to this gorgeous beach destination. I hope this little guide inspired you to add yet one more place on your bucket list!
Got any questions about our trip? Feel free to ask away! I always answer!
If you have been before, what was your favorite memory about the island?
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