How to Get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres in 2023: The Complete Guide
Wondering how to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres? Look no further!
In this post, you will find all the possible ways to get to the popular Caribbean Island of Mexico.
I live in Cancun so I have been to Isla Mujeres multiple times and in this post, you will find an insider guide on how to get there and the best tips about the island.
Isla Mujeres is a small island off the coast of Cancun and a spot you do not want to miss while staying in Cancun.
Thankfully, it is easy and fast to travel from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. There you can explore the island and visit the world-famous Playa Norte, besides all the other amazing things to do.
Now that you have added a visit to Isla Mujeres to your travel itinerary, keep reading to learn how to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
3 Ways to Get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
There are three ways to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres- take the ferry, charter a private yacht, or book a tour. There are advantages to each option, so below we will explain them to you so you can decide what is best for you.
1. Take the Ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
Taking the ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres is an easy and comfortable option. Taking the ferry gives you the freedom to explore Isla Mujeres on your own, and there are constant crossings during the day.
The ferries are all modern, fast, and comfortable. They have air conditioning and even sell snacks and beverages.
🏆 Choosing the Best Ferry Terminal – Ultramar vs Xcaret
There are two ferry companies that run boats between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Ultramar, and the newest one, Xcaret Xailing.
The Ultramar boats leave from three different locations: Puerto Juarez, Playa Tortugas, and Playa Caracol.
Puerto Juarez is located just to the north of downtown Cancun and its terminal with the most frequent schedule.
Playa Tortugas and Playa Caracol are located in the hotel zone at kilometers 6.5 and 9.5 respectively.
Ultramar boats leave from the Puerto Juarez locations every half hour from 5:30 am until 11 pm, with the last return to Puerto Juarez leaving Isla Mujeres at 12:00 am.
The ferries that leave from Playa Tortugas and Playa Caracol have a much more limited schedule, with boats leaving Playa Tortugas every hour from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
There are even fewer departures from Playa Caracol. If you plan to use that dock, make sure to look up the current schedule online before planning your day.
Also keep in mind that if you have your own car, the Ferry in Puerto Juarez has a large and convenient parking lot right in front, while the other Ultramar Terminals don’t have much parking space.
👉🏽 XCARET XAILING
Xcaret Xailing ferry boats leave from El Embarcado Isla Mujeres at kilometer 4.5 in the Cancun hotel zone.
They have boats leaving every hour starting at 10:00 am with the last departure to Isla Mujeres at 7:00 pm.
There are return trips from Isla Mujeres every hour until 8:00 pm. Xcaret Xailing ferry ticket includes admission to the Scenic Tower of Cancun.
The Scenic Tower is located at El Embarcado Isla Mujeres and is an 80-meter (260-foot) tower that rotates 360 degrees so you can get amazing views, and photos, of the Cancun area.
At the Xcaret Xailing you can also find great parking facilities as well.
👉🏽 ULTRAMAR vs XCARET
Both ferry companies have good safety records and clean and well-maintained boats. Ultramar boats leaving from the Puerto Juarez dock cost less than ferries leaving from the hotel zone.
If you are staying in downtown Cancun, or are comfortable using public transportation or a taxi, you can leave from Puerto Juarez.
Also, if you want to go early in the morning or come back later, you will need to use that dock. If you are staying in the hotel zone, it might be worth it to you to pay a few dollars extra to get on the Xcaret Ferry, near your hotel.
You should pick your ferry based on convenience for your day trip. Both ferry companies offer air-conditioned interiors, and outdoor seating, and sell refreshments on the boat.
They both sell open tickets, meaning you can show up and board whatever ferry you want.
Just remember, during the busy season, the ferries can fill up, so you will need to give yourself time to board and get a seat.
The great thing is that you do not have to commit to a schedule when purchasing your tickets.
✔️ How to get from Cancun airport to Puerto Juarez?
If you are staying on Isla Mujeres, you will want to go directly from the airport to Puerto Juarez to cross to Isla Mujeres. Once you land in Cancun, there are a few different ways you can make your way to the ferry dock.
