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. Isla Mujeres boasts dramatically beautiful and calm beaches on the north side and admirable coral reefs in the south.
The island is a great destination for a day trip, 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 downtown. Rent a golf cart and ride it around town, already an adventure in itself!
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 Natural Reef Park for snorkelling, Punta Sur viewpoint for some spectacular sunrises, and Playa Norte for its powdery-soft white-sand beach.
3 ways to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres (and back)
The only way to travel the 20km from Cancun to Isla Mujeres is by ferry. Fares start from 175 MXN ($8.50) with the 30-minute Ultramar ferry, the only public transportation available. Alternatively, you can join a day trip with rates from 450 MXN ($20) to 875 MXN ($43).
The public ferry is a quick and cost-efficient way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. 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 so ou can be flexible with your schedule and the ferries are quite comfortable too!
If you only have one day to explore Isla Mujeres and want to make sure you get the most of it, then you can also join an organised day trip. There are 2 kinds available: the local tours offered by ‘lancheros’ with prices from 450 MXN ($20) and the more luxurious catamaran tours from 875 MXN ($43). The local tours depart from Puerto Juarez, while the catamaran tours include free pick-up and drop-off from the Cancun hotel zone.
You are to take an Ultramar ferry to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. Ultramar ferries depart from four different locations along Cancun’s coastline. The main port is called Puerto Juarez Ferry Terminal, located just 10 minutes from downtown Cancun by bus or car.
There are more departures from Puerto Juarez compared to any other ferry dock in Cancun. Ferries depart from Puerto Juarez every 30 minutes from 06:30 to 23:00. An Ultramar ferry ticket costs 175 MXN ($8.50) and the ride to Isla Mujeres takes around 30 minutes.
Other ferry terminals in Cancun
In addition to Puerto Juarez, there are 3 more departure points: Playa Caracol is the closest to the Cancun hotel zone, while Playa Tortugas and El Embarcadero are located between Cancun city centre and the beach areas.
All 4 ports are connected to the city centre, the downtown bus station, and Cancun’s hotel zone by the public bus line R-10. You can also hop in a taxi to get to any of them.
Departures from Puerto Juarez Ferry Terminal are cheaper and more frequent than the other choices. But if you’re closer to one of the other ferry terminals, it probably makes more sense to just depart from the one closest.
Otherwise, you might just end up spending the price difference on extra transportation services. It will also be a waste of valuable time that could be spent lazing on the gorgeous beaches of Isla Mujeres.
Bus schedule from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
Puerto Juarez (preferred)
Every 30 minutes from 06:30 to 22:00
175 MXN ($8.50)
7x a day from 09:00 to 18:00
315 MXN ($13)
6x a day from 10:45 to 18:30
205 MXN ($10)
6x a day from 10:30 to 18:15
315 MXN ($13)
For guaranteed seats on your desired date and time, it’s best to book your ticket online beforehand. Our recommended platform is BookAway as their rates are even cheaper compared to fares on Ultramar’s own website. If you prefer to buy your Isla Mujeres ferry tickets on the same day, make sure you arrive at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before departure time!
PRO-TIP: If you already know when you’re heading back to Cancun, you can book a round trip ticket online via BookAway and get a $3 discount!
Isla Mujeres to Cancun by Ferry (the way back)
Duration: 30 minutes Cost: 175 MXN ($8.50)
Going back to Cancun from Isla Mujeres is very easy. If you booked a round trip ticket, you just need to show up at the ferry dock at the chosen time and date. If you didn’t, you can still book your ticket online on BookAway or directly at the port.
Ferries going back to Cancun depart from the Ultramar Ferry Terminal on the north side of Isla Mujeres, the same place where the ferry drops you off when you arrive on the island.
Keep in mind that there are several docking points in Cancun and the one you departed from may not be the best choice on the way back. If you’re heading straight to Cancun Airport after a visit to Isla Mujeres, then Puerto Juarez is still the best choice.
If you’re going to the Cancun hotel zone, then Caracol Port is the better ferry terminal.
Whichever ferry terminal you’re bound for, the ferry ride takes around 30 minutes. You can get a ticket from 175 MXN ($8.50).
If you’re planning to visit Isla Mujeres for just a day, it can be difficult to decide where to start considering there are so many things to do. That’s where joining a tour can be useful. They organise everything for you!
An Isla Mujeres day trip normally includes set stops, activities, transportation, snorkelling equipment, lunch, and some even offer alcoholic drinks. It depends on how much you’re willing to pay though! So confirm beforehand what services are included in your package.
A popular option among tourists is the Catamaran day trip. You will sail with a group on a catamaran and enjoy the day snorkelling and lounging at Playa Norte. Free hotel pick-up and drop-off in the Cancun hotel zone is included in the rate of 875 MXN ($43).
They also offer an open bar and lunch buffet for an additional cost! This hassle-free and cozy catamaran day trip can be booked online through GetYourGuide.
A cheaper alternative for day trips are tours offered by the local ‘lancheros’ or motorboat owners from Puerto Juarez. Instead of catamarans, they use speedboats to show you around Isla Mujeres. Rates start at 450 MXN ($20), all-inclusive.
The best part about these tours is that they offer a more local feeling. But we recommend carefully choosing your lanchero as not all of them are guaranteed to offer good service. To join a local day tour, you’ll need to go to Puerto Juarez and look for Terminal Maritima de Puerto Juarez Capitan Cook.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there direct transportation services from Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres?
You can’t really travel directly from Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres as the airport is located far from any ferry terminal. However, BookAway offers combined minivan and ferry services so that you won’t have to worry about anything after arriving at Cancun Airport. These include a shared minivan ride to Puerto Juarez, where you will transfer to a ferry going to Isla Mujeres. Combined prices start from 935 MXN ($46).