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.