On Isla Mujeres, there is a lot to do without getting wet! Sites to see in Centro and around the island. Rent a golf cart to explore the island. Spend the day at Garrafon Park. There is something for everyone on Isla Mujeres!
For those of you who love browsing through shops, you'll love Isla Mujeres. Isla has a great variety of handicrafts such as hammocks, Saltillo rugs, onyx and silver, Guatemalan clothing, blown glassware, masks and folk art. You’ll be captivated by the colors and textures! At first glance it looks as though many of the stores are all the same, but look deeper and you just may uncover a treasure.
Be sure to visit Yesterday's News on Av. Juarez, unique art work made with newspaper and coffee! Jenny Penny Beach Boutique on Av. Matamoros carries women's clothing & beachwear, and of course Jenny Penny Bikinis!
Don't miss the Isla Mujeres Artist Fair, every 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month, 4 - 9 pm at the Cultural Center on Avenue Abasolo and the Malecon in Centro all year long, rain or shine. Local Mexican and documented foreign resident artists, food vendors, and local non-profits share their talents with the residents & visitors of Isla Mujeres.
For over fifteen years, Ricardo Medina the owner of The Fire Opal at #10 Av. Juarez, has been known in the community for his quality opals, gemstones, jewelry settings, quality Mexican handicrafts, gift items and especially for his personal honesty, taste and expertise. He and his lovely wife Rosa are very able to help find the perfect item or gift.
Of course there are T-shirt and beach paraphernalia stores on almost every corner. Most of the stores are open by 10:00 AM and quite a few stay open into to early evening, especially during the high season. Be sure to visit Isla's handicraft market on Av. Carlos Lazo and the Ladies Bead Co-op mid-island. Explore and enjoy yourself!
Isla’s Centro area is only four by six blocks, small enough to see everything, and large enough to enjoy spending time exploring. From the brightly colored Sea Wall Murals to the Statues honoring Isla’s past and present. Visit a pirate’s tomb in the town cemetery and stroll the east and west side Malecons.
Located at the southern tip of Isla Mujeres is Punta Sur with the Mayan Temple, sculpture garden and breathtaking views. Hacienda Mundaca is located mid-island, be sure to go in the mornings before it gets too hot. The Turtle Farm and the Floating Bottle Island are both on Sac Bajo.
Garrafón Park is named for an incredible reef formation, part of the longest reef in the hemisphere. The Park is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and offers several packages including an all-inclusive package which includes a buffet lunch, beverages with open bar, snorkel equipment, life jackets, kayaks, hammocks, an infinity pool, bathrooms, showers and lockers as well as admission to Punta Sur and the Sculpture Garden.
The entrance fee gives you full use of the facilities. The park also offers guided tours to Punta Sur and the "Blue Eye Cave", Zip line flights and Caribbean Bungee jumping. A great way to spend the day! Garrafón Park is located on the south end of the island facing Cancun.
Next to the park is Garrafón de Castilla, quaint and small with few amenities (a restaurant/bar, bathrooms and showers) but really gives you a feel of what the island used to be like.
Punta Sur is located at the southern tip of Isla Mujeres, 20 meters above sea level, where the rising sun first touches Mexican soil. This is the highest elevation in the Yucatan and home to an ancient temple honoring the Mayan Moon Goddess. Visitors can look out from its steep, naturally carved cliffs toward awesome views of Cancun and the bay. There is a small "caribbean village" with several stores and a snack bar/restaurant overlooking the Mayan Ruin and Sculpture Garden.
Picture an outdoor art exhibit in one of the most breathtaking, tropical settings. Garrafón Reef Park is home to the Punta Sur Sculpture Garden. The Sebastian Foundation, along with 23 artists from Mexico and around the world, created this exhibit for Isla Mujeres in 2001. Famous sculptors such as Jose Luis Cuevas used modern shapes and bright hues to interpret the legendary spirit of the Mayan civilization.
Isla Mujeres is the ancestral hatching ground for the giant sea turtles that lay their eggs in the soft sand from May through September. The eggs are gathered and placed in pens at the Turtle Farm to keep them safe from predators. Depending on the time of year, you can see hundreds of baby turtles in the outdoor holding tanks. From August to October they are released into the by the children of the island (as well as many tourists). After the last release there are only a few turtles housed within the main building. The ones that are living their life at the Tortuga Granja have a rare disease that makes them albino and unable to withstand any time in the sun. Even the sun’s reflection on the water can kill them. Others have been injured and are receiving care until they can go back to the sea. Please remember not to touch the turtles, even though they will swim up to you and flap their fins and seem to say “pet me!”
The small aquarium houses a variety of sea life. Tropical fish, sea horses, crabs, lobsters, and even a few baby manta rays. A family of iguanas hang out on a pile of rocks at the entrance, and around the corner on the right side of the building there is a pen for land turtles. There is also a small shop that sells t-shirts, souvenirs, and snacks.
