Isla Mujeres



Country: Mexico

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Intro to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is an island in the Gulf of Mexico, about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) off the Yucatán Peninsula coast. 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.



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This is a great place for whale shark tours, and divers can also enjoy beautiful corals, wrecks, and spot a variety of pelagic species.

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.

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, but it is an incredible experience.

Whale sharks gather during the summing 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 many whale sharks.

Read more about other fantastic dive destinaions 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.



  • 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.
  • Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery 
  • 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 (2)

  • 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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