Mujeres and Cozumel are two beautiful islands in the Mexican Caribbean near the continental coast of the State of Quintana Roo, with tourist attractions that invite thousands of people each year to bathe in its waters. But, which of them is better for vacationing?

Let us know information that will help you decide which of these you will visit in the next vacation period.

Which is better to know, Isla Mujeres or Cozumel?

The time and interests you have will determine your choice. Of the two, Cozumel is larger, so much so that in addition to being the main island tourist destination in Mexico, its 478 km 2 make it the third island with the largest territory in the country, after Isla Tiburón and Isla Ángel de la Guarda.

Isla Mujeres, on the other hand, has an area of ​​only 1.1 km 2 , being 435 times smaller than Cozumel, an island that has 79,000 inhabitants compared to the 13,000 that Mujeres has.

Due to its size, Cozumel has more capacity for hotel, food and commercial services. Due to the greater influx of foreign tourists, it tends to be more expensive.

The third largest island, Mexico also has the best places in the Caribbean to practice diving and snorkeling, in coral reefs of incomparable beauty and rich biodiversity.

Despite all this and even with its smaller size, Isla Mujeres has better beaches than Cozumel. Both share an important archaeological interest.

Read our guide on the 10 best hotels on Isla Mujeres to stay

What is prettier, Cozumel or Isla Mujeres?

Both islands are beautiful and with spectacular places. Defining which one is prettier will depend on your taste.

Cozumel’s underwater beauty is unmatched by splendid coral reefs like El Cielo, Dzul Ha, Palancar, Paraíso, Colombia, Santa Rosa, Villa Blanca and Chankanaab, which are fantastic for diving and snorkeling.

In these underwater spaces you will observe the greatest diversity of marine fauna in the entire Mexican Caribbean, from lobsters, starfish, sea cucumbers and seahorses, to larger species such as rays, turtles, sharks, blue sharks, groupers and other fish.

Isla Mujeres is also distinguished by the beauty of its beaches, especially North Beach, for many the most dazzling in Mexico.

Cozumel vs. Isla Mujeres: what is the archaeological interest in both?

The two islands were Mayan pilgrimage centers during pre-Hispanic times.

The main deity venerated in both was Ixchel, Mayan goddess of love, water, the moon, textile work, pregnancy and medicine. Ruins of their sanctuaries are preserved on both islands.

The vestiges of the temple of the goddess are in Garrafon on Isla Mujeres. In Cozumel, the most important archaeological site is San Gervasio.

Isla de la Pasión is a small island integrated into Cozumel with a charming beach, which remains a destination for glamorous wedding ceremonies. The Mayans called it, Mukyaj Peten, and made a pilgrimage to it to get married in the temple of Ixchel.

Couples who are lucky enough to marry in this earthly paradise pray to the goddess of love and fertility, for eternal happiness and a beautiful family.

How are the beaches of Isla Mujeres?

The beautiful sandbanks of Isla Mujeres make it a divine destination for vacations. One of them is Playa Norte, with white sand and clear waters of beautiful turquoise blue tones, considered one of the best in Mexico.

Its calm and warm waters give the feeling of being in a huge and beautiful blue pool and its shallow depth allows you to walk up to 200 meters without the sea exceeding your waist.

The wide sandbank of about 1 km allows you to sunbathe and practice beach entertainment in comfort. The food and drink service offered by its bars and restaurants on the beach is first class.

On the beach or very close to it there are comfortable hotels such as the Ixchel Beach Hotel, Nautibeach Condos Playa Norte, Hotel Mia Reef, Cabañas María del Mar and Privelege Aluxes Hotel.

Other charming beaches on Isla Mujeres are Lancheros beach and Garrafon beach, in the beautiful Garrafon Reef Natural Park.

What are the best places to dive and snorkel in Cozumel?

Cozumel is known worldwide as a destination for diving and snorkeling for its variety and beauty of coral reefs. One of the most famous is El Cielo, with transparent and shallow waters, ideal for beginners. Its number of starfish is astounding as are its rays.

Palancar Reef

Palancar is a splendid reef in the Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel, a protected area on the western coast of the island.

Its coral structures form caves and cavities through which sea creatures circulate, including a multitude of fish of all colors.

For expert diving Cozumel offers Santa Rosa, a vertiginous wall with coral formations where it is possible to admire turtles, parrot fish, frog fish and giant eels.

