Isla Mujeres (Spanish pronunciation: [‘izla mu’xeɾes], Spanish for “Women Island”) is an island in the Caribbean Sea, about 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) off the Yucatán Peninsula coast. The island is some 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) long and 650 meters (2,130 ft) wide. To the east is the Caribbean Sea with a strong surf and rocky coast, and to the west the skyline of Cancún can be seen across the clear waters. In the 2010 census, the namesake town on the island had a population of 12,642 inhabitants.
Transportation on the island of Isla Mujeres consists primarily of taxis or golf carts and moped scooters and all are plentiful on the island. The main taxi stand is just to the left as you exit the ferry terminal, and golf cart and scooter rental places are available all over the Centro (North) portion of the island.Unfortunately, the island used to be served by Isla Mujeres National Airport but the airport and landing strip are no longer used for more than a place to get exercise, as many locals, military personnel, and/or tourists can be seen jogging up and down the runway at various times throughout the day.
Ferry service to the mainland
There are two main ferry boat companies (UltraMar and Marinsa) that run to the island from Puerto Juárez/Gran Puerto on the mainland. There are also party boats of all sorts that make day trips to Isla Mujeres. The island is popular with day trippers, but activity quiets down in the evening after the tour groups leave.
There are numerous places to eat fresh seafood cooked with local and traditional recipes, and other restaurants offer Mexican, Yucatecan, Italian, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Israeli, French, Thai, Cuban, and Maya cuisine. Hotel prices vary from cheap to very expensive at the resorts on the southwest end. In the north is El Centro (downtown), whose central axis, Hidalgo Street, is the main dining and entertainment area. Also located on the north end is a famous beach called Playa Norte, which has recovered quickly since Hurricane Wilma hit the area in 2005. Besides these attractions, swimming with dolphins can also be experienced at the Island.
The island of Isla Mujeres is located close to one of many coral reefs such as the one located in Garrafon Park, which is an area popular for its snorkeling and scuba diving. The Cancún Underwater Museum, created by English sculptor Jason DeCaires Taylor, is located off the western coast of Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is also home to a population of sea turtles. Because of the recent endangerment of sea turtles in the area, a facility was set up on the southern end of the island for their rehabilitation and breeding. This facility is open to the public for a very small fee.
The island’s relative proximity to Cuba has made it one of the favorite stepping stones of Cubans trying to reach the United States in recent years.