HOW TO GET TO ISLA MUJERES – FROM CANCUNThe best option to get to the island is the ferry that leaves from Puerto Juarez. If you are staying in the city of Cancun, this will be the easiest and quickest way. I’d recommend that you take a taxi or private transfer from your Cancun hotel to Puerto Jaurez. From Puerto Jaurez, take the UltraMar ferry to get to and from Isla Mujeres. The great thing about this ferry is that it runs very frequently throughout the day, approximately every 30 minutes. The ferry ride itself is approximately 30 minutes and it’s a pretty pleasant one at that. Sit back and relax while soaking in the views of the turquoise waters around you! You can buy tickets there at the terminal when you get there (no need to buy in advance) and it’s super easy to catch a ferry every half hour from 6:00AM – 9:00PM. From Puerto Juarez, it costs $300 MXN ($15 USD) roundtrip per person. More fare information here. Tip: If you’re close enough from the ferry terminal to walk over from a local hotel, make sure to bring some insect repellent, just in case! Heed my warning, the mosquitos in Cancun are no joke! In November, we walked from our hotel at the Excellence Playa Mujeres to the Puerto Juarez ferry and were eaten alive by mosquitos! This was probably because our route included walking through a tree-lined walking path to the ferry…(in hindsight, we probably should have taken a short cab ride over.) In any case, Sawyer’s 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent is super effective– a must-have for any trip to Mexico! Tip: Buy your return tickets when you buy your departure ticket so you don’t have to stand in line again on your return home.
HOW TO GET TO ISLA MUJERES – FROM THE HOTEL ZONEIf you are staying in the hotel zone in Cancun, you have three main options to get to Isla Mujeres as there are ferry services leaving from Playa Tortugas, Playa Caracol or El Embarcadero. One thing to note is that departure times are a lot more limited compared to Puerto Juarez. From these terminals, it costs $21 USD. Be sure to check departure times and return times to make sure the times fit in with your schedule. If you end up at Isla Mujeres and stay past your ferry return time, you might have to catch a ferry back to Puerto Juarez and cab back to the Hotel Zone from there. If you are staying at one of the hotels in the Hotel Zone, it will most likely make the most sense to leave from one of these terminals. It’s only slightly more expensive than the ferry from Puerto Juarez, but you can’t beat their proximity from the Hotel Zone. Just taxi your way over or catch the local bus. If taking the bus, tell the bus driver where you are headed, and get off once you’ve arrived at the ferry terminal (they will tell you when it’s time to get off).
HOW TO GET TO ISLA MUJERES – FROM CANCUN AIRPORTThere is no direct transfer from the Cancun airport to Isla Mujeres. The easiest and fastest way to get to Isla Mujeres from the airport is by taking a taxi or private airport transfer over to the Puerto Juarez ferry. The UltraMar at Puerto Juarez offers the cheapest fares and the most departure/return times compared to their other locations (you’ll have way more flexibility on what time you want to head back to Cancun after your day of exploring Isla Mujeres this way). This method is the most efficient and will take you about 1 hour 15 minutes to get from CUN airport to Isla Mujeres. Tip: Transfer companies are all cheaper than taxis. I would recommend you set up a transfer ahead of time on Booking.com (what I used to book all my Cancun transportation ahead of time), as I’ve found that they’re 40-50% cheaper than what you’d pay through taxi cab, even after negotiating down the price.
Transportation Options from Cancun Airport
- Take a cab from the airport
- Arrange for a shared/private transfer ahead of time
- Take the public bus
HOW TO GET TO ISLA MUJERES – FROM PLAYA DEL CARMENFrom Playa Del Carmen and beyond, you can employ the same tactics as above– take a shared/private transfer to Puerto Juarez and hop on the ferry. Several companies also offer transfers with the round-trip ferry ticket included in the price (UltraMar has one from Playa Del Carmen).
WELCOME TO ISLA MUJERES!Once on the island, I’d recommend renting a golf cart so you can see all of the spots below on your own time (instead of spending your money cabbing around). However, if you choose to rent a golf cart, do some comparison shopping when you get there because many of them will try to charge you a higher hourly rate than average.
ISLA MUJERES: WHAT TO PACK
- Light Rain Jacket | Traveling to hot climates does not necessarily mean there won’t be rain or wind. Packing a light rain jacket will definitely come in handy in unpredictable tropical climates. This one for men and this one for women are some of the best jackets for any kind of travel. They’re ultralight, wind and water-repellent, and take up virtually no space so they’re easy to carry wherever you go.
- Adventure Sandals | Tevas or Chacos are my go-to brands for multipurpose summer sandals. If you’re planning on having adventurous days, you should definitely consider getting one of these. They’re actually considered adventure sandals which is exactly what you need— comfortable for walk long distances, safe for submerging in water, and super durable.
- Walking Shoes | One pair of closed-toed walking or running shoes is always crucial for any trip. These ones that I’ve been traveling around with are super light and breathable. I can even walk 15+ miles in them before getting sore feet.
