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All about Isla Mujeres

Shopping Guide - Tours & Attractions - Restaurants Guide - Night Life - Weather - Resorts and Hotels

Imagine paradise being an island in Mexico with white sand beaches and a turquoise blue, calm blue sea, with swaying palm streets and small quaint shops and houses. Isla Mujeres in the state of Quintana Roo is a paradise, and it is only 30 minutes away from Cancun.

Isla Mujeres, or Woman’s Island, is named as such by the Spanish because of the many images to the goddess Ixchel they found when they arrived. The island was a Mayan sanctuary to Ixchel, goddess of childbirth and medicine. Among the many temples to the goddess, one was located in what is today the Hacienda Mundaca and a small temple was once located on the southern tip of the island, but was destroyed in 1988 by Hurricane Gilbert.

Today, the Island is a quaint, quiet place to visit and enjoy its calm beaches, visit the main tourist attraction, and simply relax. The island is 7 KM in length, with the main town areas closely compacted together and the perfect walkable distance to enjoy the shops and be steps away from the beach. The transportation availabe in the island is taxis, golf cars, and scooters. Taxis will charge about $30 pesos from the terminal to anywhere on the island, but for excursions to the south side of the island, it’s best to rent a scooter or golf cart.

Besides relaxing beaches, Isla Mujeres offers numerous activities for you to enjoy such as snorkeling, eco parks, swim with dolphin programs, a turtle farm, and much more.

Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Population: 16, 203
  • Location: 21º 14' North, 86º 44' West
  • Official language: Spanish
  • Other languages spoken: English, Maya
  • Electrical Outlets: 127V 60Hz
  • Time Zone: Central (GMT -6)
  • Weights and measures: Metric
  • Climate: Semi-tropical

Isla Mujeres Shopping Guide

Like many typical Mexican tourist towns, Isla Mujeres offers the souvenirs such as jewelry, trinkets, shells, and more. The rarity in Isla Mujeres is the Mexican crafts made by the local women. You can find the best souvenirs to take home and give away or just keep in your home to remember your visit to Isla Mujeres. Silver is also a good commodity to purchase in Isla for its decent price, especially if buying in quantity. Most places in Isla Mujeres accept US dollars, although it is preferable you change your money into pesos.

Tours & Attractions in Isla Mujeres

Whale Shark Tours

Starting in May, hundreds of whale sharks make the waters near Isla Mujeres their temporary home. Peak season is in July and August. There are several tour operators that offer the excursion, they have certain standards of safety to protect the whale sharks. The whale shark tours will usually include breakfast, snorkeling gear, small groups per boat, 45 to 60 minutes excursion and a good amount of time swimming with the whale sharks, lunch, and snorkeling trip to the reef. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is a must if you’re visiting Isla during this time.

Garrafon Natural Reef Park

The Eco Park is located in Punta Sur of Isla Mujeres. The southernmost tip offers spectacular cliffs with dazzling views of the island. The crystal clear water makes for an enjoyable swim and some of the best snorkeling around. Garrafon Park also offers a thrilling zipline, a pool area, hammocks, excellent facilities and an exceptional service.

Dolphin Discovery

Dolphin Discovery in Isla Mujeres is located on the northwest side of the Island. The park offers different swim with dolphin programs as well as other marine mammals such as manatees, rays, and sharks. Most swim with dolphin programs reservations are made through the company and the package includes the ferry from Cancun to the Dolphin Discovery facilities. Some programs include the food and beverages, and they are available for purchase at the location. The facilities also include lounge chairs, pools, and several options on bars and restaurants.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

The waters of the Island are calm and clear—making it the ideal location to scuba dive or snorkel whether you’re a beginner of an advance diver. The Island offers 50 accessible sites to explore. In addition, visit the lagoon next to the Avalon Hotel in Playa Norte for a different snorkeling experience. Many tour operators and street vendors will be available to offer you the option of snorkeling for a good price.

