With its beautiful mix of turquoise waters, rugged coastline, Mayan ruins, and laid-back island vibes, Isla Mujeres is one of the most popular day trips from Cancun. Located just 8 miles off the Yucatan coast, Isla Mujeres is easy to reach: it takes just a 15-minute ferry ride to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun. For those of you planning your own island retreat, read on for our guide on how to get to Isla Mujeres.
How to get to Isla Mujeres
There are two options for getting to Isla Mujeres – you can either take the regular ferry from Cancun or join a catamaran sailing from Cancun.
Option 1: Ferry to Isla Mujeres
Many visitors travel to Isla Mujeres independently and catch the ferry from Puerto Juarez or the Hotel Zone.
Should I get the ferry from Puerto Juarez or the Hotel Zone?
The answer depends on where you are staying/arriving from, your transport, and what time you want to sail to Isla Mujeres.
- Puerto Juárez offers more frequent ferries, earlier and later crossings and the fares are cheaper. However, you will need to get to the ferry dock from wherever you are based.
- Hotel Zone ferries have more limited crossings and charge higher fares but they are easily accessible by public bus for those staying in the Hotel Zone.
If you are arriving from Cancun Airport/downtown Cancun/have a rental car/want to travel earlier or later in the day then Puerto Juarez is the best option:
- Drive/taxi: We always have a rental so it’s an easy drive to Puerto Juarez – there is a large multistory parking lot at the dock. You can also get a taxi to the ferry dock from Cancun.
- From Cancun airport: the cheapest option is to take the ADO bus to downtown Cancun and grab a cab or a Colectivo from there. You can also take a shared or private transfer from the airport.
- From Tulum: again, the cheapest option is the ADO bus and then taking a cab or Colectivo from the station to Puerto Juarez. Check out our guide to getting from Cancun to Tulum for more options.
If you are staying in the Hotel Zone:
If you are staying in the Hotel Zone and don’t have a car then it’s worth considering the Hotel Zone ferries. Ferries departing from the Hotel Zone are more expensive and have a more limited schedule than Puerto Juarez. The docks are easily reached on the public bus. There is limited parking at each port.
Ferry Options to Isla Mujeres
Three operators run a passenger ferry to Isla Mujeres:
- Puerto Juárez: Puerto Juárez – Isla Mujeres (MXN $240 one way/ $450 round trip, approx USD $12 one way /$22 round trip) – check prices now!
- Hotel Zone: Playa Tortugas – Isla Mujeres (USD $18 one way/ $25 round trip)
- Hotel Zone: Playa Caracol – Isla Mujeres (USD $18 one way/ $25 round trip)
- Puerto Juárez: Puerto Juárez-Isla Mujeres (MXN $165 one way/ $320 round trip, approx USD $8 one way/ $16 round trip)
- Hotel Zone: El Embarcadero Isla Mujeres by Xcaret – Isla Mujures (MXN $360 one way/ $500 round trip or USD $18 one way/ $25 round trip) – check prices now!
Ultramar is the long-running operator on the route and they have daily ferry services from the Puerto Juarez district and the Cancun Hotel Zone. Ultramar offers modern ferries with open seating on the top deck and Passengers are allowed a 25kg luggage allowance.
How to get to Isla Mujeres tip: A word on warning on the top deck of the Ultramar ferry – if the sea is choppy then it’s best not to sit upstairs as you’re likely to get pretty wet! It was windy the day we visited Isla Mujeres and a lot of people on the top deck got wet from the splashing waves
Puerto Juarez: the main dock is at Puerto Juarez (Av. Jose Lopez Portillo) where ferries to and from Isla Mujeres operate every 30 to 60 minutes. Ferries depart Puerto Juarez between 5:30am and 11pm and return from 6am to midnight. Puerto Juarez is the cheapest of Ultramar’s arrival/departure ports for Isla Mujeres. There is a large multi-story parking lot at the terminal and parking costs around USD $6 for the day. We used the parking lot and had no issues – check prices now!
Playa Tortugas: ferries depart Blvd. Kukulcan (km 6.5) every 60 to 90minutes between 9am and 5:45pm and return between 9:30am and 7pm.
Playa Caracol: ferries depart Blvd. Kukulcan (km 9.5) from 10:30am to 5:30pm and return between 11:15am and 5pm.
Jetway began operating on the Cancun – Isla Mujeres route in July 2021 and is the cheapest ferry route between the two.
The ferry departs from the Api Maritime Terminal which is located a few minutes walk from the Ultramar ferry port in Puerto Juarez. The ferry departs from Puerto Juarez every 30 to 60 minutes between 6:30am and 9pm and returns from Isla Mujeres between 7am and 10pm.
