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Old May 2, 2012, 01:14 PM   #1
moonlightgraham
 
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Isla Mujeres - Day Trip?

We'll be traveling to the Royal Islander in a few weeks and have thoughts of trying a day trip to Isla Mujeres. If we do go, it'll be with our two daughters (4yrs and 9yrs). Is this a worthwhile use of a vacation day and something that would be interesting for the kids, as well as something they could do without too much trouble? Or, is this something that should wait until they are a little older?
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Old May 2, 2012, 02:03 PM   #2
K&PFitz
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I think they would enjoy it. Most visitors rent a golf cart, and take off exploring. There is a nice beach on the north end, and an interesting sculpture area near Mayan ruins on the south end. Lots of wildlife, birds and iguanas. It's a pretty unique area, and so different from the hotel zone that it should capture their attention for a day. Just riding around in a golf cart is fun.
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Old May 2, 2012, 02:08 PM   #3
MommaBear
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It is a great day trip and the kids should love it. Restaurants are few, so I would recommend making sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks for the kids. There is also a turtle farm/sanctuary, a "swim with the dolphins" experience and a park with zipline, rope courses, snorkeling. I love the contrast between the glitz of the hotel zone and the rural/small town charm of Isla Mujeres.
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Old May 2, 2012, 03:39 PM   #4
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I agree that renting a golf cart is the way to go if you want a self guided trip. We have done the trip several times and we have found that the least expensive way to get to the ferry dock is to take the Royal Resorts shuttle to the Royal Cancun (VCI) and just west of Royal Cancun is the UltraMar ferry landing at Playa Linda. (Less than a quarter mile). When you get to Isla Mujeres, there are several rental people at the ferry terminal or you can see the rental places right across the street. Rental cost last Nov. was $40 to $50 for a 4 person cart for the day. (most require a drivers license left as a deposit). We usually head to the south point to go around the island always stopping on the southern point of the island where there are some shops, a light house and a great little eating place with an incredible view. We have eaten there on several occasions without a problem. We then continue around the island towards the nothern end and then stopping at the great beaches on the north end. We always look forward to out trip to Isla Mujeres.
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Last edited by craigchams; May 2, 2012 at 04:27 PM.
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Old May 2, 2012, 03:48 PM   #5
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Great info. We will be there the first week of Oct for the first time.
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Old May 2, 2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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Agree with the others. The only tip I would add is to be certain to have lunch at Playa Lancheros - TiknXic fish. Large portion - careful how much you order. Spend some time on Playa Norte, and snorkel at Garaffon de Castilla hotel. A fraction of the cost as snorkeling next door at Garaffon park, and the same reef & fish. Great one day trip. Don't get roped into a tour - rent a golf cart and explore on your own. Get there early though - golf carts are limited. Bring a camera - great photo ops of the colorful painted houses in the residential section.
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Old May 2, 2012, 08:08 PM   #7
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Thanks all! Lots a good info and it sounds like a fun day for everyone. A couple more questions now: how early should we plan to leave the Islander if we use the Royals Shuttle to get near the ferry dock in order to be on the island early enough to get a golf cart? The wife's not an early riser on vacations so just wondering how much pain I'll have to inflict. Also, do the vendors (ferry, carts, etc) take credit cards or cash only?
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Old May 3, 2012, 12:38 AM   #8
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Check the shuttle schedule to the Royal Cancun.(VCI) You should try and get to VCI by 9 am or so. That should get you to Isla Mujeres by 10:30. We have found that 4 or 5 hours is plenty of time for a golf cart trip around the island and I think the carts have to be back by 5 pm. Make sure you remember which golf cart rental you got the cart from. We generally get pesos for spending on the island and we always paid for the cart in cash. (dollars or pesos) If the Royal Resorts shuttle doesn't fit your schedule, just catch the R-1 bus and tell the driver to let you off at Playa Linda or one of the other UltraMar ferry terminals.
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Old May 3, 2012, 06:56 AM   #9
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What Craig said, but we always use pesos. You're in Mexico.

On second thought, why even bother with the shuttle to Royal Cancun? Just hop on a city bus & take it to Playa Tortuga.

Any bus will get you to Playa Tortuga - catch the Ultramar ferry to Isla from there.

Last edited by Phydeaux; May 3, 2012 at 07:50 AM.
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Old May 3, 2012, 07:54 AM   #10
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OR......you could take the bus to "Gran Puerto Cancun" and take the Ultramar Ferry. It is less expensive and an interesting ride through town on the bus where you get to see non-tourist related life. Only certain busses go there, so ask before you get on.

