Planning a romantic getaway in Mexico's Cancun on the tropical Yucatán Peninsula? Well, just off the coast of the northern tip of Cancun's Hotel Zone lies a stunning Mexican island offering a different getaway vibe. The Isla Mujeres (literally "Women Island") is regarded as one of the most stunning islands of the Mexican Caribbean.
While Cancun is a great place to go, one may want to look for places near Cancun to avoid crowds. The whole Yucatán Peninsula is stunning - but if one is planning to drive the Yucatán over the course of a week, take a side trip to discover the relaxed resort island of Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres - The Chill Escape From Cancun
The Maya once revered Isla Mujeres as a holy place, and has been cherished for centuries. 1500 years ago, it was the sanctuary for the Mayan goddess Ixchel. A temple was built for her on the southern end of the island. Ixchel was the goddess of the moon, happiness, medicine, and fertility.
Today, Isla Mujeres is a reprieve from the party culture and intensity of Cancun just across the waters. For most people, Isla Mujeres is a fun day trip from Cancun (it is easy to see in a day). But for others who really want to chill out with the island vibe while in Mexico, it is a stunning place to spend one's stay. There are resorts, hotels, and Airbnb accommodation options on the island.
- Length: 4.3 Miles or 7 Kilometers
- Width: Approx. 2,130 feet or 650 Meters
The Isla Mujeres is fringed with unforgettable white-sand beaches and placid waters. This tiny island is only around four miles long, and 2,130 feet wide and is home to around 12,500 residents. The main ways to get about the island are by walking and by golf cart (although there are also plenty of taxis to flag down on the island). Another option is to rent a bicycle.
What To Do On Isla Mujeres
The main thing to do on Isla Mujeres is to lay back and chill (and scoot around on a golf cart). But there are some exciting things to see and do.
Swim With Whale Sharks
One of the most exciting activities on Isla Mujeres is to swim with the peaceful giants that are whale sharks. These are some of the largest animals in the world, growing up to 40 feet long. The season for whale sharks is between June and September. This is when they rise from the normal depths of 800 feet under to the warmer waters.
- Season: June through September
While they are dauntingly large, they are harmless, being filter feeders eating plankton, and the like.
Beaches And Diving
Other activities mostly involve relaxing on the beach, swimming in the sea, or diving or snorkeling the stunning reefs. Look around for diving and boating tours around the island to discover some of the best of the Caribbean.
When To Visit Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is tropical, and one can go any time, but there are different seasons to be aware of. The most popular season is, of course, when it's crowded, while the cheapest months are also the hurricane season.
- January-April: Stunning Weather, High Season, and Large Influx of Crowds
- May-October: Hottest and Rainiest Months (Also Hurricane Season) - Fewer Tourists And Lower Hotel Rates
- November-December: Pleasant Weather (Evening Can Be A Little "Chilly"), Humidity Is Low
Getting To Isla Mujeres
To get to Isla Mujeres, fly into the Cancun international airport. From there, it's a taxi ride from the airport to the ferry docks. There are 15-minute ferry rides departing from the mainland where visitors can enjoy the laid-back sleepy island vibe.
- Ferry Terminal: Puerto Juarez Ferry Terminal
- Duration: 15 Minutes
- Cost: 160 Pesos ($8) One Way or 300 Pesos ($15) Return
It is located around 8 miles off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. The ferries are regular and leave every half hour from 5.00 am until 9.30 pm and then every hour thereafter.
- Tip: Rent A Golf Cart To Get Around The Island
There are few cars on the island. Most of the day is spent kicking back and enjoying the tropical beach with a smoothie or cocktail. It is known to be safe, with very little reported crime on the island.
From the island, one can gaze back across the waters and see the skyline of Cancun across the waters.