There is no open-air seating on the Jetway ferries and passengers are allowed a 25kg luggage allowance.
Xcaret Xailing is the latest addition to the Cancun Hotel Zone – Isla Mujeres route. It began operating on the route in December 2021 and round trip tickets include free access to the Scenic Tower of Cancun, a rotating observation deck standing 80metres high.
There is parking available at the dock and passengers are allowed to carry luggage.
The ferry departs from El Embarcadero Isla Mujeres by Xcaret (Km 4.5) in the Cancun Hotel Zone. The ferry departs from the hotel zone hourly between 9am and 7pm and returns hourly between 10am and 8pm – check prices now!
Book your Xcaret Xailing tickets now
How long to spend in Isla Mujeres
Most visitors will spend just one day on Isla Mujeres as a day trip from Cancun. It is possible to see most of the island in one day and is one of the best things to do in Cancun.
An overnight stay is also a great option – island life is worlds apart from Cancun and the resort towns along the Riviera Maya! If you do choose to stay, we’d recommend spending at least 1-2 nights on Isla Mujeres. This will allow you to see all the sights, relax a little and enjoy the turquoise waters on the island’s north beach.
If you need some itinerary ideas, check out our Yucatan itinerary to follow our Yucatan road trip route.
Ferries to Isla Mujeres operate from Cancun. They run from both Puerto Juarez, 2 miles north of Cancun, and Cancun’s Hotel Zone.
Where to Stay in Isla Mujeres
From all-inclusive resorts to quiet retreats, Isla Mujeres has something for everyone. We’d recommend reserving accommodation close to Playa Norte as it’s our favorite spot on the island and the beach/food options are great.
- Izla Beach Front Hotel: located on the west coast of Isla Mujeres on a stretch of white sandy beach is the Izla Hotel. The location and service are fantastic and it’s a great option of your looking for a beach hotel experience – check prices now!
- Hotel Secreto: this is one of the most unique places to stay in Isla Mujeres and is perfect for couples. With it’s own private beach and stunning design this hotel is one of the best places to stay in Isla Mujeres. It’s also a short stroll to Playa Norte – check prices now!
Option 2: Catamaran Tour to Isla Mujeres
If you want to travel to Isla Mujeres in style then a catamaran tour is a popular option. Most tours include an opportunity to snorkel in the turquoise Caribbean waters, lunch, and an open bar – check tour prices here!
Taking a Car to Isla Mujeres
Ferries depart Punta Sam 4 times daily on weekdays and 3 times daily on weekends and return from Isla Mujeres with the same frequency. A family car including the driver costs MXN $400 or approximately USD $20.
Should I take a car to Isla Mujeres?
While it is possible to take a car to Isla Mujeres we don’t recommend it unless you are planning a longer stay and have parking at your accommodation. Parking is extremely limited on the island so getting around with a car would be difficult. Instead, we recommend taking the ferry on foot and then renting a golf cart or using the island buses once you get to Isla Mujeres.
How to get around on Isla Mujeres
Most visitors to Isla Mujeres get around the island in one of three ways:
- Golf cart
Getting around Isla Mujeres by Golf Cart
One of the best things to do on Isla Mujeres is to rent a golf cart and explore the island. It’s easy to hire a golf cart from one of the many rental companies located near the ferry terminal. On our most recent trip, we reserved our golf cart from the Ultramar staff at the ferry terminal in Puerto Juarez before catching the ferry so it was as simple as walking the short distance to the office and picking up our golf cart.
Prices of rentals vary but you should get a golf cart for a day rate of around Mxn $800-900. You can hire the carts by the hour or by the half-day but we recommend taking it for the full day. It’s not much extra and you won’t have to worry about having to return early.
How to get to Isla Mujeres tip: You need to have a valid drivers licence to take out a rental with any of the golf cart rental companies. You won’t be able to rent a golf cart without a drivers license. You’ll also have to leave this with the office as a deposit against the golf cart. We left our drivers licence with them and picked it up when we returned later that day.
Getting around Isla Mujeres by bus
There are two main bus routes in Isla Mujeres. Both buses operate from the bus terminal by Hotel Secreto (Adolfo Lopez Mateos and Carlos Lazo) and cover most of the main sights on the island. Fares are 20 pesos.
- Route 3 goes part of the way down the island, passing the popular Oscar’s Grill before turning onto the Sac Bajo Peninsula.
- Route 4 travels the length of the island as far as Punta Sur and returns to the bus terminal via the east of the island.