27 Jun 2019
Sometimes the very best tours are the ones we create for ourselves. On Isla Mujeres, all you need is a golf cart! Golf carts are a top form of transportation around this tiny Caribbean island, and visitors can easily rent them out to explore the culture, cuisine, and beauty packed into the beach-and-cliff coastline. So… how’s it done?
How to get your own golf cart in Isla Mujeres
As you exit the ferry terminal and step onto the main avenue of downtown Isla Mujeres, you’ll immediately find golf cart rental establishments just across the street (and maybe a few vendors approaching you personally offering the service). Most places will charge roughly $650 – $700 pesos for the day (between 9am and 5pm). Many places also have hourly rental rates available, but a full-day rental allows you to explore the island with more flexibility and less stress, making as many stops as you like along the way to check out Caribbean Sea views or grab a drink at one of the island’s beach bars. To rent a golf cart on Isla Mujeres, all you need is a valid driver’s license. Typically the rental shop will give you a form to fill out; they’ll hold on to your license as a deposit and the form will serve as your “Isla license” for the day.
The best places to go on your golf cart adventure
While top Isla Mujeres locations like North Beach and Avenida Hidalgo are easily walkable from the ferry, a golf cart rental allows you to experience lesser-known but equally enchanting locales. The west coast of the island faces out toward the mainland, with Cancun’s hazy resort skyline visible on the horizon above the cyan-and-turquoise stripes of the ocean. The calmer western road of Isla Mujeres first passes some restaurants and small hotels before entering the central town, where most of the island locals live. Ride by the town’s colorful houses, roadside coconut stands, and beer shops before reaching a roundabout, where you can veer right to discover a hidden treasure: the west coast road between the lagoon and the ocean. This quiet road is lined in some of the most beautiful vacation homes on Isla Mujeres, as well as a few nice hotels and restaurants, and the famous turtle farm. If you’re in the mood for a break or maybe some lunch, stop at Zama Beach Club, an oceanfront restaurant where you can get sucked in and hang out on the white sand beach, or just have a quick drink then keep exploring – it doesn’t much matter because you’re on “island time”. Once the road ends, turn back and drive back up the road, then take the right-hand road when you reach the roundabout.
The Cliffs of Punta Sur
Just past the lookout point is the entrance to Punta Sur (South Point, in English), a park at the very southern tip of the island, surrounded by cliffs and dangerously beautiful turquoise water on three sides. A small booth at the entrance requires $30 pesos per person for access. Get your bracelets and enter the park, then spend some time taking pictures from atop the cliffs and around Templo Ixchel, a real Maya temple at the edge of the park. Punta Sur is also the easternmost point in Mexico, and on each New Year’s Eve, it’s a popular place for people to gather and be the first to see the first sunrise of the new year.
What to See on Isla Mujeres’ East Coast
The wilder east coast feels like another world from the rest of Isla Mujeres, with vacation homes to one side and small cliffs on the other. The crashing waves and craggy rocks are a sight not often seen in southeastern Mexico. As you drive north along this side of the island, you might pass a row of makeshift stands selling shell handicrafts and jewelry – the perfect pit stop. A little further north, you’ll come across the red path of a coastal walkway, complete with benches for resting and idyllic spots for photos. To finish your island golf cart tour, just continue north, back through the central town then into the main downtown area. By late afternoon, you’ll have seen most of the island for $700 pesos.
How to rent a golf cart easily by remembering these things
Most golf cart rentals on Isla Mujeres charge around $700 pesos for a full day, and some even offer hourly and half-day rates. All you need is your driver’s license and form of payment (cash or credit card). I also recommend applying sunscreen to your arms and legs; even though all golf carts will have a roof, you might (like me) fall victim to a left leg sunburn from driving on one side of the island for too long. Want to experience the island’s restaurant scene while you’re exploring? Here’s our list of our favorite places to eat on Isla Mujeres.