Every year hundreds of sea turtles survive thanks to the care and love of the islanders. Your small admission fee helps support the Turtle Farm. Though small and somewhat quaint, it is worth a visit!
Located on Sac Bajo and open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Hacienda Mundaca is located mid-island near the entrance to Sac Bajo and originally covered almost forty percent of the island. Built by Fermin Mundaca after he "retired" from pirating and slave trading in 1858, the hacienda was surrounded by magnificent gardens including the solar clock garden called "The Rose of the Winds”. Mundaca dedicated his hacienda to a local beauty, 37 years younger than himself, known as "La Triguena" (the brunette) in order to woo her into marrying him.
In April 2015, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) LINK http://www.inah.gob.mx/english announced the discovery of Mayan ruins and artifacts in Hacienda Mundaca. Five Mayan buildings have been found so far, one of which may be the true temple of the goddess Ixchel as well as more than 100 pieces of obsidian, jade, skeletons and human skulls.
There is a small entrance fee and the best time to go to is in the morning before it gets too hot. Remember to wear bug repellent for the mosquitoes and keep a sharp eye out for the iguanas!
Dedicated to the memory of Captain Ernesto Dulche, founder of the 5th Naval Region on Isla Mujeres in the 1930s as well as responsible for the installation of the first power plant on the island. The Captain’s family created this wonderful addition to Isla and their attention to even the smallest detail is apparent and makes for a wonderful experience.
The maritime museum is part of the Capitán Dulché Beach Club located on the south end on Isla's bayside. The museum is a treasure drove of old photos from the family’s archive, some dating back to the 1920s. There is an impressive collection of model ships including a very large replica of Jacques Cousteau’s “Calypso”. There are also two projection areas showing videos featuring Ramon Bravo and Jacques Cousteau. Rounding out the exhibit are marine artifacts and fairly extensive historical information including the story of the Titanic’s only Mexican fatality, Manuel E. Uruchurtu.
One of the most enjoyable things to do on Isla is rent a Golf Cart from one of Isla's many rentadoras and explore the island. We highly recommend renting a Golf Cart as opposed to a scooter (moto). The topes (speed bumps) can be dangerous when diving too fast and the very last thing you want to do on your vacation is spend time in the emergency room. Order Perry and Laura "Map Chick" Isla Mujeres map at Can-do Maps & Guides, it includes an excellent tour guide around the island and download the iPhone app "Isla Mujeres - Day Trippers Guide" which includes details of sites you'll see around the island.
Prisma Golf Cart Rentals
Av. Rueda Medina
El Sol Rentadora
Isla Mujeres Golf Cart Rentals
Pre-paid and delivered directly to your hotel
Indios Golf Carts
Av. Rueda Medina
Pepe's Moto Rent
Paulina Scooters & Bike Rental
Av. Rueda Medina
Av. Rueda Medina
Motos and Bikes Av. Guerrero
The streets of Isla are narrow and often crowded with mopeds, golf carts and taxis filled with happy sightseers as well as locals so be aware as you explore the town. With the exception of Av. Rueda Medina (the main street in front of the ferry docks) which turns into Av. Lopez Mateos at the north end, all the streets in town are ONE WAY. Av. Hidalgo, the main street for restaurants and shops, is pedestrian only BUT the cross streets are open to traffic so look both ways before you cross the intersection!
Outside of Centro most streets run both ways and there are many speed bumps (called topes). Most of the streets are also quite narrow, with children and dogs playing, so please drive carefully and under no circumstances let anyone drive the golf cart or moped if they are underage or have been drinking. As always, safety first!!
Isla is home to several yoga studios and plays host to quite a few yoga retreats every year. Drop by the yoga studios for times, there should be a sign posted with their schedule.
There are morning and early evening yoga classes taught by various instructors at Hotel Na Balam’s large poolside palapa on Playa Norte.
Morning classes are held at Elements of the Island Yoga Center roof top palapa on Av. Juarez and private classes are offered at Red Buddha Yoga & Wellness Center nearby.
There are also morning & sunset yoga classes at the picturesque Tree House at Buho's located Playa Norte.
Casa IxChel Hotel, located mid-island holds classes 3 days a week under their roof top palapa overlooking the Caribbean. Classes are free to guests of the hotel.
Over the last few years massage tents have sprung up on Playa Norte and though it can be fun to lie on the beach getting a massage (take your own towel) do not expect Swedish or deep-tissue, basically it’s a generic relaxing body rub, most are not certified massage therapists.
Several of the high-end hotels have “mini-spas” where you can book a massage. Ask at the front desk and remember they may or may not be certified so be careful if you have any physical issues.
Treat yourself to a therapeutic massage with Mary Ann Burns-Gaitan at Isla Mujeres Massage. Mary Ann is a professional certified massage therapist with over 20 years experience. She recommends massages at her studio at the south end (The Dome) though she is happy to come to your hotel or rental. Visit her website www.islamujeresmassage.com and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org