A laid-back tropical island paradise a mere 8 miles away from Cancun? Yes please! Beautiful Isla Mujeres is a world-apart from the craziness of Cancun and makes for a perfect day trip with the kids.
Between the ferry ride, the golf cart rental, the turtles and fun by the water, we had a great day visiting Isla Mujeres with kids!
Isla Mujeres with Kids
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How to Get to Isla Mujeres
The cheapest way cheapest way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres is by ferry. There are several ferry departure points from Cancun:
The main Cancun ferry port is Puerto Juarez, located just outside downtown. Puerto Juarez offers the most ferries to Isla Mujeres per day and is slightly cheaper than the other ports, but it isn’t in the Cancun Hotel Zone, so it may not be the most convenient.
Playa Tortugas and El Embarcadero are both on the northern leg of the hotel zone and each offer direct ferries from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. For our Isla Mujeres day trip, we left from Playa Tortugas as it was the only port which we could confirm had parking.
Playa Caracol is located in the NE corner of the Cancun hotel zone. A limited number of non-direct Isla Mujeres ferries depart here each day. The ferries stop at El Embarcadero along the way.
Of course, being Cancun, there are some way more exciting ways to get to Isla Mujeres. You can get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres via catamaran, trimaran or sailboat, with many of these coming as part of a snorkeling & sightseeing tour.
Our kids (aged 2 & 4) were a little too young to bring on one of these trips, but we would love to go the next time we are there. If interested, take a look at these fun tours to Isla Mujeres.
Ferry Tickets from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
- Ferry Tickets from Puerto Juarez to Isla Mujeres
- Ferry Tickets from the Cancun Hotel Zone to Isla Mujeres
Getting Around Isla Mujeres with Kids
The tourist part of Isla Mujeres occupies the northern tip of the island. It is small enough to walk from end-to-end in 10 minutes, so if your day trip to Isla Mujeres was for shopping, eating or a day at Playa Norte, all you need to get around is your feet.
If you wish to see the rest of Isla Mujeres ,which we recommend, you can take a taxi, rent a golf cart or a scooter.
Isla Mujeres Golf Cart Rental
It seems most visitors to Isla Mujeres rent golf carts or scooters as you see them everywhere. As you’d expect, the Isla Mujeres gold cart rental shops are all located immediately outside the ferry terminal – you can’t miss them.
We rented a golf cart on Isla Mujeres at a daily rate of 700 pesos (~$37usd) and we found it to be a great way to see the island independently. The kids absolutely loved the golf cart rental and were so excited to be in an open air vehicle. Meanwhile, we adults enjoyed our golf cart rental for the ocean views and sea breeze on our face as we explored the island.
Things to Do on Isla Mujeres with Kids
Isla Mujeres has lots of fun stuff for small kids. To give you a feel, here is what we did during our full day on Isla Mujeres:
As soon as we got our golf cart rental we headed south to Tortugranja, a turtle farm located about halfway down the island. Tortugranja is a small & simple facility, so keep your expectations in check, but they price it accordingly (admission for the four of us, including turtle food was 150 pesos – roughly $8usd).
The main building at Tortugranja has 6 tanks in the center, one with baby turtles (so cute!) and the other 5 with larger turtles of a variety of species. The kids had fun trying to feed the turtles although to be honest most of the turtles ignored the food pellets.
Along the outside walls of the room were a series of tanks with fish, some local & tropical, some not. Outside the main building are more tanks with turtles, many of which were larger than what we saw inside.
As we walked around the back of the building on our way out we passed the laboratory. There were two older gentlemen inside and one of them came running out when he saw the kids. He had two baby turtles in his hands and let our kids each hold one. The kids were so excited!
Overall, Tortugranja is a pretty simple place, but it was super cheap and the kids had a hoot, so we felt it was a worthy thing to do on Isla Mujeres with kids.
Next we drove our golf cart rental to Punta Sur at the southernmost tip of Isla Mujeres. The epic scenery alone, with the jagged cliffs and the open ocean make it worth the trip down to Punta Sur. There are two main sections to explore on Punta Sur:
The free area of Punta Sur has a few nice sculptures (a giant iguana and a half-naked Mayan woman). There is a short path along the north side of the island with great views of ocean waves crashing on the rocks.
