Isla Mujeres is one of my favorite destinations in Mexico. It’s an island off the coast of Cancun, that you take a ferry to get to. Downtown, known as El Centro, is very walkable and is where a high concentration of restaurants and bars are. It is also near North Beach (Playa Norte), which has been recognized as one of the best beaches in the world.
You likely want to stay in this area if it is your first time visiting the island. But there is so much more to the island than this area. If you go explore, then you will find some of the best restaurants on Isla Mujeres, great bars, and a beautiful view at Punta Sur.
So… Please leave downtown and explore all of Isla Mujeres!
This post is about great places to go visit around the island, but also check out my other posts:
Table of Contents
How to Get Around Isla Mujeres
While there are places that rent bikes, I don’t recommend them to go to the south part of the island. Isla Mujeres is approximately 5 miles long and there are three common ways to explore the island.
- Take a Taxi
- By Bus
- Rent a Golf Cart
- Take a Guided Tour
Taking Taxis on Isla Mujeres
Taxis can be a great way to get around the island if you are planning on going to maybe one area or place and then back. The main taxi station is located beside the ferry terminal and rates should cost you 150 pesos down to the south part of the island (Punta Sur, Sac Bajo, etc).
However, it is very important to always confirm the price before you get in the taxi!
While not every taxi driver will do it, there have been many instances where the driver will get to where you are going and then try to charge an exorbitant rate.
If you are elsewhere on the island you can often flag taxis down during the day (especially in El Centro) or I recommend having a Spanish speaker call one for you. Most bars and restaurants will gladly assist with this.
If you find a taxi driver you like, then you can also hire them at an hourly rate of around 400 pesos/hr to drive you around.
Getting Around by Bus
There is also a local bus called Isleño Bus that is actually quite simple once you are familiar with the island. The bus stops in El Centro are near Playa Norte and next to the ferry and you can take the bus all the way down to Punta Sur or to Sac Bajo with stops along the way. The price is currently 20 pesos per person, or you can purchase an all-day pass for 180 pesos. Their website isn’t updated often, but you can find more up to date info on their Instagram account.
Renting Golf Carts on Isla Mujeres
The most convenient way to explore the island is by renting a golf cart for the day. This allows you to explore the island and make as many stops as you want on your own time.
You will find many golf cart rental places around El Centro, but Ciro’s is one of the most popular and has a good reputation. But Indios, Gomar, and Joaquin are all nearby as well.
I have found that prices are typically quite similar. So, it’s up to you if you want to shop around to save a few dollars or not. As of right now in 2024, prices in high season are around $1500-$1800 pesos per day, or around $85 at the current exchange rate. You might find cheaper in the off season. I do recommend you get to a golf cart rental company early in the day though during busy season, ideally by 9am but certainly by 10am as they often sell out.
Although they offer 1-hour rentals for much cheaper, this is very unlikely to be worth it. It takes roughly 20 minutes to drive from the north end of the island to Punta Sur without any stops and so one hour isn’t enough time to do much of anything. They also offer “daytime” rentals where you have to return it by 5 or 6pm, but the 24-hour price won’t be that much more. Larger 6-person golf carts are also available for a higher cost.
Note about Bar Hopping with a Golf Cart: There is zero tolerance policy regarding alcohol while driving a golf cart. If you are going to bar hop, I suggest you have someone as a designated driver.
There are two very popular tours to take on Isla Mujeres.
Isla Driver Robby: Robby and his team will take you on a private tour around the island by golf cart. He will show you some places you might not find on your own, but also is flexible so you can go where you’d like and don’t have to be beholden to a schedule. Facebook
Cultura Cruisers: They offer bicycle, walking, or golf cart tours with a focus on the local food and culture. I highly recommend this tour. culturacruisers.com
Top Sights on Isla Mujeres
Explore Punta Sur
One of the best reasons to rent a golf cart for the day is to drive to the southernmost tip of the island, called Punta Sur (translated as “South Point”). Locals and frequent visitors will say that sunrise is the best time to come as its beautiful and peaceful. I haven’t made it for sunrise yet, and likely never will because that happens super early in the morning. But I have been for sunset, and even though there are more people there it’s still a great view. You can walk down pathways at the end and watch the waves crash into the rocks. There is also a small restaurant as well as some shops and several food carts. There isn’t much shade, so on a sunny day don’t forget the sunblock!
Daytime Activities on Isla Mujeres
Spend the Day Swimming at Kin Ha
Kin Ha is typically classified as a beach club, despite having no beach. What it does have though, is a dock lined with lounge chairs and a three-level pool. The adults only pool has a swim up bar and the kids pool has a small waterslide. You can walk out on the dock where you can jump into the ocean using the rope swing, bounce on the water trampoline, or enjoy water sports like snorkeling and paddle boarding.
