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The most common question asked about traveling to Mexico is: "Can I drink the water?"

Isla Mujeres has an extensive water purification system but, no one on the island drinks the water from the tap. Bottled water is readily available at all Restaurants, Hotels and grocery stores. There is no problem brushing your teeth using tap water and don't worry if you swallow a bit in the shower. Nine times out of ten the dreaded "tourista" is caused by too much sun and overindulging during "Happy Hour" and too few glasses of water to keep yourself hydrated. Use common sense and be sure to drink lots of bottled water!

What to Bring
Travel Documents
Your Luggage
Health Tips
Valuables & Credit Cards
Digital Camera Tips
Traveling with Children
Airport Walk-thru
Getting to Isla & The Ferries

From the United States Government "Tips for Travelers to Mexico"
A very useful and informative Check List from the Cancun Airport
Thank you to and for many of these great travel tips!

 What to Bring

Clothing and Personal Items

A pocket-size English/Spanish dictionary
A small first aid kit
Camera and Film
Walking Shoes
Suntan Lotion with a high SPF
Traveler's Checks & ATM cards
Swim Suits
Casual Clothes Clothes for Nightlife and Fine Dining
Copies of your favorite Mexico Travel Guide pages! Sunglasses & Hat
Necessary medications
Travel Documents: Passport & Driver's License, Tickets, Vouchers, etc.

Basic summer clothes. Be sure to bring a light jacket or sweater, it can sometimes get a bit chilly at night. Isla is very casual, t-shirts and shorts are fine anywhere, but you might want to bring something dressier for evening.

Sunblock with a high SPF lotion, a travel size mosquito repellent (especially in summer), your toiletry items such as shampoo, shaving gear, deodorant, tooth brush and paste, etc. If you forget anything the stores on Isla stock all of these items but the selection is small.

Make your own first aid kit. Band-Aids, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, Benadryl pills (great for bug bites-but may make you tired-so I use the children's formula !!!)

If you need any medication take your prescription from your doctor.

Bring instant hand sanitizer to Mexico and keep a small bottle with you to clean your hands before meals and throughout the day.

Carry baby wipes, non-scented, for wiping hands before and after a meal or after touching handrails.

If you wear contact lenses, take disposable ones on vacation. You won't have to take all the storage and cleaning items and you won't have to worry about losing one.

If you wear glasses/contacts, bring your most recent eye exam prescription.

When traveling, always take a dental repair kit with you in case a filling or crown becomes loose or falls out.

Your Travel Documents  

Everyone traveling to Mexico must have a valid passport. Citizens from some countries might require an entry visa as well.
It is a good idea to make copies of your passport as well as your tickets and keep them separate from your travel documents. You can also scan your travel documents (passport, tickets, photo ID, etc.) and send an email to yourself with the scanned documents attached.

The Mexican Immigration form (Tourist Card) which you will be given at the airport when you check in or on the plane. One tourist card form is required for EACH PERSON.  Be sure to completely fill out the Tourist Card before you land in Mexico, it will save time at immigration. Put your Tourist Card in a safe place, you will required to present it when you depart Mexico.

The Customs Form which will also be given to you at the airport or on the plane. One customs form is required per family. The customs form basically declares that you are not bringing any merchandise for sale, or illegal items into Mexico.

Travel Documents for Minors:

A valid passport no matter what their age. When a minor is traveling alone, they must have a notarized letter signed by the parents or legal guardians giving them permission to travel. When a minor is traveling with one adult, provide a notarized letter signed by the parent or guardian not traveling giving them permission to travel with the other parent or guardian.
If the minor is in the custody of one parent, a notarized custody document should be provided. If one parent is deceased, provide the death certificate. It has been reported that minors do not need the above documents, only a valid passport, check with your airline to be sure.

As dumb as this sounds...bring a pen or two! You need one in order to fill out the custom forms on the plane.

Your Luggage

Most airlines allow 2 pieces of luggage per person. If you are traveling on a charter it is a good idea to check with the company. Some charters only allow 1 piece of luggage per person.

Mark every piece of luggage inside and outside with your last name and first initial only and the name and address of the hotel you are staying at. Do not put your home address on the tag.

