How To Get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres (Isla Mujeres Ferry Guide)

If you’re trying to find the best way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres then look no further.

Our in-depth guide will provide you with all the info you need about transportation to Isla Mujeres, along with some ideas of things to do once you get there. 

Isla Mujeres is Cancun’s closest island, and if you have the time, this beautiful place is definitely worth a visit. It’s not hard to see what makes this stunning island so popular with both tourists and locals alike.

From its beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters to the colorful coral reefs below the surface, Isla Mujeres is not to be missed. It is one of the most popular destinations in the Riviera Maya and there is a good reason why.

The team in Adventure in You spent a lot of time traveling and living in Mexico and Isla Mujeres was a destination that we frequented often.

Quick Answer: How to Get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres

There is more than one way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, though some options are more favorable than others. It all depends on whether you’re looking to stick to a budget, or simply wanting to get to the island as quickly and conveniently as you can.

The most popular ways to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun are:

  • Isla Mujeres Ferry from Puerto Juarez
  • Private boat charter
  • Day trip tour

If you keep reading, I will discuss each one in detail and how to go about booking your trip.

Puerto Juarez in Cancun at Riviera Maya of Mexico port control tower

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Cancun to Isla Mujeres: Transportation Guide

1. Isla Mujeres Ferry from Puerto Juarez (Gran Puerto Ferry Terminal)

  • Isla Mujeres Ferry Trip Length: 30 minutes
  • Approximate Cost: $20 roundtrip for adults and $15 for children
  • Click here to compare prices and book tickets from 12go or Bookaway

When traveling to Isla Mujeres from Cancun, the most common mode of transportation is to take the ferry.

There’s a reason that this is the most popular option – it’s the easiest and cheapest way to go. 

The Isla Mujeres ferry leave from Puerto Juarez ferry terminal, which is located just 10 minutes away from downtown Cancun. Technically, the ferry terminal is called Gran Puerto but if you say ferry terminal in Puerto Juarez, most drivers will know what you mean.

As for Isla Mujeres ferry options, both Ultramar Ferry and Naveganto are good options, and these high-speed ferries take around 30 minutes from start to finish. You can book both single-way journeys or a round trip ticket for the Isla Mujeres ferry.

The view from the Ultra Mar Isla Mujeres ferry from Cancun

Although both companies will get you to the island swiftly and safely, Ultramar Ferry is better known and has been around a lot longer. It also has food and drinks available on board, and although the journey is fairly short this added convenience is hard to beat.

Both the Ultramar Ferry and Naveganto Isla Mujeres ferry provide air conditioning, along with bathrooms, a coat check, and indoor and outdoor seating.

If you’re looking for the cheapest fare, Naveganto has it, though the price difference is minimal. For both companies, the ferry to Isla Mujeres only takes 30 minutes.

The ferry to Isla Mujeres usually starts from 6:30am to 10:00pm. To give you an example, here is the time table for the Isla Mujeres ferry from Ultramar. As you can see below, the ferry to Isla Mujeres from Gran Puerto leaves every half an hour.

Isla Mujeres Ferry Schedule

Ferry Schedule to Isla Mujeres from Ultramar Ferry

Once onboard, you’ll find porters (or “maleateros” in Spanish) ready to load your luggage. This is a common procedure and absolutely safe, so be sure to throw a small tip their way!

Before you leave Cancun, you can stock up on all the beach day necessities like sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and more at the modern Puerto Juarez terminal. You’ll also find an OXXO (the Mexican version of a 7/Eleven), bathrooms, and a cafe. 

How to Get to Puerto Juarez

From downtown Cancun, Puerto Juarez is an easy 10-minute drive. The best way would be to take a taxi as the public bus can be a little cramped.

Just make sure you agree on a price before getting in the cab. From downtown, this should only be around $100-150 MX pesos.

From other places like Playa del Carmen, it takes around an hour and a half with traffic to get to Puerto Juarez. Click here to see the your transport options from Playa del Carmen.

ultramar ferry cancun to isla mujeres

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2. Isla Mujeres Ferry from Cancun Hotel Zone to Isla Mujeres

  • Isla Mujeres Ferry Trip Length: 30 minutes
  • Approximate Cost: $31 roundtrip for adults and $27 for children
  • Click here to compare prices and book tickets from 12go or Bookaway

If you’re staying in the Cancun Hotel Zone, you’ll find a few alternative locations from which to take the isla mujeres ferry from. With that being said, the crossings from this area are less frequent and slightly more expensive.

Ferries from the Cancun hotel zone to Isla Mujeres depart from these three locations:

  • Playa Tortugas
  • Playa Caracol
  • El Embarcadero

While the price difference is not huge, if you are traveling as a large group, we recommend to take a taxi to Puerto Juarez.

