several sun chairs on a white beach full of palm trees and palapa in Isla Mujeres, Is Isla Mujeres worth visiting?

Is Isla Mujeres Worth Visiting? 5 Pros & Cons

Can’t decide if you should visit? Is Isla Mujeres worth visiting? Isla Mujeres is a beautiful and fun island to visit, but it has pros and cons!

This guide breaks down 5 important pros and cons of Isla Mujeres, which will help you determine whether visiting Isla Mujeres would be right for you!

I’ve also included how to get to Isla Mujeres, hotel and restaurant recommendations, and a few tips if you choose to visit!

Isla Mujeres is one of the most popular and visited islands in the Caribbean yearly, and for good reason. It’s home to beautiful beaches and it’s easy to get to, but more on that later!

Fun Fact: Isla Mujeres means “The Island of Women” and is pronounced: “ee-sluh-moo-heh-rays.”

several tall palm trees and palapas on beautiful beach with turquoise waters and clear skies in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

5 PROS for Isla Mujeres

Beaches in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is famous for its beaches throughout the island, with picture-perfect turquoise clear water, soft white sand, and gentle waves.

As you fly into Cancun Airport, you can spot the island from the plane and its surrounding beautiful beaches.

If you love going to the beach, you’ll have a great time visiting Isla Mujeres. The island has three main beaches, all with their atmosphere. Regardless, all are perfect for a relaxing day as you soak up the sun!

The following three are public beaches, there are other beach shorelines on the island to visit but they’re reserved for beach clubs.

  • Playa Norte – The best and most popular beach on the island, voted #23 best beach in the world by TripAdvisor
  • Playa Lancheros – Located slightly south of the island, an ideal place to rent a beach lounger and relax
  • Playa Centro – An alternative to Playa Norte, but usually slightly less crowded
clear skies with various shades of turquoise blue waters at the beach in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Many Things To Do in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is full of various things to do: long relaxing days on the beach, catamaran boat cruises, snorkeling, swimming with whale sharks, and much more!

Despite the island being small, Isla Mujeres has so much to offer. This is one of the many reasons many visit, even when visiting Cancun already!

Below, I’ve included some of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres when you’re visiting!

  • Visit Punta Sur: Located in the most Southern part of the island is this stunning park.
  • Snorkel the MUSA: You can visit an underwater museum in Isla Mujeres full of unique sculptures in the sea!
  • Go to Isla Contoy: Visit this beautiful deserted island full of nature close to Isla Mujeres.
a sailboat rental sailing the stunning turquoise waters of Isla Mujeres on a clear sunny day

Isla Mujeres is Walkable

One of the best qualities of Isla Mujeres is just how walkable the island is. You can walk to most places on the island in around 5 to 20 minutes.

Beachclubs, beaches, restaurants, shops, the Centro area on the island offers it all, within a short walking distance.

This is very convenient for those not looking to rent a golf cart on the island and families with kids. An island where you can walk to most places, say no more, right?

You will only need transportation if you stay at some hotels in the middle or south of the island. Also, there are attractions located in the southern part of the island, like Punta Sur and Parque de Los Sueños, which you will need transportation to.

But staying in the Centro area is very convenient and means you may never have to use any transportation in Isla Mujeres during your visit!

restaurant on the streets of centro Isla Mujeres alongside clear blue skies in the background

Island Atmosphere

There’s something about being on an island compared to being on mainland, it’s just the atmosphere, it can’t be explained in a way. Being the fantastic island it is, Isla Mujeres offers just that!

Days in Isla Mujeres involve the beach, dining out, bar-hopping, and just soaking up the beauty of the place, and that’s it. The perfect island adventure, what more could one ask for?

Islands are nature’s paradise, the beaches, laidback vibes, and a simplistic day routine. An island atmosphere can’t be replicated.

One of my favorite activities in Isla Mujeres is renting a golf cart or bicycle and riding around the island gazing out at the stunning coastline.

Beach Clubs in Isla Mujeres

Sure, a day at the beach is great, but you know what makes it better? Some excellent food and a few drinks to go along with it.

