Isla Mujeres scuba diving travel guide - Bluewater Dive Travel

Isla Mujeres

Whale sharks swim in blue water
Snorkelers observe a whale shark close to the surface
A sea turtle swims above a reef


Scuba Diving in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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Isla Mujeres diving highlights

Isla Mujeres is a year-round dive destination known for big animal encounters like whale sharks and mantas. Easy diving with abundant marine life like turtles make this a great family dive destination. Scuba divers can also enjoy beautiful corals, wrecks, and spot a variety of pelagic species. Another highlight is the sailfish season that attracts people all around. Plus, the island is also home to an underwater museum that has become a unique dive site. Isla Mujeres has a variety of dive sites for beginners and advanced divers both. 


Intro To Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is an island in the Gulf of Mexico, about 8.1 miles (13 km) off the Yucatán Peninsula coast. The name of the destination in Spanish means "Island of the Women". The island itself is small and has a laid back vibe, but there is plenty to do. It is a great holiday destination with stunning white sand beaches and clear blue waters, great food and many options in water sports.

Check out our Cozumel dive guide for more Mexico island diving.

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There are two distinct snorkeling opportunities off Isla Mujeres that attract divers and underwater photographers year after year. These are swimming with sailfish from mid-December to mid-March and swimming with whale sharks during the summer. All year round you can spot some turtles, rays, a variety of tropical Caribbean fish, moray eels, reef sharks, and many more. 


what to see in Isla Mujeres


Isla Mujeres is a great place for whale shark tours. Whale sharks gather during the summer in two areas. Most operators will snorkel off Isla Holbox, where the whale sharks gather to feed on plankton and krill. Other operators will take snorkelers way off Isla Mujeres to clear blue water, where whale sharks and mantas feed on bonito eggs after spawning events. Depending on the day, there can be many whale sharks or not so many whale sharks, but the chances of seeing them are generally high. 


Those who wish to dive with sailfish will spend up to 8 or 10 hours on a boat searching for the sailfish as they hunt and control schools of baitfish. Sea conditions can be rough, and like any natural encounter, the sailfish are not guaranteed to show up. The encounters with sailfish will be brief as it is one of the fastest fish in the sea, but it is an incredible experience. 

A sailfish hunts a baitball


Away from other dive spots lies a mysterious cave where different species of sharks like to sleep. Because of this, the dive site is called the Sleeping Sharks Cave. The high oxygen content in water bubbles is what makes it a perfect sleeping spot for sharks. This is also a great way for scuba divers to closely observe the sharks. The majority of the sharks are nurse sharks but you can also see the gray reef, blacktip sharks and even bull sharks have been spotted sleeping there. Besides the sharks, turtles, jacks, and rays can be also seen.


Isla Mujeres does not only offer some great marine life encounters, but it is also home to a spectacular underwater museum. Museo de Arte Subacuático or shortly called MUSA, is a contemporary museum that has over 500 life-sized sculptures for display. There are a variety of interesting sculptures like a Volkswagen Beetle that are surrounded by playful fish. The museum can be visited both by scuba diving or snorkeling. 


best dive sites in Isla Mujeres

Manchones Reef - Colorful reefs with abundant marine life. You can spot some snappers, angelfish, parrotfish, wrasse and spotted trunkfish.

Bandera Reef - This long coral reef with overhangs and ledges is a favorite spot for barracudas, crabs, moray eels and angelfish. 

Hool Reef - The reef's floor is covered with holes, which is why it is named after the Mayan word Hool that means a hole. Along the reefs there is plenty of soft coral, sea fans, and colorful Caribbean fish.

Tavos Reef - Scuba divers can enjoy some beautiful swim-throughs, tunnels, and arches that are often visited by gray and white tip sharks. 

Media Luna - Another dive site with beautiful arches. You can spot some sea urchins, anemones, and lobsters. 


Beyond Isla Mujeres, the Yucatan area in Mexico offers many amazing options for scuba divers. Read more about other fantastic dive destinations in Mexico


  • Water Temperature: 78 - 82ºF (25-28ºC)
  • Visibility: Consistently 80-100 feet (24-30 meters)
  • Depth Range: 30-40ft
  • Current: Many of the sites have little to no current




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Flying to Cancun (CUN) is easy thanks to all the visiting tourists. The drive from the airport to the Isla Mujeres ferry is about 30 minutes and the ferries run every half hour during the day.


HOW TO DIVE Isla mujeres

There are plenty of dive resorts and dive centers you can choose from. Liveaboard diving is not available here.  


Best time to dive isla mujeres

This is a year-round dive destination, but the specific marine life encounters are seasonal. June-September is the best time for whale shark encounters and mid-December to mid-March is the sailfish season. 



