Getting from Cancun to Isla Mujeres is incredibly easy. The “Island of Women” (that’s the translation of its name in English) is situated in the sweet spot where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean Sea.
Just over eight miles (13 kilometers) off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, and part of the state of Quintana Roo, the island – which has a population of just over 12,500 residents – is well connected and easy to reach. Since the 1970s, Isla Mujeres has been a popular place for tourists to enjoy a vacation surrounded by its beautiful atmosphere and landscape
Many will tell you that it’s a bit like a small scale Cancun, though compared to the largest city of Quintana Roo it’s retained a much more authentic local atmosphere. Which is why you should consider spending a few nights there! However, the island is very popular with day trippers, who come to explore for the day and enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving – the island’s reefs make up part of the sprawling Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest barrier in the reef in the world.
If you are looking for information on how to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, you are in luck! I have been there a few times and will show you all the available options. Before doing that, let me
Make sure to read my post The Best Things To Do In Isla Mujeres.
How To Get From Cancun To Isla Mujeres
There are a number of different ways to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. Depending on your budget and how much time you’ve got, one of the following ways of getting from the mainland to this sparkling island is bound to suit you.
Take the ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
Puerto Juarez Ferry
Run by a company called Ultramar, this high-speed ferry service shuttles passengers between Cancun and Isla Mujeres. It’s a quick way to get to the island, taking just 30 minutes. The company is well trusted – not only is the whole process pretty efficient, but it’s safe and they’re known for their high quality.
The boats are virtually luxurious – they come with air conditioning and Wi-Fi, plus you can even buy snacks onboard.
To catch this ferry, you need head to the Puerto Juarez Ferry Terminal – a modern, well-equipped building with toilets, eateries, and other facilities.
Prices are as follows:
Adult – MXN 190 ($9.5 USD)
Child – MXN 150 ($7.5 USD)
Adult – MXN 380 ($19 USD)
Child – MXN 300 ($15 USD)
Because this is a popular service (especially in high season), it’s a good idea to book your ticket in advance. You can check out the timetable and book your ride here.
Another option from Puerto Juarez is the Jetway Ferries. This service has been launched on July 15, 2021. A one way ticket costs MXN 175 ($8.8) for adults and MXN 140 ($7 USD) for children.
How to get to Puerto Juarez
You will find Puerto Juarez Ferry terminal 3.5 km (2.1 miles) from downtown Cancun. You can get there by taxi – it should not cost you more than MXN 100 (that’s $5 USD) – but make sure you agree on the price before you head off.
Alternatively, bus R1 runs from downtown and costs around MXN 20 ($1 USD). Make sure to let the driver know where you need to get off!
Punta Sam car ferry
If you want to visit Isla Mujeres, and you’ve got a rental car you want to take over with you to explore, then you’ll be pleased to know there’s a car ferry running from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, leaving from Punta Sam – which is close to the Puerto Juarez terminal. The service is run by Ultramar Carga.
The ride takes around 45 minutes, so it is a bit slower compared to other option. However, it’s also smoother and less rough than the quicker high-speed ferries.
Prices are as follows:
Passenger on foot: MXN 170 ($8.5 USD)
Regular car: MXN 400 ($20 USD)
Ferries depart from Punta Sam from Monday to Friday at 7:00 am; 11:30 am; 3:00 pm and 5:30 pm. On Saturdays they run at 7:00 am; 11:30 am and 4:00 pm; whereas on Sundays they run at 10:00 am; 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.
Isla Mujeres Ferry from Cancun Hotel Zone
If, like many visitors to Cancun, you are staying in the Hotel Zone (or Zona Hotelera), it’s still very easy to get to Isla Mujeres. In fact, there are several different ferry services leaving from different spots along the coast in this area.
It’s possible to pick up a ferry leaving to Isla Mujeres from Playa Tortugas or Playa Caracol. Ferries are run by Ultramar, so the service is just as good as that of ferries that leave from Puerto Juarez. However, rides are less frequent – but still plenty! There are 8 daily ferries from Playa Tortugas and 4 from Playa Caracol.
Ferries are a bit more expensive than those leaving from Puerto Juarez (but not so expensive to justify traveling all the way to Puerto Juarez to save money on the ride!), so it’s much more convenient to head to one of these two ferry terminals if you are staying in the Zona Hotelera. All you have to do is hop on a bus and tell them which of the departure points you’re heading to.The bus driver will tell you where to get off.
Prices are as follows:
Adult – MXN 300 ($15 USD)
Child – MXN 200 ($10 USD)
Adult – MXN 420 ($21 USD)
Child – MXN 300 ($15 USD)
Boat tours from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
You may not want to visit Isla Mujeres overnight – alternatively, you may not want to deal with the hassle of working out your own itinerary, what with all the ferry timetables to navigate. If that’s you, then don’t worry – there’s always the option of visiting Isla Mujeres via a tour.