Luckily, Isla Mujeres is known for its many great beach clubs to spend the day. Relaxing on a beach lounger under an umbrella with fresh Mexican ceviche, tacos, and a cocktail, that’s a perfect beach day if you ask me!

Here’s a list of the best beach clubs in Isla Mujeres for you to consider:

Isla Mujeres Beach Club Prices: The average price is 400 – 800 Mexican Pesos, around $23 to $47 US. The cost of entry, which includes a beach lounger, sometimes also goes towards food and drinks for the day.

sunset setting beside palm trees and several beach lounge chairs with views of the Caribbean Sea at Zama Beach Club in Isla Mujeres
Zama Beach Club – Credit: Jose Vasquez

Great for All Travelers & Nearby

Another excellent quality about Isla Mujeres is how accommodating the island is for all types of travelers and how close it is to Cancun, making it very easy to get to!

Whether you plan to visit Isla Mujeres solo, with a loved one, or with your family, Isla Mujeres accommodates very well!

It’s only around a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, so visiting Isla Mujeres is very easy. If you’re visiting Cancun and want to explore other destinations, it’s around 1 to 4 hours away, depending on where.

Solo Travelers: Isla Mujeres is excellent for solo travelers. Walking around the Centro area and bar hopping, you’ll likely meet fellow travelers. Nomad is an excellent hostel with a beach club that hosts many events you can check out. Another option is Selina Isla Mujeres!

Couples: For those visiting with their loved ones and celebrating a honeymoon, many excellent resorts in the southern part of the island offer plenty of privacy and great amenities. Otherwise, you can always stay in the Centro area if you’d prefer to be near all the action!

Group: Holidaying with a few friends? Isla Mujeres offers many things to do for those looking to enjoy the day with friends. There are several beach clubs on the island, or you can go on a Catamaran cruise and enjoy drinks on the water.

Privilege Aluxes is the best hotel for those visiting in a group, the hotel even has a nightclub on site and is in Centro.

Family: Isla Mujeres is perfect for a family vacation, as mentioned earlier, it’s walkable, so it’s easy to get around, there are many activities to enjoy for the kids and resorts such as Hotel Belo or Mia Reef are very accommodating!

a large boat in the distance along a dock in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

5 CONS for Isla Mujeres

Very Touristy & Busy

Isla Mujeres is very touristy, and it makes sense why, due to its close location to Cancun, one of the most visited destinations in Mexico yearly, the city is a top choice for Americans and Canadians looking to go on vacation.

Naturally, when on vacation, one wants to explore, and as mentioned earlier, Isla Mujeres is only 20 minutes from Cancun. So, making a day trip to the island from Canaun is easy, and because of that, Isla Mujeres is the most touristy island in Mexico.

During the high season, the best time to visit Isla Mujeres due to the ideal weather from November through April, Isla Mujeres gets very busy. These crowds can sometimes take away from the whole “island atmosphere” many of us desire when visiting an island and looking to relax.

Beaches get quite crowded, beach clubs you sometimes have to reserve lounge chairs for before visiting. The Centro area is full of extra influx of tourist traffic from Cancun throughout the afternoon, only adding to the already visitors to Isla Mujeres.

If you’re after a laidback island experience, unless you stay on the southern part of the island, where it’s much quieter and far from most things, it’s hard to find just that.

A great alternative to Isla Mujeres is Holbox, another island a few hours away that’s much less touristy, with a more local feel and fewer tourists.

A woman is sitting on the back of a motorcycle with bright coloured buildings on the sides of the streets and palm trees/ clear skies in the distance

Scams in Isla Mujeres

In most places, you go in Mexico, but not all, scams are common and well documented, with Isla Mujeres being the popular island and the influx of tourists coming and going daily. Scams do happen on the island.

Scammers in Isla Mujeres are here to take advantage of the tourist crowds and do it in a few different ways. Below, I’ve included a few common scams in Isla Mujeres to watch out for!

