The BEST Isla Mujeres Sunset Cruises

By Michele Samal Kinnon

The Very Best Isla Mujeres Sunset Cruises PLUS 10 Tips for Taking a Great Sunset Photo!

Isla Mujeres, a picturesque island located just a short ferry ride away from Cancún, is a paradise waiting to be explored. With its stunning beaches, vibrant local culture, and an array of water activities, this Caribbean haven has something for everyone. 

But what truly sets Isla apart is its breathtaking sunsets, painting the sky in hues of orange, pink, and purple as the sun dips below the horizon. There is no better way to experience this than on an Isla Mujeres sunset cruise.

The Isla Mujeres Sunset Cruise Experience: What Makes it Special

The combination of the open sea, the changing colors of the sky, and the tranquil atmosphere creates a magical experience that’s hard to replicate. Watching a magnificent sunset aboard a yacht on the crystal clear waters of the Mexican Caribbean is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The moment the sun touches the horizon is often met with a round of applause or a toast, marking the highlight of the trip.

If you’re planning a trip to Cancun or Isla Mujeres, a sunset cruise should be at the top of your to-do list. But with so many options available, how do you choose the one that’s right for you?  We’ve done the research, talked to the locals, and even set sail ourselves to bring you the ultimate guide to the best sunset cruises on Isla Mujeres. From luxury yachts to traditional fishing boats, we’ve got you covered.

Types of Isla Mujeres Sunset Cruises to Consider

Luxury Yachts and Catamaran Cruises

Luxury yachts offer the epitome of comfort and sophistication. These vessels are typically equipped with plush seating, air-conditioned interiors,  top-of-the-line sound systems and even jacuzzi style tubs. Guests can expect to enjoy gourmet meals, a variety of beverages including top shelf liquor and champagne, and personalized service from attentive staff who are there to make sure everyone has a good time. 

Isla mujeres sunset cruises

A lot of yacht or catamaran cruises cater to the party crowd and there is nothing wrong with that! Just be sure you are booking the sunset cruise experience that is right for you and your travel group. The boats are spacious, with ample deck space for sunbathing, socializing and even dancing. 

Amenities often include an open bar, light snacks, and sometimes even live music or a DJ. Some catamarans are also equipped with snorkeling gear for those who wish to jump in and explore the underwater world before the sun sets.

The cost of a yacht or catamaran sunset cruise on Isla Mujeres can vary widely, but you can generally expect to pay anywhere from $30 USD (group party boat) to $500 USD (high end luxury cruise) per person , depending on the duration of the cruise and the amenities offered.

 The price usually includes all drinks and snacks. Depending on the tour operator, an open bar offering a variety of different cocktails may be available as well. A mandatory dock fee of $20 USD must be paid seperately. 

Most of the yacht and catamaran excursions are public tours but for a really great experience (if your budget allows) consider booking a private sunset cruise for your family and friends. See our recommendations below.

Recommended Isla Mujeres Sunset Cruises 

Traditional Fishing Boats (Panga)

For those looking for a more authentic experience, traditional fishing boats offer a simpler but equally memorable sunset cruise. These boats usually have basic amenities like seating and a cooler for drinks. The focus here is on the natural beauty of the surroundings, not the boat amenities. For nature lovers, this may be a great way to experience the amazing sunset on the Bay of Isla Mujeres.

Traditional fishing boats

The panga boats operators offering Isl Mujeres sunset cruises can be easily found on the east side of the island just to the north and south of the ferry docks. As so arrive to the island on the ferry, you will undoubtedly be approached by people offering tours and excursions and golf cart rentals. Don´t take the first tour offered to you. Go down to the docks on your own and check out the various boats. The captains will be there to explain their offering and the costs.

Traditional fishing boat cruises are generally the most budget-friendly option, with prices ranging from $20 to $40 per person and may include water and soft drinks. If you want to bring along an alcoholic beverage, inquire when you book your tour about what is allowed.

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What to Expect from an Isla Mujeres Sunset Cruise

Most Isla Mujeres sunset cruises depart from the meeting point about an hour or two before the sun sets to give passengers ample time to settle in and enjoy the experience. Departure times can vary based on the time of year, but generally, for a simple sunset cruise, you can expect boats to set sail between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM.

The average duration of a basic sunset cruise is around 2 to 3 hours. The typical itinerary allows enough time for passengers to relax, take in the sights, and of course, watch the sunset on Isla Mujeres Bay. You will sail or cruise on the incredibly blue waters of the bay. The water is so clear that you will be able to see the coral reef below. You will want to keep your eyes open for sea turtles, rays and even (if you are very, very lucky) pods of dolphins!

