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25 BEST Things to do in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

25 BEST Things to do in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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Just a short ferry ride from Cancun, Isla Mujeres is one of Mexico’s most beautiful Island Paradises. Not only does Isla Mujeres make for the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Cancun or even Playa del Carmen, but there are a ton of fun and exciting things to do on Isla Mujeres too!

The island itself is only 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) long, but this tiny island sure packs a lot in. In fact, you can cross many items off your Mexico bucket list on Isla Mujeres, if you know where to look. This blog will help with that and includes tons of hidden gems!

However, the big draw to Isla Mujeres is the classic Mexican beach life where golf carts become the go-to mode of transport, and you never wear shoes. Now that’s our kinda place!

To help you have the best time getting to know the island, I’ve put together 25 epic things to do on Isla Mujeres – from snorkeling to shopping, this list compiles everything we know after visiting Isla Mujeres 7 times!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Some of our favorite things to do on Isla Mujeres are:

  1. Visit the local spots on this golf cart bar crawl – don’t worry, your tour guide is the driver!
  2. Go snorkeling around beautiful coral reefs
  3. Enjoy a private catamaran cruise with lunch and an open bar – we love these!
  4. Head south to visit Punta Sur and the ruins of Temple Ixchel
  5. Travel around the island to view all the impressive street art

About Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Bailey walks a path on Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres
Bailey walks a path on Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres
A golf buggy drives along a road on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This is what Isla Mujeres is about!

The history of Isla Mujeres actually goes back more than 1,500 years from when it was once a Mayan province. The island was seen as sacred and home to a sanctuary for Ixchel, the Maya Goddess of the moon, and there was a temple built for her on the south side of the island, which was also later used as a lighthouse!

When the Spanish came to this island in the 1500s, they found all sorts of statues and images of the goddess and, as a result, named the island “Isla Mujeres” or “Island of Women”.

The temperature on this island is perfect beach weather, usually around 80 °F (26 °C). That said, the humidity can be quite high in the summer (up to around 80%), so it can feel a lot warmer. The winter months here from December to March are much drier with only a few showers, making it perfect for scuba diving.

So, even though it’s close to Cancun, the island doesn’t always get Cancun’s weather – it may be sunny on Isla Mujeres and rainy in Cancun!

This small island is full of so many incredible things to do, whether you’re a history buff interested in checking out ancient ruins, an adventure-seeker looking to explore under the water, or a beach bum hoping to soak up the sunshine on the beach. Or maybe even all three! It’s easily one of the best places in Mexico.

Getting to Isla Mujeres

The ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
The ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
Bailey on the ferry from Isla Mujeres to Cancun
Off we go!

The easiest and most popular way to get to Isla Mujeres is by ferry from Cancun. I recommend taking the Ultramar ferry. The best departure point is from Puerto Juarez and this high-speed ferry gets you to the island in about 30 minutes. The ferry departs every half hour from 5:30 am to 6 pm, and then every hour until 11 pm. You can grab a round-trip ticket for about 540 pesos ($32 USD).

If you’re flying into Cancun and heading right from the airport to Isla Mujeres, there are a few different options you can take. If you’re staying in a hotel on Isla Mujeres, it’s pretty common to arrange transportation directly through them.

If you don’t have transportation booked when your plane touches down, you’ll want to make your way to Puerto Juarez to catch the ferry. You can either book a private shuttle, take a taxi, or the most budget-friendly way is by taking the ADO Airport Bus to downtown Cancun for about $5-7 USD per person. You can then catch a taxi to the ferry docks that should cost under $10 USD.

If you’re in the popular Cancun Hotel Zone, there are closer spots to catch an Ultramar ferry at either Playa Caracol or Playa Tortugas. You’ll want to check departure times though as these ferries aren’t as frequent as the ones from Puerto Juarez. If you want to depart from Puerto Juarez, it’s only a 20-minute taxi ride away from the Hotel Zone or you can take the bus.

You can also join one of the tours to Isla Mujeres from Cancun that will take you right to the island, so you can skip any hassle of planning your own transportation. These are perfect if you’re staying in Cancun and want to see Isla Mujeres without booking accommodation, as you’ll be back in Cancun by the end of the day!

This half-day luxury catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres combines some of my all-time favorite things – getting to explore somewhere new, a luxurious boat ride, and an open bar! What I particularly love is that this tour is super flexible – you can choose to either go on a guided tour of the most popular sites or explore yourself. Just make sure you’re back in time for the gourmet lunch.

Tickets for this tour cost $139 USD per person, with the option to start at 8:30 am, 11:30 am, or 2:30 pm. My recommendation would be to go for the early one, as you’ll be back in Cancun in time to grab some food and get ready for an evening in the city! You can reserve your spot on this luxury Isla Mujeres tour here.

