Just eight kilometers (5 miles) long and no more than a quarter-mile wide, Isla Mujeres is a sliver of land fringed by white-sand beaches amid the wide turquoise sea. It actually was one of the first places in the Mexican Caribbean to have hotels and other tourist developments, but attention quickly shifted to Isla Cozumel  and then Cancún  proper.
It may have been a blessing in disguise: As those areas exploded, rushing to build high-rise hotels and ports for cruise ships, Isla Mujeres developed more slowly, attracting backpackers and bohemians while remaining pretty much what it always was—a quiet, picturesque fishing community.
But even slow change adds up, and today Isla Mujeres is a well-established tourist destination. Thousands of day-trippers come from Cancún to shop, eat, and relax on the island’s calm beaches. While still popular with backpackers, Isla Mujeres also attracts mid-range and upscale travelers with an ever-expanding selection of boutique hotels and bed-and-breakfasts.
Despite higher hotel prices, and T-shirt shops, golf carts, and pushy tour operators, Isla Mujeres remains at its core a mellow tropical island with a friendly and laid-back population. Passersby greet one another, people stroll in the middle of the street, and many businesses close for long lunches. Add to that beautiful beaches and numerous options for snorkeling, biking, and other outdoor excursions, and it’s no wonder so many visitors find themselves extending (and re-extending) their time here.
A number of ferries to Isla Mujeres  ply the turquoise waters of the Bahía de Mujeres (Bay of Women) between Isla Mujeres and various mainland ports in and around Cancún . There is no direct ferry service from Isla Cozumel, however, and despite having an airstrip, no regular air service either.
Passenger-only ferries leave for Isla Mujeres from Cancún in the Zona Hotelera and from Puerto Juárez, about three kilometers (1.9 miles) north of downtown Cancún. If you are just visiting for the day, reconfirm the return times and remember that service to the Zona Hotelera ends earlier than that to Puerto Juárez.
A vehicle ferry operates from Punta Sam, about eight kilometers (5 miles) north of Cancún past Puerto Juárez.
They haven’t built a bridge to Isla Mujeres—yet!—but you can book your Cancún departures at the ADO ticket office (Av. Rueda Medina, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/002-3686, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun.) at the UltraMar ferry pier.