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Island of Mexico isla Mujeres
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Island Hopping in Mexico | Isla Mujeres, Cozumel and Isla Holbox

How Mexico says, probably thinks of sun, sea and beach. And that's right! Quintana Roo in particular is the place to be for the sunbathers among us. Cancun attracts many international tourists, largely due to its cheap flights. You can easily fly from Brussels, Charleroi and Frankfurt to Cancun for €350 to €450. In the tips & tricks article about Skyscanner read how to do that exactly.

The coast of Cancun with seaweed
This is Cancun too: Miles of seaweed and luxury apartments. Exactly the coast of Belgium!

In addition, Cancun is a famous Spring Break location, also known to us as the Easter holiday, where many students and others book a beach holiday. No wonder the beaches here are bursting with hotels and beach bars.

But a little further out to sea are three fantastically beautiful islands! I am of course talking about Isla Mujeres, Cozumel and Isla Holbox. These small, charming islands in Mexico are well worth a visit. So hop on the ferry and enjoy!

Also read: Mexico | 6 must-sees and attractions from Maya to Playa

1. Isla Mujeres | Small is beautiful

Isla Mujeres, literally translated “the island of women”, is a small and fine island. I mean that literally: The island is only 7 km long and 650 meters wide! For that reason alone, Isla Mujeres is popular with day trippers and weekend visitors.

The sea and the rocks in Isla Mujeres
The sea and the rocks in Isla Mujeres.

Getting to the Island

The cheapest option is to take the ferry in Puerto Juarez. This port can easily be reached by bus from the center of Cancun. For a single ticket you pay 231 pesos (€11). The ferry leaves about every half hour, because the island is only a 20-minute boat ride from the mainland.

Transport on the island

You'll never guess… The most popular means of transportation on Isla Mujeres are golf carts! Upon arrival on the island you will see most visitors whirring away in a golf cart: Small, handy for the whole family and fun. There are many providers and the prices are about the same. Just like with the rent a car, it is recommended to make a video of the cart before renting. This way you can always cover yourself if something goes wrong and you play it safe.

Of course there are also taxis on the island and you can also rent bicycles or explore the island on foot. I chose the latter option: This was not only free, but also very relaxed.

Atmosphere and sights

Sunset on Playa el Cocal.
Sunset on Playa el Cocal.

Isla Mujeres is not just statistically a safe place, it feels that way too. The island is quiet and relaxed. There is clearly a lot of tourism, so there is no shortage of food and accommodations. The island is known for its romantic weddings and excellent snorkeling locations.

Lazing on the beach

But the biggest reason to come down to Isla Mujeres is surely: lying on the beach! The beautiful sandy beaches, rows of palm trees, calm and warm waters provide the ideal beach experience.

Playa del Norte: The Place to Be

Playa del Norte is the most popular beach on the island and you can see why: Beach chairs, beach bars, boats and yachts… If you like to socialize: Here's the party!

Playa el Cocal: Quiet Relaxing under the sun

Playa el Cocal is a beach a little further north. Unlike Playa del Norte, it is nice and quiet and ideal for swimming. The water is nice and warm and not too deep. The further north you walk, the more locals you see. A little less beach bars and music, a little more silence and snorkelers.

2. Cozumel | Paradise for snorkelers and families

Cozumel is Mexico's largest Caribbean island. On the island you will find a mixture of Mexican and Caribbean influences. Add to that several beaches and good food: Welcome to Cozumel!

Also read: Island hopping on the ABC islands

Cozumel sunset Mexico
Cozumel at sunset. Photo by Nadine Biezmienova on Pexels.

Sights

Deep in the sea

Cozumel is primarily known for its excellent scuba diving, diving and snorkeling locations. Both amateurs and professional divers will find their way here. Different coral reefs and beautiful biodiversity make for a special experience.

Cozumel Diving and Scuba Diving
Diving in Cozumel. Photo by Mati Mango from Pexels.

Culture and Nature

The famous Chankanaab Beach Park has something for everyone: From snorkeling and diving to tequila tours, but also swimming with dolphins. Personally, I am not a fan of tourist attractions with animals. I always find this a tricky issue.

Punta Sur Eco Beach Park is a nature reserve with local fauna and flora. Here you can see birds, crocodiles, a lighthouse and even a Mayan ruin!

And further…

Shopping 'til you drop, jeep tours, boat trips, luxury resorts, carriage rides, culinary experiences, a planetarium… One thing is certain: you will not get bored on Cozumel.

Best period

Cozumel gets many tourists all year round, but the tourist peak season is definitely in winter. Summer is slightly cheaper in terms of price, but then you have to take into account the heat and possible thunderstorms.

Transportation

Again, the ferry (Ultramar or Winjet) is the most economical and fastest way to get to the island of Cozumel. The ferry to Cozumel departs from Playa del Carmen. In less than an hour of sailing and for 250 pesos, you have reached your destination!

3. Isla Holbox | Pure nature

You may have heard of Holbox: This tropical paradise is located north of Cancun. The inhabitants are proud of their island, with good reason: The island is an oasis of tranquility, has a lot of art to offer and is home to schools of flamingos, pelicans and other tropical birds.

Nature and tranquility

In addition to bird watchers and nature enthusiasts, more and more tourists find their liking here. But the biggest attraction of Holbox remains its natural wealth and the tranquility that comes with it.

Swimming with Whale Sharks

Whale sharks Mexico Isla Holbox
The whale shark. Photo by Leonardo Lamas from Pexels.

And also the population of whale sharks that swim around the island. These beautiful sharks are relatively harmless to divers and prefer to eat plankton.

The Luminous Sea

At night you can not only stargaze, but also take a look around you: This way you can see the seawater glow in the dark! In Holbox you can see the natural science phenomenon “bioluminescencesee with your own eyes. It is a beautiful phenomenon, in which a bright blue glow lights up the sea.

Bioluminescence Mexico
Bioluminescence. Photo by Patrick Fore via Unsplash.

Our location and how to get there

The ferry departs from Chiquila. The journey to Holbox takes about 25 minutes. There are no cars in Holbox itself, for ecological reasons. So again it is recommended to rent either a golf cart or a bicycle.

Also read: Holbox Mexico – Complete Travel Guide

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Ilse Praet

10 years ago I experienced my first hiking trip in Sweden. Since then I have been addicted to walking. Camping under the stars, swimming in icy lakes and tasting pure mountain water! Recently I have been traveling full time across America with my friend Ryan in his Dodge minivan. Together we write and film our adventures and enjoy everything nature has to offer.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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Ilse Praet

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