A catamaran on a sunset cruise

Many of the Cancun sunset cruises we recommend set out earlier and allow time for snorkeling, exploring Isla Mujeres and relaxing on the beach. These tours can last from 4-6 hours so be sure to confirm when your boat will depart and how long the cruise will last.

While the specific route may vary depending on the company and weather conditions, most cruises will take you along the coastline of Isla Mujeres, passing by notable landmarks and possibly even venturing into the open sea for a short while. Most of the boats will end up at Playa Norte (North Beach), one of Isla Mujeres’ most beautiful beaches and the best place to catch remarkable sunset views.

Onboard Amenities

Food and Beverages

Most cruises offer some form of refreshment, ranging from light snacks and appetizers to full-course meals on a luxury yacht dinner cruise. Drinks usually include a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. The luxury yachts and catamaran cruises all have an attentive crew who are there to make sure you are having a great time and an incredible tour.

Music and Entertainment

Many cruises feature live music or a DJ to set the mood. Some luxury cruises may even offer additional entertainment like dance performances or interactive games. If you are looking for a party boat, there are plenty of those to choose from. But, there are quieter cruises to consider as well. It pays to do your homework and choose the Isla Mujeres sunset cruise that is right for you.

Safety Measures

Passenger safety is a top priority. All of the boats that we recommend are licensed and insured to safely carry guests on the open water. Life vests, first aid kits, and trained staff are standard on all cruises. Some boats may also have additional safety features like onboard defibrillators. If you have any particular safety concerns or special needs, you should inquire before you book. Several of these tours are wheelchair accessible.

What to Bring on Your Isla Mujeres Sunset Cruise


Sunglasses, preferably polarized, are essential if you are taking a sunset cruise. The sun, especially on the Caribbean Sea, is very bright even in the afternoon. Aside from making you uncomfortable, the sun´s rays are damaging to your eyes. 


Depending on your departure time and how long your cruise is, you may want to wear a hat on your tour. The sun is still going to be quite high in the sky. If you can find a hat that gives you some good coverage from the sun, your face and ears will thank you! If you don´t have a favorite hat, there are shops in downtown Isla or in Cancun that have lots of inexpensive but cute options.


Consider what time of day your boat cruise is departing and plan accordingly. If you are going to be out on the water for the afternoon when the sun is still high in the sky, you will need to protect yourself. Find a good reef-safe sunscreen, apply it before you get on the boat and reapply as necessary especially after swimming. Please make sure the sunscreen is reef-safe to help protect the delicate ecology of the coral, fish and marine life in the region.


Some of the Isla Mujeres sunset cruises offer a chance to snorkel a bit or go for a swim when they anchor at Playa Norte. Even if you don´t plan to swim, there is sea spray on the boat ride to consider and a swimsuit with a nice coverup may be the way to go. If you are taking a high-end luxury sunset cruise, finer attire may be more appropriate.


If you are planning to snorkel or swim or even to keep a dry seat on the boat, a small towel is good to bring along. Bring along a small, quick-drying microfibre towel or a more stylish Turkish beach towel just in case the trip gets a little wet. 

Comfortable Shoes

Chances are, your shoes may be taken from you at the dock when you depart so don´t bother bringing anything fancy. If your sunset tour includes some free time on the island and you want to explore downtown Isla Mujeres, you will want to have comfortable shoes like flat sandals or flip-flops. Leave the high heels at home, ladies!

Snorkel Gear

If your sunset tour includes a snorkel stop, the boat will be equipped with masks and snorkels for your use. These will be good enough to see the colorful reefs and tropical fish below. However, if you are an avid snorkeler, you may want to bring along your own gear to make sure you get the best experience.

Water-Resistant Beach Bag

If you are going out on any of these sunset cruises, you will need a big of some kind for your towel, sunscreen, cell phone, etc., a water-resistant beach bag will protect your belongings on the boat. Even, if you are on one of the bigger catamarans or yachts, you can expect to be hit by a little sea spray. A bag that repels water will keep your items dry.

If you are booking your sunset tour on a panga, you may want to consider bringing along a good dry bag to protect your things.  If you are traveling with a camera, your cell phone or other expensive gear, a dry bag will give you peace of mind on these boat trips.

Dry Clothes

If you are planning to swim or snorkel on your sunset cruise, you may want a set of dry clothes to change into for the remainder of the cruise. Keep in mind, that the temperature can dip dramatically once the sun goes down. We recommend bringing along a light sweater or jacket just in case.


