Isla Mujeres is the perfect day trip from Cancun. But how to visit Isla Mujeres on a budget? What are the things to do and to see? Well, we spent three days there, and we found our way to keep it on a budget.
In the end, beautiful beaches and amazing landscapes don’t have a cost, so we could enjoy the island without spending much.
Isla Mujeres is a small island with beautiful sandy beaches, turquoise water, and a nice atmosphere. Just 20 minutes away from Cancun.
ISLA MUJERES ON A BUDGET, THE ULTIMATE GUIDE
Due to its proximity to Cancun, Isla Mujeres (literally women’s island) is very popular among tourists. During the day, it can hosts more than the double of the actual population. Tourists that come for the day can actually spend more than what we spent in three days.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fast and modern ferries leave the port of Cancun regularly during the day. You can buy one-way tickets for 160 MDX or roundtrip for 300 MDX, the trip lasts around 20 min. It can get significantly crowded, so be prepared for long queues and try to arrive earlier especially if you plan to go in the morning and come back to Cancun with the last boat in the evening. We saw an incredibly long line of people waiting to jump in one of the last boats the day we arrived. Check out Ultramar company for more info about prices and timetables.
WHERE TO STAY
There are several hostels in the small city center. We decided instead to book an Airbnb hosted by Ruben located right in the center of the island. We were away from the noise of the town but this allowed us to save some money.
Pro Tip: Find accommodation with the kitchen to save some extra money on food.
Here we want to list some activities you can do to enjoy and explore Isla Mujeres on a budget.
DON’T NEED TO RENT, YOUR FOOT ARE ENOUGH TO EXPLORE THE ISLAND
We walked the entire island from the very north to the south! Most of the people in Isla Mujeres rent a golf cart or a bike to explore the island. We would have loved to use one of these carts for one day but we found it too expensive (around 45 USD per day). The advantage of walking is that you don’t get stuck in the traffic and we could discover beautiful corners of the island not accessible to any transportation.
The total length of the island is only 7 KM so renting a room in the middle of the island has its advantage. We explored the north the first day and the south the second day.
VISIT ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN THE WORLD FOR FREE
The concentration of the tourist is in the north of the island, right next to the little port. Here is located the center of the town and Playa Norte, named one of the best beaches in the Caribbean! The good news is that this incredible white beach has free access, so you can enjoy the stunning turquoise water without spending any money.
It may sound weird but in Mexico, especially in the Riviera Maya, beaches are most of the time private. Hotels or restaurant own the part of the beach located in front of their business, so people have to pay an entrance or buy something to get the access.
For some more comfort or a cool beer, some nice bars have their gazebos or umbrellas. Pick your favorite and relax.
If you have extra time don’t miss to wander around the city center, with its nice boutiques and original shops.
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ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL WALK TO PUNTA SUR
To keep our experience in Isla Mujeres on a budget we decided to go to Punta Sur by walk. The main southern attractions are the Pre-Colombian Mayan Ruins of Ixchel, the Garrafon Reef Park and the Sculpture Garden. But what we liked so much about this walk are the beautiful landscapes we saw on the way. Amazing houses right on the shore, breathtaking view of the sea and the quiet atmosphere made this walk so remarkable.
Compared to the walk towards the north, this one can be a little longer, but on the way, you’ll find many kiosks selling refreshing juices for a reasonable price.
JOINT BAR, CHEAP AND DELICIOUS LEMONADE
On our way back to home we decided to invest some money in a beer at the Joint Bar, located next to Punta Sur. This alternative bar offers live concerts and an extremely laid back atmosphere. We had a beer and the best lemonade ever. Served with a compostable straw, we sipped this lemonade/mint drink with so much joy.
This outdoor bar & grill serves also breakfasts, lunches, and dinners rigorously Mexican Style.
Of course, Isla Mujeres offers so many other activities. It is a perfect vacation destination for families, couples, solo travelers and backpackers. You can do snorkeling, have fun in an amusement park, visit an underwater museum, and eat in fancy restaurants. As you know, we wanted to explore Isla Mujeres on a budget… so if you will join some of these activities please share with us your experience
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2 Replies to “Isla Mujeres On A Budget, The Ultimate Guide”
oh, we needed this post 15 years ago!! lol. There weren’t much internet searching going on back then and hubby and I took a ferry there, but didn’t know where to go after that. We did discover, like you, that the carts were too expensive. This is a very nice list and perhaps we can now go back knowing what there is to do! I wish we could have walked the island to discover Playa Norte. It looks really nice!
I am so jealous, I would like to know how Isla Mujeres looked like 15 years ago! Probably less touristic and much more authentic. I am sure you also had an amazing experience