👉🏽 Private airport Shuttle (Fastest)
The first, and fastest, option is to pre-book a private airport shuttle to take you to Puerto Juarez. Private shuttles cost around $35 dollars for up to 4 people.
Cancun Airport Transportation is my favorite company ever and I would never use any other. They are professional and friendly at the same time and one of the most affordable among private service companies. ► BOOK YOUR TRANSFER HERE
👉🏽 Public transport (Cheapest)
If you want to save a bit of money, you can book a shared shuttle from the airport to Puerto Juarez.
The option is to take the public ADO bus from the airport to downtown Cancun and then take a collective or taxi to Puerto Juarez.
The ADO bus from the airport to downtown will cost you around $9 and then a taxi ride will cost around 150 pesos.
If you do not want to take the public bus, you should book your private airport shuttle in advance.
I would not recommend airport taxis as they are known for quoting rides at really high rates.
📌 Cancun to Isla Mujeres Ferry Schedule
It is always a good idea to check the current ferry schedule online before planning your trip to Isla Mujeres.
The schedules can change, but the companies are good about posting changes on their websites and social media.
The Ultramar ferries that leave Puerto Juarez have the most daily crossings. The first boat departs Puerto Juarez at 5:30 am and there are crossings every half hour until 6:00 pm.
From 6:00 pm there are crossings every hour until 11:00 pm.
The last boat that returns to Cancun from Isla Mujeres leaves at 12:00 am. The Ultramar boats that leave from the hotel zone have more limited departures.
The first boat leaves Playa Tortugas at 9:00 am with departures until 5:15 pm. Boats from Playa Caracol start at 10:30 until 5:30.
Xcaret Xailing has departures every hour starting at 9:00 am until 7:00 pm, except there is no crossing at 3:00 pm.
💰 Cost of the Ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
The Ultramar ferries that leave Puerto Juarez cost around $10 per person in each direction.
You will pay a bit more to leave from the hotel zone, with ferries costing about $15 per person in each direction.
If you take the Ultramar ferry from Playa Caracol you will also need to pay an extra docking fee that is not included in your ferry price.
These prices are for adults. There is a discounted price for children who are under 1.20 meters tall (3.9 feet). Infants under 1 year old ride for free, but need a boarding pass from the ticket counter.
Quintana Roo residents with proper ID get a discounted rate on ferries that leave from Puerto Juarez.
🕒 How long is the ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
The ferry takes around 20- 30 minutes to cross from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. Puerto Juarez is closer to Isla Mujeres, so the ride will be a bit shorter.
If you leave from the hotel zone, you will have a slightly longer ferry ride.
You can sit back, relax, and enjoy great views of the turquoise water and coast while cruising to Isla Mujeres. It’s so blue, it’s hypnotic and it never stops mesmerizing me.
2. Book a Private Yacht from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
If you want to move completely on your own schedule, you can charter a private yacht to take you from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
Obviously, this is the most expensive option, but you do not need to think of it as strictly transportation.
Depending on the yacht you charter, the entire day will be a tour experience. Many yachts offer snorkeling and drinks and snacks as part of the package.
Booking a private yacht is not in everyone’s budget, but if you can afford it, it is a luxurious and fun way to get to Isla Mujeres. If you are traveling with a larger group, it might be more affordable than you think.
Your tour operator will be able to tell you exactly how many people you can bring on the private boat.
As always, when you book a private boat, make sure that they have all the proper licensing and insurance.
Check the weather and wind conditions before booking a private yacht. Smaller boats will move more in the water, and if you have people who are prone to seasickness this might not be the best option for them.
3. Join Tours from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
If your trip to Isla Mujeres is as much about the journey as it is about the destination, you should check out tours.
Whether you want a luxury sailboat, or the chance to hop into the water and go snorkeling on the way to Isla Mujeres, a tour will include fun activities and make planning your day there a breeze.
