How To Get From Cancun To Isla Mujeres

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 one reason 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.

Make sure to read my post The Best Things To Do In Isla Mujeres.

Isla Mujeres Mexico

How To Get From Cancun To Isla Mujeres

There are a number of different ways of getting 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 from Cancun to Isla Mujeres shuttles passengers in a comfortable, high-end ferry. It’s a quick way to get to the island, with the boat ride to Isla Mujeres from Cancun taking just 30 minutes.

Additionally, there are many departures throughout the day, starting at 5:30 am until 11:00 pm. The company is well trusted – the trip is 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.

The main port is the Puerto Juarez Ferry Terminal – a modern, well-equipped building with toilets, eateries, and other facilities. But Ultramar also operates from Playa Tortugas and Playa Caracol, with more limited operation times.

You can buy your tickets either on the Ultramar website or at the port.

Prices for Ultramar from the main port are as follows:

One way:
Adult – MXN 270 ($15.95 USD)
Child – MXN 200 ($11.82 USD)

Round trip:
Adult – MXN 540 ($31.90 USD)
Child – MXN 400 ($23.63 USD)

Because this is a popular service (especially in high season), it’s a good idea to book your ticket in advance.

Another option from Puerto Juarez is the Jetway Ferries.

This service launched on July 15, 2021. A one-way ticket costs MXN 240 ($14.19 USD) for adults and MXN 190 ($11.23 USD) for children. A round-trip ticket for adults is MXN 450 ($26.60 USD), and for children, it is MXN 350 ($20.68 USD).

How to get to Puerto Juarez

You will find the Puerto Juarez Ferry terminal 3.5 km (2.1 miles) from downtown Cancun. You can get there by taxi – it shouldn’t cost you more than MXN 120 (that’s around $7 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!

Isla Mujeres

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 to Isla Mujeres from Cancun, 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 options. However, it’s also smoother and less rough than the quicker high-speed ferries.

Prices are as follows:

Passenger on foot: MXN 230 ($13.60 USD)

Regular car: MXN 440 ($26.01 USD)

Ferries depart from Punta Sam from Monday to Friday at 7:00 am, 10:30 am, 2:00 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, 1:00 pm, and 5:00 pm.

isla Mujeres

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 Cancun to Isla Mujeres ferry leaving from Playa Tortugas or Playa Caracol. Ferries are run by Ultramar, so the service is just as good as that of ferries that leave Puerto Juarez. However, rides are less frequent – but still plenty!

There are 9 daily ferries from Playa Tortugas (the first one runs at 9:00 am and the last one at 5:45 pm) and 7 from Playa Caracol (the first one is at 10:30 am and the last one at 5:30 pm).

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:

One way:
Adult – MXN 270 ($15.96 USD)
Child – MXN 200 ($11.82 USD)

Round trip:
Adult – MXN 540 ($31.92 USD)
Child – MXN 400 ($23.65 USD)

Punta Sur Isla Mujeres

Boat tours from Cancun to Isla Mujeres

You might not want to deal with the hassle of the ferry. Or maybe you only want to visit Isla Mujeres for a quick day trip.

If that’s you, then don’t worry – there are a few other options for transportation from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. One of the best options for visiting Isla Mujeres is 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 the tour that you can get 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 $30 and $80, depending on the activities involved and the duration.

Cancun: Isla Mujeres Catamaran Tour with Lunch and Open Bar – the most popular option, it’s also very budget-friendly.

Isla Mujeres Sunset Catamaran Tour From Cancun – a more expensive option, but the experience is significantly more intimate.

For a snorkel trip to Isla Mujeres, click here.

Isla Mujeres

Private catamaran

If you really want to travel from Cancun to Isla Mujeres 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 $800 USD for a group of up to 12 passengers – so that’s actually $67 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.

Ixchel Temple

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 Cancun to Isla Mujeres ferry from the terminal.

Unfortunately, there are no buses that will take you from Cancun Airport to Puerto Juarez ferry terminal (there used to be an ADO service, but it’s been terminated). So you’ll have to opt for a taxi or a private transfer.

ADO bus

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 120 (about $7 USD), though there are occasional cheaper fares for odd traveling hours.

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.

Isla Mujeres

Private transfer

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 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.

You can book your private transfer from the airport to the city via Welcome Pickups here.

things to do in Isla Mujeres Mexico

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 $80 USD; prices go down if you book by the week.

Scooters are also available for rent and cheaper than 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 the 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 from 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.

Further Readings

If you are planning a trip to Mexico, make sure to read these other posts:

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