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Isla Mujers downtown from aboveIsla Mujeres is close to Cancun

The ferry ride to Isla Mujeres is about 15 minutes from Cancun. You can see the island from Cancun's beaches. Isla Mujeres is very small, and you can easily see it all in a day trip from Cancun. However, there is plenty to see for a 2-3 night vacation.

Isla Mujeres is pretty laid back. Locals walk, bike or have golf carts so their pace of life is slow. There is good shopping in the downtown area. Isla is not so tiny it doesn't have the basic services, there are banks, money exchanges, pharmacies, etc.

There aren't many cars on this tiny island. You can rent a bike, moped (wear your helmet) or golf cart for a full or half day and see most of what there is to see. Golf cards cost about $50 a day, mopeds $20, bikes $4. Gomar is a good place to rent, Fco. I. Madero #65, telephone and fax 998 8770604. If you do rent a vehicle, be sure to check it all over and note any damage with the clerk before checking it out. Also, get the insurance. There are taxis on Isla Mujeres. You can fly to the island from Playa del Carmen with Aerosaab.

Food and sleep

There are many hotels within walking distance of the docks. A nice mid range hotel is the Meson del Bucanero, Hidalgo #11, tel. 998 8770210 fax 998 8770446.

Nautibeach Suites and Town Resort Isla Mujeres is a condominium complex on Playa Norte. This white sand beach is more than enough for anyone to enjoy on their vacation. The vacation rentals here are first class, with a range of unique suites and vacation packages to chose from. tel. 998 845 3467

The Mexico Lindo restaurant is decent for lunch, and the Red Eye Cafe (Juarez and Mateos) is a super place for breakfast (German run). There are dozens of other restaurants of all kinds - French, Mexican, seafood, all natural, bakeries, etc.

Beaches, snorkeling, and pirates

Most of the activity on Isla Mujeres takes place in the many beach clubs. One is Playa Paraiso tel. 55185802, but they are all similar. Beaches on the North and West sides are the best for swimming. The eastern and southern sides are NOT for swimming because there are dangerous currents.

nice beach clubs with volleyball and restaurantsIsla Mujeres means Island of Women because the Maya used to worship the goddess Ixchel here. Her temple is located at the southern tip of the island. There is a lighthouse to climb nearby.

El Garrafon National Park is the islands most famous attraction. The snorkel park was upgraded by the same people who built Xel Ha and Xcaret on the mainland. 988 849 4950. Departure from El Embarcadero at 9:30 and 11 am

As an alternative, you can get a boat from the ferry which will take you snorkeling just off shore. The current is fast, so you don't have to swim much, and there are plenty of fish. The reef is a bit mangled for over use. You have to buy a $1 bracelet to snorkel, which is good for your whole trip. The money goes to preserve the fish.

You can also visit the sea turtle hatchery further along the road from 9am to 5pm 998 8770595. Divers can visit the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks, or any number of reefs around the island. There are several dive shops like Coral Dive Center and Sea Hawk divers 998 8770296.

At Hacienda Mundaca to walk sandy jungle paths and see the animals from El Garrafon who are temporarily housed here (crocs and monkeys). Pirate and slave trader Fermin Mundaca de Marechaja fell in love with a local 18 year old beauty and built the hacienda and magnificent gardens to woo her. She ran off with a young islander and Mundaca dies of grief and madness.

On the ferry pier you can arrange sport fishing outings or trips to Isla Controy to visit the bird sanctuary there.

good for breakfastThe Ferries - times change

Note: times are listed differently in different books and brochures, and can even be different from the ones posted at the ferry. Prices operate the same way. Be flexible and get there early to ask at the ticket counter, or have your hotel call ahead to check. It sounds complicated, but is actually convenient and easy.

The main ferry leaves from Puerto Juarez, just north of Cancun, is supposed to run every 30 minutes, but sometimes only runs every hour. It takes less than 30 minutes to get to Isla Mujeres. It costs about $2 (they keep changing the price, so who really knows). 7am, 8:30am, 9:30am etc. up until 8:30pm (sometimes later). Depending on demand sometimes they skip a time and you have to wait another hour. There are bathrooms and luggage storage at the dock. 998 8770382 or 998 8770618

The car ferry leaves from Punta Sam at 8am, 11am, 2:45pm, 5:30pm, and 8:15pm. Passengers can also ride for $1. Cars cost more around $5+. Trips take about 45 minutes. Tel. 998 8770065

The tourist ferry departs from Cancun's hotel zone at 9:15am, 11:30am, 1:45pm and 3:45pm. The boat dock is at Playa Tortugas near Fat Tuesday's. Trips take about 30 minutes.

Private boats also dock at Puerto Juarez and will take you over for snorkeling and leave you on the island, or return you to Cancun. If you have a group of 4-8 this can save you money over the regular ferry. These boats are smaller, so the trip takes longer.

There is a small airport on the island with flights on AeroBanana 998 87-25040 or Aerosaab. They both fly day trips to the Tulum and Chichen Itza ruins, and Aerosaab flies back and forth to Playa del Carmen.

More Information

My Isla Mujeres has great local travel information.

Mundaca Travel can help you with travel arrangements on Isla Mujeres.

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