Things to do on Isla Mujeres

1. Relax at Playa Norte 

Playa Norte on Island Mujeres
Playa Norte is our favorite beach!
Bailey walks along Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
The sand is so white!

Considered one of the best beaches in Mexico (and in the entire world!), Playa Norte is one of my all-time favorites. It’s located on the north side of Isla Mujeres, only a 10-minute walk away from the docks where the ferry arrives. With crystal-clear turquoise water and soft, white sand, this is everything you could hope for from a Caribbean beach. I honestly consider it a mandatory stop if you’re visiting the island!

It does get crowded during the high season, but the weather is ideal for almost the entire year, so you can visit anytime. There’s no entrance fee, and you can bring your own snacks and drinks. You can rent chairs and umbrellas at the beach clubs and hotels for $10-20 USD, which I strongly recommend given there’s not much shade. Remember to bring plenty of sunscreen and your snorkel equipment as there are lots of fish around here to see!

If you’re hungry, there are all kinds of restaurants on Playa Norte, and many of them will serve you right under your umbrella. How perfect is that?

Besides all the normal beach activities, you can take a yoga class at The Treehouse. It’s my favorite yoga place in the world and has an incredible view of the ocean. Check out activity #21 for more info on these great classes!

Related Read: Love pristine beaches? Check out the absolute best beaches in and around Cancun!

2. Rent a golf cart 

Daniel and Bailey sit in their rented golf cart on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Exploring Isla Mujeres!

Because Isla Mujeres is such a small place, it’s really easy to walk around the main area. However, if you want to get to all of the best attractions you’re going to need some wheels. I don’t recommend a regular car as parking is difficult, so the best option is just to rent a golf cart! It’s fun, easy, and saves your feet, so you don’t get too tired. Honestly, golf carts are the most popular mode of transport on the island.

You can rent golf carts by the hour, for half a day, or for 24 hours, with the average daily rate being around $65 USD, but there are better prices if you rent for 3 or 4 consecutive days. There are also larger carts available that fit more people and luggage. We just rented the regular size for us and our two friends and it was perfect for exploring the island!

We rented a golf cart from Primsa Golf Cart Rentals. You can book your cart online in advance to ensure they have one for you (they are often fully booked) and the price online is actually cheaper than the walk-in price. The golf cart wasn’t the fanciest, but the price was right and it did the job.

If driving a golf cart doesn’t sound like your thing, then why not just be a passenger on a golf cart tour?! To get the best out of the golf carts and for a totally unique way to visit some of the bars in the area, check out this Isla Mujeres Golf Cart Bar Crawl Tour. We did this tour on our first day, and it’s a great way to explore Isla Mujeres, find some of the fun local spots, and enjoy some drink samples!

There’s no need to worry about drinking and driving since one of their tour guides drives you to the best bars, restaurants, beaches, and hidden places on the island. You get to sit back and relax – or drink – rather. For $141 USD (per adult), this is a fun opportunity you don’t want to miss. You can book your golf cart bar crawl tour online here!

3. Go snorkeling 

Bailey snorkeling on a tour in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
We had a blast!
A sting ray at Akumal Beach while on a snorkeling tour in Isla Mujeres
A sting ray!

I absolutely love swimming in the ocean here and one of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres is go snorkeling. The water is truly crystal-clear around the whole island, and the reef around here is filled with wildlife – I was so impressed with all of the colorful fish!

For the best snorkeling, you should join this Isla Mujeres Snorkeling Tour that includes stops at three amazing locations. You’ll get to see the largest coral reef in the area called the Manchones as well as an underwater museum where you can see over 500 sculptures on the ocean floor!

After you’re done swimming, the tour includes a fresh seafood lunch at a beach club restaurant where you’ll get to taste BBQ “tikin xic” – a Mayan-style fish that is super delicious. This entire experience is incredible and great for families with kids. It’s also really reasonable at $48 USD per person. You can check availability and book online here!

Of course, you can also go snorkeling directly from most of the beaches here on the island, as long as you’ve got your gear with you! There are also plenty of souvenir shops that sell or rent out snorkeling equipment too, so don’t worry if you haven’t packed any in your suitcase.

4. Explore Punta Sur and the Ruins of Ixchel Temple 

Bailey at the ruins at Punta Sur, Isla Mujeres
The ruins!
Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo on Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Picture perfect!

Although the beaches on the island get a lot of love, Isla Mujeres also has tons of fascinating history! You can really take a trip back in time at the southern edge of the island at Punta Sur. Just a 15-minute drive from town, you’ll find the ruins of Ixchel Temple, built to honor the Mayan goddess of the moon, fertility, and happiness.

I can easily say that Punta Sur has one of the most amazing sunrises in the world! The iconic “Cliff of the Dawn” marks the farthest east point in all of Mexico, and it’s also the first point in Mexico hit by the sun each and every day.

