Isla Mujeres, Mexico: What We Did & Saw
Updated: Nov 13, 2018
The inside scoop of our day trip from Cancun, Mexico to Isla Mujeres.
The “island of women” as its translated to. Look up the pirate story to understand why. It's kinda funny, and sad, haha.
Tye and I wanted all day to explore this gorgeous island off the coast of Cancun. We were also going to swim with dolphins there! So we woke up fairly early at 7:00 am. A ferry port was close to our hotel location so we took a 30 minute walk to the port. The ferries come and go all day from sunrise to sunset. Maybe every half hour or so so you can just show up and wait for the next one to come along. Getting a ticket is really easy. Just walk right up to the service counter and let them know if you want a one way or round trip. Their English is great so don’t worry about if you don’t know any Spanish. We stood in line for maybe 10 minutes to wait for the next one to arrive. They are double decker ferries, with the main level being enclosed and the rooftop benches being open. It was still cool that morning so we decided to sit on the rooftop to enjoy the breeze. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue and it's fun to enjoy the bumps of the ocean like a ride as long as you don't get seasick. Fair warning - you will get splashed with water! The ferry ride to Isla is about 30 minutes and quite enjoyable. We even had a guitar player who was amazing playing for spare change.
After docking you quickly notice that Isla is full of good vibes! It's super relaxed and really chill. The first thing we did, and my number one recommendation is that you rent a golf cart. It's the best mode of transportation to see the island! We hoped in and started to zoom through the streets to see what was around. We decided we would head down to the south side of the island because that’s where our dolphin swim was.
We got to the dolphin cove where we checked in, put our stuff in a locker, and relaxed in some lawn chairs until our names were called. There are different levels of packages you can buy. The cheapest is just watching the dolphins and getting to touch them with your hands. Then you work your way up in pricing by the more elements you do with them. A dorsal fin pull, foot push, etc. We purchased a middle package to get a little more interaction with them. You are given a life jacket and follow your instructor to the section of the area where your dolphin is. Here you stand on a platform that is in the water so that the dolphins can come right up next to you. I liked this facility because we were actually in the ocean, not in a simulated pool. We had the amazing opportunity to swim with a dolphin named Thor. An experience I’ll never forget since its been on my bucket list since I was a little girl.
After our dolphin swim experience, we hopped back in to our golf cart to continue to explore the island. We then stumbled upon a small sea turtle sanctuary! Here you pay a small entry fee and then can see sea turtles at all stages of life. The have small wading pools for babies who were just hatched, adolescent turtles, pools for rehabbing turtles, and then large section of ocean blocked off for turtles that are near adulthood and ready to be released. It was only a couple bucks and a really cute way to spend an hour looking at all different types of turtles!
If you have time to kill, go to the southeast side of the island. This area has not yet been taken over by tourism and has a lot of open coast. It's much more rocky than a beach area, but they have all these interesting coves. Tye and I climbed down the rocks to the water and explored down there. It was really nice to not be surrounded by people and to find little rocks and seashells. Then you could find a nice place to sit and stare off into the ocean and feel the breeze.
It was getting passed noon so it was taco time for us. Drove around in our little cart, scouting out what we thought would be a nice place. At the northern point of the island there is a great restaurant with a beach front. We relaxed here for quite a while enjoying tacos, salsa, and of course margaritas. With there beachfront you could swim right in front of the restaurant with their private beach area. The water was warm and calm off this area of the island. We swam out little tails off, laid in the sun to dry off, and relaxed at the restaurant through the afternoon.
Another few whip arounds in the golf cart and our day was coming to a close. We returned the cart and got back in line to wait for a ferry back to the mainland. We were tired and hot from our afternoon festivities so we welcomed the chance to sit in the main enclosed level of the ferry where it was air conditioned. We actually both fell asleep from the rocks of the waves, but before it felt like we had even shut our eyes, we were back in Cancun.
In summary, Isla Mujeres was stunningly gorgeous, relaxing, exhilarating, and a great change of pace from the busy city of Cancun.