If Cancun provides a world famous beachfront escape for families, couples and solo travelers, then Isla Mujeres provides an island escape from Cancun.
The quaint island paradise (5 miles long, and half a mile wide at its widest point) is well known for its beautiful beaches – Playa Norte was once again named in the Top 10 of the most popular beaches on the planet – and the friendly disposition of its inhabitants. For such an idyllic paradise however, there sure are a lot of things to do when you get there.
Wander and Explore
Isla Mujeres is known for its super-relaxed vibe and colorful daily life, making it the perfect place to stroll about discovering the local culture.
At the northern, port-end of the island you can peruse countless street food stands, local markets, and family-owned restaurants where you can find an authentic island experience.
Enjoy Fresh Seafood
Isla Mujeres is dotted with seafood restaurants, so finding a nice oceanfront restaurant to enjoy locally-caught, fresh seafood is a cinch. Of course, Isla Mujeres Palace guests won’t have leave their resort to enjoy the best the ocean offers. The outdoor La Cevichería restaurant overlooking the Caribbean boasts a menu that features Ensenada-style fish tacos, Leche de Tigre, ceviche and other fresh dishes from the sea.
Take a Dive
Whether you’re an amateur or seasoned diver, Isla Mujeres has the dive site for you. Towards the north and east of the island – the side facing Cancun – you have large coral heads scattered about in quite shallow waters no more than 45 feet in depth with hardly any currents – perfect for a family dive trip.
In the waters between Cancun and the island is also MUSA, the underwater museum consisting of over 500 permanent life-size sculptures by English artist Jason deCaires Taylor. An innovative project that makes a statement about the effects of climate change on our oceans and reef systems, the sculptures change overtime as coral grows and marine life establishes itself.
Being just around 5 miles long, Isla Mujeres is easy to navigate with a main road that will take you around the entire island, making bicycles and golf carts popular modes of transportation.
So, grab a rental from one of the many vendors in town and spend the day whizzing around the island taking in all of the local sights.
Swim with Whale Sharks
One of the most unique (and probably coolest) things to do in Isla Mujeres is the opportunity to take a dip with the gentle giants known as whale sharks.
Between May and September, these large, yet harmless, fish hang out in the warm waters between Isla Mujeres and nearby Isla Holbox - and yes - you can actually swim with them as they glide close to the surface during their annual aggregation.
Party Like a Local
For a night out in Isla Mujeres, head to the center of town (known as the Zocalo) and join in celebrations, dances, and events with locals and tourists alike sharing in the celebrations.
Aside from getting your party on in the town square, you can also indulge in local Mexican fare from the vendors lining the park, as well as pick up souvenirs from local artists.
Visit the Turtle Farm
During your jaunt to Isla Mujeres, get in touch with the local wildlife with a stop by the local Turtle Farm (La Tortugranja) to see baby sea turtles and other marine life.
If you’re inspired by the visit, and are a Palace Resort guest, make sure to participate in a turtle release program held in the late summer and early fall where humans help newly-hatched sea turtles make their way to the sea.
Lounge on One of the Most Beautiful Beaches in the World
What’s any trip to Mexico without a little sand and surf action? Not much, especially when one of those beaches is among the most popular in the world according to TripAdvisor.
One of the most unforgettable spots in Isla Mujeres, the beautiful beach known as Playa Norte is an excellent place to spend the day relaxing in a hammock or in the warm and shallow water, perfect for splashing around with your loved one.
A Snorkeling Paradise
To enjoy some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Isla Mujeres area, a stop at Garrafon National Park is a must.
If diving into the deep blue sea isn’t your thing, you can also kayak, zipline and hike in this natural paradise.
Or, if you are staying at Isla Mujeres Palace, you can simply grab a mask and snorkel from the hotel and wade into the clear turquoise waters and enjoy a plethora of sea life.
Check Out Punta Sur
No list about what to do when in Isla Mujeres would be complete without a nod to Punta Sur, the southern-most point on the island.
Whether its enjoying the modern along a winding path that leads to the southern tip of the island, gazing at hidden beaches that lay dramatically underneath picturesque cliffs, or taking in and exploring the ruins of the ancient temple to Mayan Goddess Ixchel, a trip to Punta Sur is one not to miss.