10 Best Things to Do in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Isla Mujeres, Mexico, is a beautiful island paradise just a 30 minute ferry ride off the coast of Cancun. It’s the perfect destination for a family vacation or a solo trip. There are plenty of great things to do on Isla Mujeres for everyone and every budget! From the busy beaches and nightclubs on the north end of the island, to the walking trails, small shops and secluded beaches on the south end, you will find your zen, and sense of adventure. Here are ten of the best things to do on your next visit to isla Mujeres, no matter your travel style and budget!
Punta Sur (South Point)
Hours: 9-5 ish, but you can go anytime. If you arrive before the official opening, they may just catch up with you to pay as you leave.
Time needed: 1 hour
A beautiful park with walking trails and large sculptural pieces, this park on the South Point is the easternmost point of Mexico and features the ruins to Ixchel, the Goddess of Fertility. Some of the cliffside trails are quite steep and wet from the crashing waves, so proceed with caution, but there are some trails that are relatively flat and easy. Your kids will love seeing the iguanas that roam freely. Go early or in the evening for the sunset to avoid the searing afternoon sun! Tip: Ask your taxi to wait for you or come back to get you.
La Tortugranja (Turtle Farm)
Location: Carretera Sac Bajo
Hours: Daily 9-5
Time needed: 1-2 hr
The island’s modest turtle rescue program offers an opportunity to see beautiful sea turtles up close. The sea turtles are raised from hatchlings and released by local school children each fall, in an effort to protect the endangered species. In addition to hundreds of turtles, you can also see various sea creatures that are kept in a small aquarium.
Isla Mujeres Sign / La Trigueña
Time needed 20-30 min
Two great photo ops set again the crashing waves of the Caribbean sea. The statue of La Trigueña, a brunette beauty, is right off the main square downtown with the ocean to her back. Legend has it that she shunned the love of a pirate, who as hard as he tried, could never win her over. (Sidenote: He eventually died without her by his side, but not before creating a spot for himself in the island’s cemetery complete with a poetic grave marker dedicated to her.) Further down the oceanside walkway, El Malecon, toward the north of the island is a large, colorful sign denoting the island’s name.
Cost: Free to $$
Time needed: 3-4 hours
The most stunning aqua waters of the Caribbean Sea will lure you in while the silky sand and beach side restaurants and bars will draw you back to land. Find a spot of shade and put down towels, or rent a cabana for the day and let the warm breeze, cold margaritas and beautiful people set the mood.
Mundaca the Pirate’s Grave (at a cemetery near North Beach )
Hours: 9-5 daily
This simple stone tomb seems desolate set against the rest of the brightly colored and lovingly decorated grave markers in the city’s cemetery on the north side of the island. But it’s interesting to see this historic relic from the time of pirates. The pirate himself is not buried here, but he build the grave in anticipation of living his last days with his love, La Trigueña, on the island. A poem engraved in her honor reads: “As you are, I was. As I am, you will be.”
Women’s Beading Cooperative
Location: La Gloria
Hours: 9-5 Mon-Sat; 9-3 Sun
Time needed: Hey, it’s shopping folks:)
Buying beautiful jewelry always feels good when you are supporting a great cause. This small store boast the handiwork of several women, who sit and bead while you shop. The products range from intricate necklaces and earrings to small pouches and key chains. Profits directly benefit the women artisans.
Hours: 8-5 pm daily
Time needed 3-5 hours
There’s something so humbling, calming and majestic about swimming in the ocean, watching schools of fish swim through coral, while barracuda bare their teeth and sea turtles swim languidly by. Don’t miss an opportunity to experience aquatic life! There are many companies who offer day trips, I recommend this one: Island Adventures Mexico
Pro tip: Snorkeling is very weather dependent, less windy days offering the best experience and early morning generally being best time. Contact the outfitter early in your trip to plan the best day for the outing.
Music on Hidalgo
Hours: late night
Time needed: 1-4 hours
The nightlife on Isla Mujeres is mellow, but fun. Wander down Hidalgo Street at night and catch fire dancers before heading into one of many bars that feature live music. At Tres Mentiras you’ll find reggae or jazz, while upstairs at La Terraza there is often salsa and room to dance. On Sundays there’s live music at Green Demon on North Beach, and Varadero (the Cuban restaurant NOT at north beach) has live salsa some evenings.
Guru Beach Club
Hours: 9 am – 10 pm
If you want to relax on beachside beds with waitstaff to bring you food and drink, this beach club is perfect! Go early, find a bed with an ocean view. Swim in the pool or head down to the white sand for a dip. The only requirement is that you purchase food and drinks.
Isla Brewing Company
Location: Salinas Chica
Hours: 10-6 everyday but Sunday
Time needed: 30 minutes
Don’t miss the island’s first and only craft brewery! Stop in to enjoy a beer flight, pick your favorites and buy a few for later! You can also find their beer at Tres Mentiras Bar on Hidalgo.