Isla Mujeres is a beautiful, peaceful, and safe destination in Mexico. Just off the coast of Cancun, lying on the meeting point of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, this island has a lot to offer.
You probably won’t get enough of its white sand beaches. The Ixchel statue (Mayan goddess of fertility) will send you on a quest to find your dropped jaw(s). Swimming along whale sharks will remind you how small you actually are (physically speaking). And, just as importantly, the island’s underwater sculpture park will give you lots to brag about when you return home and meet your friends.
But unless you have a yacht, you’re wondering: how do I get to Isla Mujeres? And once there, how can I get around this beautiful little island?
To get to Isla Mujeres, you need to book a flight to Cancun International Airport first. Then, you need to find transport to one of the three ferry stops located on Boulevard Kukulcan (the Hotel Zone).
Cancun houses Mexico’s second and Latin America’s third busiest airport. So, you’re likely to catch a flight from your city’s own airport or a nearby one. Since it’s a busy airport, the ticket prices are usually reasonable.
You can take a taxi, private transfer vehicle, or an ADO bus to the ferry stops:
- Taxi: The Cancun airport runs its own taxi service. These taxis take twenty minutes to reach the Puerto Juarez ferry stop and the regular fare for that trip is $45. However, you can prearrange a taxi via the airport’s website and get a $20 discount. It’s not the cheapest or most comfortable way to get to the ferry stop, but it’s the best value-for-money option.
- Private transfer: You can prearrange a transport vehicle through the airport’s website for some peace of mind. Especially if you’re traveling with family and lots of luggage, a prearranged private transfer is the most comfortable transport option from the Cancun airport to Isla Mujeres ferries. Depending on the vehicle of your choice and the number of people in your party, the ride can cost from $50 to $300. If you’re traveling alone, there are shared shuttle transfers to the Hotel Zone (near the ferry stops) for only $39 per person.
- ADO buses: If you’d rather spend on cocktails over transportation, , you can take Autobuses de Orienté (ADO buses) to Cancun Downtown. You need to buy a ticket (costing $6.80 only) before your flight because these buses tend to get sold out. Once you get off the bus at Cancun Downtown, you can take a taxi to the Puerto Juarez ferry stop for about $5. It’s not the most comfortable way of getting to the ferry, but it’s the most affordable.
There are three Ultramar ferry stops that sail to Isla Mujeres: Puerto Juarez, Playa Tortugas, and Playa Caracol. The closest ones to the Cancun Airport are Puerto Juarez and Playa Tortugas. Whichever one you pick, the taxi or private transfer fare is unlikely to change.
These ferries are active from 6AM to 11PM, depart once every half an hour, and cost 540 pesos (31 dollars) for adults and 400 pesos (23 dollars) for children. The ride lasts 20 to 30 minutes, depending on wave conditions and marine traffic.
Isla Mujeres is a small, 4.3-by-0.4 mile island. So, if you like physical activity, you can easily get around by foot. In case you’re staying there for a week or so, there will be no stone you can leave unturned – and if you’re lucky, some of these stones might even have archeological value!
Of course, you might not want to walk around. After all, holidays are for swimming, drinking, snorkeling, and flirting! However, the island doesn’t have a public transportation system so if you don’t want to walk, your only alternative is private rentals.
Wheels available for rent on the island:
- Golf cart rental: A golf cart rental is one of the most popular and fun ways to explore Isla Mujeres. You can find golf cart rental agencies all over the island, so availability is not a concern. Typically, agencies charge $45 to $60 for a 24-hour rental, but if you want the cart for a longer period (like a whole week), you might get a discount. Beware that sometimes, bargaining for a discount takes a lot of negotiation so decide if it’s really worth it. If you’re traveling with your family, a golf cart rental is an excellent way to get around in Isla Mujeres.
- Scooter rental: If you’re a solo traveler, a golf cart is no use to you unless you want to feel like a billionaire riding around the backyard of their mansion. In that case, you may just rent a scooter for about $20 per day. Many agencies along the island’s coast have scooters on offer.
- Bicycle rental: Most hotels on Isla Mujeres rent bicycles to their customers for 200 Mexican pesos per day, roughly equalling 12 American dollars. It’s a cheap and fun way of getting around in Isla Mujeres.
- Taxis: You can easily find a taxi in Isla Mujeres – hotels are also quite helpful in calling a cab for you. These taxis are reasonably priced, too. If you want a trip in the hotel zone or its surroundings, you’re likely to pay between 30 to 50 pesos (1.5 to 3 dollars). If you want to go to Punta Sur, the southern part of the island, you’re likely to be charged 90 pesos, which is a bit more than $5. But when you have options such as golf carts and bikes, we doubt you’ll have any need for a taxi.
- Private tours: We admit that private tours shouldn’t really count as transportation, but they are in Isla Mujeres because they are the only way you’ll get to experience the island’s two magnificent attractions: swimming with whale sharks and the MUSA Underwater Sculpture Park. For the former, agencies such as Isla Whale Sharks offer boat tours. While a shared boat tour costs $150 per person, you could sacrifice $1,500 to rent a complete boat to yourself and your family. For the MUSA, the museum itself arranges various tours with options of snorkeling, glass-bottom boats, and diving. The prices range between $30 and $165, depending on your preferences.
The closest airport to Isla Mujeres is Cancun International Airport. You can prearrange a transfer to the Isla Mujeres ferry stops, which is the most comfortable transport option, or take a taxi or a bus, which is more affordable.
Isla Mujeres doesn’t have a public transportation system, but it’s a small island that you can explore on foot. If you’re not interested in walking, you can rent golf carts, scooters, or bicycles. The island has a wide taxi availability, too.
Lastly, we recommend that you check out private tours for swimming with whale sharks and visiting the MUSA Underwater Sculpture Park. There’s no way for you to experience these by yourself, and you certainly don’t want to miss out!