The short hike to the ruins is also so worth it, as there are terraces and viewpoints along the way with amazing ocean views. Keep an eye out for the iguana monument at the entrance to Punta Sur (and any real iguanas who might be soaking up the sun on the rocks!).

Once you’re at the temple, the atmosphere here is something else. It’s the perfect place to snap some incredible pictures and enjoy the view. You can sit around the ruins facing the ocean and let the sea breeze wash over you – I don’t blame you if you never want to leave!

Punta Sur does have an entrance fee of 100 MXN per person that has to be paid once you arrive in order to access the walkways, temple, and terraces. To us, the fee was worth it as the views are incredible!

You can easily get to Punta Sur on your own if you rented a golf cart (that’s what we did) or just take a taxi from town. Either way, this is a place that’s worth the short trip in our opinion.

Related Read: While in Mexico, don’t miss the incredible Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the best things to see in Playa del Carmen!

5. Swim with Whale Sharks 

Swimming with Whale sharks in Mexico
Just beautiful!

Without a doubt, swimming with whale sharks around Isla Mujeres will be one of the most exciting adventures you do here – it was for us! Whale sharks are such magnificent animals, and swimming near them is truly a humbling experience.

These gentle giants aren’t actually sharks at all, but are the largest fish in the world, growing up to 32 feet (10 meters). Thankfully their diet consists of small fish, shrimp, and plankton, so we’ll be keeping our toes!

I recommend booking a full-day whale shark tour, so you’ll have plenty of time to get up close to these amazing creatures. Your guide will know where to go to find these humongous fish, and you might even see dolphins and manta rays too. That said, they can sometimes be tricky to find, so the more time you have, the better.

The 6-hour tour includes lunch and snorkeling equipment for $155 USD per person. These fish are only in the area at certain times of the year, so this tour is only available from May until September.

If you are traveling with a group of family or friends, you can book a Private VIP Tour for up to six people for $1,829 USD. A private tour lets you go at your own pace as you spend a couple of hours snorkeling with the incredible whale sharks. Breakfast, bottled water, soft drinks, equipment, and snacks are included too, plus transportation to and from your hotel in Isla Mujeres. 

Related Read: Another place where we went swimming with whale sharks was in Exmouth, Australia!

6. Relax on a catamaran

Bailey in a bikini on a catamaran cruise from Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Just off Isla Mujeres!
Bailey sits ont he side rail of the Catamaran soaking up the views and sun on a tour from Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Just admiring the views!

Live a life of luxury for a day aboard your own catamaran! I love sailing on catamarans – it’s a fantastic way to get out on the water and get that sought-after tan too. Catamarans also offer a calm sailing experience, so no need to worry about sea sickness (something I often have to think about.)

On this Private Sailing Catamaran Adventure, you’ll get to sail around the coast stopping at great snorkeling spots and Playa Norte as you spend the day at sea. Drinks, snacks, snorkeling equipment, and standup paddleboards are included for $271 USD per person for a group of four – a really great price for a private boat if you ask me!

It’s everything I needed after a busy few weeks of work, so if you’re looking for a way to unwind, this is it! Bring your music, towels, and sunscreen, and hang out under the sun with your family and friends, safely guided by the experienced crew.

Since this is a private experience, you should book it online here well in advance to secure your desired date.

Related Read: If you’re staying in Cancun, you can also hop on a catamaran cruise from Cancun to Isla Mujeres!

7. Relax at a beach club

Daniel on a rope swing at Kin Há Isla Mujeres
Kin Há Isla Mujeres
Bailey and her friend at Kin Há Isla Mujeres
Kin Há Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres offers a wide variety of fun outdoor activities, but skipping from one place to another can get a bit tiring! So if you’re looking for a place to relax all day long, then why not spend some time at a beach club, where you can enjoy food, drinks, and swimming?

One of our go-to beach clubs on Isla Mujeres is Kin Há Isla Mujeres, which is actually also a 4-star hotel, but you don’t need to stay there to enjoy all the activities it has. Not only is it free to use the facilities (no minimum spend either), but their drinks and food menu is pretty reasonably priced too.

Speaking of food, they have an oceanfront restaurant that serves gourmet Mexican and American food, so you definitely won’t be going hungry as the day goes on! They also have a swim-up bar in a gorgeous pool overlooking the ocean, which is a really neat experience. As well as that, there are a bunch of other fun activities like kayaking, rope swing, and a dock to walk way out onto the water.

Kin Há is an awesome spot for families with kids as well as couples and groups. They’re open from 8 am to 10 pm every day, so don’t forget your sunscreen and head on by!

If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous (maybe you’ve got kids that want to burn off some extra energy!), then Garrafron Reef Park is another beach club nearby. This adventure park offers all kinds of activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, zip-line, and even island tours. Of course, there’s also spots to hang out and relax too – their Mayan sauna and panoramic infinity pool were heavenly!

