Isla Mujeres is the name of a small island, as well as the town on that island, a short distance off the coast of the northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea. Isla Mujeres is also one of the eight municipalities of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is about 13 km north east of Cancun, at 21.20° North, 86.72° West. The island is some 7 km long and 650 meters wide. In the 2005 census the municipality had a population of 13,315, and the town had a population of 11,147. The municipality, which lies mostly on the mainland in the northeastern corner of the state, has an area of 1,100 km (424.7 sq mi). As of 2005 there were 121 taxis, 500 golf carts, and 1500 moped scooters.
In Pre-Columbian times the island was sacred to the Mayan moon goddess, Ix Chel. When the Spanish arrived here in the 16th century they named it "Isla Mujeres" meaning "Island of Women" because of the many cult images of the moon goddess here.
There was a small Mayan temple on the south tip of the island, however in 1988 Hurricane Gilbert caused extensive damage to it, leaving most of the foundation and a very small portion of the temple.
Since the 1970s there has been substantial development for tourism here. Ferry boats run every half hour during daylight between Isla Mujeres and Puerto Juarez or Puerto Cancun on the mainland. The island is popular with day trippers, but activity quiets down in the evening after the tour groups leave. There are numerous places to eat fresh seafood. Hotel prices vary from cheap to very expensive at the resorts on the south-west end such as Hotel Villa Rolandi. On the east is the Caribbean Sea with a strong surf and rocky coast, and on the west the skyline of Cancun is seen across the clear waters. On the north end is Isla Town with a famous beach called Playa Norte which has recovered quickly since Hurricane Wilma hit the area in 2005.
Isla Mujeres is located close to one of many coral reefs, and the area is popular for its snorkeling and scuba diving.