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 20 km from Cancun to Isla Mujeres is by ferry. Fares start from 210 MXN ($10.50) for the 30 to 45-minute ferry ride. Alternatively, you can join a 10-hour day trip with rates from 500 MXN ($25.50) to 1,245 MXN ($63).
The public ferry is a quick and cost-efficient way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. There are several departures throughout the day, and the ferries depart from and arrive at different ports in Cancun. Travel time takes only 30-45 minutes with fares from 210 MXN ($10.50).
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 local tours departing from Puerto Juarez offered by ‘lancheros’ with prices from 500 MXN ($25.50). Meanwhile, the more luxurious catamaran tours start from 1,260 MXN ($64) and include hotel pick-up and drop-off in Cancun.
The public ferry is the most common way to travel from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. Ferries are available every 30 minutes from 05:30 to 23:00.
Tickets start from 210 MXN ($10.50), and the ferry ride to Isla Mujeres takes around 30-45 minutes.
Ferry departure ports in Cancun
Most ferries, including Ultramar and Jetway ferry, depart from Puerto Juarez Ferry Terminal. This is the main port in Cancun, located just 10 minutes from downtown by bus or car.
In general, Puerto Juarez offers the most ferry departures compared to the other ports in Cancun. However, if you’re not staying around downtown Cancun, keep on reading this section for ferries departing from other ports in Cancun.
From Cancun Airport
If you’re coming from Cancun Airport, you can also take a private transfer with Jumbo Tours Mexico. You will be picked up from the airport and dropped off at El Embarcadero, where you’ll transfer to a ferry to Isla Mujeres. The entire trip takes a little over an hour.
Fares for 2 people start from 1,250 MXN ($64). You can also book a 6-person private transfer for just 1,270 MXN ($65).
When you split the costs, you might just save more money than when you take a local taxi to the city centre for around 600 MXN ($30.50), excluding the ferry ticket.
It’s also important to note that there are no direct buses from the airport to Puerto Juarez or the hotel zone. You would first have to take a bus to the city centre and then another bus or taxi to these areas, which is a hassle if you have luggage.
Ultramar also offers ferry trips from other ports in Cancun. Aside from the main 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 both 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.
Ferries from Puerto Juarez are cheaper and more frequent, but if you’re closer to any of the other ferry ports, it is more convenient to depart from there. Otherwise, you would end up spending more on additional rides and wasting valuable time that could be spent on the gorgeous beaches of Isla Mujeres.
Ultramar ferry schedules from 4 ports in Cancun to Isla Mujeres
For guaranteed seats on your desired date and time, it’s best to book your ticket online beforehand. Tickets from BookAway are cheaper compared to fares on Ultramar’s own website.
PRO TIP: If you had already planned your trip 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: 30-45 minutes
Cost: 200 MXN ($10)
Duration: 30-45 minutes
Cost: 200 MXN ($10)
Going back to Cancun from Isla Mujeres is pretty 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 buy it directly at the port.
The same ferry companies operate on this route with the same travel time, and prices also start from 200 MXN ($10). Ferries depart from Isla Mujeres as early as 06:00 and are available up to 24:00.
There is also an option to take the combined shuttle + ferry with Jumbo Tours if you’re heading to Cancun Airport right away.
*COVID-19 UPDATE: The last time we checked (September 2022), Jumbo Tours is unavailable. Please check the provided link to see if anything has changed.
Similarly, you can take a ferry to other ports in Cancun aside from Puerto Juarez. Keep in mind that the one you departed from may not be the best choice on the way back, so it’s best to check which port is the closest to your destination in Cancun.
If you’re going to the Cancun hotel zone, then Playa Caracol is the best ferry terminal. If you plan on experiencing the beaches of Cancun after your trip to Isla Mujeres, you can choose between Playa Tortugas and El Embarcadero which are close to each other.
Whichever ferry terminal you’re bound for, the ferry ride takes around 30 minutes. Fares to other ports start from 250 MXN ($12.50).
Ultramar ferry schedule from Isla Mujeres to all 4 ports in Cancun
All ferries going back to Cancun depart from the Ultramar Ferry Terminal on the north side of Isla Mujeres, the same port you arrived at.
Cancun to Isla Mujeres by Day Trip
Duration: 10 hours
Cost: 1,245 MXN ($63)
Duration: 10 hours
Cost: 1,245 MXN ($63)
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 why 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 all depends on how much you’re willing to pay.
A popular option among tourists is the 10-hour catamaran day trip. You will sail with a group on a catamaran and enjoy the day snorkelling and lounging at Playa Norte.
Catamaran tours cost around 1,245 MXN ($63). This price does not include yet the $15 port fee. Hotel pick-up and drop-off in Cancun, as well as an open bar and lunch buffet, all come with an additional cost.
This cosy catamaran day trip can be booked online through GetYourGuide.
You can get a cheaper day trip with local ‘lancheros’ or motorboat owners from Puerto Juarez. Instead of catamarans, they use speedboats to show you around Isla Mujeres. Rates start at 500 MXN ($25.50), all-inclusive.
The best part about these tours is that they offer a more local feeling, and you might end up feeling more satisfied with these local tours. However, we recommend carefully choosing your lanchero, as not all of them are guaranteed to offer good service.
Are there direct transportation services from Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres?
If you want to travel straight from Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres, you can book a combined minivan and ferry ticket with BookAway. A minivan will bring you first from Cancun Airport to El Embarcadero. From here, you will be transferred to a ferry going to Isla Mujeres. Combined prices for 2 people start from 1,270 MXN ($65).
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