My partner and I recently had the chance to spend 5 relaxing and fun-filled days in Isla Mujeres, a Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea. The easiest way to get to the island is a 20 minute ferry via Cancun. Although it is a popular day trip, the island makes for a relaxing place to stay, with many foreigners owning vacation homes. It has grown in popularity over the years and it’s easy to see why. In this blog post I’m going to share with you seven fun things to do in Isla Mujeres.
In no particular order…
1. Take a walk along the Cliff of the Dawn
While the ferry will drop you in the north end of the island, where most hotels, restaurants, and shopping can be found, be sure to venture off and explore the south end of the island. At the southernmost tip, you will find “Cliff of the Dawn”, an area with Maya ruins, winding paths along the cliffs, and breathtaking views. This place is also the first place in Mexico to be touched by the rays of sun each morning.
2. Grab a famous mojito at The Joint
The Joint is a lively Reggae bar located in the south end of the island. Serving both Mexican and Caribbean food, you can’t really go wrong. However, the claim to fame here is their ‘famous’ mojito. Fresh, delicious, and served in a big fish bowl glass, I completely recommend! With live music every day of the week, it also makes for a fun time. Check out the schedule in advance of your visit here.
3. Soak up some sun rays at Playa Norte
A stunning white sand beach with turquoise waters, this place is a hot commodity for good reason. With plenty of bars, restaurants, and beach chairs (to rent for $), it’s easy to spend an entire day here alone. Yachts and boats even dock here to join the party. With all this, it’s important to note that the beach will fill up quickly, so you may want to arrive early to snag your spot.
Tip: If Playa Norte is too crowded, follow the beach west to find Playa Centro, which is also very beautiful but with far fewer crowds!
4. Rent a golf cart
A mistake we made in Isla Mujeres was renting bicycles instead of getting a golf cart. While riding bicycles still allowed us to see more of the island in less time, we had a lot of trouble with them. Specifically, the chains kept falling off, which was more annoying than I can say, due to the structure of the bikes and the guard that covered the chain. We spoke to people who made the leap to rent golf carts and they all seemed to have a positive experience. The downside of renting a golf cart is that it’s more pricey, at approximately $700 pesos a day. However, at a size of 4.22 km², golf carts give you the flexibility to go to and from different areas of the island throughout the day, saving plenty of time. Plus, they’re super fun. If you’re a group of four, there is no debate, but as a couple, it’s probably worth it too. With the island being very golf cart-friendly, you’ll encounter tons of people doing the same thing.
5. Scuba dive at the MUSA Underwater Museum
The MUSA Underwater Museum was one of the coolest things we did during our time in Isla. The museum is an innovative project that was designed to counteract the effects of climate change on our oceans and reef systems. The 12 galleries of MUSA aim to provide an alternative destination for divers, reducing the impact on the National Marine Park, while also increasing the biomass of the reef system and habitat areas around it for marine life to colonize and thrive. Unfortunately, as the statues haven’t been there that long (constructed in 2009), not much coral has had time to develop. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of coral and marine life as we really did not see much, however, the concept of an underwater museum is so unique, I still think it was worth it.
You have the option of either scuba diving or snorkelling at the Museum. We went with Mexico Divers and really enjoyed our instructor.
6. Visit the Ice Bar
Ok, I’ll just start by saying this place was cheesy AF, but it was also such a laugh. With signs all over the island advertising it, Jordan and I just felt we had to see it for ourselves. The $200 pesos entry will get you 2 drinks and a shot in the giant freezer. The 150 tonnes of ice inside of it is sculpted into everything from chairs to tables, beds, figures, and more. While it was a pricier venture, we had a laugh playing around and taking photos in giant furry ponchos they provided for warmth. It’s unique, I’ll give it that!
7. Party at NOMADS
NOMADS is actually where we stayed during our time in Isla Mujeres. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in a private room that had a balcony with a hammock overlooking the sea. Being a hotel/hostel, we also enjoyed the benefits of accessible activities and organized social events. This being said, if you aren’t actually a guest of NOMADS, you can still party here! NOMADS is famous, both in the Cancun area and on the island, for its crazy nightlife and DJ events. We spent New Years Eve here and it did not disappoint. The party actually ran until 10AM New Years Day. For upcoming events, be sure to check the website in advance here. If you are a guest of NOMADS in Cancun, the staff will often organize transportation for groups to and from the island on party nights. So, skip the dancing shoes and break it down barefoot, grab a cold beer, and enjoy the music and the laid back island vibes!
As you can see, Isla Mujeres is a great day trip, but it’s also a great place to chill out and relax for a few days! With plenty to see and do, it’s more than possible to split up your days with lounging on the beach and going on an adventure, while finishing your night with a bang!
Have you been to the island? What was your favourite part?
Till next time, keep calm and travel on.