Golf Cart Scam: You’ll spot workers trying to get you to rent a golf cart everywhere you walk on the island, and there’s no problem doing so. But some rental shops try to scam tourists once they rent a golf cart. Here’s how it usually goes.

Once you’ve rented the golf cart and returned it to the shop, the worker claims you’ve “damaged” the golf cart while you rented it and will ask you for money to repair the damages.

This “damage,” they claim, can be as minor as a dent or scratch. It was most likely there before, and they’re just trying to scam you out of money.

Beach Theft: Watch your belongings when visiting the beach in Isla Mujeres. Valuables being stolen at the beach have risen in the last two years. There is limited beach space, and many locals and tourists visit, so there’s always someone nearby.

Theft happens from tourists and locals. Watch for your belongings at the beach and go into the water.

Pick-pocketing: It doesn’t often happen on the island, but when you’re leaving the ferry, boarding, or walking in busy crowds in the Centro area, be slightly more cautious of your pockets and bags.

Hotel Theft: While hotel room theft isn’t common, it happens in Isla Mujeres and other places in Mexico. I know this first-hand and from friends who’ve visited Isla Mujeres.

It’s best not to bring expensive jewelry or lots of money to Isla Mujeres or any vacation. If you’re wondering if your room safety box is vulnerable, it is. This isn’t the case for all hotels, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t bring or leave valuables in your room.

beautiful shades of blue water in the waters of isla mujeres

Island Lacks Culture

Isla Mujeres lacks local culture, unlike other islands far from the region, such as Holbox and Cozumel.

Many of us visit Mexico, and an essential aspect of our trip is experiencing the local culture, cuisine, etc. Isla Mujeres disappoints in that regard, but there is no surprise there. Cancun is similar and worse in that regard.

This doesn’t mean there’s no local culture on the island; there is some, and you’ll find plenty of local cuisine. But overall, the island feels more like one big tourist haven for tourists to enjoy.

Okay Nightlife

Yes, Isla Mujeres does have nightlife, but it’s nothing compared to other nearby destinations, such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum.

The nightlife in Isla Mujeres primarily consists of bars, a few beach clubs open late, and fireshows at some hotels/restaurants.

If you’re visiting with friends and looking to have a crazy night out with various activities, you may want to reconsider your time in Isla Mujeres or visit for a quick day trip.

a vibrant sky with a bright full moon over the shorelines of Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Isla Mujeres isn’t Cheap

Overall, Isla Mujeres isn’t cheap to visit, even more so if you decide to stay on the island. Compared to other popular destinations in this region, such as Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, it’s slightly more costlier to visit.

Isla Mujeres is an island, after all, space at hotels is limited, and there are fewer hotels compared to other destinations. So it makes sense that costs are slightly higher.

However, you should think of it this way: no matter where you stay in Isla Mujeres, you’re close to a beach, and if you were to book a hotel in other destinations in Mexico, if you’re close to the beach, the hotel is costlier.

Some of these costs, especially when considering food, are justified because you’re on an island after all, everything must get here by boat.

The average daily cost to visit Isla Mujeres is $160 US per day, including accommodation, food, and transportation.

While this is the average accounting for those staying in budget-friendly hostels, a more accurate daily cost for hotels is around $181 – $240 US per day.

a few customers sitting at a beach bar under palm trees in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Where to Stay in Isla Mujeres

Cheap Hotels in Isla Mujeres

Nomad Hostels & Beach Club: Located in the island’s Southern area, Nomad is the most popular hostel in town and the best place to meet new people. The hostel has its own beach area and hosts beach parties!

Selina Isla Mujeres: Selina is located in the Centro area, which is very convenient with its location.

Mid-Range Hotels in Isla Mujeres

Hotel Isla Caraco: Well-priced mid-range hotel located a short walk away from Playa Centro Beach, near plenty shops and restaurants.

Nautibeach Condos: This is a great condo rental by night, conveniently located in the Centro area with beautiful beach views of Playa Norte (the main beach in Isla Mujeres).

