If you’re going to be in the Quinita Roo area by Cancun/Playa Del Carmen I definitely recommend taking half a day to visit Isla Mujeres. To get to the island I took a taxi to Puerto Juarez and let the driver know I was going to Isla Mujeres. Once I arrived I waited on line for about 25/30 minutes to buy the tickets for the ferry. I arrived before 11AM thinking I’d be beating the tourist rush, but the line indicated otherwise. Thankfully the lines only look intimidating but hobby pretty quickly.
Once the tickets were bought I waited for two of my friends to arrive so we could head to the island together, the ride on the ferry was about 15-20 minutes. Upon arrival we were approached by swarms of workers offering different tours/rentals. I planned to do as much as I could on the island but my two friends only had until 3PM (as they had a flight to catch) so I was comfortable doing what they wanted to do first. We were offered a tour that would be about 3 hours for 350MXN (about $21USD) that would give us a tour of part of the island, include snorkeling and a picture with a shark. However, they wanted to try and see more of the island so we turned down the tour and when on a search for a golf cart.
Golf carts are often difficult to find when you go later and in various places the last one was rented to the people right before us. We were sometimes giving up hope and wishing we did the tour. Almost an hour later we were still searching and some places were saying to go back at 4 or even 7PM. We couldn’t settle for another form of transportation because my friends had all their luggage so to help the time pass we got coconut waters. Then we decided to look into more remote places instead of the main streets and were lucky enough to find a place where one was just returned. The reason they’re so hard to get is because many times people will rent them for an hour but continue to cruise around and keep it much longer, sometimes paying the different upon return other times getting away with having kept it. After being on the island all day my best advice is to start by wander off the street by the port and walk a bit before searching for a golf cart.
Once we got the golf cart our first stop was the colorful Isla Mujeres sign, we took some pictures in front of it as well as admired the artwork nearby. I found it interesting to see the artwork piece with “Pura Vida” written across, something I heard after every other word in Costa Rica but not once since arriving in Mexico.
My friends and I had something to eat and then continued to tour around the island a bit which had one side with fuller beaches – both by people and restaurants while the other side seem more desolate but with great views of the water and rim of the island. At around 3PM I dropped my friends off at the main port and went to return the golf cart – it seemed a little too big for me to be riding around alone.
Like I only had a book bag I thought it would be more practical to get either a moped or bicycle. At first I asked for a moped but some places said they required a moped license, I did find places that would’ve let me take one without it but given that I’ve pretty much never ridden a motorcycle and I was alone I decided it would be in my best interest to stick to a bicycle (which I’m no expert in riding either given that I just learned 2 years ago).
The view points from the island were beautiful, feeling the calm breeze as I was pedaling by the water was amazing. The island is a perfect place to get away and reflect or to plan a getaway with a significant other. Also, as you get further into the island you slip away from most of the tourists and see how the people on the island actually live. The island is colorful with art and different houses, there were areas I saw rented out for kids parties and lots of spaces under construction.
I didn’t end up doing the tour they told us about when we first arrived on the island but felt I had done enough for that not to bother me. Instead I met up with some friends and hung out a bit before heading out to Playa Del Carmen
1. Taxi from ADO Cancun Centro terminal to Puerto Juarez 40MXN, bus on R-1 (from any where it stops) 10.50MXN
2. Each roundtrip ferry ticket 300MXN
3. Rented travel options: Golf cart 250MXN, Bicycle 100MXN each per hour – there are also motorcycles and taxis available
4. Food: about 150MXN, the total bill for my friends and I was 694MXN