Put something brightly colored on the outside of your luggage so that it is easier and faster to pick it out on the luggage conveyer.

Be sure all your travel documents, tickets, money, credit cards and traveler's checks, medications, valuables and personal items are in your carry-on or purse.

We recommend you bring a change of clothes in your carry-on or dress in layers. If your luggage is "delayed" at least you'll have something to wear!

If you are bringing anything that can be ruined if it gets wet - pack it in a plastic bag. Occasionally tropical rain storms soak the luggage on its way from the plane to baggage claim. I learned this the hard way :-)

Put your clothes into large Ziploc bags, roll out the air, seal! This helps to create more space.

If bringing nail polish on a plane always put it in a Ziploc baggie or it might explode on your belongings

Place your toothpaste in a Ziploc baggie so that it does not explode in your luggage during flight.

Always put shampoo and conditioner (and any other liquid containers) in plastic bags so they do not leak onto clothes during travel.

Pack a dryer sheet in your suitcase for long flights - this helps to eliminate that musty "airplane odor" and you'll have a "just washed" air to your clothes when you unpack.

Take a ten foot piece of light nylon rope (1/8") and a few clothespins to hang clothes and swimsuits to dry on your balcony. Clothespins are also good to close the gaps on hotel drapes, making for better sleeping.

Bring light ponchos for rain gear. These can be purchased from most camping stores. They are small and light and easy to carry anywhere you go as a rain cloud can come in no time and dump a monsoon on your head.

If you love snorkeling, purchase your own gear and bring it with you on vacation.

Bring a small calculator to convert money exchanges.

Bring a small flashlight with you and keep it on the nightstand in your hotel room during the night.

If you are planning to take advantage of shopping opportunities on your visit, pack an empty carry-on or two in one of your suitcases. This way you can fill it with your treasures for travel back home. Be sure to tag it!

Important note from Isla Net:
Fill that "empty carry-on" with donations for the people and animals of Isla Mujeres. Medical supplies, clothes and shoes your children have out-grown, toys, puzzles, even half-used color books are greatly appreciated. To find out how you can help visit PEACE ISLA MUJERES, La Gloria English School,  the Centro de Apoyo Psicopedagogico (The Little Yellow School House) and Isla Animales.

 Miscellaneous Tips


In your quest for a good time on your vacation, your eating and drinking habits are often
radically different than what you're used to back home. In addition, climate and altitude
changes can throw your system off. To ensure you enjoy your vacation to its fullest,
consider the following: Be sure to drink lots of fluids; especially the day before

Try not to go overboard your first night. Give your body a chance to acclimate. Drink only distilled or bottled water.

Start eating yogurt daily before a trip and during your trip, it will fight bacteria in your system and you'll have less of a chance of getting Montezuma's Revenge.

Before heading out, stop by a health food store and buy a bottle of grapefruit seed extract pills. Take one before every meal & you will not have any problems with diarrhea.

Valuables and Credit Cards

Keep all your valuables in the room safe or in the hotel’s safe.

Only exchange a small amount of your currency/travelers checks at a time...You don’t want to end up with a fist full of pesos at the airport.

Make sure to write on all charge slips as you sign whether the currency is in USD or PESO as both use the "$".

Write on the charge slip right away after purchasing something, the amount, items, date, and place of purchase so you can read it when the statement comes at the end of the month.

Digital Camera Tips

Clearly print your name, address, e-mail and phone number on a piece of paper: Take a picture of the paper so it is the first photograph on the memory card. Hopefully if the person who finds your camera looks at the images on the card they will see your contact info and return the camera to you.

WARNING - Be careful using your digital camera on the beach because sand gets on the zoom-lens and when it closes the sand can jam the zoom-lens making your camera inoperable. To avoid this make sure the zoom-lens is free of any debris before closing it.

Buy batteries and memory cards before you go to Mexico. Yes you can purchase these items almost anywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula and especially Cancun and the Mayan Riviera but you will find it is less expensive to buy these items at a discount store back home.

Use the highest quality setting when taking pictures. Simply carry more than one memory card with you in case you run out of space. Set your camera up before you even leave for vacation and do some experiments. Transfer the images to your computer or have them printed out at a photo-shop. Once you are comfortable with all settings, leave them there.

