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Why Tourists Are Flocking To This Gorgeous Island Near Cancun This Winter

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Cancun has undoubtedly cemented itself as the number one place to be in the Mexican Caribbean, most popular among American tourists.

As it welcomes more and more people to its famous hotel zone each year, some tourists may be deterred by its apparent busyness and overcrowding, especially during the winter and summer months. 

tourists enjoying the beach in isla mujeres

That is why this special island destination is stealing all the attention, offering a far more peaceful and tranquil vacation setup than its neighbor, and that destination is Isla Mujeres. 

Voted as one of the best island getaways in the world, it is no surprise that in 2023 it maintained an overall hotel occupancy of 80%; an extremely impressive statistic when those numbers are expected to drop in non-peak times. 

What Is It About Isla Mujeres? 

Located a mere 20 minutes from Cancun via ferry, this charming little island is approximately 4.3 miles long and half a mile wide; we are talking pretty small

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Don’t be fooled by its size, however, as Isla Mujeres is one of the most idyllic locations in the Mexican Caribbean, surrounded by crystal clear waters and white, sugary sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. 

With only a handful of hotels on the island, offering a dramatic difference to its backdrop of the Cancun hotel zone skyline, this is the perfect place for those who want calm and serenity from their vacation, free to bask under the hot Mexican sun in peace. 

It is slowly becoming an increasingly popular location for day trippers from Cancun and other surrounding areas, which can create certain busy times, but for the most part, the island keeps its quiet vibe.

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Feeling Safe On The Island 

Isla Mujeres is ridiculously easy to get to. 

The 20-minute ferry ride can be boarded from the dock in Puerto Juarez, located in downtown Cancun, as well as three other docks in the hotel zone. 

There are also options to travel via catamaran to the island if you are looking for a more glamorous arrival, but one thing is certain regardless: you are in safe hands.

aerial drone view of Isla Mujeres

With the municipality considered one of the safest destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, the safety measures that are in place in Isla Mujeres will ensure that you have nothing to worry about. 

Increased patrolling from police and the military, as well as higher levels of surveillance in popular tourist areas, ensure that crime rates remain low. 

All The Things To See And Do On The Island 

If you are a lover of being in the water, you will be hard-pressed to find a better destination than here. 

Perfect for snorkeling and diving, these waters are rich with marine life and fascinating landscapes. 

For the underwater explorers among you, the famous MUSA must be high up on your list. 

Brought in to help encourage more marine and coral life in the waters, these manmade sculptures on the sea floor are breathtaking and totally unique, something you won’t see anywhere else in southeastern Mexico for sure. 


If you prefer dry land, the island is host to a number of local eateries and upscale restaurants, littered all along the charming streets, which are perfect for exploring and working up an appetite. 

We also recommend jumping on a catamaran to have a scenic tour around the island’s coastline, basking in the sun as you go and witnessing the stunning landscape that you find yourself surrounded by. 

Don’t Forget The Beaches 

And of course, let’s not forget the beaches!

Home to one of the top beaches in the world, according to TripAdvisor last year, Playa Norte is the perfect place for you to unwind and forget all your troubles. 

aerial view of Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres

Complete with shallow, crystal blue waters, sugary-white sand, and beach clubs that offer tasty food and excellent cocktails, you could easily spend the entire day here.

There is also Playa Centro and Playa Albatross for those of you wanting to skip the beach club vibe and get closer to that peaceful, serene experience that you see in the postcards.

Regardless of which one you choose, they are going to be nothing like the busy beaches of Cancun, and, more often than not, miss out on the sargassum season that is affecting so much of southeastern Mexico’s coastlines.

Playa Centro Isla Mujeres

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darren Cella

Monday 22nd of January 2024

wow, is this article ever misleading!!! I am sorry to say, the information you state is so far from the truth. I’ve been to Isla Mujeres, 5 times now, just returned from there last week to be clear. Yes it is a nice island, however a few unmentioned quirks of the island. Most places in the market have pay toilets, a lot of the town smell like sewage, after you exit the Catamaran ppl are bombarded by con artists and swindlers trying to get you to buy any of their junk they are selling. Deals are far and few between. A friend caught a guy peeping on his gf and they were chased though town on golf carts. I love it there , but maybe speak a little of the gray areas rather than all pixie dust and rainbows .


Saturday 20th of January 2024

I have been to Isla Mujeres & the quiet & calm vibe, you saw is pretty far my experience. Yes, the island itself & Norte Beach, the food, etc. is wonderful. However, it is very over-crowded, noisy & you will often drunk tourists, not only on the beach, but on the streets, especially in this area. And the number of golf-carts driving on the roads & downtown creates a very unpleasant, noisy atmosphere. The plus side, is you can get away from these areas & experience some of the quieter aspects of this beautitul place if you choose.

Margareta Chiffriller

Sunday 21st of January 2024

@AlieA, Yes, during high season during the midday hours, Playa Norte and the area near the ferry can be too busy. It is a very small island, just half a mile wide. If everyone who comes to visit stays in the area closest to the ferry, you feel the numbers. But the seven kilometers of island magically turn into about 20 kilometers of beaches. Get on one of the hop on-hop off buses. Find one that takes you to Sac Bajo. Visit the turtle sanctuary to see how the community and the government work together to help increase the numbers of these endangered creatures. The beach clubs on Sac Bajo are open to the public and you won’t find the drunken tourists who stick to the bars close to the ferry. Try the Caribbean side of the island. Not the calm, beautiful bay area, but sweet for teens and older folk who enjoy waves that are tame. Fun to jump around as they sweep to shore. The currents are strong, so swimming is safer in the bay waters, but those currents are what carries the seaweed away from Isla while the rest of the coast struggles.

Best idea of all to skip the crowds in the “downtown” area? Start early. Playa Norte is quiet and lovely at 7AM. Even better? It stays that way until the prime time of 11 to 4. After 4 the day trips are done, the beach empty and warm gives an incredible view of the Caribbean sunset. And you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy great food from street vendors or elegant restaurants, follow up with gelato, some live music and home by ten or eleven so you can hit the beach again before the thousands of Isla lovers come to visit!