Please also note that the ferry schedule from places like Punta Sam, Playa Tortugas, and Playa Caracol are less frequent so definitely take the boat schedules into consideration. Click the links below to check the Isla Mujeres Ferry schedule from the places mentioned above.

The ferry to Isla Mujeres from these destinations are also only 30 minutes long.

isla mujeres, mexico
Enjoying the bright blue waters of Isla Mujeres

3. Private Boat Charters to Isla Mujeres

If you’re looking to splurge a little on your trip from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, then you could always arrange for a private boat charter. This luxury option usually comes in the form of a luxury yacht, and you can expect to pay a pretty penny for this type of travel. 

If you’re staying in an upscale hotel in Cancun, you may find that the resort provides private boat crossings to Isla Mujeres, and oftentimes it may be included in your hotel rate. Be sure to check the fine print ahead of time to see what your accommodation offers. 

You may also come across some small boat charters in your search for the best way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.

If you are purchasing any form of private travel, be sure that the boat you take is fully insured and equipped with all the proper safety gear.  

Day Trips to Isla Mujeres

If you only have a day to spare, then the best way to get to the island may be by booking a Cancun to Isla Mujeres day trip. It might even save you a bit of cash when you factor in the price of the taxi and the ferry to the island and the cost of transportation and activities once you arrive.

Here are a few of our recommended day trips to Isla Mujeres:

Private Catamaran to Isla Mujeres– Although this day trip requires you to first get to Isla Mujeres, it is hard not to mention it! This private sailing trip around the island is perfect for large groups of friends.

You can spend your day swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. Aside from that, this boat charter includes 1 bottle Rum Bacardi White, 1 bottle Wodka Abslout, 1 bottle Tequila White, and 50 beers plus a few light snacks.

Catamaran Tour with Lunch and Open Bar– During this 10-hour excursion, you’ll be transported to the island as you enjoy amazing sea views, and from there a day at the gorgeous beaches of Isla Mujeres awaits.

The tour includes a snorkeling session at one of the coral reefs, a lunch buffet, and an open bar, and if you’re staying in the Cancun hotel zone, pick-up and drop off is provided.

All-inclusive Catamaran tour which includes snorkeling, a wander around Isla Mujeres downtown, lunch, and a sunset sail back.

isla mujeres

To get the most bang for your buck and the most out of your time in Cancun, you could book the Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres Combo Tour and explore two islands in one day.

Start your day by taking a speedboat out to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef where you’ll enjoy a 40-minute snorkeling session, and then continue on to Isla Contoy National Park where you’ll take a guided tour of this verdant island.

You’ll get to enjoy a delicious lunch and a quick swim break before heading out to Isla Mujeres, where you’ll spend the remainder of your day wandering around the charming streets before heading back to Cancun. 

How To Get from Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres

If you’re looking to head straight to Isla Mujeres from the Cancun Airport, you have a few options, all of which will get you to Puerto Juarez where you can take a ferry out to the island.

1. Private Transfer from Cancun Airport to Isla Mujeres

If you’re willing to pay, you could always take a private car or taxi from Cancun Airport to Puerto Juarez, and this is definitely the most convenient way to go.

You can expect to pay around 45 USD for a private transfer and at least 70 USD for a taxi, but you can also look forward to air conditioning and a more luxurious ride. Click here to check out the company we recommend for private transfers.

You have the option to book a single-trip ride or round trip transportation to take you back to Cancun.

This is actually the BEST way to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun Airport and is by far the most hassle free way! From Cancun Airport straight to Puerto Juarez port, the journey takes around 45 minutes.

From there, you can easily hop on any of the Isla Mujeres ferries that are departing frequently in order to get to Isla Mujeres. As mentioned, the ferry to Isla Mujeres runs every half an hour.

From Cancun airport, you have a variety of vehicles that you can choose from that range from 6 seaters all the way to 16 seaters for those traveling in large groups.

2. ADO Bus to Isla Mujeres

The least expensive way to get to the ferry terminal is by taking the ADO bus into downtown Cancun, and you’ll pay about 6 USD for a ticket. You can purchase your ticket in advance, or simply head outside after you collect your luggage and look for the large red ADO sign.

The bus has around 70 departures daily and takes about 35 minutes to get into town. Personally, we recommend booking a private transfer or shared shuttle.

You’ll be dropped off at the downtown bus station, and from there you can take a taxi to Puerto Juarez (usually around 5 USD). If you’re feeling adventurous and not carrying much luggage, you can opt for a ride on the R1 bus. Although cheap (around 40 cents USD), this is certainly not the quickest or easiest route you can take.

isla mujeres, mexico

For a more comfortable journey, you can book a shared shuttle from the Cancun airport to Puerto Juarez. Although marginally superior to the ADO bus, you may be kept waiting a bit longer, as the shuttles don’t leave until they are full.

