Discover everything this Magical Town has to offer
Just 6 miles northeast of Cancun you’ll find: Isla Mujeres, a natural paradise in the state of Quintana Roo that you must visit at least once in your life.
This little piece of land -barely five miles long and less than a half-mile wide- offers an experience from beginning to end. If you are an adventure enthusiast and nature lover, you will love everything there’s to do in Isla Mujeres; before telling you about its main tourist attractions, let me tell you a little about its history…
The Spanish expedition commanded by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba discovered the island in 1517. When the conquerors arrived and observed many clay statues in the shape of women, they baptized it as Isla Mujeres (Women Island).
The island was declared a municipality of Quintana Roo until 1975. Most of its inhabitants are fishermen and divers who have lived on the island for generations and like to promote it by giving their visitors warm welcome.
Isla Mujeres was recognized as a Magical Town in 2015, thanks to its natural wealth, archaeological vestiges, and tourist attractions.
Join us to discover everything you can do for seven hours in this incredible destination in the Mexican Caribbean.
Our adventure begins in Cancun, at El Embarcadero Isla Mujeres by Xcaret, located exactly at km 4.5 of the Hotel Zone; here, we board the Xcaret Xailing ferry to sail to the picturesque Isla Mujeres.
After a pleasant journey, we arrive at the Isla Mujeres Maritime Terminal. You can explore the island on foot, golf cart, motorcycle, bicycle, or taxi; additionally, you can use the local bus line (Isleños Bus), which has four routes around the island, passing through the main places of interest.
We visited Playa Norte, recognized as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world for its crystal-clear waters, palm trees, and white sand. We also recommend visiting other beautiful beaches like Playa Centro and Playa Albatros, both of which have the Blue Flag certification.
Before we continued exploring the island, we made a mandatory stop at Isla Mujeres colorful letter sign, located at the Malecon, on the shore of the Caribbean Sea. Another spot for a great souvenir photo is the whale shark sculpture.
Something characteristic of this small town is the variety of colors found in any of its corners. Take incredible photos of its murals, houses, and chapels! First thing to remember, visit the fantastic Rainbow Stairs, located on the corner of Pámpano Street with Paseo de las Aves.
In the avenues Rueda Medina, Miguel Hidalgo, and Morelos, you will find handcrafts from the Maya culture, hammocks, Mexican sweets, beaded handcrafts, typical clothing, talaveras, and Mexican toys, among others. You can get them for your loved ones or rather keep them yourself as a memory of your visit to Isla Mujeres.
Either day or night, Miguel Hidalgo Avenue has the best atmosphere for strolling and having fun. It is a pedestrian street with live music (mostly at night), small hotels, ice cream shops, cafeterias, restaurants, and bars.
The most representative dishes of the island are based on seafood, highlighting the sea snail ceviche and the Tikin-Xic fish. The name of this last dish comes from the Mayan language and means ‘dried fish’. It is baked underground or grilled, seasoned with achiote and sour orange juice.
In downtown Isla Mujeres, you will see a beautiful church dedicated to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, patron saint of the island’s people. An emblematic place in this Magical Town.
The Captain Dulché Museum exhibits scale models of ancient ships, photographs, and objects belonging to Captain Ernesto Dulché Escalante, as well as some pieces by oceanographer, ecologist, and athlete Ramón Bravo Prieto, and marine researcher Jacques Cousteau.
Isla Mujeres is famous for its extraordinary settings for snorkeling or diving. Just after 15 minutes by boat, you will find the Manchones Reef, which has a 7.5-mile-long coral bank with majestic shoaling fish and lots of flora. In addition, it hosts the sculptures of the Underwater Museum of Art and the famous Cruz de la Bahía, which pay tribute to the men and women who have lost their lives at sea.
Another must-see is El Farito, a natural marine park located just a mile from Isla Mujeres, where you can practice snorkeling, admire the marine fauna, and visit the statue of the Virgen del Carmen.
Located between Cancun and Isla Mujeres is Bandera Reef; at a depth of 40 feet, you can find beautiful elkhorn coral reefs, crabs, moray eels, lobsters, barracudas, and angelfish.
Finally, we have the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks, discovered over 50 years ago by the islander Carlos García Castilla ‘Válvula’. It is located 30 minutes (by boat) from Isla Mujeres and it’s an excellent place for advanced diving and to admire six different species of sharks, including the bull shark, white tip shark, and catshark.
In fact, the island was also a haven and home to famous pirates and slave traders such as Fermín Mundaca y Marecheaga, who built one of the main historical sites in the destination, Hacienda Vista Alegre, now known as Hacienda Mundaca. According to legend, the pirate built the hacienda to win the heart of a local woman known as “La Trigueña”; said love did not flourish, and the pirate died of heartbreak.
Located south of Isla Mujeres, we will find the Tortugranja (turtle farm), where you will learn more about the sea turtle, the different species that exist, and the efforts made for their protection.
In Punta Sur, there is the monument to the iguana, the most representative endemic species in the region, and the temple dedicated to Ixchel, the Maya goddess of the moon and fertility. From here, we appreciate undoubtedly incredible views; descending through the walkway, we discovered caves with spectacular formations. From the west side, you can see Cancun in the distance.
Did you know the Cliff of Dawn in Punta Sur is the first place in Mexico to receive the sun’s rays every morning? A magical place!
The sun goes down, and it’s time to return to Cancun. We head to the pier to board the Xcaret Xailing ferry. At sea, Isla Mujeres bids us farewell with a memorable sunset… Soon, we will be back to continue enjoying this paradise.
Now that you know everything that this beautiful, Magical Town in the Mexican Caribbean has to offer, tell us, what will be your first stop on your visit to Isla Mujeres?
Degree in Communication. Occasional traveler, sometimes writer, lover of felines, and photographer by hobby. I love to capture and treasure every moment of my life.