Located just 22 minutes from Cancun is a paradise island called Isla Mujeres. This small island has pristine beaches and sparkling blue waters, with plenty of activities to enjoy despite its compact size. Whether you’re into relaxing by the beach or swimming with whale sharks, there’s no shortage of things to do in Isla Mujeres.
Here’s a quick guide on how you can best enjoy your stay on this beautiful Caribbean island.
Things you'll find in this article
- 11 Top Things To Do In Isla Mujeres, Mexico
- 1. Explore El Centro
- 2. Relax at Playa Norte
- 3. See the Underwater Museum of Art
- 4. Sunset at Playa Sol
- 5. Rent a golf cart on Isla Mujeres
- 6. Admire the Sea Wall Murals
- 7. Visit The Joysxee Floating Bottle Island
- 8. Stay at the Shell House
- 9. See the sunrise from Punta Sur
- 10. Eat all the seafood
- 11. Day trip to Isla Contoy
11 Top Things To Do In Isla Mujeres, Mexico
1. Explore El Centro
Isla Mujeres is one of those towns named by the Mexican tourism board as a Pueblo Magico (Magical Town).
This means that a certain locale offers visitors a magical experience – from its natural wonders to its rich culture and delicious food.
To get to know why Isla Mujeres earned this Pueblo Magico distinction, start by exploring El Centro. This is the center of Isla Mujeres where you can walk through alleys and lanes.
Wander through Miguel Hidalgo Avenida and check out a cute shop, have a drink or a meal in some quaint cafe or restaurant, or browse through the markets.
Exploring El Centro is easily done on foot, making it one of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres.
2. Relax at Playa Norte
Playa Norte is one of the popular places to visit in Isla Mujeres, with its pristine shores, palm trees, and shallow waters.
Playa Norte was also named by travel sites as among the best beaches in the world so the place can be quite busy at times.
Set out early and witness the sunrise here, then enjoy a leisurely morning walk. There are cafes and eateries close to the beach area so you can buy food or drinks for a picnic as you enjoy the sun, sea, and sand.
Playa Norte is easily accessible, it is just about a 10-minute walk from the ferry dock.
3. See the Underwater Museum of Art
Featuring sculptures designed by Jason deCaires Taylor the Underwater Museum of Art opened in 2009.
Visitors can explore its 500 underwater sculptures by snorkeling, diving, or and from a glass-bottomed boat.
Easily the most exciting attraction in Isla Mujeres, the Underwater Museum of Art was founded to grow and preserve coral life.
Here, you can get a closer look at sculptures that are located 3-4 meters deep from the surface of the water while there are those located around 8 meters deep. These sculptures located in deeper areas are perfect for expert scuba divers.
4. Sunset at Playa Sol
From relaxing in Playa Del Norte during the day, head towards the equally stunning Playa Del Sol as the day ends.
This is often said to be one of the best places to see in Isla Mujeres if you are fond of sunsets. This area is less touristy and the food and drinks here are cheaper.
Playa Del Sol is the ideal place for a late afternoon walk or a place to relax after exploring the other attractions in Isla Mujeres.
5. Rent a golf cart on Isla Mujeres
If you want a fun and unique way to explore Isla Mujeres, they have a cute mode of transportation that is popular among tourists – the golf cart.
It is the next best thing to walking, but you won’t get so tired after. You are also protected from the scorching heat of the sun if you decide to drive around at midday.
You can drive to every place on the island with your cute rented golf cart, which is one of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres.
A golf cart also gives you more freedom when exploring the island without getting too tired after, compared to riding a cab or navigating the area on foot.
6. Admire the Sea Wall Murals
On foot or on your rented golf cart, you can go on a mini-tour of Isla Mujeres through its colorful and quirky street art.
A project by Pangea Seed called Sea Walls Artists for Oceans, these sea wall murals, according to the organization, aims to “bring the message of ocean conservation into streets across the globe.”
Touring the islands to see these murals is a fun and inspiring way to get to know the island more, and one of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres.
On your way to see the murals, you might even chance upon some hidden gems like a cute souvenir shop, a cozy cafe, or a nice little shortcut to the beach.
7. Visit The Joysxee Floating Bottle Island
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Built a few years ago by Richart Sowa, the Floating Bottle Island is made up entirely of around 150,000 plastic water bottles. This “island” has a three-story house and an outdoor bar.
The floating island moves around from time to time so if you want to see it, ask the locals first for its current location. This is a must if you want something different to do in Isla Mujeres.
8. Stay at the Shell House
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The Shell House or Casa Caracol in Spanish is a unique place to stay as well as one of those quirky attractions in Isla Mujeres.
Designed by the architect Eduardo Ocampo, the Shell House is of course, pretty much made out of shells from its facade to the interiors.
This impressive and picture-perfect structure is also regarded as one of the most unique houses in the world.
The rooms are bright, spacious, and cozy, with shell-themed decor and furniture. It is a lovely place to stay even for a night if you want something that’s uniquely Isla Mujeres.
9. See the sunrise from Punta Sur
At the southern edge of Isla Mujeres is the highest elevation in all the Yucatan, Punta Sur. This area is also the easternmost part of Mexico and known as one of the best places to watch the sunrise.
Regarded as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Isla Mujeres, Punta Sur is where you’ll find an ancient Mayan temple honoring the Mayan Goddess Ixchel.
Dozens of modern sculptures are spread throughout the property, as well as a lighthouse. Punta Sur is also known for its dramatic cliffs, which offer stunning views of the sea.
10. Eat all the seafood
You simply cannot resist enjoying seafood in Isla Mujeres. It’s fresh every day, prepared and cooked with a distinct Caribbean-Mexican twist.
Most tourists recommend grilled shrimp and lobster, but when in Isla Mujeres, you must sample some of their local fares, too.
Try the ceviche, which is fresh raw fish cured in lemon or lime, herbs, and seasonings.
While on the island, try the traditional Maya food called Tik’n Xic, which is whole fish marinated in achiote sauce that’s grilled over an open fire. Most beach bars in Playa Norte serve these amazing dishes, best paired with your favorite drinks.
11. Day trip to Isla Contoy
While in Isla Mujeres, don’t forget to spend a day visiting a neighboring island in Quintana Roo.
From the northern part of this island, you can take a ferry ride to Isla Contoy, a national park that’s also a wildlife reserve and bird sanctuary.
This long island is said to be the most important in Mexico because it is the sanctuary for nesting sea birds and sea turtles.
A maximum of 200 tourists are allowed to visit the island each day to ensure the safety of the species that call the island their home.
Around Isla Contoy, you can snorkel on the clear waters to explore the colorful marine life.