There are also fewer departures during the day, about half that of the bus. The real perk with the shared shuttle is that you will be dropped off right at Puerto Juarez, though you will likely have to drop off the other shuttle passengers first and you’ll pay a bit more as well (anywhere from 7-15 USD depending on which shuttle service you select).

There are also shuttle and ferry options readily available for those who want it all pre-booked.

Need a place to stay in Isla Mujeres? Check out these stunning rentals in Isla Mujeres for an awesome stay!

Merchandise on North Beach Isla Mujeres, Yucatan, Mexico

FAQ: How To Get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres

How do I get to Puerto Juarez?

As mentioned, the Puerto Juarez ferry terminal is just a few miles (3.5 kilometers) from downtown Cancun and can be reached either by taxi or bus. 

If you take a taxi, be sure to negotiate a price before getting in – it should cost no more than 100 MXN (around 5 USD) if you are coming from downtown.

Those who are feeling adventurous (or low on cash) can take the bus via line R1, just ask for Puerto Juarez. This may take a bit longer than a taxi, but it will cost you about a tenth of the price. If you’re coming from the Cancun hotel zone, look for “the white bus” – it’s the only one with air conditioning.

How long does the Isla Mujeres ferry take?

Both the Ultramar and Naveganto ferries are high speed ferries and take around 30 minutes to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres (and another 30 minutes back). 

How often do the Isla Mujeres ferries depart?

The Ultramar ferries depart at least once an hour (sometimes twice an hour) and have trips available from Cancun to Isla Mujeres daily from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm. The Naveganto ferry has just four departures a day from Monday through Saturday at the time of writing, though this information is subject to change.  

How do I get my tickets for the ferry?

You can purchase your tickets ahead of time by purchasing them right at the terminal when you arrive. Unfortunately at this time, you cannot buy tickets for the Naveganto ferry in advance.

If you are visiting during the high season, we recommend booking your tickets ahead of time to avoid long lines and ensure your spot on the ferry. 

You can use these sites which we recommend to check and book your tickets in advance.

Can I take my car to Isla Mujeres?

Although you CAN take your car from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, it is not recommended. Parking is hard to come by here, and there’s plenty of other ways to get around the island. 

If you do decide to take the car, there is a car ferry from the Punta Sam ferry terminal, located a few kilometers north of Puerto Juarez. There are just a few departures each day, so be sure to check the Punta Sam to Isla Mujeres ferry schedule in advance. 

Check out this Mexico travel guide for awesome tips on where to stay and what to do!

BONUS: Isla Mujeres Travel Guide

Transportation on Isla Mujeres

You won’t need a car to get around Isla Mujeres, and there are a few different options available for island transportation. 

If you’re staying overnight, you’ll likely need to take a taxi from the ferry port to your hotel, especially if you have any luggage. There is a taxi station right outside of the ferry port on Isla Mujeres, so you should have no problem finding a ride. 

You could also arrange a private hotel transfer with your hotel ahead of time, most have no issue arranging this kind of service for you, though it may cost you a bit more.

Row of golf carts in Mexico

Once you’re unpacked and ready to see the island, the best way to explore is by renting a golf cart. This is a popular way to travel on Isla Mujeres, and it’s a lot of fun, too.

That being said, daily rental rates can be upwards of 50 USD, so if you’re just planning to work on your tan on the beach, you may be better off taking a taxi from point A to point B. 

Things to do in Isla Mujeres

If you need some inspiration for island activities to round out your trip or recommendations on where to eat and sleep, check out our full Isla Mujeres Travel Guide.

Although the island is small, you’ll find plenty of things to keep you busy for hours (or days) on end. From the crystal clear turquoise waters and the flora and fauna that live beneath it to the charming town and the Mayan ruins, Isla Mujeres has a little something for everyone.

Here are a list of the best local run experiences:

  • Golf Cart Tour of Isla Mujeres – Visit the most beautiful and iconic sites on the island in a fun street-legal golf-cart, accompanied by a great local guide.
  • Taco and Margarita Tour of the Island – This 3 hour tour is the perfect gastronomical walking tour around downtown Isla Mujeres Mexico. You will be accompanied by a friendly English speaking guide, call Gonzalo.
  • Isla Mujeres Sunset Boat Party – One of the most popular tours is this all-inclusive 4-hour boat party. Tour around the island and stop twice for party games, swimming, a traditional Mexican lunch, and of course, sunset!
  • Isla Mujeres Bar Crawl – Looking for even more party vibes then check out this 5 hour bar crawl!

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Abby Valinski

Contributor

After a year as an exchange student in 2012, Abby hasn't been able to shake her travel bug. From backpacking to van life, she is on a mission to eat her way through as many new places as possible. In her downtime catch her hiking, camping, or re-reading Game of Thrones.

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