- Cooling Facial Mist | When you’re faced with mid-day humidity, it can be very hard to deal with. Keeping a small bottle of facial mist in your purse or backpack on a hot day will save your life. This mist takes all the cooling, soothing ingredients you can think of—aloe, cucumber, and green tea—and combines them into one refreshing spritzer for your face. It’ll feel like you’re under the misters at a five-star spa.
- Dry Shampoo | Bring some dry shampoo to use in between washes to instantly revitalize and freshen your semi-dirty hair.
- Leave-In Conditioner | I recommend bringing leave-in conditioner to help nurture your hair after spending time in lakes, waterfalls, or oceans. As someone with naturally frizzy hair, my hair tends to get tangled, coarse, and even more frizzy after it’s submerged in water. This leave-in conditioner is a cult favorite – just put it in your damp hair after your shower and comb it through.
- SPF 30+ Sunscreen (For Face) | COOLA sunscreen is my new go-to facial sunscreen. My face doesn’t feel sticky or goopy, which is so important for feeling comfortable when you’re out and about. If you’re going anywhere in the tropics, you’ll be close to the equator so you really want to use a high SPF – I don’t go below SPF 30 in hot and sunny climates.
- Sunscreen (For Body) | Sunscreen is absolutely necessary for tropical destinations. Even if it’s overcast and cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors. If you plan on snorkeling near the reefs, choose a coral reef-safe brand, as traditional sunscreen contains chemicals that damage and even kill the precious reefs.
- Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes | Feeling a bit gross but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these body wipes for a quick refresher. The feminine wipes I like are infused with cucumber and aloe. Trust, you will feel and smell so much better.
- Oil Blotting Sheets | On a typical day in a hot and tropical place like Thailand, your makeup will slide/sweat off your face in exactly three seconds once you step outside. Rather than adding makeup, first, focus on subtracting your shiny, sweaty glow. For this: blotting sheets whenever your face starts getting sweaty.
- Cooling Face Mask | After a long day of exploring, nothing will feel better than propping your feet up and slapping on a cooling face mask for 10-20 minutes. Lay back and relax!
- Insect Repellent Lotion | If you plan to go hiking in hot climates, I would definitely recommend packing insect repellent with a high DEET percentage. Sawyer makes some really great bug repellent products, and they’re travel-friendly too!
- Permethrin Insect Repellent Spray for Clothing | This clothing insect repellent spray is a game-changer. If you’re going to be outdoors a lot in areas where mosquitos are prevalent, I highly recommend preparing your clothes with this spray! What is it? A Bug spray for clothes that adheres only to fabrics, leaves no smell or residue on clothes and doesn’t harm human skin. Permethrin spray lasts for up to 6 machine washes, which is more than enough for most tropical trips. I hiked Machu Picchu after treating my hiking clothes with this, and I only got a total of 2 mosquito bites after the 4-day trip, whereas some of my friends got 20+ bites. Worth it.
- Pro Tip: Buy and use before you leave for your trip. A few days before departure, spray all of your clothes, plus anything else made of fabric that you’d like treated.
- Hat, Bandana, or Buff | Keep the sun off your skin with a hat, bandana, or a Buff. All three can be used to shield your neck or forehead from the sun. As a bonus, bandanas and Buffs can be used as headbands to keep hair and sweat off of your face. Soak your bandana or Buff then put it on your head, face, or neck for a quick cool down.
- Cooling Towel | Perfect for working out, a day at the beach, or camping—you’ll feel Chill Pal‘s cooling effect as soon as you take it out of the package. To activate the cooling towel, just soak it in water and wring it out, then wear it as a bandana or use it as a towel.
- Travel Towel | These are light and quick-drying. Super useful if you plan on having beach days or staying in hostels. This one is a great option.
- Travel Clothesline | If you’re backpacking and anticipate the need to wash your clothes on the go, get yourself a travel clothesline. This is a small and portable clothesline that allows you to hang up your wet clothes almost anywhere. I’ve found that it’s also really handy whenever I have wet bathing suits or towels that need to be air-dried. I love it for its multi-purpose functionality!
- Dry Bag | Another multi-purpose item on the list! Dry bags are completely necessary for keeping your dry belongings (clothes, electronics, money, etc)… dry. Don’t set foot on a boat or canoe without putting your stuff in a dry bag. Trust me, it’s better than ending up with a phone or camera submerged in water in case the boat tips or something. It’s also super handy for carrying around wet bathing suits and towels. Or even doubling as your laundry bag.
- Underwater Smartphone Housing | Don’t want to invest in an underwater camera? That’s fine, just stick your phone in the AxisGo’s underwater housing! It’s designed to protect your phone from the harshest weather conditions while offering the freedom to safely capture those special moments while maintaining control of your phone’s screen and functions.
- Soft Hydration Flask | Stay hydrated in the warm weather with a water bottle that can go anywhere with you—and fold up when not in use. I love the packability of these bottles!
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