Isla Mujeres is a popular destination for visitors to the Cancun area that features incredible snorkeling / scuba diving, beautiful beaches, scenic cliffs, and great food. The island, located about 8 miles off the coast, is a short ferry ride from Cancun for a quick day trip, or all week, depending upon your travel plans.
The island is a little over 4 miles long by less than 1/2 mile wide. Along the southern shore are the beautiful cliffs at Punta Sur and snorkeling/recreational areas of Garrafon and Garrafon de Castilla.
The Northern beach and Centro with its shopping, restaurants, and ferries are located along the northern tip of the island. The Mininos and Velasquez are a couple of my favorite restaurants with great seafood at reasonable prices.
The Centro area is a fun place to go shopping, have dinner, of just enjoy sight seeing. Visitors can also rent a golf cart there for about 500+ pesos for a day/part of a day …depending on one’s negotiating skills:-) Golf carts are a very popular way to get around the island!
In addition to restaurants, the district has pharmacies, department and grocery stores (Super Xpres and Chedraui, etc.), banks, and exchange centers. Along the dock area short excursions can be booked – although I found prices were again subject to negotiation, i.e., the price is… but for you, the price is…
Getting to the Island
Ferries leave the Cancun area from several locations, including Playa Caracol, Playa Tortugas, and Puerto Juarez. Ultramar ferries depart from all three locations although service from Puerto Juarez had the most frequent and least expensive service (of Ultramar) in Jully 2015 (Skip to map below)
Pesos or Dollars?
Many/most of the shops accept both pesos or dollars although exchange rates vary considerably. For example, one shop in July (2015) would give a 14.8:1 exchange rate while others were at 13:1. Some taxis were closer to 10:1 which means that you can often save 15 – 30 percent by using pesos. Exchange booths were located immediately off the ferry dock and offered a reasonable rate.
Banks can often exchange dollars for pesos, or you can use ATM’s to withdraw pesos (or dollars) directly from your account. Please note: Many banks must be notified that you plan to travel in Mexico – if not you may risk an account lock when you use your card in an ATM. For two of my banks all it took was a phone call…
Banks may also charge a number of fees for international service so make sure you check it out. As long as a little precaution is taken (check with your bank, notify them of your travel planes, etc.) you probably won’t need to carry large quantitites of cash to the island.
Where to Stay
If you plan on staying overnight, the island has a limited (by Cancun standards) number of hotels, casitas, etc. For myself, I wanted to get more of a flavor for the local area and stayed in la Gloria (a neighborhood) while on the Island. The rates were reasonable and casitas clean !
Taxis and golf carts are a popular way to get around the island. Taxis when I was there were typically 40 pesos per trip. (Do ask before you ride though!) The people were friendly and I felt safe everywhere that I went!
Enjoy your stay at Isla Mujeres! 🙂
Isla Mujeres– Map
© 2015 by James Spruell All rights reserved.