For those staying in Cancun, I’d highly recommend their full-day Garrafron Reef Park’s VIP tour, which includes VIP admission to Garrafon Natural Reef Park, snorkeling along the reef, a visit to Punta Sur, breakfast, as well as round-trip transportation from Cancun!

It’s a great way to see a some of the best areas on the island without arranging transport to Isla Mujeres yourself. Plus you get to sit back and relax with a pre-arranged itinerary while enjoying the snack bar, international buffet and open bar! Tickets for this tour cost $112 USD per person and can be booked online here.

If you’re already staying in Isla Mujeres, you can get admission to the park for $49 USD per person by simply turning up to the park without buying tickets in advance!

8. Find all the signs

Daniel and Bailey take a photo with the Isla Mujeres Sign, Mexico
The signs on the beach!

Pretty much anywhere you point your camera on Isla Mujeres will be an ideal spot for a picture, but nothing beats taking one with an Isla Mujeres sign! These colorful spots are all over Mexico from Palanque to Puerto Morelos and so many others, so while you’re visiting this paradise of an island, why not take an iconic picture to remember your trip?

One of my favorite spots is on the east side of the island at the end of Calle Abasolo, where you’ll find these colorful letters overlooking the ocean. The sign can be busy with tourists, especially during the high season, so it’s best to come early in the morning to avoid anyone photobombing your picture.

There are also a few spots dotted around the island where there are swings in the water with the Isla Mujeres letters above – super picturesque! Some of the best on the island are found at the Kin Ha Restaurant, Playa Tiburon, and at the Albatros Beach Club. These little gems will look great as the cover of your next Instagram post.

9. Check out the Underwater Museum (MUSA)

A statue at the MUSA Reef in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
The MUSA reef is so cool!
Bailey and Daniel look at a Sting Ray at the MUSA dive site in Cancun
A stingray at MUSA!

Just beneath the surface of the waters off Isla Mujeres is an incredible museum that is completely underwater. With no rooms or walls, the only way to see this museum is by snorkeling or scuba diving.

The Underwater Museum of Art was created to draw attention to and protect the coral reefs in this area. A sculptor created incredible life-sized structures (there are more than 500!) of people holding hands in a circle, a car, a man watching TV, and so much more! The hope is that marine life will take over these sculptures to form a complex reef structure.

The best way to get up close to the underwater museum is by scuba diving. If you’re a certified diver, this scuba diving tour gets you a two-tank dive to explore the museum. You’ll see all the incredible sculptures as well as a variety of fish, turtles, rays, and coral. It’s $135 USD per person and includes all the necessary equipment. If you’re not certified, you can contact Pocna Dive Center to take a class before joining this tour.

Daniel and Bailey scuba at MUSA in Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Me and Bailey

If you don’t want to scuba dive, snorkeling is another way to see the museum, and it doesn’t require any special certification. This underwater museum and reef snorkel tour takes you to the underwater museum as well as other coral reef areas.

The snorkeling equipment is included, along with snacks and a magarita – that’s my kind of tour! All of this for only $48 USD per person is a great deal! Book your snorkeling tour online here.

Related Read: Love trying out unique activities in Mexico? Visiting a pearl farm or trying an underwater helmet dive are some of the best things to do in Cozumel!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, read our complete Viator review to learn more about what we think about Viator.

10. Go shopping 

Market along Miguel Hidalgo Avenue
Shop till you drop!
A local shop selling clothes in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
I left with so much stuff!

No vacation is complete without a little bit of shopping to bring a piece of the island home with you! Isla Mujeres has some great places to buy souvenirs, or you can check out the boutique stores. 

While you’ll find vendors all over the island selling beautiful handcrafted jewelry made with silver, one of my favorite souvenir shops is Galeria de Arte Mexicano. Open from 9:30 am to 8 pm Monday to Saturday and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday, they have good prices and many of their pieces are one-of-a-kind! They also sell authentic Talavera pottery. 

Gladys Galdamez Swimwear is a little swimsuit boutique that’s a perfect stop before you hit the beach. You can buy swimwear that’s ready to go or make an appointment for a custom-made piece. They’re open from 9 ’till 5 Monday to Saturday (closed on Sundays), and offer many different swimwear designs for every taste. 

The last time we were visiting Isla Mujeres, we did quite a bit of shopping on Miguel Hidalgo Avenue. This is the main street in town and it’s full of stores – you can really find everything here!

11. Eat an amazing brunch

Daniel with his brunch at Oh My Brunch on Isla Mujeres
Ok Bailey, can I eat now?
Brunch at Oh My Brunch on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Yum!

Everyone knows that a good day starts with a delicious meal! If you’re staying in a hotel, it can be tempting to enjoy breakfast there, but I’d highly recommend spending some time in town and exploring all the amazing brunch options on offer.