The other section of Punta Sur is the quirky “Sculpture Garden”, which extends all the way to the actual tip of the island. The cost of admission to Punta Sur for the adults was a mere 30 pesos (~$2usd) each to enter the sculpture park which extends all the way to the southern tip of the island.
Along the Punta Sur pathways are a lot of interesting, modern-art sculptures. Whatever your taste in art, it was an undeniably cool setting for a display of artwork like this.
Near the southern tip of Isla Mujeres was a small set of ruins honoring the Mayan Moon Goddess. From here the path descends towards the ocean and turns back towards the entrance. This is a very scenic path along the bottom of rocky cliffs with waves crashing alongside.
On our way back to town, we stopped at Green Verde for lunch. This was fun little Isla Mujeres restaurant with a small lunch menu with mostly Mexican offerings. The food was very good and the kids ate most of theirs.
Isla Mujeres Town
Once we got back to Isla Mujeres town it seemed like we had hit rush hour – the streets were filled with cars and golf cart rentals and forward progress was pretty slow. We decided it would be faster to return our golf cart rental and walk.
We walked north along Avenida Rueda Medina to Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres’ famous beach. Playa Norte was a beautiful beach and it looked like a great place to spend time with our kids, but unfortunately it was one of those rare cloudy and windy days in Mexico, so sadly we didn’t stop to play. On a typical day though, Playa Norte would be an excellent thing to do with kids on Isla Mujeres.
From here we worked our way back toward the Isla Mujeres ferry terminal along the charming, pedestrian-only shopping street, Miguel Hidalgo.
As a parent with small kids, I love pedestrian-only streets as you don’t need to worry as much about your kids running into traffic; and of course, the kids love the freedom to roam. This street is lively and colorful, filled with many restaurants and shops.
Things to Do On Isla Mujeres with Older Kids
If they are old enough, there are many world-class things to do on Isla Mujeres with kids. Swimming with whale sharks is high-up on our bucket list, so I’m certain we will be back with the kids as soon as they are old enough!
Here are some of the many great things to do on Isla Mujeres with kids:
- Small-Group Eco Friendly Whale Sharks Tour
- Swim with dolphins in Isla Mujeres
- Isla Mujeres Snorkeling Trips
- Isla Mujeres Water Park (Parque de Los Sueños)
Where to Stay on Isla Mujeres with Kids
We based our 28-day trip to Mexico in a beautiful 3-bedroom Airbnb in Playa del Carmen.
We didn’t stay in Isla Mujeres, but it is a place which I’d like to return to one day as I like it’s laid-back vibe, with a tendency towards smaller hotel resorts as opposed to the mega-resorts in Cancun.
When traveling with kids, we generally prefer to rent an Airbnb for the luxury of having separate bedrooms, our own kitchen and laundry facilites. There are many Isla Airbnb rentals to choose from. If you are new to Airbnb, you can sign up with our link and get a nice discount on your first stay.
Of course, staying at a resort is a super-fun thing to do with kids while on holiday on Mexico. When we stay in hotels, we use Booking.com as they have an excellent family-friendly search filter. View family-friendly hotels in Isla Mujeres.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Isla Mujeres with kids as much as we did!
DON’T MISS: If you are currently in the Mayan Riviera or are planning a trip there, don’t miss our blog post, Plan the Best Family Trip to the Mayan Riviera. It’s packed full of planning tips, exciting family activities and links to all of our Mayan Riviera blog posts. It’s sure to help make your family trip a memorable one! Don’t forget the beach toys!
More Mexico with Kids
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- Have a Fun Day at Xcaret with Kids
- Top 23 Tips for Visiting Xel-Ha, Mexico
- 6 Awesome Eco Parks in Mexico
- How to Easily Visit the Best Mayan Ruins
- The Best Public Beaches in Playa del Carmen
- 9 Amazing Family-Friendly Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
- Beware of These Scams When Renting a Car in the Yucatan Peninsula
- What You Need to Know About Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula
- Are you Afraid of the Food & Water in Mexico?
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- Traveling to Mexico with a Baby or Toddler
- Top Toddler Friendly Cenotes in the Mayan Riviera
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