Rent a Golf cart/Bike/Scooter

The island is small and will be enjoyed more at your own paste while you bike or drive around exploring the place on your own. Venture to the eastern or southern coast for more private beaches or find some of the best food tucked away from all the tourist areas. Most golf carts rent for about $45 dollars for a set amount of hours and mopeds run anything from $25 although prices may vary.

Isla’s Hidden Treasures

Isla Mujeres hides a number of small treasures worth discovering.
  • Turtle Farm - The turtle farm (Tortugranja) located north of Playa Paraiso is a government sponsored hatchery for endangered sea turtles. See turtles and other marine life for a small contribution.
  • Hacienda Mundaca – This 19th Century hacienda was built by a Caribbean pirate Fermin Mundaca. Learn about his tragic love story and discover his exotic plants, bird breeding place, and orchard garden. It is located on the road to Garrafon Park.
  • Playa Norte – North Beach is a stretch of beach that runs along the northern end of the island that offers shallow, tranquil water and a stunning white sand beach with restaurants and bars just steps away from you.
  • Punta Sur – At the southern tip of Isla Mujeres, there is a small archeological site that was once a temple to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility. This is also the location for a light house that is no longer in use. The site is decorated with modern art sculptures and you can see some of the most spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea.

Restaurants in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres offers all the delicious culinary delights found in any Mexican town with the added plus of fresh fish! Don’t leave Isla Mujeres before trying the signature island dish: tik-n-chick, a fish marinated in achiote (regional plant) and grilled. It is usually served with a hefty portion of rice. Fish is fresh and bountiful in Isla and the delicious dishes we love like ceviche are popular. Other options on the island include exquisite lobster dinners, Mexican street vendors, pizza, and more.

Hidalgo Street is aligned with restaurants catering to your needs with delicious food and a lively atmosphere. The central portion of the island is where you can find the locals dining as well as more affordable prices. Beach restaurants also abound offering a more relaxed atmosphere, delicious food, and some of the best views to enjoy your meal.

Nightlife in Isla Mujeres

Isla at night is very similar to Isla during the day—calm, unlike its sister city Cancun. However, that doesn’t mean Isla lacks a lively night scene. Most of the more active bars can be found on Hidalgo Street and the beach bars—although more relaxed—are still hopping with an exciting vibe. Isla also offers “Happy Hour” somewhere on the island where you can find good deals on beer, mix drinks, and cocktails. You can’t leave Mexico without trying a delicious michelada, a beer mixed with fresh lime juice and a variety of other sauces. If it’s not your style, try having a piña colada by the beach—what a better way to spend a day in Isla. If it’s a more active nightlife you’re looking for, the ferry to Cancun is not too far away.

Weather in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres has a climate very similar to Cancun and other beach towns in the Yucatan Peninsula. Sunny skies, tropical climate, and a cool marine breeze dominate almost all year round. The average temperatures range during the summer from the high 80s to low 90s F and mid 70s during winter months. These cooler days may bring windy, cloudy and cooler weather with some thunderstorms in the afternoon, but not lasting very long. The water temperature ranges from 77°-82°F throughout the year and the wind temperature is 80°F.

Isla Mujeres Tips

  • Drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration, apply sunscreen thoroughly and dress lightly.
  • Slight headaches, feeling dizzy or weak are common warnings of heat stroke; sit immediately in the shade and drink more water.
  • Pack casual clothes and sandals for the day.
  • Use a cap or hat to protect yourself from the sunrays.
  • During the day, the climate is hot and light clothing is recommended.
  • The temperature drops at night and a light sweater or bush jacket is suggested.

Resorts and Hotels

Isla Mujeres hotel options can be described just like the island—quiet, quaint and nothing short of chick and comfortable. The island offers a variety of hotel options ranging from the affordable to the luxurious and a wide range of properties from cozy, economical studio apartments, villas to a romantic palapa cottage next to the sea. Most of the hotels have bilingual staff, concierge services, maps and tourist information.