Isla Mujeres day trip?

Old Feb 25th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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Isla Mujeres day trip?

Hello all,

We are going to Cancun on Saturday for a few days with our 3 yr old. We're staying at the Marriott Casa Magna and were thinking the beach may be too small / waves too choppy for a lot of playtime with our son. We will do the beach and pool thing for a couple of days, and we are thinking about going to Isla Mujeres for a day for the nice, wide beaches, the calm waters and just a change of scenery.

Can anyone provide info on this? Is this a good / bad idea? Also logistically - found that we should taxi to Port Juarez and then ferry over, and how long would all of that take? Rough idea of transport $$ and time? Is there another cheapier or easier way to get there?

And once we're there... I read that we walk west / north to the north beach. Is this all as simple as it sounds? I don't want to overcomplicate things but don't want to find that I should have done more research!

We have been to Tulum before and loved those beaches. Is that an easier / better choice? I recall the water being choppy there too though.

You have all been so helpful in the past. Thanks in advance for your help on this one !
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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Hello?
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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 04:28 AM
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It's been quite a few years since we did a day trip to Isla, now we just stay on Isla. We used to take the bus from the hotel zone downtown, cost then was about 50 cents. Then a cab for a few dollars to Puerto Juarez. The ferry itself is US$3.50, takes about 20 minutes. I'm guessing the entire process will take an hour or so.

It really is simple to get to Playa Norte from the ferry dock on Isla. It isn't far at all, espcially since the beach has shifted towards the west side of the island. You won't have to walk far to get to a nice beach.

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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 07:43 AM
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Thanks Jean... would you agree that the beach and waters at Isla (at least the north / west side) are swimmable for small kids?
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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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It's a very good idea BUT -

If all you are interested in is a calm beach, any of the beaches on the North side of the Cancun/Hotel zone (facing Bajia Mujeres / along the top part of the "7" shape of the strip) are calm and shallow.

The beaches along the Caribbean side (i.e. Marriott) are steeper and rougher - but often you can find a spot where the sand is piled up and the water shallow enough for little kids.

Costs for round trip tickets are about $7 from Puerto Juarez and twice that from the Hotel Zone. Your concierge can check out the actual "horaria" return/depart for various boats. Taxi fares - I remember paying about $20 to get from the HZ to Puerto Juarez docks.

It would probably take about 45-90 minutes to cab to Puerto Juarez, then catch a ferry - plus/minus the 20 minute ride. To me that has always been a lot of taxi and wait time during a short stay.

You'd be better off in terms of time and convenience taking the ferry from the Fat Tuesday dock (I think it's actually Playa Tortugas? - also the Embarcadero dock and I think Playa Caracol)in the Hotel Zone - they run a bit less often and the last ferry back is earlier than the Juarez ferries (I think 6:30 might be the last one, but you can always get one-way tickets for a couple $$ more and then take the Juarez ferry "home" to Cancun if you want to stay on Isla for dinner or whatever.

We usually have breakfast near the ferry dock, and if we time it right get a snack and drinks at the ferry dock on Isla before taking the boat home.

It really IS easy to get around Isla - just turn left at the Ferry docks and walk right into Playa Norte about six blocks ahead. Most of the bars and beach clubs are around on the north/east portion of the wide beach. Downtown shops and eateries are straight ahead from the dock a few blocks and run north toward the North beach.

Even more fun - get a golf cart or take a cab to Playa Lancheros - pretty beach, cold beer, and the best grilled fish you'll ever eat!

Our 3-7 year olds love the beach there, and somebody with a snorkel will probably even pull out a conch shell for themto take home!

Here's one of a dozen or more websites with a good set of maps:

http://www.isla-mujeres.net/maproom.htm

Bottom line is you'll spend three or so hours in cabs and on ferries getting there and back from Puerto Juarez - less than half that from the Hotel Zone, but if you're on Mexican time, who cares?
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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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jw2, thanks! What great information. I hadn't read anywhere else that I could leave from another ferry besides Port Juarez. Ugh, just the idea of spending 45 minutes in a cab when we only haev a few days on the beach... yuck! If we could get there faster from the other docks, that is wonderful! I will definitely review your materials.

Where do you rent a golf cart? This is too much fun, I can't wait!
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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 09:06 AM
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It has also been a few years for me as well, but they used to have a turtle farm on Isla and your 3yr old, and you as well, may enjoy that. We did. We also waited for the group to leave and had lunch next door under a huge palapa roof restaurant. Garlic shrimp with a freshly cut coconut filled with a little rum. We had the best time. I do recommend the golf cart also. Go south to get to the turtle farm.
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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Thanks, ewe... I was thinking about the turtle farm too. It is nice to get off the beach for a few minutes - well, I don't like to, but it's nice for the little guy to take a break and he would enjoy that.

How do we go about getting a golf cart? Are they just there to rent when we arrive at the dock?
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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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There are rental places all over for the carts - do not worry the people that want to rent to you will be there waiting for you to step off the ferry. Therefore, you can haggle for the best rate.
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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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The golf cart rates are pretty standard, all the owners got together a few years back and agreed to fix the price. I do not know how much it costs to rent by the hour, but for a 9-5 rental, it has cost us US$45 from Ciro's over on Guerrero. Visit the turtle farm, Playa Lancheros, Punta Sur lighthouse, maybe one of the private beach clubs (Zamas is undergoing remodeling but might be open when you get there) then turn in the cart, and have drinks at Sergios, then dinner someplace on the island.

The problem with taking a ferry from the Hotel Zone is their schedules are much more limited. The Ultramar ferries run every 30 minutes until 8:30 or 9pm when they shift to hourly. Of course if you are not planning to stay for dinner, then it is not a problem. I also find it hard to believe a cab would take 45 minutes. We always stay the last 4-5 nights of our stay on Isla and after we turn in the rental car at Easyway near the airport, it takes about 20 minutes to get to the ferry dock from there. However I am not familiar with Cancun hotel zone and perhaps Marriott is farther away.
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 07:16 AM
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Thanks all. I am really looking forward to this day trip, it sounds like it has everything we are looking for. I like the recommendation of taking the Hotel Zone shuttle to Isla Mujeres, renting a golf cart and spending the day there, and if we end up wanting to eat dinner or stay later, we can take the ferry to Port Juarez home.

What are the beach clubs? I imagine just going and parking it on the beach? Is it necessary / advisable to go to a beach club for beach access?

Finally, if anyone has other advice for things to do in Cancun with small kids, I'd love to hear them!
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 09:11 AM
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You don't need to go to a beach club, people like(d) Zamas because there was a lovely pool in addition to the beach. No charge for use as long as you were eating and/or drinking. I had a good time there in January 2007, but don't feel badly that it's closed for renovation, it didn't seem kid friendly. Too many pool levels and slippery tile for a three year old.

Just head to Playa Norte and you'll find lots of great beach. Some of the places along there will let you use chairs and umbrellas if you're eating/drinking. Others have a charge for the chairs. You can put your towels down anywhere, as far as I know.

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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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Thanks all! We are looking forward to it and will definitely plan on spending a day on Isla Mujeres. I think my 3 yr old will be over the moon about riding around the island on a golf cart... which I can't wait to see. I have travelled a lot but nothing compares to the excitement on a child's face and I hope DH and I pass on our love of adventure to this little guy.

I will post when we return. Thanks again!
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