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17 Things to be Careful of in Isla Mujeres

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When writing this post of things to be careful of in Isla Mujeres, at first not many things came to mind because there are so many reasons why it is worth visiting. After spending a good few weeks exploring in Mexico, there weren’t any points where safety was a concern.

However, if you’re travelling alone to Mexico or even with other people, you may be worried about your safety in Isla Mujeres.

That reminded us that even though we’d spent a few weeks there that we’d forgotten what it was like first arriving into Mexico. You hear all these news reports about how unsafe the entirety of Mexico is and it can be worrying.

Some of the beautiful street art in Isla Mujeres

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! You’ll be pleased to know that there are so many areas of Mexico, Isla Mujeres included, that are completely safe for tourists. In this guide, we will give you all the best tips and things that you need to be careful of in Isla Mujeres.

In fairness, a lot of the tips we’ve given below are things that we would advise you no matter what country you’re travelling to. Isla Mujeres is truly a paradise island and we know that as long as you remember these safety tips, you’ll have an incredible time!

1. Don’t Drink the Water

No matter where you’re travelling to in Mexico, the best tip we can give you is to not drink the water!

Before going to Palenque, Amy caught a terrible sickness bug in San Cristobal del las casas. It only lasted 24 hours but the sickness bug kept returning. Even though Amy avoided the water at all costs, somehow the sickness bug still managed to target her.

You’ll be happy to know that the water in Isla Mujeres is nowhere near as bad as it is in San Cristobal but we would still suggest that you avoid it.

The best thing to do is when you arrive on the island, head to a shop close by and stock up on some bottled water. This way you will never be short and won’t have to resort to drinking tap water. Trust us, you really don’t want to catch a sickness bug from the water!

Tasty smoothie at Cafe Mogagua in Isla Mujeres

2. Watch out for Pickpockets

No matter what country you visit, always remain vigilant for pickpockets. They can target any area but spots like Isla Mujeres that are renowned to be popular with tourists really can be hotspots.

During the time Amy spent in Isla Mujeres, she never had any issues with pickpockets but it is always worth keeping your eye out.

We have a guide for avoiding pickpockets in Europe but really the same rules apply no matter which country you’re travelling in. Invest in a money belt, don’t take all your cash out with you, keep your valuables looked away and just generally keep a watchful eye on your belongings.

3. Keep your drink safe

Once again, this is something that we would advise in any country you’re visiting. Drink spiking has become more popular over the past few years and you really don’t want to fall victim to this.

There are a lot of different party spots in Isla Mujeres that draws tourists from all around the world. Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, family or friends, keep your eyes on your drink at all times.

It is worth considering investing in some drink spiking detection devices or tools to prevent drink spiking. They are not very expensive and can be ordered from Amazon so if you have Prime, they will be with you the very next day!

4. Look around for the best tour prices

One of the things to be careful of in Isla Mujeres is shopping around for the best tour prices. This image shows a sunset boat tour which was really good fun and Amy arranged through some friends she knows on the island.

Some tour companies really try to take advantage of tourists, especially during peak seasons to increase the prices of tours. You’ll be unsurprised to know that Isla Mujeres is no different!

When you’re planning to book a tour, if you’re going to do this in person make sure that you shop around and check that you’re getting the right price and that someone is not trying to rip you off.

To ensure that you are getting an equal and fair price, it is always worth booking in advance with companies such as Viator or Get Your Guide.

You may even be visiting Isla Mujeres from Cancun on a day tour so you’ll know from this experience that the prices can really vary for the exact same tour.

Shop around and don’t be afraid to say that you’ll come back later to confirm booking a tour. If a company is trying to rip you off then they will often quickly drop the price in order to stop you from booking elsewhere.

Check the exchange rate and make sure that you know exactly how much things cost too so that it prevents you being ripped off.

5. Golf Carts

One of the most popular ways of getting around the island is by renting a golf cart. This is one of the best things to do on the island too and as it is so small, you’ll be able to get around easily.

During the peak season, it can get pretty busy so you may find at times that traffic in Isla Mujeres is dire at best.