Luxury Hotels in Isla Mujeres

Impressions by Secrets: A Luxurious Oasis, this top-ranked hotel is famous for its unique location on the island, excellent amenities, and romantic touch.

Zoetry Villa Isla Mujeres: Located in the middle of the island along Joyxee Island with a private beach and excellent spa, among many amenities.

Privilege AluxesAdults Only: In the Centro area, steps away from both main beaches on the island

aerial view of privilege aluxes resorts
Credit: Privilege Aluxes

Best Restaurants in Isla Mujeres

Are you wondering where you should eat in Isla Mujeres? Here’s a list of some of my favorite restaurants in Isla Mujeres to check out during your visit!

La Lomita – Authentic Mexican restaurant known for its mole and ceviche, located in the southern part of the island.

Lola Valentina – Mexican/American restaurant serving a wide variety of foods.

Los Tacos de Humo – Known as the best taco spot in Isla Mujeres, Los Tacos serves excellent steak tacos and huge fish tacos.

Picus – Top ranked seafood restaurant on the island, Picus offers many Mexican ceviche styles, whole fried fish, fish tacos, popcorn shrimp, and much more.

Muelle 7 – Seafood restaurant serving various seafood dishes, cocktails, and more. It is located right along the beach.

Ruben’s – Classic affordable Mexican restaurant known for its chimichangas, enchiladas, and burritos.

Oscars Grill – American style restaurant, known for its steaks, burgers, garlic bread and more!

Mango Cafe – Delicious breakfast restaurant offering various options with exceptional seaviews.

Casa Rolandi – Fine dining Italian restaurant known for its many pasta options and wine list, located inside the Zoetry Hotel.

several tacos along with freshly squeezed melon juice being served in Isla Mujeres

How to Get to Isla Mujeres

To get to Isla Mujeres, you must go to one of the main ferry ports in Cancun that operates daily ferries to the island.

There are four ferry departure locations from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.

Three ferries go back and forth from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM throughout the day, departing roughly every hour.

Except for Puerto Juarez, this ferry has rides going back and forth from 5:30 AM to 12:00 AM every hour.

  • Puerto Juarez
  • Playa Tortugas
  • Playa Caracol 
  • El Embarcadeo

Book Ferry Tickets Here

Departing from Puerto Juarez tends to be the cheapest way because of the frequent trips back and forth to Isla Mujeres from Cancun.

Is Isla Mujeres Worth Visiting — Final Thoughts

So, is Isla Mujeres worth visiting? Whether you visit Isla Mujeres for a day trip or plan to stay there a few nights, Isla Mujeres is very much worth visiting!

The island is absolutely beautiful, there’s plenty to do in Isla Mujeres, and being so conveniently close to Cancun means you have no reason not to visit.

Each destination has its cons, no matter where you visit, but Isla Mujeres’s cons aren’t points that should persuade you not to visit. But I will say this: if you’re looking for a more local, laidback island in Mexico to visit, you may want to consider Holbox or Cozumel instead.

If you are visiting Cancun and can’t decide whether to go on a day trip or spend the night in Isla Mujeres, if you have time, I highly recommend you spend at least a night in Isla Mujeres.

That way, you won’t have to rush your visit. You’ll experience more of the island during your stay!

deserted quiet white sandy beach area with palm trees and a long deck featuring a palapa in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Is Isla Mujeres better than Cancun?

Each destination has its advantages. Isla Mujeres offers a unique beach gateway due to its location, but Cancun offers a more comfortable stay due to its many conveniences.

What is special about Isla Mujeres?

Picture-perfect crystal clear waters surround the island, Isla Mujeres is nature-rich, there are plenty of things to do on the island, and it’s conveniently only a short 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun!

Is Isla Mujeres too touristy?

Isla Mujeres is touristy and even more touristy during the daytime when an influx of tourists visit the island for a day trip from Cancun.

How long should I spend in Isla Mujeres?

Spending at least two to three days on the island would be best. With that time, you can experience most of the island and get a natural feel for the island.

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