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Is Isla Mujeres Worth Visiting?

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If you’ve found your way here then you are most likely thinking about visiting Isla Mujeres in Mexico but you’re not really sure if it’s worth the fuss and wondering is Isla Mujeres worth visiting?

After Amy spent a good few months backpacking in Mexico, she spent most of her time in Isla Mujeres so that should be the short answer for you.

Multi-coloured steps in Isla Mujeres. This is a prime spot for people to take pretty Instagrammable spots.

It is a truly stunning location with beautiful beaches, plenty of opportunities for diving and a quirky old town. Amy actually began diving in Isla Mujeres and obtained her PADI there so it has become a really special place for her.

However, like any destination, there are pros and cons to visiting. Just because Amy thought that Isla Mujeres was worth it doesn’t mean that you will feel the same.

You can get to Isla Mujeres by taking the ferry from Cancun to the island so it is very easy to get there. Also, as Cancun can be very busy and at times quite heavy, taking a trip to Isla Mujeres is a nice little break to escape the hustle and bustle a little.

In this guide, you will find lists of pros and cons to visiting Isla Mujeres so that you can make your own mind up and decide if visiting the island is worth your time.

Pros to Visiting Isla Mujeres

1. Beautiful Beaches

One of the main reasons that tourists flock from all over the world to the beautiful Isla Mujeres is to sunbathe on the stunning beaches.

In particular one of the most popular beaches on the island is Playa Norte (North Beach). Depending on the season, you will find that this beach attracts a lot of spring breakers looking for a beach party.

Playa Norte Beach with one of the beautiful palm trees.

There are plenty of beach bars and we recommend heading to Green Demon for an awesome party. This part of Playa Norte is close to what the locals called 420 beach. This is one of the few areas where you won’t need to pay for a sunlounger and you can just plunk down a towel and enjoy the beauty of the beach.

Before leaving Isla Mujeres, you have to spend some time at this beach because it really is worth visiting even if you’re not interested in partying.

2. Cute Old Town

Old town in Isla Mujeres

Wandering through the old town in Isla Mujeres you will feel right at home straight away. It is a really cosy area with plenty of shops, restaurants, bars and atmosphere to match.

At night, the streets will all be lit up and you’ll get to see Isla Mujeres really come alive. If you’re lucky, you will also get to see some of the street performers as well whilst you’re enjoying your dinner.

If you’re staying on the island for a few days then you will want to try out some of the bars and restaurants in the town. For anyone looking to enjoy some nightlife in Isla Mujeres, the karaoke nights at Isla Mujeres is a really good night in particular.

Alternatively, if you would prefer a more chilled out vibe, the live music at El Patio is an incredible experience. You can look out at the town of Isla Mujeres from the rooftop whilst listening to some beautiful covers.

Filled with vibrant colours, it is really difficult not to fall in love with Isla Mujeres town to be honest. Whether you’re stopping for a drink, some food or shopping for souvenirs, there are plenty of things to look at as you stroll through the town.

3. Diving Opportunities

One of the main reasons that Amy decided to visit Isla Mujeres was to learn to scuba dive somewhere unique. She managed to get her PADI in Isla Mujeres and tick that off the bucket list.

There are plenty of diving opportunities in Isla Mujeres whether you’re brand new, an open-water PADI diver or advanced, Isla Mujeres is one of the best places to go scuba diving.

Not to mention that there are plenty of incredible dive sites in Isla Mujeres that are incredible no matter what level of diving you’re at.

Open-water diving books to help learn diving.

Depending on what time of year you’re visiting Isla Mujeres will vary on what marine life you will get to see. However, generally you can expect to see turtles, manta rays, sting rays, eels and lots of tropical fish.

4. Swimming with the Whale Sharks

One of the main highlights of visiting Isla Mujeres is snorkelling with whale sharks. This is an experience unlike any other and one that you certainly need to tick off your bucket list.

You can swim with whale sharks in quite a few different locations across Mexico but Isla Mujeres is an epic place to do it when you take on board the other reasons to visit too.

Whale Shark in Isla Mujeres feeding from the plankton at the top of the water surface.

Whale shark season tends to be between June – September so if you’re visiting Isla Mujeres around this time then you need to make sure that you get this tour booked.

When you’re swimming with the whale sharks in Isla Mujeres one of the things you need to be careful of is their tails in particular. You will be surprised how quickly they move so keep a safe distance and don’t let their tail catch you. Even though whale sharks are harmless to humans, trust us when we say that their tail whipping you is the last thing you’ll want.

This is an ultimate experience unlike any other and one of the best reasons to visit Isla Mujeres. If you’re planning to do this activity then you may want to spend a few days in Isla Mujeres so that you can have time to sightsee too.

5. Some of the Best Tacos in Mexico

We worked out that whilst Amy was in Isla Mujeres she ate around 600 tacos which works out to around 6-7 tacos a day! Yep, that’s right, nearly 600 tacos in 6 months from all different vendors.

Some of the best tacos in Isla Mujeres is at Taqueria Mafia. This image shows them preparing the delicious tacos so if you're wondering is Isla Mujeres worth visiting then going for the tacos alone is the best reason.

It is safe to say that Amy’s tastebuds became really accustomed to good tacos when she found them. Isla Mujeres is where she found the ultimate tacos that could not be matched anywhere else and even now her mouth waters for a taste of them again.

Near the basketball courts, you will find a small street food taco stall that has unbelievable tacos. Served with pineapple, you need to sample these al pastor tacos before you leave the island.

We’ve popped a little map below so that you can find them but in Amy’s opinion they are some of the best tacos she has ever had.

6. Sea-weed Free

If you’ve spent any time in Mexico before then you may be aware that over the years seaweed has become a little bit of a problem along the coastline.

The seaweed moves along the current and ends up on a lot of the beaches in Mexico and other areas of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, it can be quite smelly and unsightly especially around July and August time.

However, some areas of Mexico have been able to prevent the issues of sea-weed and thankfully Mexico is one of them. Different measures have been put in place and you’ll be pleased to know that Isla Mujeres is Sargassum sea-weed free.

This means that you can enjoy the stunning beaches in Isla Mujeres without the hassle or smell of the sea-weed.

Rocky beach in Isla Mujeres.

7. Very safe

If you’re travelling solo in Mexico then you’ll be happy to know that Isla Mujers is an incredibly safe location with little issues.

The crime rate in Isla Mujeres is very low so tourists can enjoy the island worry-free. Just like any destination you visit, there are going to be some things you need to be careful of in Isla Mujeres.

No matter where you visit, we would recommend watching out for pickpockets and not flashing your cash around but that is just general advice for wherever you’re travelling.

The island is a very safe place to visit and you will feel like you’re in a little bubble which is the perfect way to spend a vacation.

Cons to Visiting Isla Mujeres

1. Can be Touristy

As Isla Mujeres is located just off the coast of Cancun, it does attract a lot of tourists. For this reason, during peak seasons, it can get very busy and you won’t get to experience traditional Mexico.

Swimming pool at one of the hotels Amy stayed at.

For some people, this may not be a con to visiting Isla Mujeres at all and this may be exactly what you’re looking for. You will find that especially during Spring Break that this is a popular vacation spot for Americans.

In order to avoid that, we recommend visiting Isla Mujeres just outside of the peak seasons so that you can enjoy some peace and quiet.

2. Small Island

Isla Mujeres is only a small island with only 4.3 miles long which can be quite limiting for some travellers that prefer to explore large cities.

If you’re not looking for a relaxing vacation then you may only want to spend 2 days or so in Isla Mujeres. As there are only a few sights to see on the island, once you’ve seen them, you’ve seen them.

Therefore, if you’re not planning to spend a few days on the beach or do some diving, you may find that the island is a little too small for you.

3. Limited Attractions

Similar to the last disadvantage of visiting Isla Mujeres is that as the island is quite small, there are limited attractions for you to visit.

Once you’ve explore the old town, done a few boat tours and wandered to Punta Sur, you may find that it is a little limiting if you’re the kind of traveller that needs to be constantly on the go.

Beautiful church in Isla Mujeres

4. Not authentic Mexico

As we mentioned, Isla Mujeres is a little bit touristy especially during peak seasons so if you’re hoping to visit and see the real side of Mexico then this isn’t the island for you. This is the same for if you were wondering if Cancun is worth visiting too.

Don’t get us wrong, there is a lot more authenticity in Isla Mujeres than you would experience in Tulum or Cancun but it is nowhere near the real traditional Mexico.

With that in mind, it is still a beautiful island and as long as you’re prepared that your experience won’t be as authentic, you will have an incredible time.

Our Verdict: Is Isla Mujeres Worth Visiting?

Beach party from Green Demon.

You came here to find out if Isla Mujeres is worth visiting so we’ve given you a list of advantages and disadvantages to visiting the island.

As we mentioned in the introduction, the Isla Mujeres might not be for everyone so hopefully these reasons for visiting and reasons why you shouldn’t visit will help you decide.

In our opinion, Isla Mujeres is totally worth it and one of the best spots in Mexico. With golden sandy beaches (without any sea-weed issues), a cute old town, plenty of options for boat trips and day tours and of course the chance to see whale sharks, we think you’d be crazy to not want to visit!

However, bear in mind that the island can be a little bit touristy especially during peak seasons. Due to this, it is not traditionally Mexican so if you’re looking for authenticity then Isla Mujeres may not be for you.

If you get the ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres with this in mind then you will really enjoy the island and the incredible atmosphere it has to offer. It’s safe to say that it is our favourite island for a reason.

Street art of a hammerhead shark and a scuba diving in Isla Mujeres.

For anyone that is still not certain whether they want to visit Isla Mujeres, there are plenty of day tours from Cancun to the island. This way, you can take a day trip to Isla Mujeres to see if it is a place that you will enjoy staying. If you enjoy it then you know that you can always catch the ferry and come back.

Amy feels that Isla Mujeres is a little bit like her safe haven and if she had it her way we would live in Isla Mujeres and start new lives there. Who knows what the future holds!

Have an amazing time in Isla Mujeres and be sure to embrace every opportunity. For anyone that wants to take a trip to Isla Mujeres, don’t forget to check out our other Isla Mujeres travel resources below to help plan your time whilst you’re there.

Isla Mujeres Resources

Cancun Resources

Mexico Resources

Mexico Bucket List

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