Hammerhead Shark street art in Isla Mujeres.

If you’re planning to rent a golf cart then we recommend that before you sign the papers, take photos of the golf cart especially if there is any prior damage.

Whilst we’ve not experienced this ourselves, the last thing you want is to return the golf cart and be accused of causing damage that was there prior to you renting it.

6. Take out insurance

Whilst it is common practice in the UK to get insurance before travelling anywhere, there are some countries that are not as accustomed to taking out travel insurance.

No matter where you’re travelling to, we would suggest that you always get travel insurance just in case something goes wrong.

If you follow these tips for visiting Isla Mujeres then it is highly unlikely that anything will go wrong but it is always handy to have travel insurance as a back up.

We’ve shared our recommended travel insurer below so that you can get this before you visit Isla Mujeres.

7. Don’t leave valuables unattended

We already mentioned to be mindful of pickpockets but it is also worth taking some initiative and not giving anyone and opportunity to steal from you.

If you’re on the beach, don’t leave your items unattended because this is just asking for someone to take them. We know that this can be difficult if you’re a solo traveller and want to go into the sea.

For anyone that this applies to, we recommend that when heading to the beach, do not take any valuables at all and go to the beach with the bare minimum. That way if you decide to take a dip in the beautiful Caribbean sea, the only thing that anyone can steal from you is your beach towel!

Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres.

With this in mind, the crime rate in Isla Mujeres for pickpocketing and theft is very low so you won’t have much to worry about but just be careful still.

8. The Heat

Amy lunging around by the swimming pool in Isla Mujeres

You’ll be surprised how much the heat can get to you! Protect yourself and make sure that you’re regularly wearing sun block so that you’re not directly exposed to the sun.

Take breaks from the sun too and sit in the shade to give your skin a break from the hot rays. Mexico can get very warm and the last thing you want to do is be struggling to enjoy the rest of your vacation because you have severe sunburn.

Remember that if you go swimming to reapply your sun block once your skin has dried too. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re taking a boat trip in Isla Mujeres that even if it doesn’t feel warm with the sea breeze, you are really exposed to the sun.

Do yourself a favour to not spoil your vacation and keep your skin protected!

9. Tourist scams

Whether you’re travelling in Asia, North America or Europe, tourist scams are everywhere and this is something that you need to keep a watchful eye for.

This is where your traveller’s gut instinct comes into play. If something doesn’t feel right then trust your gut and walk away. Once again, this is not something that we’ve directly experienced on the island but it is always worth keeping your eyes peeled for anyone malicious.

Tourist scams can include forcing you to take photos with an animal or attraction and then demanding money, trying to strap bracelets onto your wrist and asking for money and much more. Essentially if a situation is forced upon you and someone is asking for money, it is a tourist scam.

Keep yourself vigilant and wary of tourist scams the whole time you’re travelling. Don’t be afraid to be firm, say no and walk away. If this still doesn’t work then threaten to contact the police and try to leave the situation immediately.

10. Shop around for golf cart prices

We mentioned earlier in this post to shop around for tour prices and the same goes for when you’re renting a car. There are a lot of companies out there that will try to take advantage of tourists.

Do some research before visiting Isla Mujeres to see how much a golf cart generally costs. You can expect to rent a golf cart for 24 hours for between 850MXN – 1,300MXN (£40GBP / $50USD – £60GBP / $80USD).

Look around for the cheapest price but also research the reviews of the company too so that you can ensure that you’re not being ripped off.

11. Be aware of the tourist price and the local price

In some countries, you will find that tourists are charged one price and locals are charged a price sometimes ten times the local price.

This is something that happens in Isla Mujeres too and in honesty, we definitely think that locals should receive things much cheaper. However, some places can take advantage of this a little too much.

If you’re getting a taxi on Isla Mujeres, you will find in particular that they will try to overcharge you on the cost of this. Don’t be frightened to try and haggle the price slightly but be careful not to offend too.

Isla Mujeres street from on of the rooftops.

