Most Beautiful Islands in Mexico to Visit

Mexico remains one of the most popular vacation spots for tourists from all over the world. These are the most pristine islands in Mexico you should experience at least once!

From historical cities like Guanajuato and Mexico City to spring break destinations like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Mexico holds so much to explore. 

islands in mexico
Isla Holbox is a must-visit if you’re in Mexico!

Many of Mexico’s islands fly under the radar but are equally desirable. Some islands are remote and don’t offer lodging or restaurants. Islands like Cedros Island and Espiritu Santo are Natural Protected Areas, so eco-conscious day trips are the only tourism available. Socorro Island provides a thrilling destination for experienced divers willing to take a 24-hour boat trip.

What Are The Most Beautiful Islands In Mexico?

In this list, we detail our top seven islands off the coast of Mexico. These islands rank for their beauty of course, but also their convenience and distinct qualities. Read on to learn about some of these well-known and remote Mexican islands.

Isla Holbox

islands in mexico holbox

Located on the northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Holbox is one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets. Unlike nearby beaches in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Isla Holbox delivers a low-key atmosphere. Enjoy stunning sunsets and calm surroundings while you enjoy shallow swimming in nearby sandbars.

This island is not rugged, hosting boutique hotels and chains like Marriott. However, be advised this is a car-free zone. Brush up on your bike riding or rent a golf cart to zoom around this small island.

Isla Holbox gains recognition for its remarkable birdwatching. This island provides opportunities to view its most special neighbors: flamingos.

Isla Mujeres

Close to Isla Holbox is Isla Mujeres, another natural wonderland. Snorkel in Garrafon Natural Reef Park to see unbelievable underwater landscapes. Isla Mujeres sits on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the second-longest system of coral reef structures in the world.

islands in mexico
View from Zama Beach Club in Isla Mujeres

Playa Tiburon, located on Isla Mujeres offers shark sightings. If you’re looking for a beach with more amenities, try Playa Norte, the most popular beach on this island. November and December offer the best time to visit Isla Mujeres, with January through April representing the highest tourist traffic.

Translated to Woman Island, everyone is welcome at Isla Mujeres. Consider tripping over to this island from Cancun, which is just a short boat ride away. Enjoy white sand beaches, palm tree groves, and sparkling blue water.

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islands in mexico
We worked from Cozumel for two weeks – bliss!

Cozumel is one of the most well-known islands on this list. This Mexican island ranks as one of the most popular cruise ship ports globally. Avoid traveling in the winter and spring if swarms of tourists are not your thing. But if you love huge street parties, make sure you time your visit to coincide with the annual Carnivale, which is a blast!

Like Isla Mujeres, Cozumel offers a chance to view famous coral reefs while snorkeling and many other popular water activities. If you’re a scuba diver, take note! Cozumel offers some of the best diving spots in the world.

One of the top Mexican islands, Cozumel welcomes millions of visitors each year. If you’re looking for more than reading a book on the beach, absorb the thrilling history of Cozumel. The San Gervasio archaeological site delivers a can’t-miss opportunity to learn about pre-Hispanic traditions and Mayan history. 

Isla Contoy

Ocean wildlife at Isla Contoy – image by Isla Contoy Experience

Isla Contoy represents another island near Isla Mujeres. Many of the islands on this list join a region known as the Mexican Caribbean. If you’ve ever daydreamed about being a castaway on a desert island, Isla Contoy is for you.

With private-island vibes, Isla Contoy welcomes day visitors to enjoy its rugged landscape. If you’re a birdwatcher, this island demands your attention. With more than 150 species of birds, there’s always something to see. Nature-lovers should time their visit to experience the migration patterns of Isla Contoy birds and sea turtles.

Visiting Isla Contoy takes preparation. Only about 200 guests can visit the island each day, with permits required. Be sure to book your trip with approved tour companies sailing out of Isla Mujeres or Cancun.

Deer Island

Mazatlan coast

On the Pacific Coast of mainland Mexico lies Mazatlan, a very popular vacation destination. In Mazatlan, you will enjoy:

  • Music
  • Architecture
  • Incredible seafood

You will also notice a string of islands off the coast. The largest one is Deer Island, the next on our list of best islands in Mexico.

Deer Island provides an exciting day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy peaceful swimming, wildlife-filled kayaking, or a game of beach volleyball. 

Even if you don’t set foot on the island, a boat tour or sunset cruise provides spectacular views of this beautiful island. