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Isla Mujeres Travel Guide

  • Photo: holbox / Shutterstock

Plan Your Isla Mujeres Vacation

Once a small fishing village, colorful Isla Mujeres has become a favorite for travelers seeking natural beauty, island serenity, and a slower pace of life—all without compromising its cultural traditions. Winter months offer excellent sportfishing, and the calm surrounding waters are great for snorkeling and swimming year-round.

During high season, boatloads of visitors pop over from

Cancún for a taste of the island life. The midday rush is a boon for vendors and hagglers offering every kind of service from braided hair to beach massages. By late afternoon, though, the masses disappear and return to their big-city nightlife and the comforts of the mainland. Those who stay behind discover that on Isla Mujeres, worldly concerns fade with the setting sun.

Isla’s permanent residents include nearly 100 Canadian and American expats (most operating hotels and restaurants) and 15,000 Maya, many of whom earn a living selling fish at the docks or plates of food outside their homes. There are plenty of opportunities to practice your Spanish, and you’ll find that most locals beam when you try. Taxi drivers are genuinely interested in sharing details of the island’s history and telling you about their families who were born and raised here.

The minute you step off the boat, you’ll get a sense of how small Isla is. The sights and properties are strung along the coasts, and there’s not much to the interior except for two saltwater marshes where the Maya harvested salt centuries ago.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Getting away from the crowd Although Isla Mujeres is just across the bay from Cancún, the peace and quiet make it seem like another universe.
  2. Exploring the southeastern coast Bump along in a golf cart where craggy cliffs meet the blue Caribbean.
  3. Eating freshly grilled seafood For some reason it always tastes best under a beachfront palapa (thatch roof) at lovely Playa Norte.
  4. Diving with "sleeping sharks" They dwell in the underwater caverns off Isla.
  5. Taking a boat trip to Isla Contoy On this even smaller island, more than 70 species of birds make their home.

When To Go

When to Go

High season in Isla Mujeres begins the week before Christmas and continues until the day after Easter. Rates are highest during July and August...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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