Isla Mujeres Mexico Retire in Paradise

Isla Mujeres Mexico Retire in Paradise
Isla Mujeres Things to Do!
–>Isla Mujeres Free Walking Tour
–>Isla Mujeres Day Tours
–>Isla Mujeres Best Restaurants
–>Isla Mujeres Nightlife (Bar Hopping) Tour
–>Isla Mujeres Best (and) Cheap Places to Stay
–>Isla Mujeres Flights, Buses, Trains
–>Isla Mujeres Livability Factors
–>Isla Mujeres Cost of Living
Best Travel or Retire Cheap in Paradise Locations in the World

Isla Mujeres Mexico Retire in Paradise

This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. This is my Isla Mujeres Mexico Retire in Paradise guide.

This is our last stop on a tour of the best places to retire in Mexico. This tour of Mexico has included the following stops: Mexico City, San Miguel, Guanajuato, Guadalajara, Chapala, Ajijic, Puerta Vallarta, Morelia, Pátzcuaro, Querétaro, Cuernavaca, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Cristóbal, Campeche, Mérida, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres, Mexico

I am cataloging the best retire cheap in paradise locations in the world. I have been traveling the world since 2007. I have been to 65 countries so far in my life.

My initial thoughts on the top four places to retire cheap in paradise considering only Mexico are as follows:

1-Oaxaca, 2-Queretaro, 3-Guanajuato, and 4-Merida

I should be sharing my Mexico reasoning very soon. But remember, this will just be my top picks for Mexico. I will also be writing about top places to retire in the world without regard to the country. Please subscribe here or on our youtube channel to receive all my best retire cheap videos and information.

Here is our Vagabond Buddha Youtube Channel with videos about all of my ranked retire cheap in paradise locations worldwide. Qiang Hui of Hobo Ventures joined me one year ago. Here is her Instagram account.

If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please grab a free copy of my Ebook.

Isla Mujeres Mexico Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Isla Mujeres. Here is a map showing where Isla Mujeres is located in relation to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Isla Mujeres is just 20 minutes by Ferry from Cancun Mexico, as shown below.

Click on the map shown to open the above map in Google Maps. Here are some facts about the island.

Isla Mujeres means woman island in English.  The island, which is 8 miles offshore, is 4 miles long and 2100 feet wide.  The last census in 2010 calculated that 12,600 people were living there.  In pre-Columbian times, the island was the home of the Maya guide of childbirth and medicine, called Ixchel. The following picture is a statue on the island representing the goddess.

A small Maya temple is located on the southern tip of the island. After many hurricanes, only a very small portion of this temple dated from about 600 AD remains. Here is a picture of what remains.

If you book my recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations, you will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission.   This helps us create these travel guides. Thank you.

Isla Mujeres Walking Tour and Map

Here is a walking tour you can take when you arrive to get an idea of the island’s layout. This walking tour is in the northernmost part of the island where most the tourists stay and where most of the restaurants and nightlife are located. It is also where most of the larger beaches and activities are located. Just click and walk when you arrive to get a feel for the north part of the island. Just click the below Google Map on your smartphone to start your walking tour.

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Best Isla Mujeres Day Tours

Guided Tours

GetYourGuideTours: Full-Day Catamaran Sailing Tour, Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres,  Cruise to Contoy (uninhabited tropical) Island

Viator ToursAll Tours on Riviera Maya and YucatanTours on Isla Holbox, Kayaking Through Mangroves, Whale Shark and Snorkeling Adventure

Self-Guided (Cheap Bastard) Tours

If you are an adventurous sort, you should try one of my self-guided (cheap bastard) tours.

Punta Sur: Rent a scooter (next door to this bikini store) from 9 to 5 PM for 400 Pesos $10 USD and head south to Punta Sur Park. The entry fee to the park is 30 Pesos or $3 USD per person. This is where you will get your best Instagram pictures on Isla Mujeres. On your way back, stop at Villas Hinaha to enjoy a beachside adult beverage on a white sand beach full of palm trees. There is also a Turtle Nursery you can visit nearby for 80 Pesos $4 USD. The below picture is from Villas Hinata.

