Caribbean Escape: Vacationing in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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Isla Mujeres is the kind of place that captures your heart and keeps you coming back for more. Just a stone’s throw from Cancún, Isla Mujeres offers the perfect escape from real life. Think turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and a chill vibe that’s hard to find elsewhere. 

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Until the late 20th century, Isla Mujeres was primarily a fishing village. The boom in tourism in nearby Cancún eventually spilled over, transforming the island into the travel destination it is today.  Many people vacationing in Cancún add an Isla Mujeres day trip to their itinerary.

Photo: Wander With Alex

High Season: December to April Expect sunny skies and warm temperatures, ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. It’s the dry season, so rain is rare. This is the most popular time to visit, so be prepared for more tourists and higher prices.

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Isla Mujeres is a diver’s paradise, thanks to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest coral reef system in the world.  You can also visit Manchones Reef, which is ideal for beginners, with a depth of 30 to 40 feet. Don’t miss the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA), an underwater museum featuring over 500 sculptures.

Photo: Wander With Alex

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

No trip to Isla Mujeres is complete without some quality beach time.  Here are the top beaches you should check out:  Playa Norte,  Playa Lancheros,  and Playa Sol.

Enjoy the Beaches

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About 30 km north of Isla Mujeres is Isla Contoy, a protected nature reserve home to various bird species. It’s a fantastic day trip for nature lovers. Visitor numbers are limited to protect the ecosystem, so you must book in advance.

Isla Contoy Day Trip

Photo: David Emrich

Swimming with whale sharks is a must-do if you visit between June and September. These gentle giants gather near the island, and several tour operators offer the chance to swim alongside them.

Swimming with Whale Sharks

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While you can easily rent a golf cart to explore the island at your own pace, some companies offer guided golf cart tours. These tours often include stops at lesser-known spots and offer insights into the island’s history and culture.

Golf Cart Island Tour

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Photo: jdross75/Shutterstock