Isla Mujeres is a tiny island located just off the coast of Cancun in Mexico.
It’s where you go to soak up the sun, chill out on the gorgeous beaches, take in the bright blue water, and basically live your best island life.
Most of the things to do in Isla Mujeres involve the beach, the ocean and properly chilling out.
Things to do in Isla Mujeres
Here are five things to do in Isla Mujeres:
1. Beach Volleyball
Isla Mujeres has several fine stretches of beach. The northern end of the island is Playa Norte which has a wide swatch of sand that is lined with palm trees and also a few beachfront restaurants and bars.
The soft white sand and level beach area make for an ideal beach volleyball court. The main volleyball-playing area on Playa Norte in front of Buho’s swing bar is now gone, a victim of changing tides and a diminishing beach which locals attribute to the moving of sand from the surrounding ocean floor to build back Wilma-damaged Cancun’s beaches.
Alas, the big, beautiful pre-Wilma Playa Norte is no longer, though there is hope that it will eventually come back.
2. Garrafon Park
Garrafon Park on the southern side of the island lacks a sandy beach but offers snorkeling where fish abound and the crystal clear water makes for an enjoyable swim. The reef that lies within the protective buoys has been severely damaged by storms and years of careless treatment by snorkelers, but a revamp of the park several years ago has created a healthier environment for the coral, and it thrives more with each passing year.
Entrance to the park is expensive. Tour boats from Cancun bring hordes of day-trippers who mostly stay within the park, so it can become quite crowded during the peak of the day.
3. Dolphin Discovery
In the northwest side of the island on the Peninsula of Sac Bajo is Dolphin Discovery. It is a small amusement park with cabins in other pasts of the Caribbean (including Cozumel) well known for allowing visitors to interact and swim with dolphins in an enclosed area.
The park has a list of activities ranging from dolphins to other marine mammals. If traveling from Cancun, visitors can take a bus or taxi to Playa Langosta which is located at Boulevard Kukulcan Km. 5. It is between the Casa Maya Hotel and Vacation Club International. There, Dolphin Discovery representatives can check visitors in and direct them to a ferry which takes 40 minutes to get to the docking area of Dolphin Discovery
4. Scuba diving
The scuba diving and snorkeling around Isla Mujeres is unforgettable. The Manchones Reef begins just off of Isla’s shore and the Cuevones and Banderas Reefs are close by. The waters are calm and clear – perfect for the beginner as well as the advanced diver. This is one of the top things to do in Isla Mujeres.
5. Explore the the town and townsfolk
Do NOT stay on Isla Mujeres if you insist on a corporate, highly structured vacation. The tourists are the visitors on the townsfolk’s turf, and it truly helps to have a little Spanish language ability.
Do not be afraid to eat the food, even from the very small and humble-looking restaurants. For instance, for 5 bucks American you can get a half roasted chicken (skin crispy and marinated in Achiote), beans, rice, home pickled peppers and carrots, pickled onions, and a stack of tortillas–more than 3 or 4 people can eat.
If you go in late spring through summer, stay on the northeast coast. Even though it’s rocky and not swimmable, the refreshing and constant breezes off the ocean keep that side of the island nice and balmy.
The town has a fair-sized population of dogs and cats running loose. If you eat on Hildalgo St. (the main drag closed to traffic), you will find many restaurants, and most folks sit outside in warm weather, and the puppies and kitties discreetly position themselves for the occasional dropped morsel. Don’t let them upset you.
The whole town is very laid back, and if one goes with the flow, it works well. If you treat the local folks with respect, you will be treated in kind.