Here are some of the best tours to take to Isla Mujeres:
🛥️ Isla Mujeres Catamaran Tour
4.5 ⭐️ 670 Reviews
Enjoy great views and a fun atmosphere on this catamaran trip to Isla Mujeres. On the way from Cancun to Isla Mujeres you will have the chance to get in the water and snorkel.
Guides will be in the water with you to help point out marine life. Back on board, you will be treated to an open bar and you can relax or dance while sailing to Isla Mujeres.
Once there you will have free time to explore the island, including its amazing beaches before returning to Cancun. This tour lasts 6 to 8 hours.
🦈 Whale Sharks Tour in Cancun & Riviera Maya
4.5 ⭐️ 590 Reviews
This seasonal tour runs from the end of May until mid-September and is an amazing chance to get an up-close view of whale sharks.
This small group activity is limited to 10 participants who are paired with an expert guide.
You will meet your guide and board a boat to go looking for whale sharks in Cancun off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Once you spot them you will hop into the water in pairs and have the chance to snorkel next to them.
You also have the possibility to spot manta rays, dolphins, and sea turtles! After you finish snorkeling you will go to Isla Mujer’s famous Playa Norte beach to relax and enjoy lunch. This tour lasts 7 hours.
⛵ Half-Day Sailing Trip to Isla Mujeres from Cancun
4.5 ⭐️ 332 Reviews
Relax with this half-day tour to Isla Mujeres. You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the marina. There you will board a comfortable boat and take off for Isla Mujeres.
On the way you will stop at a coral reef where you will have the chance to get into the water and enjoy the marine life. All snorkel equipment is included.
You will then continue on to Isla Mujeres where you will have free time to explore the island. Your tour included an open bar and snacks and lasts about 5 hours.
Tips for Travelling from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
You want to make the most of your time on vacation. If you want to visit Isla Mujeres, it is a good idea to have a game plan before you go. Here are some tips for traveling in Isla Mujeres.
✔️ If you are taking the ferries, make sure to double-check the ferry departure times before you go.
✔️ You can save time in line at the ferry docks by purchasing the ferry tickets online ahead of time, and then you just need to budget enough time to arrive and board the ferry.
✔️ If you are planning on taking a day trip to Isla Mujeres you will want to pack a backpack or small bag with a few essential items.
✔️ If you plan to visit the famous beaches there, you will want a swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen.
✔️ Take dry clothes to change into to make your return trip more comfortable. Remember that the sun is strong there, so do not forget your sunglasses, hat, and skin protection.
✔️ When you visit Isla Mujeres, try to be a considerate guest on the island. Make sure to use eco-friendly sunscreen if you plan to get into the water or go snorkeling.
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✔️ 100% Mineral-based sunscreen, also known as a physical sunscreen, reflects UVA/UVB rays to help protect the skin. Developed with dermatologists by CeraVe Skincare.
✔️ Oxybenzone free, avobenzone free, and benzene free, this sunscreen contains physical filters Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
✔️ Formula is oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and suitable for sensitive skin
✔️ Also, try to reduce the amount of trash you generate while there.
✔️ If possible, fill up a reusable water bottle before leaving your hotel to reduce the amount of plastic trash you generate.
MOTIVATIONAL 32oz BPA & TOXIN FREE REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
✔ Made of high-quality eco-friendly BPA Free, food-grade PETG plastic material, it’s leak-proof, odorless, durable, and recyclable, safe for your daily drinking.
✔ Time maker can help you boost your daily water intake.
✔ STURDY AND PORTABLE: This sports water bottle is made of premium quality, BPA FREE, PETG plastic material,
Things to Know Before Travelling from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
You may not know much about Isla Mujeres except that it is a popular spot to visit while staying in Cancun. Isla Mujeres is small- just 7 kilometers long by 600 meters wide.
You can explore the downtown area on foot and rent a golf cart or a scooter to cruise around. There you will find restaurants, shops, and some of the best beaches in the area.
Here below are some things you should know about Isla Mujeres before deciding how to get there.
✔️ How far is Isla Mujeres from Cancun?
Isla Mujeres is about 13 kilometers, or 8 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It sits just to the northeast of downtown Cancun. From the west coast of Isla Mujeres, you can see Cancun’s skyline.