12. Strong currents

When you’re visiting Mexico in general, the currents can be very strong when you’re out in the sea. Even if you’re a strong swimmer, this can be a bit much for some people.

Boats docked at Isla Mujeres

Wear a lifejacket when you’re on any boat trips and swimming in the water especially if you’re not a confident swimmer. Whether you’re planning to do some snorkelling or diving in Isla Mujeres, you need to be careful of the currents at all times.

Don’t put yourself in any dangerous situations where the current can overtake you. Know your limits too and if the current is too strong, bring yourself in closer or take yourself out of the sea until the current calms down.

13. Mosquitos

Within Mexico, mosquitos can be a little bit of an issue especially during peak seasons. Keep yourself protected by wearing bug spray especially in the evenings.

You will find that a lot of restaurants are equipped for the mosquitos and will have a plethora of tools to stop you from being bitten.

However, it is always worth keeping yourself protected too. You can buy some bands to protect you from mosquitos if this is something that you would prefer. We know all too well that the smell of bug spray isn’t ideal so this will prevent bad smells.

14. Tipping Culture

Similar to the US, tipping is generally quite expected in these areas of Mexico because they do tend to be quite Americanised.

When you’re at a restaurant, make sure that you check your receipt carefully as often tips are already included on your bill in advance so you don’t want to tip twice (unless the service is really that good!)

Delicious breakfast at Cafe Mogagua.

Generally speaking, the wages are not very high in Isla Mujeres so leaving a decent tip for good service is always really appreciated.

15. Swimming with Whale Sharks

Swimming with whale sharks is one of the most epic things that you can do in Isla Mujeres. Whale sharks are harmless to humans and mostly feed from plankton so there is nothing to be afraid of there.

However, when you are swimming with the whale sharks, it is surprising how fast they move through the water for such a large animal.

Beautiful whale shark in the Isla Mujeres waters.

We would recommend that you are a fairly strong and confident swimming if you’re planning to swim with the whale sharks. You will need to swim quite fast to keep up with them and catch a glimpse of them too.

Also, when the whale sharks are swimming, their tails whip around quite quickly and the last thing you want is to be hit with this.

Be mindful of your space at all times and keep a good distance from the whale sharks, they deserve their space too. This will also prevent you from getting whipped by their super quick tails.

You can also take this trip from Cancun too so this is one of the reasons why Cancun is worth visiting! If you’re staying in Cancun before visiting Isla Mujeres then you may want to do it there before coming to the island.

16. Keep hydrated

The beaches on Isla Mujeres are some of the most beautiful in Mexico.

It can get very hot in Isla Mujeres so even though we advise you not to drink the tap water, it is really important to drink plenty of bottled water and keep yourself hydrated.

If you’re on spring break in Isla Mujeres or just on a party vacation then you may want to drink a fair bit of alcohol. Just be careful if you’re doing this out in the sun because you can easily become dehydrated.

17. Don’t flash the cash

Lastly, when you’re exploring around the island, one of the things to be careful of in Isla Mujers is flashing your cash around.

Don’t take out large wads of cash because you do run the risk of this being stolen. Once again, this is something we would advise no matter what destination you’re visiting and not specifically Isla Mujeres!

When you’re travelling from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, only take out small amounts of cash at a time and if you do have any other cash, keep it locked away at your accommodation.

Now to Plan for Your Isla Mujeres Vacation…

Whether you’re visiting for a day trip, 2 days in Isla Mujeres or even a week, it is truly a beautiful island with lots of fun to be had.

This is one of Amy’s favourite spots in Mexico because it really is so relaxing and has a lot to offer for tourists.

In this list, we’ve provided you 17 different things to be careful of in Isla Mujeres but a lot of the tips we’ve mentioned are best practice safety tips in any destination you’re visiting.

Whilst you’re travelling to Isla Mujeres, keep an eye out for pickpockets and watch your belongings but don’t let it rule your life.

The infamous coloured steps in Isla Mujeres.

The crime rates in Isla Mujeres are really low and it genuinely is a very safe destination to visit for tourists. Most importantly, let yourself have fun and enjoy everything that the island has to offer!

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