How to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres (and back)?

Isla Mujeres translates to ‘Island of Women’ in Spanish, but no it’s not an island full of women! It’s a dreamy little island situated in the turquoise waters just off the coast of Cancun. The island boasts dramatically beautiful and calm beaches on the north side and admirable coral reefs in the south.

The island is a popular destination for day trips, but we’d recommend a longer stay as there’s so much to do.

One of the best ways to spend your time is simply exploring Isla Mujeres. A popular way to do this is to hire a golf cart, which is an adventure in itself. And when you’re ready to stop for lunch, you can enjoy some of the island’s delicious dishes such as Tikinxikla fish or an extra-large helping of ceviche. Make sure to visit Garrafon beach, the best point for snorkelling and Punta Sur viewpoint for some spectacular sunrises.

The only way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres is by boat, with most tourists choosing to take the 20-minute ferry. The service is provided by a company called Ultramar, who offer both single and roundtrip tickets with rates starting at 160 MXN ($7.50) for a one-way trip.

Recommended transport option

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Ferry15-20 minutesFrom 160 MXN ($7.50)Check ferry tickets
Speedboat Day Tour8 hoursFrom 450 MXN ($20)Read article for info
Catamaran Day Tour8-9 hoursFrom 930 MXN($44)Check tour availability

The ferry is a quick and cost-efficient way to reach the island. If you’re just looking to get from A to B then the ferry will get you there hassle free. There are several departures a day, giving you flexibility and the journey is a pretty comfortable one as ferry rides go.

A day trip to Isla Mujeres

If you’re planning on only spend the day in Isla Mujeres, it can be hard to know where to start considering there’s so many things to do. That’s where joining a tour can be useful. They organise everything for you!

They offer set stops, activities, transportation, snorkelling equipment, lunch and some even offer alcoholic beverages.

The cheapest of these tours is run by the local ‘lancheros’ from Puerto Juarez, who use speedboats to show you around the island. Rates start at 450 MXN ($20), all inclusive. The best part about these tours is that they offer a more local feeling, as it’s not run by a large company. To join this tour you’ll need to go to Puerto Juarez and look for the Terminal Maritima de Puerto Juarez Capitan Cook.

Another option is a Catamaran tour (930 MXN, $44). This tour has a similar itinerary to the local offering, but you’ll have more space on the boat and for a small fee you can add pick up and drop off to your hotel. This tour departs every morning from Las Perlas Beach and you can book it online with Civitatis.

 

Itinerary from Cancun to Isla Mujeres (and back)

ferry icon

Cancun to Isla Mujeres by Ferry


Duration: 15 – 20 minutes
Cost: 160 – 450 MXN COP ($ 7.50 – $21)

Ferries to Isla Mujeres depart from four different locations along Cancun’s coastline. The main port is called Puerto Juarez, located just 5 minutes from the city centre by bus or car.

In addition to Puerto Juarez, there are 3 more departure points: Playa Tortugas, El Embarcadero and Playa Caracol, all within the beach/resort area.

All 4 ports are connected to the city centre, the central bus station and the rest of the beach/resort area by the public bus line R-10. You can also hop in a taxi to get to any of them too.

Departures from Puerto Juarez tend to be cheaper and more frequent than the ones from the beach area, so you may be better off departing from this port.

If you’re closer to one of the other ports, it probably makes more sense to just depart from the one closest. you end up spending the price difference on transport and you waste time that could be spent lazing on a beach.

Boats depart from Puerto Juarez every 30 minutes from 06:30 to 22:00, while Playa Tortugas and El Embarcadero offer just 6 departures a day between 10:00 and 18:00. Playa Caracol has only 2 services a day, at 11:45 and 18:00.

You can check the availability and book the ferry through the official Ultramar ferry website or through BookAway.

TIP: We recommend checking both websites to compare the most recent price. If you depart from Puerto Juarez, the official website offers better rates.

Departure portSchedulesDurationCostsSchedule
port Schedules Duration Costs Schedule
Puerto Juarez (preferred)
Every 30 minutes from 06:30 to 22:0015 minutesFrom 160 MXN ($7.50)Check ferry tickets on BookAway
Playa TortugasSix departures a day from 10:00 to 18:0020 minutesFrom 315 MXN ($15)Check ferry tickets on BookAway
El EmbarcaderoSix departures a day from 10:00 to 18:0020 minutesFrom 315 MXN ($15)Check ferry tickets on BookAway
Playa Caracol11:45-12:10
18:00-18:25
25 minutesFrom 315 MXN ($15)Check ferry tickets on BookAway

Check Ferry Tickets with BookAway

ferry icon

Isla Mujeres to Cancun by Ferry (the way back)


Duration: 15 – 20 minutes
Cost: 160 – 450 MXN COP ($ 7.50 – $21)

Going back to Cancun from Isla Mujeres is very easy. If you booked a roundtrip ticket you just need to show up at the port at the chosen time and date. If you didn’t, you can book your ticket online on BookAway, Ultramar’s website or directly at the port.

Ferries going back to Cancun depart from the Ultramar port on the north side of the island, the same place where the ferry drops you off when you arrive on Isla Mujeres.

The ride is between 15-20 minutes depending on your destination port.

Ferries going to Puerto Juarez depart every 30 minutes from 6:00 to 22:30. Those going to Playa Tortugas and El Embarcadero depart 6 times a day from 9:00-18:30 and Playa Caracol has two services at 11:00 and 18:30.

Arrival portSchedulesDurationCostsSchedule
Puerto JuarezEvery 30 minutes from 06:00 to 22:3015 minutesFrom 160 MXN ($7.50)Check ferry tickets on BookAway
Playa TortugasSix departures a day from 09:00 to 18:3020 minutesFrom 315 MXN ($15)Check ferry tickets on BookAway
El EmbarcaderoSix departures a day from 09:00 to 18:3020 minutesFrom 315 MXN ($15)Check ferry tickets on BookAway
Playa Caracol11:00-12:25
18:30-18:55
25 minutesFrom 315 MXN ($15)Check ferry tickets on BookAway

Check Ferry Tickets with BookAway

 

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COVID-19 Limitations: Transportation services have limited availability and schedules might be less frequent. Please check our recommended booking websites for the most recent schedules.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to recent travel restrictions, most of the transportation services are currently unavailable or subject to change.