All of the Isla Mujeres sunset cruises we recommend are all-inclusive but you should consider tips for the boat captain and crew (at your discretion). Some of the sunset tours also include a stop on Isla Mujeres where you might want to explore a bit, grab a drink or shop for souvenirs. Bring along a little extra money just in case.

Cell Phone

We live in a time where everyone has their cell phone with them all the time. If you are like most people and use your cell phone mainly for taking photos, videos and posting to social media, then your phone is coming along for the ride. This is a unique experience that you will want to share with friends and family back home.

Waterproof Phone Case

If you are bringing your cell phone on your sunset cruise, do yourself a favor and invest in a decent-quality waterproof phone cover. If you are planning to snorkel a bit, the crystal clear waters on the reef and surrounding the island will give you a great chance to get some nice underwater photos but be sure your trusty cell phone is properly protected!


Most people seem to be trading in their cameras for selling phones these days but if you are a pro-level photographer, bring along your camera and a few good lenses and be in the best spot to capture the magic of the sunset on Isla Mujeres Bay.

10 Tips for Capturing the Perfect Sunset Photo

If you are booking an Isla Mujeres sunset cruise, you are going to want to take home fantastic photos to go along with the amazing stories you will tell your family and friends. If you are a pro-level photographer, this is a great opportunity to break out your gear and get some truly remarkable shots. 

If you are like most people these days, you have ditched your camera for a cell phone. Getting the perfect combination of the turquoise sea, the red of the sky and the crimson sun shouldn´t be left to chance! These are some of our tips, designed to help the average visitor make the most of their smartphone cameras. With a little preparation and the right techniques, you can capture a stunning sunset photo right from your phone.

1. Find the best spot on the boat

Look for open areas with unobstructed views of the horizon. The front of the boat usually offers the best view, making it the ideal spot for sunset watching. However, the sides of the boat can also provide excellent vantage points, especially for capturing wide-angle photos.

2. Take some sample shots

The boat will get to its desired location before the sun starts to set. This gives you time to find the best spot and get your phone ready and take a few practice shots to check your settings.

3. Use a stable surface

The sunset cruise boats will all anchor at Playa Norte or nearby. This is where the calmest water is so you should be able to get a steady shot. If you don’t have a tripod for your phone, use a stable surface like a table, railing even your bag to keep your phone steady. It´s not easy on a boat but do the best you can.

4. Turn off flash

Go into your camera settings and make sure the flash is turned off to capture the natural colors of the sunset.

5. Use grid lines

Enable the grid lines feature on your phone’s camera to help you apply the rule of thirds, placing the sun at one of the intersecting points on the grid.

6. Lock focus and exposure

Tap and hold on the screen where the sun is to lock the focus and exposure. This will prevent your phone from making automatic adjustments that could ruin the shot.

7. Lower the brightness

Swipe down on the screen to reduce the exposure (brightness), making the colors more vibrant.

8. Experiment with color filters

Many smartphones come with built-in color filters. Try using a “Warm” or “Vivid” filter to enhance the natural hues of the sunset.

9. Include a silhouette in your shot

Use objects or people in the foreground to create a silhouette, adding depth and interest to your photo.

10. Take a burst of photos

Hold down the shutter button to take a burst of photos. This will give you multiple shots in quick succession, capturing the changing colors and allowing you to choose the best one later.

Isla Mujeres Sunset Cruises – Are they Worth it?

Yes, absolutely! In our opinion, there’s something incredibly magical about watching the sunset while floating on the turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean. The sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, the waves gently lap against the boat, and for a moment, time seems to stand still. 

Sunset over the caribbean ocean

As the sun dips below the horizon, painting the sky with a palette of vibrant hues, you’ll realize that there’s truly nothing like experiencing a sunset on Isla Mujeres. Whether you’re aboard a luxury yacht sipping champagne, feeling the ocean breeze on a catamaran, or soaking in the authentic atmosphere of a traditional fishing boat, Isla Mujeres sunset cruises offer an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of this Caribbean paradise.

Whether you’re a romantic at heart, a photographer looking for that perfect shot, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, the sunsets on Isla Mujeres are an experience you won’t want to miss.

If you have any questions about this information, please feel free to contact us

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About the author

Michele Samal Kinnon

Despite the strong reservations of family and friends, in 2004 I moved from the United States to Mexico with my young family. Since then, I have made the Riviera Maya my home. I have raised two remarkable children here. I have celebrated amazing successes, made countless mistakes, and in the process, fallen in love with this beautiful country.