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My Isla Mujeres Bucket List

I’ve been told some stories about Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. So many stories, it fills my head with Isla Mujeres bucket list ideas.

That it’s so small, visitors and locals use golf carts to get around. That if you time your visit right, you can swim with whale sharks. That you mostly spend your vacation days sitting on a beach.

Updated: This post was first written in 2017 and updated in November 2019. To keep this post as accurate as possible, please let me know if something has closed or changed on the island!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a commission for purchases made by making a purchase a things I recommend. 

Things to do in Isla Mujeres, Mexico - A bucket list of island adventures, activities and things to see plus a wish list of restaurants to try.

Where is Isla Mujeres?

If you’ve never heard of Isla Mujeres, don’t feel bad. It’s a tiny Mexican island is in the Gulf of Mexico, and is so small, it’s a little more than 4 miles long. The total population of Isla Mujeres is less than 13,000 people and many people get around simply by golf cart. But, yes, there are also taxis there.

Interestingly, the most popular way to get to the island is by ferry from Cancun, Mexico. You have two options of ferry boat companies: UltraMar and Marinsa. The ferry rides are only about 15 minutes long, so many people make a day trip to Isla Mujeres. Learn more about traveling within the country and other important things to know before traveling to Mexico before you go.

An Isla Mujeres Bucket List

Isla Mujeres sounds pretty idyllic. I’m headed there soon, so I made a big wish list of what I’d like to do if time and money weren’t an issue. Truthfully, I will just be sitting, reading, and sleeping most of my vacation. But, if I do get up and find myself a golf cart, here are some other things I’d go do:

Swim With Whale Sharks

Bucket list of things to do on Isla Mujeres - Swim with a whale shark. The island is so well known for the whale shark, the island welcome sign has one on it.
Photo by Kirt Edblom on Flickr.

This is on the bucket list, but I know full well I won’t be doing it. Wrong time of the year. If you want to swim with these gentle giants, you need to visit between June and September.

There are even tours that take you snorkeling near whale sharks.

Chill at Playa Norte

Isla Mujeres is about 5 miles long, so it’s entirely possible that I will be at Playa Norte daily without much of a hassle. It’s the most popular beach on the island.

Explore Isla Mujeres By Golf Cart

Bucket list of things to do on Isla Mujeres - Tour the island by golf cart, one of the preferred ways to travel around Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Photo by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr.

While we plan on getting around the island by bikes most of the time, it sounds so fun to rent a golf cart and zoom around the island.

Related post: 5 Things To Do On Isla Mujeres

Eat. A lot.

It’s a small island but it is loaded with good restaurants. A lot specialize in fresh seafood because, come on, it’s an island.

Among the ones that rank high on travel lists and get featured on blogs a lot are Ballyhoo Restaurant & Margaritas, Mango Cafe and Lolo Lorena. Lolo Lorena sounds like an especially unique dining experience. I also have Bastos Grill, Greenverde, Ruben’s and La Lomita on my list.

Try Mexican Specialties

While on the topic of eating…Yucantan has some noted foods that I want to try, including a citrus roasted pulled pork specialty that originated there called Cochinita pibil.

A few other Mexican foods I’d be interested in trying fruits like nance fruit and guaya fruit (which sounds trick to eat), and cheese-stuffed street food called marquesitas.

Swim to the Underwater Museum

Bucket list of things to do on Isla Mujeres - Scuba dive to see the sculptures found in the Underwater Museum
Photo by Andy Blackledge on Flickr.

There’s a surreal-looking sculpture garden off the island is not only beautiful to see while snorkeling or diving, it’s also functional by contributing to the reef structure and growth of coral.

I’d love to see the Museo Subacuatico de Arte, plus learn how it helps keep the environment healthy for marine life.

Shop The Women’s Beading Cooperative

The Women’s Beading Cooperative looks like a nice place to purchase homemade gifts to bring home.

Visit A Turtle Farm

The island has a sanctuary for sea turtles called Isla Mujeres Turtle Farm. Here, they have a hatchery and regularly release the hatchlings to sea.

Zip Line Over Water

Bucket list of things to do on Isla Mujeres - Zipline at the Garrafon Natural Reef Park
Photo by Grisha Levit on Flickr.

How often do you get to zipline over an ocean? Garrafon Natural Reef Park offers that experience on Isla Mujeres.

Garrafon Natural Reef Park is also a good place to snorkel!

See Mayan Ruins

You can find incredible ruins in Mexico, and for the best preserved, I know we need to go to the mainland. Isla Mujeres does have some remains of ruins, though.

Being on the east side of the island, they’re said to be important in that they’re the first to have the sun hit them each day.

Try to Sea Kayak

Our little hotel has some kayaks available for guests to use, so why not try sea kayaking? Since this is a bucket list post, I’d like to imagine we’d have a guide who’d take us to gorgeous locals.

The likely scenario, though, will be that Mr. Wonderful and I will strike out on our own and we’ll get tired 5 minutes into it.

Find a Cenote

Mexico is known for cenotes, underground, water-filled caves. There aren’t any on the island, so if I were to swim in one, I’d have to go inland. There are a few on the Yucatan, so who knows? Someday I’ll find one.

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Wish list of things to do in Isla Mujeres, a small island in Mexico near Cancun. This Isla Mujeres bucket list includes trying out the island's most popular form of transportation - golf carts! | Mexican island | Where to go in Mexico

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Amy Everhart

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

Great post! We tried to get my son to zipline for his birthday last year and he thought he wanted to do it but then backed out once we got there. Amazing views from that side of the Cancun skyline and the water. We also love the Cochinita Pibil! There is a local guy in La Gloria that makes it every Sunday. So yummy!


Wednesday 26th of December 2018

The floating bottle island is no longer there. No mention of the lighthouse?


Wednesday 26th of December 2018

That's too bad about the bottle island! Thank you for the heads up. I'll make note of that in the post. No, I didn't include any of the lighthouses in this bucket list. There are three there. I don't usually seek them out on trips, so I never think of including them on any bucket list for seaside destinations.


Sunday 24th of September 2017

Everything on this list is acheivable! I have been to Isla Mujeres twice and these things are all very cost friendly and so much fun! Near the swimming with dolphin place there is a statue garden place and it was so cool and unexpectedly beautiful! It cost about $3 to get in but it was totally worth it! We got some of the best pictures there!

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