Last Updated on August 9, 2019 by Bryony Clapperton
On my second visit to Cancun it felt only right that I took the highly recommended Isla Mujeres day trip from Cancun.
With only two days in Cancun and a lot to pack in, we booked our Isla Mujeres excursion for our second full day Cancun, Mexico.
I was obsessed with the idea of crystal blue waters and the small island vibe I’d been told to expect.
Being the island gal I am, I was hooked on the thought of beaches with no seagrassum and drinking endless coco locos on the shoreline.
So, with that in mind, we booked an organised excursion with Cancun Sailing leaving at 8:30am the following day.
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
What is Isla Mujeres?
Isla Mujeres meaning Island of Woman in Spanish is a small Caribbean island off the coast of Cancun.
With a rich Pre-Columbian history, the island is widely associated with the Mayan history of the Yucatan.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the island was a symbol of the Mayan Goddess of childbirth.
And then during the Spanish conquests it became known throughout this period as Isla Mujeres, because of all of the symbolic goddess like imagery found on the island.
Isla Mujeres is surprisingly tiny, it’s only around 7 or 8 kilometers long so getting around the island isn’t an issue and most people do this with a golf buggy.
The island is only home to a small population of locals, but tourists flood the Caribbean shores of the island daily.
One of the top rated things to do for holidaymakers is take an Isla Mujeres day trip from Cancun.
Where is Isla Mujeres?
The small island is located off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the Quintana Roo state. It’s approximately 13 kilometers from Cancun’s Zona Hotelera hence why so there are so many excursions here.
Isla Mujeres is very easy to reach from Cancun as a quick boat ride can take around 20-30 minutes to reach the clean shores.
Like the other islands of Cozumel and Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres is the most popular among tourists and possibly the most frequented island due to how simple it is to get to!
A wide range of tour companies operate out of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The majority of these will offer Cancun to Isla Mujeres day trips.
Cancun to Isla Mujeres day trip
When staying in the Zona Hotelera or even Downtown Cancun it’s unlikely you’ll go a single day without being offered an Isla Mujeres excursion.
There are a wide range to choose from with almost every tour company in the Yucatan sending boats to the Isla Mujeres on a daily or weekly basis.
If you do plan on taking a Cancun to Isla Mujeres day trip you can easily shop around to find the best package for you. There are plenty on offer.
If you are staying in the Zona Hotelera, your hotel will be able to help you organise your Isla Mujeres excursion.
If you decide you want to do it yourself to get a better deal, there are plenty of street vendors near Coco Bongo and the main nightlife area offering Cancun to Isla Mujeres day trips.
Prices vary so depending on your budget you’ll know what you want to do.
We chose to book a larger boat (as it’s usually cheaper) with around 60 passengers.
Private and more intimate tours can be booked from most of the operators offering regular Isla Mujeres packages.
If you don’t fancy booking something organised, don’t worry. Regular standard ferrys also go to the island to.
Note that if you are backpacking or travelling on a budget the ferry is the most budget friendly way to get to Isla Mujeres.
However, some of the excursions can be priced well so if you have a mid-range budget then definitely shop around for the best Isla Mujeres excursion price.
Remember travelling in the low season between March and September is cheaper and you can receive discounts. You can also take the Isla Mujeres day trip from Cancun all year round, but double check during the holidays.
Ferry to Isla Mujeres
If you are not interested in an Isla Mujeres excursion or are hoping to explore on a budget then you can simply take one of the regular ferry services. These leave from Puerto Juarez near Downtown Cancun.
Take the Ultramar Ferry from the Gran Puerto Cancun, the ferry to Isla Mujeres leaves every 30 minutes with the first leaving at 5:30am and the last one at 11:30pm.
They head beack from Isla Mujeres at 6:00am with the last one leaving at 12:00am. The Ultramar Ferry will cost 300 Pesos for a round trip which is around $16 US.
The ferry stops close to Playa Norte, a popular beach on Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres excursion price
If you do want to take one of the organised boat trips or Isla Mujeres excursions you also have lots of options.
As mentioned you can book a trip with around 60 people for a more sociable and fun experience.
These large sailing catamarans usually have places for tourists to lay out in the sun, offerunlimited soft and alcoholic drinks and often come with lunch and other things included.
Our Cancun to Isla Mujeres day trip was booked with Cancun Sailing. They offer regular or premium tours depending on your preference.
For the regular tour we paid around $60 this included a snorkel trip and equipment, unlimited booze and a free lunch. This worked out at around 1100 pesos per person for two of us.
We figured out very quickly that our boat was the ‘fun boat’ when we saw the premium tour leaving first. After our snorkel experience and lunch, the booze, cocktails and tequila started following and this didn’t really stop.
The snorkeling lasted around 50 minutes, Cancun Sailing supplied all the equipment we needed. By law (apparently) you must wear a life jacket and follow a guide at all times.
The water is so warm and clear you don’t need a wet suit. You can expect to see lots of tropical fish before the guide takes you on to the ‘underwater museum’.
The area is protected so you are asked not to wear sun cream before getting in the water as it can damage the reef. There’s a 500% chance you’ll burn your back and scalp like I did.
The only downside to the snorkeling section of our trip was the number of other groups and boats in the water with us. I guess all the Cancun Sailing trips visit the same section of reef and museum.
The lunch included was served from a buffet style restaurant on the beach. There were plenty of veggie and vegan options with loads of traditional and non-traditional options.
Drinks are also included at the restaurant and you are given around 1.5 hours here to eat and relax.
Isla Mujeres beaches
After lunch we took the boat to the more popular beaches on Isla Mujeres near Playa Norte.
When we arrived we had a couple of hours of free time to swim in the sea, souvenir shop and explore.
As a beach lover we just spent all of our time on the sand and in the water. What else would you want to do on a tropical island paradise?
I had hoped to visit the Turtle Farm as I’d been reading about it, but being on an organised Isla Mujeres excursion restricted our time. I think on a second visit I would definitely do this.
You can book golf buggy tours of Isla Mujeres that will take you to Playa Norte and the turtle farm. You should do this if you have more time on your hands. Alternatively you can rent a gold buggy for the day.
If you are hoping to spend more than a few hours or even spend one night on the island you should take the ferry option.
What to expect on your Isla Mujeres day trip from Cancun
Overall the trip for me was amazing. As someone who often avoids these kind of tours and opts for the DIY method, I’m glad I didn’t.
I’m also massively impressed with Cancun Sailing and would recommend.
The staff on the boat were such good fun. You can really tell that they all absolutely love what they do. From the moment we arrived at the boats we were looked after and the atmosphere was just so friendly.
Naturally, the booze helped us make friends with others on the boats and the fun party atmosphere had everyone relaxed.
If you are going to be spending some time in the area I would highly recommend an Isla Mujeres day trip from Cancun.
Whether you decide to take an organised trip from Cancun to Isla Mujeres or take the ferry it is not one to be missed.