Everything you wanted to know about the ferry to Isla Mujeres but, were afraid to ask…..

ultramar-ferry

One of the things we receive a ton of questions about is the ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. It can be a little daunting for a first time visitor to travel to a foreign country where they may not speak the language and have to take a flight, a transfer, and then a boat to their destination. So, we started offering the Add-on service of pre-purchasing your ferry tickets when you make your transfer reservation with us. And it has been incredibly popular.

Why is this service so popular? Other than the fact that it’s one less thing to worry about on your arrival, with the increased tourism to Isla Mujeres, we have seen that the lines to buy tickets are often longer than the line to board the ferry! It can be incredibly frustrating to arrive at the ferry loaded down with luggage after a long travel day and then watch the boat leave without you because you had to wait in the ticket line for ten minutes. And now you have another 30 minutes to wait for the next boat (and if after 8:30 PM, an hour to wait). After all, you’re on vacation, who wants to waste any precious time standing in line? Hopefully, we can answer a lot of questions here about the Gran Puerto Juarez Ultramar ferry dock/Isla Mujeres route!

So, the Ultramar ferry is the main ferry transport to the island. It leaves from Gran Puerto Juarez Ultramar ferry dock in Cancun. Also referred to as simply “Gran Puerto”, “Ultramar”, or “Puerto Juarez”. In fact we have two ways to book this on our site under “Isla Mujeres” or “Puerto Juarez”-They are the same exact route.

ULTRAMAR WEBSITE

They have a web page here (that is often down if being honest!): https://www.ultramarferry.com/en

HOURS OF OPERATION

It’s important to note that the ferry does NOT operate 24 hours a day. Here is the time table for the Cancun/Isla Mujeres route. These times remain the same even on holidays:

Gran Puerto Juarez (Cancun) TO Isla Mujeres: Departures every half hour between 5:00 AM-8:30 PM. And then 9:30 PM, 10:30 PM, 11:30 PM

Isla Mujeres TO Gran Puerto Juarez (Cancun): Departures every half hour between 5:30 AM-9:00 PM. And then 10:00 PM, 11:00 PM & 12:00 AM

It’s good to keep these schedules in mind when booking your flights. We do not recommend [Read more…]

Transportation on Isla Mujeres

CARM Transfers definitely has your transportation covered on the mainland, but what about folks that are staying on Isla Mujeres? There are NO private transfer companies allowed on the island (the taxi union has made sure of that). So how do you get around the island? Well, my good friend Katie Milton of BOGO Aqui has written a perfect explanation of all your options. Check it out!

bogologo

“Taxis, golf carts, mopeds, oh my!
Your first trip to Isla can be overwhelming. Who are we kidding, your 15th trip to Isla can be overwhelming too! And travelers are frequently asking:

How do I get Around Isla?!
An important question if you ask me! And in all honesty, there are people who live on Isla and don’t know how to maximize Isla transportation. So I thought would share some tips from personal experience in hopes that it can save just one traveler a transport anxiety attack.

Overwhelm.
The biggest trouble with transport on Isla is that it is overwhelming and unfamiliar. We are going to break down your options and compare the advantages and disadvantages based on several criteria: convenience, cost, physical exertion, and efficiency so that you can make an informed decision for your next Isla vacation.

  1. Golf Cart. Renting a golf cart is the most popular option for travelers to Isla Mujeres. However, in my opinion, I believe it is overused and many tourists spend more money on golf cart rentals than is necessary. If you are staying exclusively downtown it may not be necessary to rent a golf cart because it is possible to get anywhere downtown on foot given that you are in appropriate physical condition. However, it is advised to rent a golf cart for at least one day to explore the island in its entirety. If you are staying exclusively on the South Point of the island it is advised to budget a golf cart rental for at least the majority of your stay.  Convenience: Easy, Cost: Mid range, Physical Exertion: None, Efficiency: Most
  2. Car. In my opinion it is overkill to rent a car to come to Isla Mujeres. The Island is only 4 miles long, parking is difficult to find, and inexpensive public transport is readily available. It would only make sense to bring a rental car to Isla if you were traveling elsewhere in Mexico and already had a rental car. Convenience: Somewhat tricky, Cost: Mid range, Physical Exertion: None, Efficiency: Least
  3. Moped/Moto. Renting a moped or a moto is also a very popular option on Isla Mujeres. Since it is less expensive to rent a moto than a golf cart it is a budget friendly option. However, it isn’t very budget friendly when you consider the stats on injury. Can you afford road rash during your Caribbean vacation? If not, splurge and go for the cart, a vacation is no time to be messing with a broken ankle. Unless of course you ride frequently at home and know whats up when it comes to two wheels and motors. It is the law to wear a helmet and I encourage you to drive defensively. Good luck. Convenience: Easy, Cost: Budget Friendly, Physical Exertion: Minimal, Efficiency: Mid
  4. Bicycle. Active vacationers love renting bicycles. I think there’s something romantic about riding a beach cruiser in your bathing suit on a Caribbean island, no? Its kind of a rite of passage in my opinion. Overall, Isla is a fairly flat island and somewhat bike friendly especially once you’re out of downtown traffic. Bike helmets are not required by law.  Convenience: Mid, Cost: Mid, Physical Exertion: High, Efficiency: Mid
  5. Foot. Getting around Isla on foot is also one of the most popular ways to traverse the island. Especially since Isla’s main restaurant and shopping street downtown is a designated pedestrian zone; Hidalgo. Since the island is small and dense, getting around on foot makes sense and allows you to get into places you might not have convenient access to otherwise. Convenience: Easy, Cost: Free, Physical Exertion: Medium, Efficiency: Most
  6. Taxi. For obvious reasons, taxis are also popular. More so, when you don’t get a greedy taxista that tries to overcharge you because you’re a tourist. Beware. Taxis are most efficient downtown. There are fewer taxis on rotation on the south point so hailing one the south point can be difficult especially after dark or very early in the morning. Convenience: Mid, Cost: Mid, Physical Exertion: Mid, Efficiency: Mid

​As with most travelers and residents of Isla, your time will likely be split among several different forms of transport.”

