Hey, there! Several weeks ago my husband and I traveled to Isla Mujeres to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We have traveled multiple times to Cancun throughout our lives, but had never visited Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is a small island just outside of Cancun, a quick ferry ride over!
While we were there I got multiple messages and inquiries from you all about what it was like, where to stay, and where to eat. So, I thought I’d break down our experience here in hopes that it can act as a general guide if you ever travel there!
Cancun v. Isla Mujeres:
Like I said previously, my husband and I have both vacationed multiple times in and around Cancun. We’ve stayed at Playa Del Carmen, Riveria Maya, Cozumel, etc., but we’d never stayed at or even heard of Isla Mujeres. After hearing my girlfriend rave about this little island for years, we were pumped to visit to celebrate her 40th birthday.
The one thing my friend stressed to me as we were preparing for our trip was that Isla Mujeres was very much “island life.” Compared to Cancun, the vibe is much more relaxed. You’ll see women dressed in anything from a sundress to a bathing suit and coverup. Everyone is more on the casual side and most people I saw wore sneakers or sandals during the day and night. She also raved about the beautiful beaches!
While there are all-inclusive hotels on the island, the purpose of visiting the island is to explore the beaches, restaurants, and the quite little town. While I was excited for that, I was also a bit apprehensive. Up until this trip, I had only ever stayed in larger resorts and never left the resort property.
Y’all, I was so pleasantly surprised by Isla Mujeres! The beaches are truly gorgeous – white sand and clear blue water. I also felt incredibly safe on the island. We ate several meals in our hotel – typically breakfast, but spent the majority of our time eating out and exploring. We walked up and down their main street, Hidalgo, and the neighboring streets and rented golf carts to explore the island. I never felt unsafe. That being said, I wouldn’t advise walking around by yourself at night, but I also wouldn’t recommend doing that in any city or town.
I think what’s neat about Isla Mujeres is that you can either stay on the island for your whole trip or stay on the mainland and take a day trip to the island. There were lots of people that took a ferry over in the AM to explore and then ferried back for the evening.
Trip Planning Tips:
When planning a trip to Isla Mujeres, I have a couple of recommendations. I recommend using a travel agent and arranging all your transportation beforehand. These few steps will make your trip seamless and less stressful.
- TRAVEL AGENT – Hillary Taylor of Taylored Travel is the agent we used. She is delightful, super kind, very responsive, and very knowledgeable. She helped arrange our hotel, flights, and made transportation recommendations. It was a breeze working with her and we’re already working with her to plan another trip to Mexico this summer.
- PLANNED TRANSPORTATION – For safety reason, I highly recommend planning your transportation ahead of time. You’ll want to plan a private shuttle or transport from the airport to the ferry. Once you’re at the ferry, you’ll purchase a round trip ticket to Isla Mujeres and back. You’ll need to arrange transportation to pick you up from the ferry as well and take you back to the airport.
Where to Stay and What to Do In Isla Mujeres:
WHERE TO STAY:
There are multiple hotel options on the island, but the one we stayed at, Privilege Aluxes, seems to be one of the best on the island. The location is perfectly located – close to the ferry and just a block or so from Hidalgo street. It has options to do all-inclusive or not. Below are some of the highlights of the hotel.
- It’s located on a point with gorgeous views of the mainland and relatively out of the wind.
- It has a gorgeous pool and private access to a beautiful beach.
- Options for all-inclusive or not.
- On-site spa.
- There are several restaurant options on-site for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Good customer service.
- Walking distance from Hidalgo Street.
- Walkable to or quick cab ride from the Ferry.
WHERE TO EAT:
The Ice Bar – a lot of the restaurants look like hole-in-the-wall joints, but the food is so good!
- our hotel was all-inclusive so we ate at several of their restaurants throughout the weekend (typically breakfast or lunch if we were on the beach)
- Rooster for breakfast
- The Joint
- Villa Bella – world’s strongest margs
- Soggy Peso
- Mango Cafe – amazing breakfast
- Mar Bella
- margarita place
WHAT TO DO:
- Hidalgo Street – this is the main street on the island. It’s full of restaurants and the cutest little shops. We spent most of our evenings on this street whether it was eating, singing karaoke, or shopping. It’s a super fun, quaint street!
- Explore with golf carts – take the golf carts to explore the island! We spent over half a day driving around visiting beaches and scenic points, trying new restaurants and of course having margaritas. Definitely stop at South Point at the end of the island – it has amazing views and is a great photo opportunity.
- Visit the beaches – there are so many beautiful beaches around the island. Whether you’re walking along the beach from your hotel or renting a golf cart, go exploring. There are rocky beaches, sandy beaches, and all are beautiful.
- Spas – our hotel had it’s own spa, but there are multiple spas on the island.
- Activities – there are so many activities to choose from on the island. Golf carts, exploring the historic sights, taking a catamaran out, snorkeling, you name it!
WHAT TO WEAR:
- It’s very casual and anything goes. No matter day or night, you’ll see a range of outfits from bathing suits and coverups to sundresses. So, when in doubt, dress casually.
- No wedges or heels – it sounds crazy, but you really don’t need to pack any heels. We wore sandals the whole time, even at night.
- Wind protection – since Isla is an island, it’s pretty windy. So, bring a light jacket or kimono or something to keep warm in the evenings.
- Bring an umbrella – rain storms are common on the beach. They come and go pretty quickly, but it’s best to be prepared!
WHAT I WORE: