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Frequently Asked Questions

Common FAQs about your trip to Isla Mujeres

Here’s the deal: straight-up answers without the fluff. Boring to read and even more boring to write but you’ll get your questions answered. Can’t find what you’re looking for, even after a deep dive through our site? Don’t hesitate to reach out – no question too big or small.

Your Questions Snapshot

Getting Ready and Arriving: Everything from travel docs and advisories to seasons and seaweed.

Your Isla Mujeres Experience: Answers to your ‘can you,’ ‘how to,’ and ‘what about’ questions during your stay.

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Getting Ready and Arriving

Yes, every foreign visitor, regardless of age, must have a passport to enter Mexico. The passport must remain valid for the entirety of your stay.

Some countries require that passports be valid for 3 – 6 months beyond your travel dates. Check with your government for specific requirements

For most countries, including the U.S. and Canada, your passport is all you need. Tourist Visas are created electronically using your passport.

Dive into our Cancun Airport Guide for the nitty-gritty.

Minors traveling with someone other than their parents need a notarized letter of consent signed by both parents, authorizing travel to Mexico.
Get the official scoop here.

The VisiTax is “required for all international visitors to Quintana Roo”. You can make your payment online before your departure. Learn more about VisiTax and how to pay.

While media reports can be alarming, incidents affecting tourists in the Mexican Caribbean, especially on Isla Mujeres, are incredibly rare. The island is celebrated for its safety, significantly due to the vigilant presence of the navy base. So, don’t be alarmed when you see military patrols on the beaches and streets, it’s preventative, not reactive.

Absolutely Isla is safe. That said, the island is not crime free, but they are usually crimes of opportunity. Use your common sense and take some simple precautions:

  • Keep a watchful eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry or flash large amounts of cash.
  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended on a table, golf cart or when swimming.
  • Don’t use ATMs late at night.
  • Don’t overindulge and wander the streets alone late at night. Stay in groups.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended, accept drinks from strangers or leave the bar with them.
  • Don’t buy drugs or hang out with people who sell drugs.

Vigilance against fraud is a modern necessity, and Isla Mujeres is no exception, take precautions.

  • Check your bill in bars and restaurants for added charges.
  • When using credit/debit cards, double check the receipt.
  • Use ATMs inside the banks for added security, shield your pin.
  • Always ask the price before getting into a taxi.
  • Online fraud: Be wary of low cost deals on social media, if a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is. Use the Isla Mujeres Facebook page as a reality check for too-good-to-be-true offers.

Pack light: sandals, swimsuits, sunglasses, toiletries, a light jacket or sweater and enough light weight clothes to get you through half your stay. Isla has plenty of same day laundry services. For more tips, glide over to our Island Style Packing List

It depends on your budget, heat and humidity tolerance and which activities you have your heart set on. Jump over to The Seasons of Isla for details, seasonal highlights and activities. But since you’re here…

January thru April: Great weather but a bustling crowd and prices soar.

May thru August: It’s hot, humid, and a bit rainy but less crowds and better prices.

September thru October: The best deals and the fewest tourists. It’s still hot and humid – the height of the hurricane season.

November thru December: Isla begins to cool off and the tourists begin to arrive. The events calendars overflowing.

The photos you saw are probably from Cozumel or the Mayan Riviera. Isla Mujeres typically escapes the sargassum invasion. There may be pockets on the beach after storms but it’s usually cleaned up in the early morning. In a heavier than normal sargassum season, it does tend to gather at the bottom of the east side cliffs. Check the Sargazo Updates Page on Facebook.

Uber services are not permitted for pickups at the Cancun airport.

To get to Isla Mujeres from the airport prebook an airport transfer (best option), take the ADO bus (cheapest option) or hire an airport taxi or van when you arrive (most expensive option). Dive into details here.

A pre-booked airport transfer is your best option, especially for groups.

If you prefer to play it by ear, taxis are readily available at the Ultramar terminal in Cancun.

Taxi Tip: Taxis inside the ferry terminal tend to charge double compared to those just outside on the sidewalk. Look for a driver in a white shirt with a radio, agree on a fare in advance (starting at $500 pesos as of Feb. 2024, varying by group size).

Be safe – do not walk a block down the street and flag down a random taxi driving by

Your phone should automatically connect to the local network, be mindful of potentially steep roaming fees.

Purchase your provider’s international travel plan or opt for a Mexico e-SIM card, check out Maya.netAiralo.com, or Ubigi.com for options.

Download WhatsApp, Isla’s preferred mode of communication.

Turn roaming off and make sure you’re connected to wifi before scrolling through the socials.

Your Isla Mujeres Experience

Don’t fret over the forecast; Isla’s weather often defies predictions. Rain, if it occurs, is usually brief and refreshing, not a vacation spoiler. Weather reports from Cancun don’t always match Isla’s microclimate. For a closer look at Isla’s unique weather patterns, check Isla’s Weather Quirks.

Tab water is fine for brushing your teeth but not for drinking due to its high mineral content. Stick to bottled water.

For fruits and vegetables, rinse and soak them for 10 minutes in Mycrodine to ensure they’re clean—restaurants follow this practice too.

Ice at restaurants and bars comes from purified water, so it’s perfectly safe.

Absolutely! Considering the minimum wage in Mexico is around 250 pesos per day, tips are a significant part of service workers’ income on Isla.

A standard 15% tip is customary in restaurants and bars, with more always appreciated.