Katie Milton
BOGO Aqui

BOGO Aqui is a new concept on Isla Mujeres. BOGO stands for Buy One Get One and is a new smartphone app that will offer consumers buy one get one vacation coupons through the app. The newsletter will keep people informed of the progress of BOGO Aqui and other island related entrepreneurial updates.

Buying Ferry Tickets online with Ultramar: The Results

Ultramar

With my confirmation print-out I arrived to Ultramar ferry 10 minutes before the next boat was scheduled to depart. There were MANY people in line to purchase tickets and a representative was stationed at a podium in the center, which I had never seen before. I showed her my print-out and she told me I still needed to wait in line to get a ticket.

[Read more…]

Ultramar Ferry: Should I buy my Tickets in Advance?

Ultramar

We get asked often about purchasing Ultramar ferry tickets in advance, opposed to purchasing them at the booth upon arrival to the dock. I have always said that it is fast and easy to buy your tickets at the dock so there is really no need to pre-purchase them online, however, I thought we should test this out and see which method of buying tickets is the best.

[Read more…]

Isla Mujeres Artist Fair

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The Isla Mujeres Artist Fair is on the first Thursday of every month from 4pm to 7pm in the Zocalo (town square) on Isla Mujeres. Local artists, food vendors, musicians & Isla’s non-profits celebrate the creative arts with locals, tourists, foreign residents & our neighbors from Cancun.

[Read more…]

Isla Mujeres day trip on the Lupita Catamaran

One of our goals is to actually GO on all of the tours we sell at CARM Tours & Transfers. This week we joined the catamaran “La Lupita” on their day trip from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. We had a wonderful time. You can book the catamaran Lupita for only $53 USD here.

Turquoise waters between Cancun and Isla Mujeres We checked in at Cancun Bay Resort & Marina, located at KM 3.5 in the Cancun Hotel Zone. Check in was fast so we had about 30 minutes at the palapa before the start of the tour. This worked out well since we had skipped breakfast and the palapa sold croissants and bottled water. We split one of each which cost us $36 pesos (~about $3 USD).Lupita Catamaran

At 10:00 AM we boarded the Lupita catamaran and headed to Isla Mujeres. With the sail raised it took us about an hour to get to the island. We were all given snorkel gear and jumped in the ocean at “El Farito” reef, which means “little lighthouse”. We saw tons of fish including the biggest barracuda I have EVER seen. Amazing. The snorkel guide had a sandwich baggie filled with something the fish really liked so we were surrounded by a school of brightly colored fishes. Large parrot fish, small trigger fish and lots that I could not identify.

snorkeling Isla Mujeres CatamaranBy 11:00 AM we were back on the boat, heading over to the island. Our first stop was at Isla Contoy dock. We had 1 hour free time on the island to shop, rent a golf cart, or hang out at the bars/restaurants. We skipped the golf carts and just walked around a bit, then ended up at the Isla Contoy dock bar where we watched an English fellow eat a scorpion pickled in Tequila. Good times!

Back on the boat for the trip to the beach club for lunch at 1:00 PM. The buffet was good food, as good as most all-inclusive resorts. Drinks here are not included, so be sure to bring some cash. We went back for seconds, then hit the lounge chairs. I loved this part of the day, so relaxing. There were hammocks in the shade and lounge chairs. We cooled off in the ocean, then just relaxed some more.

Isla Mujeres CatamaranWe boarded the boat about 3:00 PM to head back to Cancun. Just before we got there the captain set anchor and put up the spinnaker. The spinnaker is like para sailing, except you are anchored. The video shows it better than I can describe it. It is not very easy, however it looked well worth the effort.

The Lupita catamaran docked back in Cancun at 4:45 PM. I have to say that for only $53 per person, this was a fabulous day on the water, on the island, and it is a great value. This tour is not for the party crowd. The music was current, yet not so loud as to blast your eardrums. The crew was accommodating, yet no one was telling me to put my hands in the air and scream. For us (upper-30-something-couple) it was the perfect day getaway without some 19-year-old throwing up on my shoes.

For more information and to book your day trip to Isla Mujeres on the catamaran Lupita for only $53 USD, CLICK HERE TO BOOK THE TOUR.

5K race on Isla Mujeres Feb 9, 2013

There is a 5K Run / Walk race on Isla Mujeres on February 9th to benefit the stray dogs and cats on the island. The money raised will help provide the spay and neuter clinics, as well as animal adoption efforts.

The race will start and finish at JAX Bar & Grill, the starting time is 8:00 AM.

Categories:
Adult women
Adult men
Girls 17 and under
Boys 17 and under
Teams – 5 person

Entry Fee: $30.00 USD

Come over to Isla Mujeres to run for this wonderful cause.

5K Race Isla Mujeres