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Isla Mujeres Day Trips

Isla Mujeres, named for the small female figurines discovered by the Spanish during their arrival in the 16th century, is a tiny islet stationed a 20 minute ferry ride off the eastern coast of Mexico. Home to sugary white sand beaches and some of the most scenic snorkeling sites on the planet, Isla Mujeres has become a popular day trip from Cancun, attracting a global complement of visitors yearly.

While splashing in the island’s cerulean waters or passing a lazy afternoon in a breezy hammock on the beach is a perfectly good way to spend the day, the island is also home to a small but thriving town with an array of attractions. The island measures less than 5 miles across, making it extremely easy to get around on foot. However, golf carts and scooters are other widely used methods of transportation on the island, and are readily available to rent.

Inland from the shore is a network of artisan vendors offering one of a kind souvenirs such as colorful hand blown glassware and fine woven rugs.

The island also features cultural points of interest such as the ruins of an ancient Mayan temple dedicated to Ixchel, goddess of the moon, fertility, medicine, and joy. From Punta Sur, the southernmost tip of the island and the highest point of elevation above sea level, guests will be able to explore this historic and spiritual site amongst spectacular views of the waves crashing into the cliff face.

 

Isla Mujeres offers lovers of nature a treat as well, inviting them to participate in turtle releases at La Granja de las Tortugas, the sanctuary on the island. This preserve is vital to regional conservation efforts, protecting hundreds of turtle eggs each season to ensure a future for these endangered creatures. Visitors to the area from August to October may be fortunate enough to help release them to the ocean under the supervision of a guide.

Isla Mujeres is also the location of Garrafon Natural Reef Park, a massive reef formation that provides a spectacular setting for a range of activities. Kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding are some of the most popular options, and adventurous visitors can even experience a once in a lifetime encounter at the park’s dolphin habitat.

 

A short distance southwest of the island itself is Museo Subacuático de Arte, a unique installation that showcases over 500 life size statues in an underwater gallery. The statues also serve a practical purpose, active as a man-made reef that gives local marine life a safe and reliable home. The attraction features two galleries: Salon Nizuc, which is only open to snorkelers, and Salon Manchones, which allows both snorkeling and tank diving.

Treasured for its natural beauty, Isla Mujeres also delivers ample appeal for active travelers. The island is home to an eclectic community of fishermen, artists, musicians, chefs, and lovers of life, making it an ideal destination for meeting new people. Combining the picturesque vistas of the Caribbean with a distinct local charm and a rich historical heritage, Isla Mujeres encapsulates what makes so many visitors fall in love with Mexico.