Tip hotel housekeeping daily (since the staff may change), as well as baggage handlers, tour guides, boat captains and crew, and don’t forget the musicians’ tip jar!

Please don’t use foreign coins to tip, they are impossible to exchange to pesos.

Using pesos is best, particularly in smaller shops and restaurants. You can use US dollars but you will not get a good exchange rate.

Credit cards are accepted in hotels, larger restaurants, and shops, but watch out for extra fees and be cautious of fraud.

Check out our Money Page for tips on keeping your pesos and credit cards safe.

The Cancun Airport has bank kiosks with ATMs – stick to major banks or wait until you arrive on Isla and use the Money Exchange or ATMs at Isla’s banks.

The Money Exchange is in the UltraMar terminal on Isla (not in Cancun) there is another across the street (look for green), you’ll need to show your passport.

You can also exchange US dollars at CI Bank and Electra/Banco Azteca cashiers (bring your passport). The tellers at HSBC and Citibanamex do not exchange foreign currency.

For the cardless folks, Xoom and Remitly are your best friends.

Next to the ferry terminal on Isla, you’ll find the taxi station with posted current fares—snapping a photo is a good idea for future reference.

You can flag a taxi on the street, always ask the price before you get in.

The cost of the Isleño Bus is currently 20 pesos or you can purchase a hop on/hop off day-pass for $9 usd from the driver. From downtown catch it near the ferry terminal in front of the parking lot. For the rest of the island simply wave at the bus as it approaches. If they pass you by it was an employee bus. Tell the driver where you want to go to make sure you are on the correct bus.

  • Route 1 takes you to the colonias alone the west side and back on the east side.
  • Route 2 is the opposite.
  • Route 3 will take you along the west side of Isla and down Sac Bajo.
  • Route 4 takes you to Punta Sur on the west side and back to town on the east side.

During peak times, pre-book a golf cart, especially for multi-day rentals. Otherwise, stop by a “rentadora” in town. You’ll need to sign a rental agreement (always keep this on hand) and leave your driver’s license as security. Get their contact number and check the tires and brakes before you drive off.

  • Drive on the right side of the road so people can pass you.
  • Use hand signals and double check before making turns.
  • Watch for speed bumps and please drive carefully – many tourists have landed in the hospital due to reckless driving. Please be a responsible driver.
  • Do not drink and drive, it is a $500 usd ticket and possible jail time.

Absolutely not. Golf carts are strictly for licensed drivers only.

Isla Mujeres enforces a ZERO tolerance policy on drinking and driving that comes with a hefty fine ($500 usd). This includes passengers; open containers are not permitted at any time. Stay safe and keep the fun legal.

Whale Shark season runs from June – September. Jump here for more info.

Isla is home to world class fishing, beautiful reefs and the MUSA underwater museum for snorkels and divers, plus wreck and night dives for the advanced diver. Dive here for more info.

Isla Mujeres is a springboard for Yucatan explorers looking to pack in as much adventure as possible. Yes, it’ll be a marathon day, but unforgettable experiences await. Play at eco-parks, swim in a cenote or step back in time with visits to Mayan ruins. Jump to Off Island Tours and Trips for the details.

Live music, DJs and dancing await in downtown Isla. Stroll Hidalgo and find your rhythm.

Mosquitos are particularly fond of visitors during the rainy season, so remember to bring repellent.

Don’t panic if you see a scorpion, they’re shy by nature but defend themselves if threatened. A sting can be painful and may cause numbness at the tip of your tongue; seek medical help if you react severely.

Ant bites – if you stand on top of an ant mound, they will attack. If you begin to feel dizzy seek medical attention.

Fire coral lives up to its name with a burning sensation upon touch (don’t touch it). Avoid swimming under or next to wooden piers, fire coral tend to attach themselves to the underwater pillars and submerged ropes. 

Jelly Fish are most common in the summer months. Swimming near lifeguarded areas ensures you’re informed about their presence. 

If you come in contact with fire coral or jelly fish, rinsing the area with seawater and vinegar will help. Don’t use fresh water, it makes it hurt more.

Yes that’s true, don’t flush any toilet paper or feminine products in any toilets on Isla Mujeres,  the plumbing system cannot handle it. Use the bins provided next to the toilets. Caca tip: Bring a roll of dog poo bags for toilet paper disposal.

Don’t worry, you’ll get use to it.

A cautionary true tale: A woman casually ignored the sign in the bathroom of a bustling restaurant, convinced it wouldn’t matter. To her dismay and acute embarrassment, the toilet clogged, the valve snapped from her repeated attempts to flush, and before she knew it, water was gushing forth, flooding the bathroom and seeping into the restaurant. My guess? She probably swore off flushing toilet paper forever after that!

There are several English speaking doctors in Isla, if needed they will make house or hotel calls. In case of a medical emergency, Isla’s ambulance service will take the patient to the community hospital for further assessment and if required, transfer the patient to a hospital in Cancun.

For more complex medical needs, Cancun’s private hospitals are recommended. Always consider travel insurance that covers medical expenses and ensure you have a credit card with a sufficient limit for any upfront payments required by hospitals. Find Medical contacts on the Handy and Essential Contacts page.

Smoking is prohibited in all public places including the beach. Bringing more than 10 packs into the Cancun airport carries a fine. That includes those purchased at Duty Free.

Vapes, considered illegal, may be confiscated and fines imposed if discovered during luggage scans and carry on checks.

Likewise, importing CBD products is against the law. However, the Isla pharmacy Similares does stock legal CBD Life products, including drops, gummies, and creams

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