Make sure you take a drivers license for the golf carts.
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Old May 3, 2012, 09:13 AM   #11
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Also a great overnight trip to add on to your stay in Cancun. Dolphin experience was good. Last October they had a promotion for the Royal swim. 2 people for $130, with all day access to food and drink. Much nicer that it is in the ocean instead of a pool. That night though we had to go back to the mainland as Rina got closer.
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Old May 3, 2012, 09:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Helene4 View Post
OR......you could take the bus to "Gran Puerto Cancun" and take the Ultramar Ferry. It is less expensive and an interesting ride through town on the bus where you get to see non-tourist related life. Only certain busses go there, so ask before you get on.

Make sure you take a drivers license for the golf carts.
We've ferried from Gran Puerto once, and the route to get there took way too long. Although we left early in the AM, that was the year we arrived to find all of the golf carts sold out.

I'm all for touring and exploring the downtown area, but save that for a different day. Plus, the route to GP doesn't take you through downtown. I believe the cost of the Ultramar ferries is the same, regardless of Playa Tortugas or GP.
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Old May 3, 2012, 10:30 AM   #13
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I don't recommend catching the ferry from Gran Puerto Cancun. (Puerto Juárez) Busses to get there are harder to find, and in the late afternoon it is very difficult to find a bus with empty seats to get back. Lots of locals work for the day on the island and are all trying to get home in the late afternoon.
I agree with "Phydeaux", if you catch the local bus, take the ferry from Playa Tortugas' it is a little closer than Playa Linda. The local bus is very easy to catch and runs all the time. I think you can take the R-1 or R-2, can someone else one this board verify this?
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Old May 3, 2012, 11:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by craigchams View Post
I don't recommend catching the ferry from Gran Puerto Cancun. (Puerto Juárez) Busses to get there are harder to find, and in the late afternoon it is very difficult to find a bus with empty seats to get back. Lots of locals work for the day on the island and are all trying to get home in the late afternoon.
I agree with "Phydeaux", if you catch the local bus, take the ferry from Playa Tortugas' it is a little closer than Playa Linda. The local bus is very easy to catch and runs all the time. I think you can take the R-1 or R-2, can someone else one this board verify this?
As already mentioned, from the Royal Islander, any city bus will take you to Playa Tortugas. Where else could they possibly turn off?




Last edited by Phydeaux; May 3, 2012 at 07:08 PM. Reason: spelling correction ;)
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Old May 3, 2012, 12:47 PM   #15
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Where else could they possibly turn off?



As the "Captains" of the Disneyworld water ferries would say; "There is no smoking on the ferry. If you feel you need to smoke, please open the door and step outside".

You might only get a "little" wet.
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Old May 4, 2012, 01:13 PM   #16
nazclk
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Isla

We started with a day trip and now we are going back for a week.
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Old May 6, 2012, 06:49 PM   #17
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I see your kids are 4 and 9 yrs. old, I think the little lagoon in front of the Avalon Reef Club across from north beach would be an excellent adventure and really easy as far as time limits and costs. It's protected from big waves and there are lots of fish to see and it's only 8 feet deep at its' deepest. You can walk into it from north beach for free. On north beach you will find plenty of places to eat and drink, our favorite place is Jaxs which is right on the main drag across from Privleges Resort. They have burgers and other American and Mexican fare for a good price. The kids will love the golf carts, you can't get lost, your on a little island with only a few roads. I would vote for getting a place for 1 night and really enjoy your whole day on the island. Walk restaurant row after your snorkeling and sightseeing, there is something there for everybody! The shops are all open at dinner time and it is so much fun to just walk and shop on Hidalgo Street. You will have the ferry to yourself in the morning/afternoon the next day, a vacation reverse commute
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Old May 7, 2012, 06:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by TacoTerry View Post
I see your kids are 4 and 9 yrs. old, I think the little lagoon in front of the Avalon Reef Club across from north beach would be an excellent adventure and really easy as far as time limits and costs. It's protected from big waves and there are lots of fish to see and it's only 8 feet deep at its' deepest. You can walk into it from north beach for free. On north beach you will find plenty of places to eat and drink, our favorite place is Jaxs which is right on the main drag across from Privleges Resort. They have burgers and other American and Mexican fare for a good price. The kids will love the golf carts, you can't get lost, your on a little island with only a few roads. I would vote for getting a place for 1 night and really enjoy your whole day on the island. Walk restaurant row after your snorkeling and sightseeing, there is something there for everybody! The shops are all open at dinner time and it is so much fun to just walk and shop on Hidalgo Street. You will have the ferry to yourself in the morning/afternoon the next day, a vacation reverse commute
That sounds very tempting to do the sleepover, but I'm a little leery without getting a bit more comfortable with the island and where we'd like to hangout, etc.. Maybe we'll do some recon on this trip with an eye towards returning to exactly where we'd like on the next visit. Thanks to all for the great tips!
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