On a Friday afternoon…
Him: Wanna go to Cancun?
Me: Sure! When?
Him: Flight leaves in 3 hours.
Later that night — Hola Mexico! I was really excited to go to Cancun because I’ve never been, (only to the airport on my way to TULUM), and secondly, it was such a spontaneous decision that I didn’t have time to research or plan anything! A highly recommended place to visit was Isla Mujeres, an island just a quick ferry ride away in the Caribbean Sea. We decided to do a day-trip, which was the perfect amount of time to explore the island!
How to get there
There are two ways by ferry:
FROM PLAYA TORTUGAS (What we did)
This departing location is only if you’re staying in the “Hotel Zone.” It’s basically the coastline of Cancun where most of the hotels are. You can always check with your hotel if you’re unsure.
Upon arriving to the dock, look for the Ultramar booth, covered by a yellow tent — It’s right in front, you can’t miss it. We arrived around noon and purchased our tickets there. To avoid long lines, especially during the peak months of January to April, you can buy tickets online HERE. It cost us $19 USD/person for a roundtrip ticket.
The double-decker ferry departs every hour and the ride was about 20 minutes.
FROM PUERTO JUAREZ
Visit their website HERE for prices and departure times as it slightly differs from Playa Tortuga.
Other things to note:
- If you’re staying at a hotel on the island, there are luggage restrictions, so pack light.
- Bring bottled water, sunscreen, towel and a change of clothes if you plan on going to a beach.
- Be mindful of departure times and plan accordingly.
- Bring Pesos.
After we purchased our tickets, we made our way all the way down the dock where we ended up at a bar where we got some drinks and a little snack to eat before boarding the ferry. We wanted to have lunch on the island so we just ordered some chips, salsa and guacamole — The pico de gallo and guac was made to order! DELICIOUS.
The beach where the dock is was super crowded with locals, even more than usual because it was a Mexican holiday. The beach is lined with restaurants and a bungee jump tower on the pier. No thanks!
Rent a Golf Cart or Scooter
The first thing we did when arriving to Isla Mujeres was rent a golf cart. Once you get to the main street, which is directly across the dock, there are several places to rent from, all generally in the same price range. To be honest, I can’t recall which companies we rented from or the prices, but it was really affordable and the process was straight-forward — You basically just show your driver’s license and fork up the cash.
If available, rent one for the whole day so you have more than enough time to stop at places. We even saw several groups that had a cooler full of ice cold beers on the back of their golf carts! Yes, you can drink in public as long as it’s not in glass. Just don’t drink and drive 🙂
Also, you can’t rent a car. There are lots of taxis readily available but if you plan to make a lot of stops throughout the day, it’s much more cost effective and convenient to just rent a golf cart. It’s simply THE BEST way to explore the island!
I’m so glad we didn’t have a set itinerary because the best part about having our own golf cart was to freely explore the island. There’s actually a lot to do! Zip-lining above the ocean, visit an underwater museum, swim with whale sharks, enjoy a cocktail in the “coolest place in Mexico,” the ICEBAR, just to name a few.
One of my favorite spots we discovered was this charming Bed & Breakfast, VILLA LA BELLA. Their bright orange exterior and ocean view visible through their front arched doorway made us immediately make a u-turn to check it out. The bar has swings as seats with a private beach, enough said.
There’s also a turtle sanctuary, Tortugranja, which saves turtle eggs from being hunted, carefully cared for until they hatch, then released back into the ocean. Random, I know. In all honestly, I was a little confused as to where we were; we just saw tanks and shallow pools with turtles of different sizes, and an ocean barrier adjacent to the pier, it was obvious this was all for a purpose. But now after a little research, it’s to save the endangered sea turtles! We didn’t spend more than 15 minutes here, but it was kinda cool! Great for kids, too!
We didn’t Yelp any restaurants before committing (for once), which led us to this Jamaican themed bar & grill appropriately called, The Joint. The food was great, the frozen margaritas even better.
I hope you enjoyed my recap on our recent visit to Isla Mujeres! Next time you’re in Cancun, make it point to visit, It’s definitely a MUST! And bring Pesos.