In fact, tours can offer good value for money. That’s because the price of the tour will usually include the cost of transport from your accommodation to the ferry terminal, the boat trip itself, and travel around the island, as well as activities to boot, including snorkeling stops, and visiting beaches.
Not only that, but having everything planned out for you means you can have a relaxing day without needing to think about the details.
There is a selection of companies that take visitors on tours around Isla Mujeres. It’s best to shop around, as the quality and different styles of tour that you can get do vary – they range from all-out party boats, to more family-friendly affairs. They often have open bars and free food, meaning you can really sit back and relax.
Boat tours can cost anything between $45 and $80, depending on the activities involved and the duration.
For an all-inclusive catamaran tour from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, click here.
For a snorkel trip to Isla Mujeres, click here.
For a sunset cruise, click here.
If you really want to travel in luxury, then why not opt for your very own catamaran? You can lounge around in the sunshine as you set sail across the Caribbean Sea to the paradise island of Isla Mujeres.
These pretty stylish boats can be hired for the day, and come complete with an open bar so you can really let your hair down. It’s a great option for a family or a group of friends, or maybe a honeymooning couple.
Having your own private staff on board means you can stop whenever you feel like it, jump into the water and snorkel through coral reefs away from the tourist hotspots. It’s expensive, but alongside the open bar, there’s also food – plus, it’s worth it if you want a hassle-free trip.
Just make sure you choose a company that’s well reviewed and comes with good quality safety equipment on board. Note that this option can be much rougher and choppier than taking a larger ferry (not good if you get seasick).
A private catamaran costs around $720 USD for a group of up to 12 passengers – so that’s actually $60 USD per person if you are in that large of a group, and it doesn’t end up being much more expensive than a shared tour.
To book your private catamaran tour of Isla Mujeres, click here.
How to get from Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres
If you touchdown at Cancun Airport and you want to get straight to Isla Mujeres without even stopping in Cancun, then don’t worry. It’s definitely possible.
There are a variety of different transport options available for your smooth transfer, however the quickest and cheapest way is to get from the airport to Puerto Juarez. Then you can catch the ferry from the terminal.
The cheapest way to get from Cancun Airport to Puerto Juarez ferry terminal is by opting to use the ADO bus services. This reliable bus company may not have a direct route between the two, but instead runs from the airport to Downtown Cancun. From there, it’s relatively simple to pick up a connection to Puerto Juarez.
The bus to downtown Cancun runs every half an hour and costs MXN 98 (about $5 USD). From there, you can take an inexpensive colectivo or shared shuttle to Puerto Juarez. It may not be the option for everyone, but experienced backpackers will be fine with the connections.
This is the easiest way to get from the airport to Puerto Juarez. This is because there are no direct public transport links between the two. Driving from the airport to Puerto Juarez takes around 30 minutes.
Arranging for your own private airport transfer to the Puerto Juarez ferry terminal is easy and often cheaper than taking a taxi, especially if you are traveling in a group. Depending on how many of you are traveling, you may end up paying as little as $10 USD.
You can book your transfer ahead of time here.
You may also be able to find shared shuttles to take you from Cancun Airport to Puerto Juarez. These are normally cheaper than private transfers, but also slower as they will make several stops along the way to let passengers off – usually around the Hotel Zone.
How To Get Around Isla Mujeres
Once you’re on the island itself, getting around is pretty easy. The most popular and fun way to get around is by golf cart. Golf carts are easy to rent, with many companies offering the service. The cost of a regular (up to 4 passengers) golf cart rental for one day is around $50 USD; prices go down if you book by the week.
Scooters are also available for rent, and cheaper than the golf carts – that’s what I used to move around the first time I visited.
If you mainly just want to spend time kicking back at the beach, a taxi is probably more cost effective. Taxis can be picked up from the ferry terminal, and work if you just want to go to one destination on the island.
If you’re staying overnight, your hotel may have a private car service included in the price, which can shuttle you around the island. Or if you brought your rental vehicle over on the car ferry, that’ll be your mode of transport on Isla Mujeres instead.
Best Time To Visit Isla Mujeres
Although Isla Mujeres may seem like a paradise all year round, there are specific times of year that you may want to consider planning your trip for.
The beginning of the year (January through April) is often considered to be the best time to visit the island. Temperatures meet the mid-80s, and there’s less of a chance of rain than at other times of year.
May through September sees the most rain as well as some very high humidity – expect some sweaty nights if you’re planning your visit for this time of year.
November sees the Norte season, which brings strong winds from the north, and cooler temperatures. Hurricane season runs June to November, but the peak is during September and October.
If you’re looking to see dolphins and whale sharks (best spotted from Punta Sur) and swim with them, then you should aim to visit Isla Mujeres in July or August. Turtles are released between August and October.
If you are planning a trip to Mexico, make sure to read these other posts:
- A Fabulous Itinerary For A Trip To Mexico
- The Best Mexico Travel Tips
- How Not To Get Sick In Mexico
- The Best Day Trips From Cancun
- Where To Stay In Cancun