Off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres makes for an easy and relaxing getaway. // © Cancun Tourist Board
Isla Mujeres is a small island off the shore of Cancun, where visitors can unwind and recharge their batteries. A Cancun vacation delivers world-class resorts, shopping and nightlife in one big and bright package. With so much to take in, the city can leave a visitor feeling overwhelmed. Isla Mujeres offers the perfect counterbalance to Cancun’s buzz. Consider it a vacation within a vacation.
The island combines the ambience of Mexico and the Caribbean and is a great choice for families and couples. Isla Mujeres can be reached via a 35-minute ferry ride from Playa Linda, a beach on Cancun’s north shore. The compact island is about five miles long and less than a mile wide.
The Maya considered Isla Mujeres to be the sacred birthplace of Ix Chel, the Maya goddess of childbirth. The Spanish arrived on the island in the 16th century and discovered numerous images of the goddess, inspiring them to name the island Isla Mujeres, or “Island of Women.”
Around the Island
Visitors disembark at the main ferry dock near the island’s northern tip, in the town of Isla Mujeres. Here, visitors will find small hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes and the town’s Plaza Municipal. The pace is laid back and many visitors choose to explore the island’s sandy streets by bike. Other modes of transportation include mopeds, golf carts and taxis.
Most of Isla Mujeres’ beach action is clustered around Playa Norte, which is right outside the main town and within walking distance of the ferry dock. All the necessary amenities for a comfortable day on the beach are available for rent, from lounge chairs to snorkeling equipment. Isla Mujeres is sometimes crowded with day trippers, who tend to congregate on the island’s north shore. The beaches south of the city are definitely less frequented and are a good choice for those who prefer seclusion.
If they continue going south on the main road, visitors will reach Garrafon Natural Reef Park, located near the southernmost tip of the island, where they can snorkel, zipline or swim with dolphins.
Where to Stay
Hotels on the island include the adults-only 35-suite Hotel Villa Rolandi Thalasso Spa Gourmet and Beach Club; the upscale Privilege Aluxes Isla Mujeres Hotel, which offers an option for an all-inclusive plan; and Palace Resorts’ Isla Mujeres Palace.
Isla Mujeres Palace recently inaugurated the Casanova, a new luxury yacht. The Casanova will transport guests from the pier in Cancun directly to the property, removing the added cost and inconvenience of a ferry trip. The new service is exclusively available for Isla Mujeres guests and provided as part of the resort’s all-inclusive offer. It operates daily from Dolphin Discovery’s Aquatours marina, located in Cancun’s Hotel Zone.
The Casanova is a 51-foot Sea Ray featuring luxe mahogany finishing and plush seating, with the capacity for 10 passengers and their respective luggage. The 30- to 40-minute voyage to the property includes complimentary beverages onboard. Guests must reserve a spot on the vessel 24 hours in advance.
Isla Mujeres Palace has 62 accommodations offering island, pool or ocean views and balconies, double Jacuzzis and Wi-Fi access. Guests who book a stay of five nights or more can take advantage of a $1,500 resort credit, which can be used on room upgrades, spa and beauty salon treatments, golf outings, romantic dinners and off-site excursions and tours.