The UltraMar Ferry leaves for Isla Mujeres every 30 minutes from Puerto Juarez dock only 5 minutes or so by taxi (or bus if you are feeling adventurous) from Villa del Palmar Cancun. The modern tourist ferry buzzes with life and up on deck you are serenaded by a local saxophonist who delights both crew and tourists with upbeat renditions of La Bamba and La Cucaracha while cool air-conditioning awaits those below. For less than $15USD return, the 18 minute crossing offers both a bargain and a beautiful sight of Cancun and Isla Mujeres on the horizon.
The perfect day trip from Cancun, tourists tumble out of the ferry to encounter a stunning Caribbean island just 2000 feet wide and less than 5 miles long with the most stunning beaches in the regions. Trying to cross the road upon arrival makes it clearly apparent that snail-paced mopeds and golf carts have right of way on Isla Mujeres; and there are indeed no end of places for you to rent a moped, golf cart or bicycle by the hour or for the day, any of which come highly recommended to explore the island at your leisure. The small scale of the island makes it easy to make a circuit of Isla Mujeres by golf cart or moped in an hour, although more time is advised so that you can stop and explore the different attractions found on the island.
If you decide to visit Isla Mujeres to relax on its stunning beaches, taking a left when you leave the ferry port will lead you to one of the best swimming beaches on the island, Playa Norte. This beach offers sparkling white sand and crystal clear water in which you can wade for 10 or more meters without losing the touch of the sand beneath your feet. Playa Norte is ideal for spending a few hours (or the whole day) lounging and swimming in the turquoise sea. Playa Norte is also a great spot for trying the Tikinxic fish, which is a typical dish in the region. The beaches on the southern shore offer great spots for snorkeling and diving tours as the reefs are considered among the best in the area.
Furthermore, Isla Mujeres offers other attractions such as a turtle sanctuary, and a dolphin center where you can see and even touch these incredible animals. A Mayan temple in honor of the goddess Ixchel can be found on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres where you will learn about how Isla Mujeres got its name thanks to the first Spanish explorers who found female statues in honor of the goddess – hence Isla Mujeres (Island of women).
Making your way back to Villa del Palmar Cancun is as simple and as delightful as when you arrived. The ferry leave every 30 minutes with the last one departing at 11pm.