It is better to use the LCD Screen when taking pictures as this is exactly the picture you will get, which may differ from the image you see through the view finder. This of course uses more battery power so you should take lots of extra batteries with you.

Most Internet Cafes have USB ports for you to dump your picture onto the computer and send them to a remote source.

Some people recommend to always use the flash when taking pictures with a digital camera but you really have to get a feeling for this. Around noon on a cloudless day you may even have to use a filter to eliminate some of the ambient light. If your camera does not support filters then you can use a pair of clean sunglasses.

Check your camera to see if it has an exposure compensation feature. You may want to experiment with this if you are interested.

Taking your digital camera and/or memory cards through the detection devices at the airport will not harm your images in any way.

Traveling with Children

One of the first things that parents seem to notice when they travel with their children is that Isla welcomes them with open arms. Children are loved and adored in Mexico, they even have their very own day (like Mother's and Father's days) on April 30th, known simply as Dia del Niño.

Diapers and the usual basket of basic necessities (clean wipes, generic moisturizing creams, etc) are readily available on Isla. If you have specialist creams, medicines, etc for your children - take these with you.

Sun Care for Children in Mexico:
Children accustomed to living in a temperate climate will burn severely in Isla blazing sun without adequate protection. Ensure your children are fully protected by making them wear high-factor waterproof sun block lotion. Remember to pack a hat and sunglasses for them. If you forget there are plenty on Isla.

2 way radio's are a great. They come 2 mile and 5 mile rage to bring on vacation when traveling with kids.

Pack a first aid kit for your children: Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, cold and fever pills/syrup with a plastic spoon, rash cream and tummy upset medication.

Every parent knows how easily kids can get board; a long flight, departure delays, the occasional rainy day, etc. You know what your child likes best and what to pack. Take a look at some new travel toys and games for kids (and their parents!) in Isla net’s travel store.

Airport Walk-thru

Follow the crowd down the escalator to the immigration area where you will present your Tourist Card (you will be given a tourist card for each person traveling to fill out on the plane) and your Passport(s). Remember to put your Tourist Card in a safe place, you will need it to leave the country.

After immigration go to the baggage claim area (to your left of the immigration area) and pick up your bags. There are carts for rent next to the carousels.

Proceed to Customs (to the right of the baggage carousels) and present your completed customs form (usually given when you check-in at the airport or on the plane). One form is needed per family.

Press the button... 9 times out of 10 you'll get the green light which means go on through. Every once in awhile you'll get the red light and your luggage will be searched. Be sure you do not have any OPEN food packages or fruits and vegetables. A box of Ritz crackers and a jar of peanut butter are fine as long as it's UNOPENED.

Proceed thru customs and continue down the hall to the exit doors. On each side of you there will be booths for rental cars, time shares, taxis, etc.

Getting to Isla

After going through Customs, continue down the hall to the exit doors, you will be in the "Arrivals" area. There are several ways to get to the ferries to Isla from the airport.

If you are being met, they will be waiting here. Listed on the General Info page are several airport transfer companies.

There are ticket booths where you can purchase transportation vouchers to Puerto Juarez. Be sure you tell them you want to go directly to Puerto Juarez or you might get there by the "scenic route" through the Hotel Zone of Cancun.

The least expensive option is to take the ADO bus from the airport to Cancun Centro and then another bus (or taxi) to Puerto Juarez. Travel time is usually 50 - 60 minutes.

The Ferries

The are two Ferry docks to Isla Mujeres. Puerto Juárez & Gran Puerto Cancun (Ultramar) they are just a few blocks apart and only 15 minutes north of downtown Cancun. The express boats leave every half hour from 5:00 am until 9:00 pm and every hour after that. The crossing takes about 15 minutes and the fare is 80 pesos one way.

When you arrive at either Puerto Juarez or Gran Puerto Cancun, there are porters waiting to help you with your luggage and load it on the ferries. Please don't forget to tip!

The Car Ferry from Punta Sam (another 10 minutes down the road) can accommodate cars, campers and trucks as well as people.

For more details about the facilities at Gran Puerto Cancun and Puerto Juárez and the schedule for the ferries click here

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