Isla Mujeres

To get your bearings, picture the island as a long fish: the head is the southeastern tip, the tail is the northwest prong. Eight kilometers (5 miles) long and 1 km (½ mile) wide, Isla Mujeres is easy to explore in a single day. If you take your time, however, you’ll discover that the island is not a destination to be rushed. Mopeds and golf carts are the most popular modes of transportation on Isla’s virtually car-free dirt roads. If you’re staying at one of the remote hotels on the southern tip, a taxi will take you from one end of the island to the other for MX$88 or roughly MX$210 per hour.

If you’re interested in taking a DIY driving tour of Isla Mujeres, start by looping the island’s perimeter, stopping midway at the southernmost tip. Here you can walk down to the rocky shores where waves crash at your feet. The views from Punta Sur are magnificent, and the temple of Goddess Ixchel is worth a visit. Head back north and explore colorful neighborhoods on the outskirts of town, with a stop at the excellent Mango Café for lunch. If you prefer the beach, relax at peaceful Playa Lancheros on the island’s west side and see the area’s dolphins, turtles, or nurse sharks before enjoying a traditional Mayan lunch at Playa Tiburón. Finish your tour with a sunset cocktail at Playa Norte before going downtown for dinner and live music.

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  • 1. Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    Combining art and nature, sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor ( www.underwatersculpture.com ) has created "underwater museums" off the shores of...Read More

  • 2. Playa Norte

    Beach

    North Beach is easy to find: simply head north on any of the north–south streets in town until you hit it. The turquoise sea is as calm as a...Read More

  • 3. Captain Ricardo Gaitan

    Tour–Sight

    A local Isla Contoy expert, Captain Ricardo Gaitan also provides an excellent tour for large groups (6–20 people) aboard his 36-foot boat Estrella...Read More

  • 4. El Cementerio

    Cemetery

    Isla's cemetery is on Avenida López Mateos, the road that runs parallel to Playa Norte. Many of the century-old gravestones are covered with...Read More

  • 5. El Garrafón National Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Despite the widely-publicized "Garrafón Reef Restoration Program," much of the coral at this national marine park is dead—the result of hurricanes...Read More

  • 6. El Malecón

    Promenade

    To enjoy the drama of Isla's eastern shore while soaking up some rays, stroll along this 1½-km-long (1-mile-long) boardwalk. It runs from Half...Read More

  • 7. Iglesia de Concepción Inmaculada

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    In 1890 local fishermen landed at a deserted colonial settlement known as Ecab, where they found three identical statues of the Virgin Mary...Read More

  • 8. Laguna Makax

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    Pirates are said to have anchored their ships in this lagoon while waiting to ambush hapless vessels crossing the Spanish Main. Today it houses...Read More

  • 9. Museum Capitán Dulché

    Museum/Gallery

    The island's only museum gives a glimpse into the life of famed ocean explorers Ramón Bravo, Jacques Cousteau, and Captain Ernesto Dulché Escalante...Read More

  • 10. Playa Lancheros

    Beach

    On the western side of the island, this stretch between Laguna Makax and El Garrafón National Park is a popular spot with an open-air restaurant...Read More

  • 11. Playa Tiburón

    Beach

    Like Playa Lancheros, this beach on the west side of the island faces Bahía de Mujeres, so the water is exceptionally calm. Once a respite from...Read More

  • 12. Tortugranja

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    This scientific station, run by the Mexican government in partnership with private funding, works to conserve the endangered sea turtle. You...Read More

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