Isla Mujeres is definitely a place worth visiting while you are in Cancun. It’s small and quiet, but there are lots of amazing things to see and do. If you would like to make a day trip to this quaint island you have 2 main options:
1. Take the Ultramar ferry from the Hotel Zone
This is the option that most tourists who are staying in the hotel zone opt for. The ride takes about 20 minutes and is $19 for a round trip ($14 one way). The ferry leaves from three locations in hotel zone: Km. 4 (Playa Linda), Km. 6.5 (Playa Tortugas), and Km. 9.5 (Playa Caracol). These ferries do not run as frequently as the ones outside the hotel zone, but you can catch one approximately every 75 min between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. Times vary between locations so it’s best to pick one ahead of time and look it up.
The ferry has two levels; the lower level is enclosed and air conditioned, while the upper level is open air. It also has (weak) WiFi, bathrooms, and a place to buy snacks. On the upper level you get a great view of the beautiful ocean and if you are lucky there will be a local musician playing for tips.
Cons: expensive, less frequent service that ends at 5 pm
2. Take the Ultramar ferry from Puerto Juarez
From this port just north of the city you can get the same ride to the island and back for $146 M.N (which is about $11), almost half the price. Depending on the number of people in your group it might be worth the trek up to Puerto Juarez.
From the hotel zone you will likely find a R1 bus that goes to Puerto Juarez. Look for the signs on the front of the bus and if in doubt ask the driver. If not, take the R1 bus (9.5 pesos/0.70 cents each) to the ADO bus station downtown (about a 20 min ride depending on where your hotel is). From here you can either catch a second bus (7 pesos/0.50 cents) off the main road or take a taxi for the remaining 4 km. If you want to take a bus, flag one down that says (Puerto) Juarez on the front; the routes change periodically so it’s best to ask the driver before you get on. A taxi to the ferry from the bus station should cost less than $5. On the way home catch the same bus or hop on a colectivo (a small white van) for a few pesos. Taxis will try and charge you more on the way home so be weary of a driver quoting unreasonable rates.
These ferries run every half hour from 5am- 8:30 pm and then every hour until 11:30. On the weekends there are 3 extra ferries (last one leaves the island at 3am).
Pros: less expensive, frequent service that runs until 12am (or 3am on weekends)
Cons: less convenient (more travel time to ferry)
If you have a rental car or motorcycle and would like to bring it with you you have to take the car ferry from Punta Sam. However, if it’s not a necessity I wouldn’t recommend bringing a car; there is limited parking on the island and the roads are narrow. If you have a motorcycle though, this might be your best option as golf cart rentals on the islands are not cheap.
3. Take the car ferry from Punta Sam
If you have a vehicle that you’d like to bring on to the island you must take the car ferry from Punta Sam. It is 6.3 Km north of Puerto Juarez. This ferry is limited to 5 trips a day (between 7 am and 7 pm) and takes almost 3 times as long as the Ultramar ferry. On the plus side, the prices are much cheaper. If you need to take this ferry I would recommend calling ahead to confirm departure times and plan on arriving early to ensure a spot. If you are feeling extra adventurous or are on a very tight budget you can also catch a bus to Punta Sam and ride as a passenger for just over half the price of the Puerto Juarez ferry.
Car Ferry Prices (includes driver)
Cars – $292 Pesos one way
Bicycles – $93 Pesos one way
Motorcycles – $99 Pesos one way
Vans/SUV – $425 Pesos one way
(Extra) Passengers – $40 Pesos one way