Isla Mujeres is a small island off the coast of Cancun that is bursting with fun activities. The island itself is only 7km long making it a perfect spot for those looking to escape the crazy party scene of Cancun. Most people stopover to the island as part of a day trip but I definitely recommend staying longer to enjoy all it has to offer.
The island is a quick 20 minute ferry ride from Cancun and once you step off the boat, your vacation begins! You’re surrounded by turquoise blue water, white sandy beaches, and a plethora of fun activities. It actually could be hard to narrow down those activities with so many options.
In this blog, I’ve put together a list of my top 10 favorite things to do in Isla Mujeres!
1. SWIM WITH WHALE SHARKS
From June to September each year in Isla Mujeres, you are able to actually jump in the water and swim with these gentle giants of the ocean! It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There are many agencies around town that can take you out for a morning of swimming with these beautiful animals and if you’re lucky, you may even be able to swim with some manta rays while you’re there like we did! We did our tour with Captain Tony & it was incredible. We paid $100 per person which included snorkel equipment, boat transportation, swimming with whale sharks, another snorkel stop on a reef and lunch.
2. VISIT TORTUGRANJA TURTLE SANCTUARY
The Tortugranja Turtle Sanctuary is a great stop to see all the rescued turtles on the island. The turtles are rescued from nest stage and nursed until it’s time to release them back into the ocean. It is a great sanctuary and worth a visit. It’s open from 9-5 daily and costs $3 per person. If you pay an extra 30 pesos, you can even get some food to feed the turtles!
3. RENT A GOLF CART
If you didn’t rent a golf cart on Isla Mujeres, did you even go?! Renting a golf cart on the island is like a right of passage. It is the most convenient way to get around the island and it’s really fun. Costs depend on the time of the year. We went during the slow season in September so were able to finagle a deal of 800 pesos for the day (9am-5pm). Totally worth it! The best golf cart rental on the island is Golf Cart Indios.
4. SCUBA DIVE
There are plenty of scuba diving options on the Yucatan but diving on Isla Mujeres offers a unique experience. MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art) off the coast of Cancun/Isla Mujeres has over 500 life-size sculptures to promote coral life. The museum is a work in progress as it continues to counteract the effects of climate change. It is definitely worth a visit if you’re a diver. The maximum depth is only 9 meters so it’s an easy and interesting dive! We booked our dive through MUSA itself and ended up diving with Pocna Dive Center. It was $99 per person for a 2-tank dive which included all equipment.
5. RELAX AT PLAYA DEL NORTE
Playa del Norte, otherwise known as North Beach, on the island is picturesque. White sand beaches, crystal clear water and luxury yachts passing by make this beach a top spot in Isla Mujeres. The beach stretches around the north part of the island and there is ample opportunity for you to rent some lounging beach chairs with umbrellas for the day. There is definitely some negotiating on price and watch where you plop yourself. Our top spot is Chimbo’s Beach Restaurant & Bar. We spent 300 pesos for an entire day of less crowds right on the beachfront; literally, our toes were in the water. We had great food, terrific service, free WiFi and free toilets. We went back to Chimbo’s day after day because they’re the best!
6. VISIT PUNTA SUR
Punta Sur is an ecological park on the south part of the island with 360-degree ocean views, ancient Mayan ruins, a cliff-side restaurant, wild marine iguanas and beautiful swimming spots. We spent an afternoon swimming and snorkeling down the cliff in crystal clear waters. We got there with our rented golf cart but it’s worth it to mention that you will either need a scooter, golf cart or taxi to get to Punta Sur as it’s not within walking distance from the main part of the island. It’s totally worth a visit.
7. SET SAIL ON A CATAMARAN CRUISE
There are endless catamaran opportunities on the island. You can spend a day on a luxury catamaran snorkeling, sailing around the island, and even on a sunset cruise. We didn’t make it on a cruise this time around but catamarans were clearly the popular activity for people as you can watch them load/unload all throughout the day from Playa del Norte.
8. GO TO MERCADO MUNICIPAL FOR CHEAP, LOCAL EATS
The Mercado Municipal is the best place to buy fruits, vegetables and local dishes. It is a cash-only market so be sure to bring your change. This cozy market is great for those sticking to a tight budget but still wanting the local cuisine cooked for you. A great meal any day of the week!
9. DAY TRIP TO ISLA CONTOY
Isla Contoy is a protected national park just 30 kilometers away from Isla Mujeres and a great day trip for those looking to escape the crowds for a day. It is a beautiful uninhabited island with great bird watching and snorkeling. It’s the place you’ll want to go to get those Instagram worthy shots!
10. EAT BREAKFAST AT AROMA ISLA
We are constantly looking for good healthy food on our travels and Aroma Isla has just that. They have an array of healthy juices, drinks, bowls and more for every meal throughout the day. We ate at breakfast here five of the seven days we were on the island because it is simply THAT good.
Are you ready to get in on the fun activities that Isla Mujeres has to offer?!
Isla Mujeres is a great vacation spot for couples, families and solo-travelers. We met so many people during our week long stay on the island where they came once and keep coming back again and again. This destination is a must for anyone looking for pristine white sand beaches, beautiful blue waters, warm weather year-round, great food and good island vibes.
If you’ve been to Isla Mujeres and have any other recommendations on things to do on the island or if you have any questions on the island, please let me know in the comments below!