Updated 9/29/2020 Eight miles off the coast of Cancun lies Isla Mujeres. This 4 mile long island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and snorkeling reefs in North America. Since you can only reach Isla Mujeres by ferry, it is an often overlooked destination.
There are 10 all inclusive resorts on the island, and they are exactly like the ones you will find back on the mainland in Cancun. In my opinion, renting a house is a much better option (and usually cheaper) to truly experience Isla Mujeres. The many beach side seafood restaurants here are both incredibly delicious and cheap, and you miss this with an all inclusive. There isn’t a whole lot of information available on the in’s and out’s of how to pull off a vacation like this, hopefully this guide fills that void. Here’s the pros and cons of renting your own house on the island:
PROS of an Isla Mujeres House Rental
- You are free to explore the island with your own golf cart
- You can eat at any of the many delicious Isla Mujeres’
- Rental prices are generally a much better value than a resort (especially for families needing multiple rooms)
- Way more space than an all inclusive
- Requires a bit more planning than an all inclusive
- You have to make your own bed
How to get to Isla Mujeres and logistics when you arrive
Luckily, it is extremely easy to find cheap flights into Cancun from just about anywhere. Since the ferry to Isla Mujeres departs from Cancun, flying into Cancun International Airport (airport code CUN) is by far the best option.
Once you arrive at the airport you have a few options for transportation to the ferry dock in downtown Cancun. I HIGHLY recommend doing a private or shared shuttle or van ride from the airport to the dock. Taxis are available outside the hotel but will be much more expensive than pre booking your own private van shuttle. Seriously, use a taxi only as a last resort.
I recommend using CARM Transfers (https://www.cancunandrivieramaya.com/transfers/isla-mujeres.asp). If you prebook with them a round trip (to and from the airport) private van is $79 for a group of 3 to 5, and they will be waiting for you outside the airport when you arrive. You can even add cold bottled waters for $1 or cold beers for $2. It’s hard to beat a cold beer as you make your way to paradise. They can accommodate larger groups as well, and it is still extremely reasonable.
Once you arrive at the ferry dock in Downtown Cancun you will immediately see the bright blue and yellow Ultramar Isla Mujeres ferry boats. The ferry costs around $8 per person and runs every half hour. The boat ride from Cancun to Isla Mujeres takes about 15 minutes. There is plenty of seating and space to take as much luggage as you need (no added fees for luggage).
When you arrive at the ferry dock on Isla Mujeres you have 2 options for transportation to your house rental. You can either hop in one of the many taxi’s (they look like normal cars with bright red doors) or rent a golf cart from any of the numerous rental companies right around the ferry docks. Taxi rates are usually between $2.50 USD and $5 USD, with $5 being if you drove from one end of the island to the other. The rates are really reasonable and the drivers are very helpful and friendly. If you ask the driver for their phone # they will be glad to pick you up anywhere on the island during your vacation.
To be honest, using taxi’s will always be cheaper than renting golf carts on Isla Mujeres, but golf carts are a lot more fun. The many golf cart rental companies around the ferry docks charge around $300 a week to rent a cart, with 4 and 6 seat carts running a little more. It is definitely more convenient to have your own cart for transportation, and this is the route most house renters take. Instead of waiting for a taxi to head down the beach for dinner you can just hop in your cart. In my opinion the convenience is well worth the cost.
It is also important to note there are many small grocery stores and one awesome large grocery store (called Chedraui Chedraui on Yelp) on Isla Mujeres to pick up groceries. There is also a great delivery service, isladelivery.com, that will deliver groceries for you at a reasonable price. They will also deliver food to you from a ton of local restaurants.
Where to Stay on Isla Mujeres
This is by no means a complete list of all the beachfront Isla Mujeres house rentals, but they are some of the top rated rentals on VRBO. While there are lots of other options, these units have proven over countless reviews to be the best. We will start with smaller houses and work our way up to the bigger rentals.
CASA OASIS CARIBE- A 2BR Mid-Island Isla Mujeres House Rental
This beautiful new home is located directly on the beach about in the middle of the island. This location is a perfect home base for exploring everything Isla Mujeres has to offer, from the gorgeous beaches to the amazing restaurants nearby. This is one of the newest houses in the area, and Colleen (the owner) keeps it in immaculate shape.
The views from this house are incredible, especially from the pool and patio. The house is decorated in a cool modern style with beautiful woodwork throughout. Being a 2 bedroom 3 bath property, it is rated to sleep 6. This house is currently renting for around $300 a night, which is an absolute steal. You won’t get this kind of value at a resort. Average VRBO Review Score: Perfect 5.0/5.0 (36 reviews) More info and check availability: CASA OASIS CARIBE on VRBO
CASA GEMELOS- A 3BR House on the Southern End of Isla
This house has some of the best views on Isla Mujeres. It is located near the southern tip of the island, where houses are much farther apart giving you plenty of privacy. Being on the end of the island, it is a little quieter. Most of the tourists who come to the island for the day do not make it to this area. In my opinion, you need to rent a golf cart when staying here, so factor that in to your budget.
The pool is one of the best on the island, the pictures speak for themselves. This house is also newly constructed, and Maureen (the owner) has maintained perfect VRBO ratings since it has been rented. The current nightly rate of $375 for 3 bedrooms (rated to sleep 9) makes this house an incredible deal. Here’s the downside: as of this posting, there aren’t any openings for over a year. If you can manage to find a cancellation or are booking far in advance this is a great option. Average VRBO Review Score: Perfect 5.0/5.0 (16 reviews) More info and check availability: Casa Gemelos on VRBO
CASA CAREY- A Luxury 3BR House Featured on HGTV
Located just steps from Casa Gemelos, this house is a stunner. This is another almost brand new house, and it has been booking fast. Much of the same considerations apply here as did with Casa Gemelos, like needing a golf cart. This house is a touch more expensive, renting for $450 a night. This is still an incredible deal for a high end house directly on the ocean.
While this house has only 3 bedrooms, it is 3500 square feet, giving plenty of space for a family or multiple couples. Another plus with this Isla rental is the beds are all Kings and Queens. Since this house is so new there are only 2 reviews from renters, but when you read those 2 perfect reviews you will see why this house is filling up fast. This is simply one of the most beautiful Isla Mujeres house rentals. Average VRBO Review Score: Perfect 5.0/5.0 (2 reviews) More info and check availability: Casa Carey on VRBO
CASA AMARILLA- Beautiful 4BR All Suite Villa
Casa Amarilla is one of the rare house rentals on Isla Mujeres where every bedroom is it’s own suite. All 4 bedrooms feature king beds and their own private large bathrooms, and all 4 have fantastic ocean views. This is the perfect unit for hosting multiple couples or an adults only getaway. It’s never fun trying to decide which couple gets stuck with the small bedroom, and this house eliminates that conundrum.
We love the woodwork and modern decorating in this home, you won’t want to leave. The large entertaining spaces, both inside and out, make this an easy place to host larger parties. The pool here is heated and huge, with a shallow water entry. There is so much to love about this house, you have to see the pictures. If you have a group of 4 couples and are on the fence about renting a house, price out this rental versus 4 rooms at a high end resort. The results will surprise you. Average VRBO Review Score: 4.9/5.0 (59 reviews) More info and check availability: Casa Amarilla on VRBO
These are definitely not the only options for a non-resort Isla Mujeres vacation, there are hundreds of great rentals on the island. You can look at a huge list here: Isla Mujeres VRBO Listings From that list you can narrow down how many bedrooms you are looking for, or even if you would rather stay in a condo than a house. Please feel free to leave a comment with any questions or suggestions!