Our favorite spot on Isla Mujeres for a late morning meal was “Oh My Brunch”, which is what you’ll be saying after trying some of the delicious dishes they have! I had eggs benedict with a nice and strong coffee, which set my day off just right, but they also offer a load of other tasty options, including bagels, waffles, sandwiches, muesli, and more.

You’ll find Oh My Brunch right on the northern side of the island, and they’re open from 8 am to 5 pm daily (but closed on Tuesday). It’s a great spot if you’re thinking about heading to do some shopping or visiting to the gorgeous Playa Note.

Other popular brunch spots I’ve heard good things about include the Coffee Break and Al Natural. I’ll definitely be trying these places too when we’re back on the island!

12. Party and eat on Miguel Hidalgo Avenue 

Bailey at night on the main street of Isla Mujeres
Oh and I love the nightlife!
Daniel and his friend party on Isla Mujeres
Scorpion shots!

Located in the middle of Isla Mujeres, Miguel Hidalgo Avenue is the place to be when the sun goes down. This is a pedestrian-only street, so it’s safe to stroll down while you check out the restaurants, bars, and clubs. You’ll usually find live music playing somewhere if you’re here on the weekend and lots of shops stay open later for shopping.

Known as the best bar on the island, Rock Bar has great service and music as well as fantastic happy hour prices. It’s such a fun spot to meet locals or tourists and have some great conversations over a few drinks.

For great live music and drinks, head to El Patio Casa de la Musica. There are local musicians playing daily from 4:30 pm until midnight. It’s an open-air style place built around trees and the terrace is ideal for couples on a romantic trip or ask for your group to be at a table near the bar under some beautifully lit trees. The menu is extensive here with burgers, steak, onion rings, chicken wings, enchiladas, falafel, and more.

If you’re hungry while walking down the avenue, check out Capricci Pizza for a little piece of Italy in the Caribbean. They serve delicious pizzas and pasta and have outdoor seating right that goes right out onto the street – perfect for people-watching! It’s a small family-run restaurant and the food is affordbale and tasty.

Morgan’s Restaurante & Margaritas Bar is another option that your nose might lead you right to! They have great Mexican food and some of the best seafood on the island. There are also good cocktails here, especially if you like authentic mezcal. Try the coconut margarita that has chunks of coconut in it – so yummy!

Related read: If the nightlife in Mexico is calling your name, head to Cabo! Partying at the nightclubs is one of the top things to do in Cabo San Lucas.

13. Playa Centro

Bailey relaxing on the swings at Playa Centro, Isla Mujeres at sunset
Playa Centro!

Near the docks and just a three-minute walk south of Playa Norte is Playa Centro. The white sand and brilliant turquoise water will draw you in and make you want to stay all day! If you can stay all day (or come back), this is a beautiful spot at sunset.

Playa Centro is typically the second-most popular beach on the island, quieter than Playa Norte, so you can usually find a nice spot to lie back and relax.

The shallow water here is perfect for wading in and for families with kids who want to play in the ocean. My tip would be to rent a couple of lounge chairs for around $10 USD and grab a spot under the palm trees sprinkled around the beach!

14. Day trip to Isla Contoy  

A beautiful beach on Isla Contoy, near Cancun, Mexico
The waters on Isla Contoy are crystal clear!

Isla Contoy is a tiny, protected island that’s about a 45-minute boat ride away from Isla Mujeres. The island is completely uninhabited and home to a protected National Park where thousands of sea turtles go every year to lay their eggs. If you’re looking for an unspoiled paradise island, this is it!

The only way you can get here is with an official tour like the ones offered by Isla Mujeres Trips. For around $115 USD you’ll have a chance to see this magnificent island and maybe even spot some of the animals that call it home, including more than 170 types of birds, 250 species of fish, and, of course, turtles!

You’ll want to book early, as only a maximum of 200 people can visit this island every day, no matter which tour you book.

An important tip to remember is that no sunscreen of any kind is allowed while visiting and swimming near Isla Contoy, so I’d suggest you wear a rashguard for sun protection. All in all, visiting this island in the middle of the ocean is sure to be an experience you will never forget!

15. Women’s Beading Cooperative 

Bailey shops at the Women's Beading Cooperative on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
It’s a great place to support!
Necklaces at the Women's Beading Cooperative on Isla Muejres, Mexico
And the jewelry is beautiful!

This little corner of Mexico will leave you with so many great memories – the hotels, restaurants, and tour companies are all such a big part of any holiday! However, when visiting places like this, I really like to support the locals who call this place home.

Women’s Beading Cooperative is a little store where dozens of artisan women from the island come together to sell their hand-made pieces. The work here is high-quality, as the women spend hours putting jewelry and crafts together, one bead at a time.

You’ll find necklaces, earrings, and purses made with glass beads, shells, Swarovski crystals, and pearls. Usually, when you walk in, there will be a group of women beading here, so you can see the amazing work up close.

