With more than 480 years of history, Isla Mujeres is a place with great tradition and Caribbean culture.
Arriving at Isla Mujeres is where all travelers find their second home. It could be said that it is love at first sight, because of the Caribbean charms and natural beauty of the island it is impossible to get rid of it.
Located off the coast of Cancun, on an area of 7.5 kilometers (4,6 miles) long and an average of 500 meters (0.3 miles) wide, Isla Mujeres has much to offer. It has a hotel infrastructure with facilities from one to five stars, as well as interesting favorite boutique hotels for travelers with refined tastes.
The island offers restaurants specializing in international and regional cuisine, bars where you can listen to trova and island rhythms, beach clubs, marinas, swim with dolphins, turtle farm and a host of things to discover. Strolling through the center is to discover a pleasant main square, several craft shops, a cultural center and a picturesque church.
The most common means of transport are golf carts, which can be rented to walk along the whole island.
How to get to Isla Mujeres
By boat from the hotel zone of Cancun on the Embarcadero and from Puerto Juarez. The transfer lasts 15 to 20 minutes.
Things to do in Isla Mujeres
The aquatic activities in Isla Mujeres are adventures that are unparalleled from gliding on a sailboard or contemplating the beautiful coral landscapes while practicing snorkeling, to diving through the underwater paradises of El Garrafón National Park, the impressive cave of the sleeping sharks and the reefs of Farito, Islaché, and Manchones.
Beautiful white sand beaches surround the island, the largest is Playa Norte, where you can enjoy the sea breeze and relax or enjoy water sports by renting a kayak or boogie boards.
You can also practice fishing since the waters surrounding the island are rich in marine fauna and you can catch golden marlin, swordfish, wahoo, and barracuda. There are several international fishing tournaments throughout the year.
Places to visit in Isla Mujeres
The natural aquatic park is located 1,500 meters (0,9 miles) from the island. It is a small marine lighthouse that lies on a rocky area in the center of a spectacular reef where you can admire the marine fauna and the Virgin of El Farito, patron saint of fishermen who was submerged in 1966. Both fishermen and visitors pay tribute with flowers and coins. It is an excellent place for beginner divers and for snorkeling.
Located about 10 minutes by boat from Isla Mujeres, is 15 meters (49 feet) deep and extends approximately 2 km (1,2 miles) of beautiful coral landscapes. It has a rich marine life and houses the amazing Underwater Art Museum. This is the best place for divers of all levels and one of the favorite places to visit.
It is a beautiful and exceptional Sculpture Park, with a lighthouse and contemporary works of 23 sculptors from various countries, including Sebastian, Devin Laurence Field, Ingo Ronkholz and Omar Rayo. Also here is the shrine to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of fertility. There is a small restaurant where you can enjoy a fresh drink and a delicious meal.
Built by Fermín Antonio Mundaca and Marecheaga, a pirate and slave trader, for a beautiful "Trigueña" he fell in love with. It is located on the Garrafón road and you can walk through its pleasant shaded passages.
Cueva de los Tiburones Dormidos (Cave of the Sleeping Sharks)
30 minutes by boat from the island is located in a unique place in the world that has fascinated marine biologists around the world. In the cavities of the cave, there is a high concentration of oxygen that reduces salinity and thus the sharks do not need to move and can remain motionless for several hours. This amazing adventure is recommended for experienced divers since it is located at a depth of 20 to 30 meters (65 - 98 ft).
This natural park is a true earthly paradise of reefs, cliffs in the middle of the beautiful waters of the Caribbean. The park offers water activities such as kayaking and snorkeling, as well as adventure activities such as excursions, bicycle tours and flying over the turquoise waters by zip-line.
La Cruz de la Bahía
A bronze cross was placed on the Manchones reef as part of the celebration of the founding of the island (1857). The cross is 3 meters (9,8 feet) high, weighs almost a ton (2204 pounds) and is 12 meters (39 feet) deep; it is a tribute to the men and women who have died in the sea.
Separated from the coast of Mexico by a shallow lagoon that provides refuge to thousands of flamingos, pelicans and a wide diversity of marine life. It is an island, approximately 4.02 km (2,5 miles) long and 1.61 km (0.9 miles) wide. In its beaches, you can enjoy clear and shallow waters, ideal to collect seashells.
Isla Holbox has many rustic-style boutique hotels that accentuate the atmosphere of tranquillity that characterizes life on the island. There are accommodation centers defined as ecological that only use natural resources for their operation and that are distinguished by their personalized attention.
The island is a very quiet place, the means of transport are golf carts, motorcycles, and bicycles that can be rented. It is an ideal place to practice snorkeling, fly fishing, kayaking and kiteboarding. You can also enjoy typical dishes such as lobster and fresh seafood.
How to get to Isla Holbox
To get to Isla Holbox from Cancun there is a 2-hour trip to the town of Chiquilá, where boats leave for the island between 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Things to do in Isla Holbox
The main natural attractions of the area are the Yalahau lagoon and its famous eye of water, the Passion Island and the splendid Ensenada Beach.
Holbox is a privileged area to see up close the population of whale sharks whose best season is from May to September, diving with these huge sharks is something unforgettable.
Its beaches green sea turtles arrive to lay their eggs from August to October and the island is visited by flamingos from April to October. Local fishermen can take you to observe the dolphins in their natural habitat.
In February the island hosts the International Festival of Public Art, which offers local and international artists the space to create beautiful murals. In the month of November, the Holbox gastronomic festival takes place, showing the best of the island's cuisine.
Places to visit in Isla Holbox
Isla Pasión is a small island only 15 minutes by boat. Its beautiful beaches with palm trees are the natural habitat of various birds.
30 minutes from Holbox the islet is home to more than 155 species of birds, some seasonally and many are endangered, so there are two viewpoints and walkways in order to minimize direct contact with birds.
Yalahau is 30 minutes from Holbox. This waterhole is a large natural pool with a direct outlet to the sea. From a viewpoint, you can see the dolphins that arrive in the morning and during several months of the year, you can also see flamingos. In ancient times it was an important port for Mayan merchants and they are credited with rejuvenating qualities.
Cabo Catoche is another small island facing the waters of Holbox. With soft sand and a particular natural beauty, it is a great place to snorkel among colorful fish, dolphins and sea turtles.
Boca Church is located right where the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet. It is the place where the first Catholic church in Latin America was erected. The ruins, covered by vegetation, can be visited, although the road by land is somewhat difficult, it is recommended to arrive by boat.
Ekab can be reached by boat. It was a port in pre-Hispanic times, even in the colonial era it remained inhabited but was abandoned by the continuous incursions of the pirates.
TIP: On your way to Holbox you can visit Solferino, a Mayan village, and the Corchal near the Yum-Balam Biosphere Reserve. This region is an important wetland known for its cork trees, bromeliads and orchids.
Contoy is located 41 km (25 mi) north of Cancun, 30 km (19 mi) north of Isla Mujeres and is 8.5 kilometers (5.2 mi) long.
Isla Contoy National Park is the oldest Protected Natural Area of Quintana Roo. It has solar wind energy equipment, a museum, a research office with a laboratory, a visitor center, and two interpretive trails.
From its observation tower, you can enjoy the landscape of the island, the shelter of approximately 150 species of birds, 250 species of fish, 98 species of flora and three species of marine turtles.
The island allows ecotourism and regulated commercial fishing under supervision. Access to Isla Contoy is by sea leaving from Cancun, Puerto Juarez or Isla Mujeres. Visits are restricted, only 200 visitors per day are allowed.