  • Take a day trip to Isla Contoy, a natural wildlife reserve and bird sanctuary
  • Visiting El Meco Mayan Ruin on Isla’s Mainland
  • Chichén Itzá, the the capital of the ancient Maya empire, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Turtle Farm (Tortugranja) - Government-sponsored hatchery for endangered sea turtles.
  • Fishing & boat charters.


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  • Currency: Mexican Peso
  • Language: Spanish is the official language in Mexico but most people today learn English as a second language
  • Main Airport Code: CUN
  • Time Zone: UTC-5
  • Electricity: 127 V 60 Hz

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Reviews (4)


Jaime at Blue Water Travel was really wonderful and truly went about and beyond to help me book a fantastic trip to dive in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. I went snorkeling with whale sharks, cave diving in the cenotes, and a reef dive. I highly recommend all three experiences. The condo I stayed in was right next to the dive shop and the folks there were lovely as well. Everyone communicated well (down to getting photos of drivers and dive instructors so I'd recognize them), all logistics were incredibly easy to manage, and the whole trip, from the dives to the food to the wonderful people I met, was phenomenal.

Visited on 08/2022 - Submitted on 08/08/2022

After booking my trip to Isla Mujeres through Bluewater, I honestly kept thinking there HAD to be a catch. Over a week at a five-star all inclusive resort, a week straight of two dives per day (three if you choose to night dive... DO IT), and the ability to explore this amazing little island, all for an unbelievably affordable price. Let me just say- Isla Mujeres exceeded every expectation imaginable. The diving conditions were awesome: only needed a 3mil, 100ft vis most days, gnarly shipwrecks such as C-55, drift dives around the island, beautiful reefs, and even the legendary underwater museum MUSA. I traveled just prior to Eagle Ray season (December-March) but still was able to catch some rays on a few dives... and more barracuda and bat fish than I have ever seen in my life. Whale sharks pop up Mid-May thru September, so I am already planning my trip back. Accommodation & food is inexpensive, but high quality & safe. The people in the town are so welcoming, and within a few days locals were inviting us to their live music shows at their favorite bars. We had so much fun!! The diving is stimulating for an advanced diver, while still being attainable and enjoyable for someone less experienced. When it comes to money, I highly recommend bringing lots of pesos because very few places accept card and the ATMs have fees & withdrawal limits. The ferry to & from the island is easy & you can purchase tickets even up to the last minute with card (leave out of Puerto Juarez - a quick taxi ride from the airport). Overall, I had such a fantastic time and can’t wait to go back!

PS, rent a golf cart & go watch the sunrise from Punta Sur!

Visited on 11/2020 - Submitted on 03/11/2021
  • Top Reviewer
Fountain Valley, CA
United States

Isla Mujeres is the small island getaway that Cozumel used to be. A short ferry ride from Cancun will bring you to the Isla Mujeres ferry terminal right in town. Shops, restaurants, and bars are within walking distance. El Centro (the downtown area) has Hidalgo Street, a pedestrian only shopping mecca. Our favorite place to eat, an excellent Mediterranean restaurant, is also downtown. The primary forms of transportation are taxis or rental golf carts. We rented a golf cart so we could explore the island. We also stayed at a small B&B on the central part of the island, so the cart was handy for going into town. There are several hotels on the north end of town in the area called north beach (Playa Norte). Many people come here to use the public beach and swim. At the south end of the island (Punta Sur) there are Mayan ruins and beautiful views from the seaside cliffs. Not too far away is the local turtle farm and small aquarium, which can be toured for a small fee. The island is small and we were able to see most of the attractions in one day.
We found restaurants serving seafood, Mexican food, Mediterranean food, Cuban, New York pizza, and menus with a variety for everyone. Hint: Avoid the restaurants along Hidalgo Street. They are geared toward day trip tourists and the food is mostly mediocre and the drinks are watered down.
Accommodations range from hotels, B&Bs, and rental villas.
Scuba diving is available to see sleeping sharks, a pair of shipwrecks which attract squadrons of eagle rays in the spring, and local reefs. The real attraction in the spring is snorkeling with sailfish feeding on bait balls at the surface. In the summer, this is a prime area to see whale sharks. There are many dive shops to choose from.
Bottom line: Isla Mujeres is the place to go for that small island vibe, the friendly Mexican people, excellent food, and great diving. We have been there several times and will continue to return.

Visited on 01/2020 - Submitted on 02/26/2020

If you want to absolutely nail a chance to swim with whale sharks, look into doing a Isla Mujeres, Mexico whale shark tours. We've gone twice. Loved everything about the trip. The hotel we stayed at is kind of basic, but clean and safe. The hours in the water...spectacular. We felt safe there...the boat operators know what they are doing and the whale sharks were treated well...and there were hundreds of them...along with big mantas, mobula rays and lots of other fun ocean live. Highly recommended. By the way...we did Holbox island as well...loved it but the boat rides are often long and rough at Holbox.

Visited on 07/2013 - Submitted on 08/19/2014


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