All the women earn a percentage of the sale of each of their items and the rest goes back to the cooperative to buy beads and other supplies. This is a great way to support local artists and buy a stunning souvenir from your trip. You can find this store here.

16. Go for craft cocktails

Daniel and Bailey have cocktails on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Cocktails!
Bailey drinks a cocktail on Isla Mujeres
Lola Valentina!

Nothing says tropical island getaway quite like sipping some delicious cocktails as the sun goes down! While Dan and I are craft beer-crazy, I won’t say no to a cocktail (or two), especially in a place as fun as Lola Valentina.

Open daily from 8 am to 1 am and located right in town on the northern side of the island, this cute restaurant caught my eye straight away with their hanging swing barstools, and their delicious mezcal cocktails sealed the deal. Mezcal cocktails are our favorite, the smokey flavor just adds to any fruity drink!

On top of the delcious cocktails, it’s a really trendy and laid-back spot that also serves some super tasty food if you’re feeling hungry. Their seafood is particularly good, so don’t miss out on this one! The whole fried fish was a hit, and if you’ve never eaten one before then you simply must try it while in Mexico (it’s a staple!)

If you want to bar-hop a little, another great spot is Ocean’s Isla, which is actually just across the street from Lola’s. They also serve some incredible food and their cocktails are next-level – you have to try their margaritas! They’re open from 8 am to 11 pm daily.

17. Pool Del Rey 

Pool Del Rey on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
How cool is this?

While you can find swimming pools everywhere, a natural swimming pool isn’t nearly as common. Pool del Rey is one of those incredible natural pools that’s a picturesque spot for a swim on Isla Mujeres.

This pool is on the MIA Reef Isla Mujeres Resort, so if you aren’t staying here, you’ll need a day pass to access the pool. Day passes are $98 USD per adult and $49 USD for kids. You’ll get access to Pool del Ray as well as the beach, open bar, and food. If you’re hoping to spend the day here, then this is a good package to get!

Hot Tip: MIA Reef Isla Mujeres Resort is a beautiful all-inclusive resort, so why not consider booking a stay here if you’re looking for a place to stay?

18. Drop by Mercado Municipal 

Bailey walks Mercado Municipal and shops for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Fresh fruit anyone?

On Guerrero Avenue, you’ll find Mercado Municipal, which is an excellent local market to explore.

The market here has the lowest prices in Isla Mujeres, and for that reason, both locals and tourists visit it every day of the week. The fresh fruit you can buy here is amazing, or try out one of the natural juices made right in front of you.

There are different restaurants to choose from at the market too, but Letty’s is the most popular (it’s always full, but they serve pretty fast). They have an extensive menu with all kinds of Mexican food, freshly made, flavorful, and very cheap. Even people staying in the best all-inclusive hotels of Isla Mujeres choose this market because it’s so delicious.

Mercado Municipal is open from 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Saturday, but closed on Sunday and Monday, so don’t miss out if your dates line up!

Related Read: Check out our guide to the best places to eat in Cancun!

19. Go scuba diving 

Bailey and daniel scuba dive past a huge coral in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
How clear is the water!?
Bailey swims past some corals while scuba Diving in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
The corals seem very healthy!

Scuba diving is one of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres and truly in any part of the Yucatán Peninsula. I’m PADI certified and have done plenty of dives, but each time I go beneath the water, I discover something new. No two dives are ever the same!

What’s great about scuba diving near Isla Mujeres is that many of the popular dive sites are in shallower water that doesn’t have much of a current. This is especially good for newbies to scuba diving.

When diving here, keep an eye out for whale sharks, manta rays, and turtles. You simply have to experience the spectacular coral reef here, which is the second-largest in the world.

Diving is possible almost any day here with an average of 300 good diving days a year! This means whenever you plan to visit, you should be able to get a dive in. The water temperature is consistently warm too.

If you’re a certified diver, you can book this popular scuba diving experience. Lasting around 5 hours, it includes all of your gear and a guided dive to the underwater museum!

If you’re not certified, don’t worry, you can do this 5-hour discovery dive! No previous diving experience is required, and an expert diver will take you to the depths of the underwater museum (which is pretty shallow, so not difficult for beginners).

If you want to become certified, then you’re in luck! You can do this PADI certification course that includes 2 days of class instruction, confined dives for learning, as well as dives in the ocean. By the end, you’ll have your PADI open-water certification!

20. Yoga

The Treehouse Yoga on Isla Mujeres
Photo credit: The Treehouse Yoga

The spectacular atmosphere of Isla Mujeres can make it feel as though time is flying by, even if you are just lying on the beach! So if you want to connect more deeply with this island, and feel much more present, a yoga class is one of my favorite activities on Isla Mujeres.

Located on Playa Norte (above Buho’s Bar), The Treehouse Yoga offers 2 to 3 classes a day in the mornings and evenings on every day of the week except Sunday. Classes are only 200 MXN and include a yoga mat if you didn’t bring one. The venue is really beautiful, and it faces the ocean.