While the food isn’t as fancy as some of the top restaurants, it has gotten much better and even a great spot for weekend brunch. This is one of my favorite places to hang out for the day. It’s also open the later than most other beach clubs and bars on the south part of the island (places outside of downtown close quite early).
Despite not having a beach, Kin Ha is absolutely one of the best beach clubs on Isla Mujeres.
Best Restaurants to Visit
Breakfast at Mango Cafe
If you are looking for the best breakfast on Isla Mujeres, then you should try Mango Cafe. My favorite dish is the stuffed poblano pepper with egg, onion, bacon, and cheese. The coconut French toast is also very popular for breakfast here. They also have different flavors of mimosas, such as watermelon, hibiscus, and mango. Make sure to make this one of your breakfast spots on the island.
Try Mayan Tikin Xic for Lunch at Playa Lancheros
Tikin Xic, (pronounced “teek-in sheek”) is a Yucatan style whole white fish marinated with adobo de achiote and sour oranges. It is historically wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked in a pit beneath a wood fire. However, these days it is often butterflied and cooked in a grill basket for easier cooking.
One of the restaurants in Isla Mujeres that serves this fantastic style of fish is Playa Lancheros. It’s right on the beach, towards the south end of the island. It can take 40 minutes or so to cook, so you have some time to enjoy drinks on the beach, or even a swim while you wait.
Dinner at Limon
It’s rarely wise to label something as “the best.” It’s subjective. Plus is this label based on best price? Most authentic? Best value? Quality of food regardless of price?
With that said… Limon is probably the most acclaimed and often considered to be the best restaurant on Isla Mujeres. I cannot disagree.
Chef Sergio Contreras Martínez was born in Mexico and raised with traditional Mexican dishes. But when he began to travel the world later in life, he fell in love with the cuisines of Japan, Thailand, India, Britain, and other places he visited. He began creating recipes that were influenced from all these places. And when he opened Limon in 2012, he brought these dishes to life.
Prices are on the more expensive side for Isla Mujeres, and you will find he has a focus on grilled meats and seafood that he grills outside for you to watch. In fact, he refers to himself as The Grill Master rather than Chef.
Tips: Limon is a cash only establishment, so hit up the ATM before dinner. Also, if you would like to order lobster, you should call ahead to ensure the availability. Reservations required.
Alternative: Rosa Sirena’s Restaurant and Rooftop Palapa Bar is also guaranteed to be one of your favorite dinners on Isla Mujeres. Enjoy casual dining with craft cocktails and live music on their rooftop. Location
The Best Bars for Bar Hopping
Grab a Frozen Mojito at The Joint
Down near Punta Sur on the south side of the island, you can find one of the best bars in Isla Mujeres. The Joint is a reggae bar with live music and both Mexican and Caribbean food. But one of my favorite things on a hot day in Mexico, are their frozen mojitos. In addition to what they refer to as their “legendary frozen mojito” they also have specialty flavors that include: coconut, tropical mango, orange-cilantro, cucumber, mixed berry, and ginger-mint. The frozen mojito at The Joint is one of the most famous cocktails on Isla Mujeres.
Buy Local Beer at La Isla Brewing Co
Just around the corner from Mango Cafe is the island’s only brewery, La Isla Brewery. If you stop in they will give you tastings of their beers. They bottle Blonde Ale, IPA, Double IPA, Rum & Vanilla Porter, Ginger Beer (gluten free), and my favorite, their hibiscus beer. You may notice that I seem to like many things hibiscus (known as Jamaica in Mexico), but part of the attraction is that it isn’t as common where I’m from in the U.S. and so I like to take advantage of trying new things. Plus, I can order Dos Equis or Corona anywhere. You can mix and match six-packs to go, so there’s no need no choose just one.
Stop for a Margarita at Soggy Peso
The most famous cocktail on Isla Mujeres is easily the margarita at Soggy Peso.
You always need one final stop before heading home. And the Soggy Peso is great place for a final stop. Their margaritas are known to be the strongest on the island, yet surprisingly good. This is 20-minute walk from downtown, or quick cab ride. It resembles a tiki bar, or perhaps a bar found in the Florida Keys that is tucked away in the trees. Its westward facing, so it’s a great spot for sunset. Soggy Peso is consistently named as one of the favorite bars on the island among tourists and ex pats.
Other Great Places to Go
Aquatic Funday Park: Great place to bring the kids for the day, with waterslides. I probably wouldn’t book this as a daytrip from Cancun, but if you are staying on the island for several days with children then I think it’s a great activity for one of your days. Entrance is currently around $43 (sometimes there are discounts for cheaper) which gets you access to the waterslides, beach chairs, and food.
El Borracho Burro Cantina: Located across from Kin Ha, they have live music, cornhole, and a great bar vibe.
Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA): Go Scuba diving, snorkeling, or take a tour on a glass bottom boat to see nearly 500 underwater sculptures