Dzul Ha, Colombia, Paraíso and Chankanaab, also stand out for their beauty and variety of marine fauna.

Read our guide on the 10 best places to dive and snorkel in Cozumel

Are there good places for diving and snorkeling in Isla Mujeres?

Although it does not have as many places to dive and snorkel as Cozumel, on Isla Mujeres there are also good places to practice these beach activities, such as the Arrecifes Garrafón Natural Park.

In this park on the southern tip of the western coast of the island you can also swim with dolphins, walk along cliffs, ride bicycles and ride zip lines.

You will have a panoramic pool with hammocks and loungers in case you prefer to stay in fresh water.

Other beautiful places near Isla Mujeres to dive and snorkel are the Isla Cantoy National Park and the El Farito National Aquatic Park. The first of them is an island in the municipality of Isla Mujeres with a diversity of birds, which is why it is also known as Isla de los Pájaros.

To the south of the little island is the Ixlaché reef, a space with a regulated flow of visitors due to its vulnerability.

El Farito, 2 km from Isla Mujeres, is an excellent diving and snorkeling area that attracts many tourists for its figures of a virgin and a Jesus Christ, submerged in the sea.

What else to do on Isla Mujeres and Cozumel?

Some other things to do in Isla Mujeres are to visit:

1. Parque de los Sueños: on the way to Garrafón you will find the Parque de los Sueños. It has a beach, snorkel area, zip lines, kayaks, rowboats and other entertainment.

2. Holbox Island: home of the colossal whale shark.

3. Cabo Catoche: point where the Caribbean joins the Gulf of Mexico and the first place of landing of the Spaniards in continental Mexico.

If you prefer to visit Cozumel, other attractions are:

1. Punta Molas: Mexico’s easternmost point with a lighthouse with magnificent views of the ocean.

2. Punta Chiqueros: a practically uninhabited area of ​​Cozumel with a long beach and beautiful landscapes.

3. Chankanaab: Ecopark 10 km from San Miguel with areas for underwater sports, observation of fauna and flora, and replicas of pre-Columbian buildings.

4. Chen Río: sheltered beach to the east of Cozumel, ideal for swimming due to the tranquility and transparency of its waters.

5. The viewpoints at points of interest on the island to take pictures.

What are the main cities of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres like?

The capital and only city of Cozumel is San Miguel de Cozumel, which brings together more than 97% of the island population. Las Fincas and Km 4.5, other smaller towns, have fewer than a thousand inhabitants.

The typical architecture in San Miguel is that of the Caribbean with houses with high ceilings, terraces and large windows, where you can enjoy the sea breeze. The former seat of the municipal palace is a good example.

Among the public monuments of the city stands out the statue of Juan Bautista Vega, a local character. The 201 Squadron Monument recalls the participation of the Mexican Air Force in World War II.

Other monuments of interest in San Miguel are the Cruz de Cozumel and the Monumento al Mestizaje.

The only important town on Isla Mujeres is its municipal seat, where Caribbean-style houses are mixed with other constructions.

The main places of interest are the small zocalo with a kiosk, the municipal palace, the boardwalk and the temple of the Immaculate Conception.

Cozumel vs Isla Mujeres: where is there more party?

Although Cozumel has more entertainment venues due to its larger population and tourist influx, on Isla Mujeres there are also good clubs and bars to have a good time, such as Jax Bar & Grill, Rock Bar and Tiny’s Bar.

In Cozumel, one of the best carnivals in the Mexican Caribbean is celebrated with floats, costumes and demonstrations, which mix pre-Hispanic Mexico with modern.

To the south is the community of El Cedral where a fair is held in honor of the Holy Cross at the beginning of May. In this festivity there are novilladas, cultural acts, dances, concerts and other events.

Isla Mujeres also celebrates a colorful carnival. Its festivities of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 are very lively.


After reviewing the qualities of both islands, it is you who will decide which is the best. Each one has tourist attractions that will make your visit a more than pleasant experience. So which one do you stay with?

Share this article with your friends on social networks so they can learn about the attractions of Isla Cozumel and Isla Mujeres and decide which is the funniest.


See also:

  • Discover our definitive guide to Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo
  • These are the 15 best things to do in Cozumel
  • Know the truth about North Beach (Isla Mujeres)
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