✔️ How long does it take to go from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
There is no bridge that connects the mainland with Isla Mujeres, so you must take a boat to get there. The ferries take around 30 minutes to cross the island.
The other option is to join a tour, but we will talk about all the different ways to get to the island in the following chapter.
✔️ How much does it cost to go from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
There are several different ways to get to Isla Mujeres. The cheapest upfront cost to get there is to take a ferry. The ferries cost around $10 or 270 pesos each way.
If you want to travel in luxury you can book an excursion or private yacht to take you to Isla Mujeres.
✔️ What is the fastest way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
Tours that take you from Cancun to Isla Mujeres will often make stops on the way for guests to jump into the water and go snorkeling.
If you want to quickly get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres the two fastest options are to charter a private yacht or take the ferry from Puerto Juarez.
When you charter a private yacht they will take you wherever you want and you do not need to wait for other guests to load and unload.
Obviously, this is not the most cost-effective way to get there, so if you are in a hurry but do not want to spend that much you can take the ferry from Puerto Juarez.
The ferry will take around 30 minutes to cross the island. (more about it later in this post)
✔️ What is the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
The cheapest way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres is to go on the ferry. There are two ferry companies- Ultramar and Xcaret Xailing, both cost around $10 in each direction.
Taking the passenger ferry to Isla Mujeres is the cheapest option up front, but it does not include anything.
Depending on what you want to do while visiting Isla Mujeres, a tour can be a great option. Some include activities and food as well as the cost of transportation.
How to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres: Frequently Asked Questions
Is Isla Mujeres worth visiting?
Yes! It has beautiful beaches with calm water that is easy to swim in and a relaxing atmosphere.
It is a fun place to spend the day with a more relaxed “island vibe” than Cancun has.
It is fast and easy to get to Isla Mujeres, so there is no reason not to spend a day there.
What is Isla Mujeres known for?
Isla Mujeres is known for its amazing beaches with calm, turquoise waters and fine white sand.
The small island has a relaxed atmosphere and is home to fishermen, artists, among others.
Can I fly to Isla Mujeres Airport?
Isla Mujeres has a small airport that receives flights from small, private planes. There are no commercial airlines that fly directly into the island.
Unless you can charter a private plane, you will need to take the water ferry to the island.
Are cars allowed in Isla Mujeres?
Yes, there are cars on Isla Mujeres. Along with private cars, there are taxis on the island. Many locals use motorbikes to get around.
If you want transportation to explore the island, it is more common to rent a golf cart to cruise around.
Can I rent a car in Isla Mujeres?
Yes, you can rent a car on Isla Mujeres.
You can also rent bicycles or golf carts to use to explore the island, which is one of the most convenient and popular things to do.
How to get around Isla Mujeres?
You can walk around the downtown area or use a taxi if you want to get to further away beaches.
If you want transportation of your own you can rent a car, golf cart, or bicycle.
Is it difficult to get to Isla Mujeres?
No, there are ferries crossing all day between Cancun and Isla Mujeres from several different docks in the Cancun area.
You can plan which time and dock is the most convenient for you.
Do you need a passport from Cancun to Isla Mujeres?
You will need a passport to enter Mexico from any other country.
Once here, you will not need to show your passport when you travel from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
How many days should you stay in Isla Mujeres?
It depends on what you want to do! There are great hotels on Isla Mujeres if you want to spend a few days enjoying the restaurants, shops, and great beaches.
What is the best month to visit Isla Mujeres?
The winter months of November to April have consistently great weather on Isla Mujeres.
These are the dry months of the year, and you can expect moderate temperatures and sunny days.
If you want to swim with the whale sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres, you will need to come in the summer months.
The whale sharks come at the end of May and you can snorkel with them until mid-September.
Final Thoughts on How to Get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
As you can see, it is safe and easy to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
Whether you want to stay there for a few nights, or just take a day trip, you do not want to miss a chance to enjoy this relaxing and beautiful tropical paradise.
About the Author
Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!