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Isla Mujeres Best Restaurants, Street Food, and Surprise Experiences

This was our last stop on a 4-month tour of the best places to retire cheap in Mexico. We were only here for 3 days and I was sick in bed for one full day. So we have limited information to share with you about restaurants. First, do not eat at EL PATIO. I got food poisoning there. They have some great live music so enjoy a beer or two there but do not eat their food. I was sick in bed for 24 hours. I couldn’t even stand up for most of that time. With that out of the way, here are our favorite meals.

aMar Cocina Peruana: This place has Peruvian food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. They also have fair prices at 55 Pesos per $3 USD per meal.

LONCHERIA EL POC CHUC: This is a Mexican restaurant with a Mexican owner and employees cooking and selling well-priced Mexican food (60-100 Pesos $3-5 USD) made for Mexicans. These is not gringo-Mexican food at gringo-Mexican prices. We loved this place.

Vagabond Buddha’s Kitchen: We had a kitchen at our Airbnb place but we didn’t cook at all while we were in Isla Mujeres.

Best Isla Mujeres Nightlife (Bar Hopping) Walking Tour and Map

As you likely assume, this is a tourist island. So you can walk in almost any direction and find music and a party. On an island this small, I suggest you just walk around and listen for whatever sound makes you happy. Just click the map below and start walking and listening. But remember, we are not suggesting you stop at the places on the map itself. These are just on the map because they force Google to walk you down the streets where the interesting possibilities exist. Just stop in anywhere that has the music or crown you are looking for.

Just click the below interactive map or ==>this link<== on your smartphone to start your tour. Stay on the below blue dots. If you have any favorite nightlife spots not on this walking path, please share in the notes below and we will change the tour. 🙂

Isla Mujeres Best (and) Cheap Hotels

You should stay in the old town area of Isla Mujeres, if possible. The following recommendations go from most to least expensive.

Nautibeach Beachfront Condos in North Beach (The kitchens have a stove, microwave and fridge. Check out the ratings on this place.)

Posada Paso Del Sol (This is a highly rated relatively cheap hotel.)

Hostel (Check out how cheap a dorm hostel is per person.)

Airbnb Hotel with Shared Kitchen (Where we stayed): This is a small hotel with a shared Kitchen on Airbnb. We had our own bedroom and our own bathroom, and we share the kitchen and the Internet. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code for a big discount).

I started living internationally over 11 years ago. If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or get a free copy of my Ebook.

Isla Mujeres Flights, Buses, Trains

Buses: We took the ADO bus from Merida to Rio Lagartos and spent the night there so we could see the second pink lake. But the bus from Merida to Cancun where you can catch the ferry to Isla Mujeres Mexico starts around is 300 Pesos.   Right click in your chrome browser to get an English translation. The trip would be about 6 hours. Buy your ADO tickets at least one week in advance to avoid their last-minute gouging. As the seats fill up, they raise the price as much as 50% per ticket.

ETN and Primera buses often have better prices than ADO. But as we have headed further south-east in Mexico it seems ADO has a monopoly on travel. You will need to check ETN and Primera web pages to see if they have a bus from your city to Isla Mujeres.

Cancun International Airport (CUN): You can fly into CUN and take an ADO bus for about $7 to the ADO bus station near the ferry to Isla Mujeres. It takes about 30 minutes. The taxi from the bus station to the ferry is 80-100 Pesos $4-5 USD. The ferry to Isla Mujeres is about 300 Pesos $15 USD roundtrip. Once on the Isla Mujeres side, the Taxi to your accommodations should be about 50 Pesos $3 USD. I have provided a list of places to stay on Isla Mujeres, see above.

Flights (International or Domestic): I always use Skyscanner to book domestic and international flights. If you allow a range of dates to fly and return, you can sometimes save hundreds of dollars. Get a Mexican SIM card for your smartphone when you land in Mexico. Get your phone unlocked before leaving your home country.

If you would like to live cheap or retire early in paradise, learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or get a free copy of my Ebook.

Isla Mujeres Mexico Livability Factors

This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. Here are the factors I use to decide if I would want to live somewhere. I call them my livability factors.