These are walk-in classes taught by bilingual instructors who will adapt to your level, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi. There’s also no need to reserve in advance, you can just show up and namaste!

21. Rent a bike and explore 

Bailey standing beside rental bikes on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
A bike is a great way to explore!
Rental bikes on Isla Mujeres Mexico
Get out and explore!

Because Isla Mujeres is such a tiny island, it’s easy to get around by bike. It gives your feet a nice break and lets you cover more ground to see all the island has to offer.

For rentals, try out Rentadora Rasta Bikes, near the Municipal Market. You can rent a bike for 24 hours for under $10 USD and make sure you ask for a complimentary bike lock from them. You can bike all the way to the south side of the island in about an hour, although I wouldn’t recommend that on a really hot day!

Make sure you return the bikes on time the next day though, as the employees here can be strict with the rentals.

22. Go fishing 

Posing with our catch after fishing in Mexico
I’d say we did pretty good!

The Gulf of Mexico is one of the best places in the world to go fishing. Every time we head out on a boat here, I’m shocked at how much we catch! Pretty much anywhere you cast a fishing rod near Isla Mujeres, it’s only a matter of minutes until you catch something.

You don’t need to be an experienced fisherman to catch fish here, but it does help to have a guide showing you the ropes. This private half-day fishing tour has a professional at the helm to take you to some of the best fishing spots near the shoreline. You’ll cast a line for barracuda, snapper, grouper, and more, depending on the time of year.

Get your family and friends together for this tour as it’s $450 USD for up to six people and kids are welcome. The tour includes all the fishing gear you’ll need along with drinks and snacks and pick up from your hotel.

23. Have a drink at the Isla Mujeres IceBar 

Bailey at the Isla Mujeres Ice Bar 
Relaxing at the Isla Mujeres IceBar in Isla Muheres, Mexico

What better way to cool off than at an entire bar made of ice! Heading to IceBar Isla Mujeres is a particularly great plan during the hottest months of the year – it’s quite the temperature swing once you step inside!

The entrance fee is $21 USD, and it includes 2 drinks and 1 shot. All the glasses are made from ice too, so make sure you have your drink before it melts! When you walk in, you’ll also be provided with a warm poncho with a hood, so you don’t get too cold.

This is a fun photo op spot on your vacation and a perfect way to take a break from the heat.

24. Explore the street art on Isla Mujeres  

Street art on Isla Muejers, Mexico
So beautiful!

One of the activities I enjoy the most in Isla Mujeres is walking around the island to see the colorful murals and sculptures scattered all over the place. You never know what might be around the corner! Because the island is so small, it’s really easy to get around, so while you’re walking from place to place, keep an eye out for the incredible art.

A great way to avoid missing out on some of the best street art here is to book a street art tour. You’ll have a local guide with you who will take you to the most famous spots (and hidden gems) around the island. Plus, you’ll get your photo in front of them too!

This three-hour tour is $70 USD per person and includes a variety of stops to give you a feel for the island and its artistic culture. You’ll also stop at an art gallery where local artists showcase their pieces (paintings, wooden sculptures, and jewelry), visit an animal organization where you will get to pet some really cute puppies, and drive to Punta Sur and back.

Related Read: There is incredible street art all over Mexico, including in Guadalajara and Oaxaca City, where you can do similar street art tours.

25. Walking tour 

Bailey walks amoung the restaurants and Bars on Isla Mujeres
Exploring!

The best way to really get to know a place you are visiting is with a local taking you to the best spots. You’ll find those hidden gems you never could have discovered on your own and you’ll get a feel for the island’s culture and people.

I like taking a walking tour like this one during the beginning of my stay as you’ll find spots you want to come back to and the guides often recommend other activities you’ll want to try. The tour is $126 USD per person and your guide will meet you right by the Mujer Desnuda statue.

You’ll get to visit a local chapel, see the rainbow stairs of the La Gloria district, see the Women’s Beading Cooperative for yourself, and visit the mansion of a pirate!

