This is an
easy daytrip that can be accomplished with or without a car.
is a laid-back island off the coast of Cancun. It hosts a lot of tourists, so
you will not have the island to yourself.
There is a "town" portion of
the island with many shops and restaurants, the bulk of them on a pedestrian
walkway called Hidalgo. It will remind you of 5th in Playa del Carmen.
A fun thing to do is
rent a golf cart and explore the whole island. I like visiting the
turtle sanctuary, where turtles are bred and fed before they are
released into the ocean. You will see a lot of turtles from tiny babies
to very large adults. 30 pesos to get in.
We like to wander around the town. Isla
has wooden buildings, which are very rare on the mainland. There is also
an opportunity to swim with dolphins or visit Garrafón Natural Reef Park
which has good snorkeling and ziplines.
unusual attraction is Spiral Island/Joyxee Island, or plastic bottle
island. Built by Richart "Reishee" Sowa, the island is made up of more
than 100,000 plastic bottles. The island is an engineering marvel and
features three beaches, a house, two ponds and a solar oven. You can
tour the island for a donation of 50 pesos.
To reach the
island you have a few choices.
ferry at Puerto Juarez. The ferry is modern and fast and the trip takes less than half an
hour. You can sit inside or outside on the ferry. Avoid the "rush hour" times
for the easiest trip.
Our method to get to Isla will take about 90 minutes or less. It sounds
very complex, but it is usually a very easy trip. Our last trip in
December, we waited almost no time at any of these steps. The collectivo at
Puerto Morelos was waiting for us, we easily caught a cab to Juarez and we waited
less than 10 minutes for a ferry.
Catch a taxi to the Puerto Morelos ADO bus station (heading north) for 25-30 pesos
(or take the local bus for 5 pesos.)
Grab a bus or a collectivo, whichever is there first. The bus is best
though! Collectivo is
peos, the bus is 26. Get off at the last stop, the Cancun bus station.
Leave the bus station, walk a few blocks then catch a taxi to the Puerto
Juarez ferry terminal for around 40 pesos. You can catch a cab at the station,
but it will cost more. (10 minutes)
Buy a return ticket for the next ferry. They leave every half hour and
are very efficient. Your return ticket is good any time. (160 pesos one
way, 300 return) (20 minute trip) Sit up top with the tourists, or down
below with the locals. (Beware of the sun!)
Arrive at Isla Mujeres. Walk through the terminal without stopping, you
will be inundated with offers of tours, carts, cars and everything else
you can imagine. Keep walking until you work out what you want to do,
but get away from the gauntlet.
Other options: You can take a taxi all the way from Puerto
Morelos to Puerto Juarez for about 550 pesos. You can take a city bus
from the bus station to Juarez, but it really doesn't save that much
money and will take a lot more time.
return, our only misstep was to grab a taxi right at the ferry terminal.
Across the street from the terminal is a taxi stand, and I bet they were
cheaper than the 70 pesos we paid to get back to the ADO station.
(Getting there was just 40 pesos) The whole return trip took us just 80
minutes door to door.
-UltraMar Ferries run every half hour from 5:00 am until 8:30 pm and
then every hour from 9:30 pm to 12:00 am. Grab a schedule to ensure you
don't miss the boat.
Express also runs ferries at 10 minutes after the hour returning 40
minutes after the hour. They are slightly cheaper, but not worth it.
-The UltraMar ferry has an open deck on the top and usually some musical
-If you are going to rent a golf cart and are planning to stay the day,
rent your cart right away from one of the established cart rental
companies, not from one of the dudes on the street. The day rate is
around 500 pesos, from 9:00 - 5:00 pm. Hourly rates are around 180 pesos
an hour. We always seem to end up renting from Prisma. Not the fastest
carts, but good enough. They are on the main road and offer a coupon for
10% off on their
website. Their prices are clearly marked inside. You will need to
leave your driver's licence to get the cart.
-Playa Norte (North Beach) is a lovely beach. Keep working your way
north to avoid the worst of the crowds.
Playa Norte is the best beach
The landscape is very
different at the other end of the island.
Church with a view
Lots of restaurants to try
You will see lots of turtles
at the sanctuary.
You will also see this guy at
the trutle sanctuary.
the slowest moving cart on Isla. We rented it.
selfies behind the wheel. Not a good idea.