Livability Factors: Food choices, walkability, internet reliability, social considerations, cost of living, things to do, real estate prices, weather, and expat opportunities.

Isla Mujeres: Desirability Score: Isla Mujeres has a medium desirability score. Isla Mujeres just doesn’t have enough going on besides vacation life to serve as a place to live long term for me. If I was a divemaster, a sailing instructor, or an ocean fisherman, maybe it would be enough. But even then, I could find all of those activities in a seaside town that had a more diverse set of things to do. Here are my top four places to live or retire cheap in paradise, in order: Mérida, Oaxaca, Querétaro, and Guanajuato. If you would like to learn why those 4 outranked the other 12 places I ranked in Mexico, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel or Vagabond Buddha. I will be writing about that in a few days.

Walkability: High. Isla Mujeres is totally walkable.

Internet Reliability: Low. The WIFI in our Airbnb was 4 MBPS download speed and 0.4 MBPS upload speed. Speed Test. That was the wireless connectivity speeds when I was sitting within 6 feet of the wireless router. Inside our room, it was almost completely useless. Check other blogs to see if anyone else got better speeds at other locations on the island. We never tried to find better wifi since we were only there for 3 days.

Food: High. The food diversity is great for an island of only 12,000 people because they are catering to a totally international vacation economy.

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Weather: Medium. August is the warmest month with an average high of 91F, 33C, and it only cools down at night to 75F, 24C. This means your house is too warm to sleep without AC most of the year. January and February are the coolest month with an average high of 84F or 28C and cools down to 66F or 19C at night. The rainy season is June through November when it rains about 4 to 6 inches per month (100 to 152 mm). Because the average high for the day is 90F, 32C or above for 7 months of the year, I am labeling Isla Mujeres as merely medium. But this could be labeled low or high for you, depending on your heat tolerance. You must have AC here for comfort.

Things to Do: Medium. You are never more than a few blocks from the beach. If fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, or sailing is your thing, you will love this place. If not, you will need to get off the island from time to time to get what you need. You are just 20 minutes Cancun by ferry, one or more to Playa del Carmen by bus, and a bit further to Tulum. There is music, on the north end of the island every night–jazz, rock, hip-hop, house, electronic, There are restaurants with many different kinds of international food especially for a population this small. Honestly, this place is too small to live here. You will get bored.

Social Considerations: Low. You will get bored. It is too small.

Expats Penetration: Medium. There are definitely expats bumping about, but with only 10,000 people on the island, and most of those locals serving the tourism industry, the expat opportunities are limited.

Real Estate: Low. We did not do any real estate price research during our three-day visit to the island. We did see a few rentals that ranged from about $450 to $1000 per month for a year-round lease on a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment. Do not try to make a deal over the Internet. Make sure to rent for a year or two before buying.

Isla Mujeres Mexico Cost of Living

If you try to rent over the Internet speaking only English, you will be quoted only Gringo prices. If you are here, you can speak directly to landlords. I guesstimate $450 to $1000 USD per month rent for a decent 1 bedroom apartment in the old town area of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. So the below range makes some sense since an apartment will run you about $600 per month which is $20 per night.

Monthly Cost of Living, Isla Mujeres, Mexico ($USD)






Our Airbnb





Moderate Hotel





Backpacker Hostel





High End Restaurant





Neighborhood Restaurant





Food Cart





















Per Month





Per Day




The above table is just my notes from my time here. The above numbers are for one person and do not include alcohol, tours, or extras. I do not guarantee these prices for anyone.

For more information about how the above “Cost of Living Monthly Multiplier” works, please visit the bottom of this page at Vagabond Buddha.

Please subscribe here or on our Youtube Channel if you would like to receive the costs of living estimates for our next Mexico stop, or for other countries in the world.

Thanks for watching our video. If you would like to learn how to live internationally or make money online, please grab a free copy of my eBook. Contact us if you would like to collaborate with us on social media.

This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for stopping by. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

Warning: I am not offering you these prices.  These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post.  Your costs will likely be drastically different if significant inflation or deflation occurs or the market changes after this post.  I will not update these numbers until I am on the ground again here, if ever.   

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