Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Ellen
What an Isla Mujeres Vacation is like today
We had spent some time on Isla Mujeres about four years ago, and it is more crowded now than it was back then. I had read this and knew it.
There are more vendors and they are more busy than four years ago. I would say there are more tourists on the island now than in the past.
We stayed at a beautiful rental away from the tourist zone, and it was not crowded there at all. It was a 10 minute walk to the best beach, and we did not mind the walk.
We paid $150 a night for our rental, and I feel it was a very good deal. The rental had two floors with two bedrooms, each with its own bath, a big kitchen and living room, and four different decks (including a roof top deck). We had one small dipping pool and gorgeous view of the Caribbean, although it is not swimmable right there.
I know there are small, modest, clean, rentals for half of what we paid — I have read good reviews about them also.
The restaurant prices seem a bit higher than four years ago. Of course, in the tourist zone the prices are higher.
We ate quite a bit in the areas where the locals live, and the food was all very, very good and cost less. We would pay about $5 a person for a full meal with tips. In the tourist area it was twice that or more.
Pictured below: a typical breakfast. Omelet with cheese and sides of rice and beans. This green juice is sooo good. It was made with lime, OJ, mint and (I think) watermelon. This was in a neighborhood far away from the tourist area, but we loved it and went back a few times.
The bars and cafes right on the beach are more expensive. It’s about what you would pay back here in Nebraska.
Isla Mujeres exploration
It takes about three to four hours to walk the entire island end to end with no stopping. We rented a golf cart for our first three days to explore the whole island. However, it cost $65 a day. That has doubled in price since four years ago.
It’s nice having a golf cart for part of the time, but we also enjoyed the walking after we turned in our golf cart . You can see a lot more by foot, if you don’t mind walking.
There are also many taxis but we never used them. I hear they are trustworthy and reliable.
Pictured below is the main “tourist” street, that has blocks and blocks of shops, cafes, bars, music, etc. It is fun, but we actually tried to avoid it if we could. Vendors can be a bit aggressive, and prices are higher.
The fancier restaurants are along that strip, and it goes right up to Playa Norte, or North Beach, which is the famous, most beautiful beach on the island.
Isla Mujeres beaches
You can rent a beach umbrella and two lounge chairs for the day. We paid $20 for this and it was on the best stretch of beach.
Tip: you have to get there before noon to get a good spot. By afternoon, it is so crowded.
There are also chair and umbrella rentals on the Centro beach (west side of Playa Norte). This beach is pretty too, but it gets deep much sooner so you can’t walk out into the water for a long, long ways like you can on Playa Norte.
Below is a view from Punta Sur, the south point of island. There are trails to walk down along the water, which are so pretty but the water is very rough.
Tipping & communication
You feel obligated to tip EVERYWHERE for everything, and we don’t mind helping these locals out. But you have to add that to overall cost of your trip.
Most of the people on the island speak some English and some know English very well. My friend and I know some Spanish and we had zero trouble communicating.
Everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful.
Isla Mujeres vacation: getting there
I bought the flight tickets in January 2023, and paid more than I should. I paid $725 per person for round trip out of Chicago. (In the past we have been able to book Omaha to Cancun for less than $400 per person). We also combined it with a stay in Chicago with my son, so I had to add on that airfare round trip from Omaha to and from Chicago for about $400.
We hired CARM shuttle (stands for Cancun and Riviera Maya) for all of our transportation to and from the airport/ferry/hotel, etc. We have used them for years and they are excellent!
Lori is a travel lover and long-time earthvagabonds.com reader.
She recently retired and looks forward to more travel in retirement and more family time.
From Earth Vagabonds: Thank you, Lori! Sounds like an excellent vacation to Isla Mujeres to celebrate your retirement. Congratulations!