Isla Mujeres On a Budget
The island has a tropical climate that is hot and humid throughout the year. The peak tourist season is during the winter months when the temperatures are at their coolest. During the summer, temperatures can climb over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you hope to see whale sharks, then this is the time to visit.
SightsThere are some great sights around the island, but some of the most popular are the turtle farm, Hacienda Mundaca, and Punta Sur. The turtle farm is a government sponsored hatchery for endangered sea turtles. It is possible to see young turtles in tanks. Hacienda Mundaca is a 19th century hacienda that was built by the pirate Fermin Mundaca. The area now has walls, arches, gardens, birds, cattle, and an orchard. Punta Sur is the small ruins of an old lighthouse and temple to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility.
NeighborhoodsIsla Mujeres's main town is compact and fun to walk around. There are restaurants that cater to both locals and tourists.
Two of the islands most popular beaches are Playa Norte and Playa Sol. Playa Norte is the most crowded and it has plenty of restaurants and hotels. It's a beautiful stretch of white sand on the north side of the island with a shallow blue beach. Playa Sol is adjacent to Playa Norte and is the best place to watch the sunset. It also stays slightly less crowded than Playa Norte during the day time.
ActivitiesThere is no shortage of activities around the island but some of the most popular and unique are the whale shark tours, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, and the dolphin discovery experience.
Whale shark tours run from mid-May through September, but the peak months are July and August. There are hundreds of whale sharks that gather in the waters around the island. It is best to go through an official operator that is regulated by the government. There are cheaper street vendors, but the quality and safety of the tour can not be confirmed.
Dolphin Discovery is a small amusement park that lets visitors interact and swim with dolphins.
If you want to stay on land, there is beach volleyball and a lovely town which you can explore.
Food and DiningMost of the island's restaurants are concentrated on Hidalgo Street. This is also where you'll find the most expensive restaurants as they tend to cater to tourists. For more affordable restaurants that cater to the locals, head to the center of the island. Beach restaurants are also abundant. The liveliest places are found around the ferry terminal.
Seafood is plentiful and not to be missed. Much of the food is served with either a Caribbean or Mexican slant. Ceviche is a popular dish, but the island's signature dish is Tik-n-chik. This is a whole fish that is marinated in achiote and then grilled.
TransportationThe most common way to reach Isla Mujeres is by boat. You can catch a ferry in Cancun at Puerto Juarez, Gran Puerto Cancun, or Playa Tortugas. They cost about seventy pesos for a one way trip. If the weather is poor, the ride may be rough, but generally you make good time. If money is not a concern it is possible to charter a flight to the island as well.
The island has a small, compact main town that is easy to walk around. You can pick up a taxi at the ferry terminal to the downtown area for 30 pesos. The island is about seven kilometers in length and the best way to explore it is to rent a scooter or golf cart. You will have to negotiate the price and assume about $25 a day as a starting price.