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Staying in Cancun, should I take a tour or go on my own to Isla Mujeres?

Staying in Cancun, should I take a tour or go on my own to Isla Mujeres?

Apr 12th, 2010, 01:02 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Staying in Cancun, should I take a tour or go on my own to Isla Mujeres?

Hello, I'm so confused. I see a tour for 35 bucks a person which includes breakfast, open bar on ferry and buffet lunch on beach, or should I just go on my own? Staying hotel zone. Two adults and one child. I can take bus or cab to ferry which I feel will be cheaper than tour. Then I can go to any restaurant that I want. What would you do or what have you done? Any suggestions on what I should do once I get to Isla Mujeres? eat, see, etc....Thanks : ) People suggest renting a golf cart. That sounds good but where do I go from there? lol
eninajsti is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 11:02 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Hi!
Just came back from Cancun. The quick and easy answer to your question is it depends! My main objective was to see Isla and do some snorkeling at Garrafon park near the southern portion of the island. I wasn't really interested in the eats or an open bar. Here was my itinerary:

I did the Isla Mujeres island thing on my own with my wife and my dad. We left from the Playa Tortugas port in the Zona at 11 am. Bus quite easy to take to the ferry at playa tortugas. 7.60 pesos and just get on the bus, ask playa tortugas and usually they'll acknowledge and stop at the destination. If cab is cheaper/same, then equally as effective. For ferries, we took Ultramar which was recommended by our hotel. It set us back 15 bucks USD per person for a round trip. Their website has times for departure. (http://www.granpuerto.com.mx/EN/index.html) The trip to the island was half an hour as listed in the fodor's guidebook. Our hotel also recommended that you could go to Puerto Juarez and leave from there for cheaper but it was not as convenient.

The ferry is quick and clean. Crew was friendly, and they sold packages on your way to Isla as well for golf carts and snorkeling. We opted not to take any and were hoping to find the golf cart rental place listed in Fodors once we got to el pueblo, the center part of town.

On Isla Mujeres specifically, after hitting the main drag and getting blitzed by vendors we rented a golf cart with four forward facing seats and a flat bed for $42 for the whole day (prices negotiable of course). We spent about 5 mins walking around before being hounded into the golf cart rental without finding the specific place we were looking for. FYI the hourly rate was $15/hour.

It does not take long to cruise the island. We drove in the golf cart from the center of town down to Punta Sur in prob less than 20 mins. Nice drive if you take away the fumes from the mopeds. Didn't fear for my life which was nice.

Got to Garrafon Park and looked for the beach club. It had been raining for the past week and the actual park and activities were closed! Probably because the snorkeling conditions were horrid?? Instead we went to the small ruin for Ixmel, forewent the 3 dollars per person to see the ruin up close and drove around the island a bit, went up the free lighthouse to take some pictures. Ate lunch at Playa Lancheros for the grilled fish which was ok. My dad's ceviche was missing the fish and octopus (only conch and shrimp). My wife's fish tacos were decent. Cerveza was decently priced 20-30 pesos if I recall correctly. Next door was another restaurant with an all you can eat buffet which was catering to catamarans coming in. The catamarans provided entertainment as you could hear the booming music and partying prior to each boat docking and then people would eat and then file back on for more partying. Sounded like fun but again depends on your objective. There was a small pen with a nurse shark that you could take pictures/swim with for $2 USD. After debating whether to do so, thought it better not to encourage the poor conditions of the animal and didn't do it...possibly regretting that moral choice

After lunch, dipped into the ocean at Playa Lancheros (soft white sand, lots of seaweed, not too deep, warm, hardly any waves, but not really a snorkeling area) and then hopped back into the golf cart. Drove around the eastern end of the island and by then the clouds turned ominous and it started to sprinkle so we opted to skip playa norte (which looked like a fun beach, packed with people) and caught the 3:30 ferry back. So whole island done in about 4 hours but didn't get to snorkel due to water conditions and didn't sunbathe the later half of the day due to inclement incoming weather.

Hope that helps a little!
-ct
ctenggar is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 05:06 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I wouldn't take the tour. Like the previous poster stated, loud music, mediocre buffet food.

We took the bus from the hotel zone downtown, then caught a cab to Puerto Juarez. I know nothing about the ferries from the hotel zone, I think they're more expensive and run less frequently than those from Puerto Juarez.

We didn't rent a golf cart when we did a day trip to Isla. That said, I would recommend renting one. It's fun, and you can see the island at your own pace. We did go to Garrafon park, it was much cheaper 10 years ago. Since then, we stay on Isla and go the Hotel Garrafon, pay just a few dollars and snorkel in the same waters as the expensive park next door.

Playa Lancheros (I think the name has changed) is famous for its grilled fish, Tix n' Chic, or something similar. Pretty much everyone but me seems to love it. Be advised that the portions are huge, several people can eat off a single serving.

There's also a dolphin encouter. I've never been.

Playa Norte is an awesome beach. Lots of beach bars and restaurants. The sand is white, soft and the water is shallow a really long way out.

Although the food in the restaurants on the beach are good, I think the ones alongg the street where the ferry docks are better. There are several, menus are similar. You can get really good fresh fish for really low prices.

Enjoy your day on Isla. On our one and only trip to Cancun, we ended spending every free day we had on Isla. Now, we just stay on Isla......
JeanH is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 07:36 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,817
Do it on your own. Very easy, you can pick and choose what you want to see and for how long and you will avoid the herd mentality.
We did rent a cart for the day which I'd recommend. Lots of good suggestions above, I think you'll be much happier on your own.
jette is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 02:01 PM
  #5  
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Thank you so much everyone. I'm going on my own! I'm thinking about staying the night on the island as well. Do you know, if I pay round trip with the ferry do I have to come back on that day?
eninajsti is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 08:16 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Also don't miss the turtle hatchery on Isla Mujeres. Those baby turtles are just so cute! You can take your golf cart there.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Jul 25th, 2010, 12:13 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
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eninajsti, your round-trip ticket does not have to be used the same day. I suggest you buy the Isla Mujeres map sold at www.cancunmap.com to help you find your way around the island. The island is small, but it will help you choose what you want to see -- and make sure that you don't miss it as you circle the island in your golf cart.
nancypat is offline  

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