Where to Eat in Isla Mujeres 

Bailey with her pizza from Capricci Pizza & Sfizi on Isla Mujeres
Capricci Pizza & Sfizi on Isla Mujeres
A whole fried fish on Isla Mujeres
A whole fried fish at Lola Valentina!
  • La Kantina De Los Tacos De Humo: Mexican cuisine is definitely one of the best in the world. The variety of flavors, the freshness of its ingredients, and above all, the tradition. Who doesn’t love tacos? Well, if you stay in Isla Mujeres, know that this restaurant has the best tacos on the island! 
  • Capricci Pizza & Sfizi: While walking around the island, I noticed an Italian group waiting in line to enter this restaurant. That was all the information I needed to give it a try, and boy, we weren’t disappointed. The wood oven pizzas were fantastic (so many flavors) and combined with the great service and really reasonable prices, this was a fantastic meal.
  • Samura: Many different people around the island recommended this sushi place, and for good reason, the atmosphere of this restaurant can’t be beaten. The cocktails are some of the best I’ve ever had, and the sushi was super fresh and tasty. The extensive menu will make you want to go at least a second time, not to mention the 5-star service from every last member of the staff. 
  • Lola Valentina: This restaurant came highly recommended, so we had to give it a try. They take traditional Mexican food to a whole new level with all the flavors you already know enhanced (somehow!), and the presentation of the dishes is exceptional. Great prices and even greater service. 
  • Mango Cafe Isla: This cute corner café is a lovely place to go for breakfast or lunch. They have quite an extensive menu and offer more international/fusion cuisine with a special Caribbean touch. The guacamole was outstanding, the pancakes were delicious, and the variety of vegan dishes surprised me. It’s also very close to a great lookout point. 
  • Xantolo: Great burgers, perfectly cooked steak, and some pretty amazing nachos. The fried shrimp and octopus ceviche had to be some of the best seafood we’ve ever had. Great vibes, live music, and open until midnight. 

Where to Stay in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Selina Hostel pool on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
We stayed at the Selina!

Selina Isla Mujeres PocNa – $ 

Selina Isla Mujeres PocNa is a budget-friendly hostel/hotel that’s within walking distance (under 2 minutes!) of the beautiful Playa Norte. It is an absolutely stunning property, complete with a huge pool and outdoor bar and restaurant area. Sometimes they even host events like yoga, live music, or even DJs! It’s the perfect place to socialize and meet travelers from all over the world.

You can choose either shared or private accommodations. The private rooms range from budget to luxury – almost like a 4-star hotel stay!

A bed in a dorm here starts at $40 USD per night, and you can book a private room for around $125 USD per night. To secure your stay in advance, I’d recommend booking online either on Booking.com or HostelWorld

Casa de los Sueños (Kin Ha) – $$

Located right next-door to the fantastic Kin Ha restaurant and beach club, Casa de los Sueños is a boutique hotel that offers a stunning range of contemporary rooms, bespoke massages, as well as direct access to the Caribbean Sea! During your stay, you’ll also have access to all 4 swimming pools (including one just for guests), as well as some of the tastiest food at Kin Ha.

Rooms here typically start at around $300-400 nightly, with room types ranging from double rooms up to the presidential suite, which is perfect for special stays and honeymoons! You can check available dates and book your room online here.

Izla Beachfront Hotel – $$ 

Izla Beachfront is a luxurious 4-star hotel with private beach access. It’s around $266 USD, depending on the dates of your reservation. It is absolutely gorgeous, super comfortable, very clean, and they have amazing service. They also have a pool, solarium, wellness center, two on-site restaurants, room service, and WIFI! 

You can book a room here at Izla Beachfront for around $350-400 USD per night.

Lotus Beach Hotel – $$$ 

This is not a cheap option (at all!) but it is one of the most luxurious hotels in Islas Mujeres. Lotus Beach Hotel offers everything you can expect from a 5-star hotel that’s located right by the beach (and then some more!). Their rooms are very fancy, and their beach club is fancier still. If you’re looking for a high-end experience, this is it.

Lotus Beach Hotel has a wide variety of amenities such as Wi-Fi, pools, a bar by the pool, bike rental, snorkeling, and anything you’ll need on the beach (including an umbrella, chairs, and towels). In addition to that, they also offer other relaxing services such as massages, couple massages, solarium, hiking, and diving, among others.

Rooms here at Lotus Beach start at around $480 USD per night, but this can be higher during the higher season. I’d suggest booking Lotus Beach Hotel online in advance to avoid missing out!

Renting a Car in Mexico

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie while driving around Mexico
A rental car means freedom to go to the beach whenever you want!

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car. 

I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Cancun in 2023, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically. 

I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend. 

The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too. 

Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit. 

Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper! 

Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!

We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.

They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.  

We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!

Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)

Thanks for reading! 

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie in a golf cart on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Thanks for reading!

Hopefully, this guide to Isla Mujeres has inspired you to plan your own trip to this amazing island. We love how close it is to Cancun, but it feels like escaping to a completely different world. The laid-back vibe here combined with stellar views and unique things to see and do keep us coming back.

If you’ve been to Isla Mujeres or have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below! Also, check out some of our other Mexico posts for inspiration:

The BEST Beaches in the Yucatan

EPIC things to do in Sayulita, Mexico

BEST tours in Oaxaca City, Mexico

Things to do in Puebla, Mexico & guide to visiting

April

Saturday 30th of December 2023

Thank you for all the great information! I am excited to return to Isla Mujeres in a few weeks and explore more. This is a great guide and I have it book-marked for my future adventures.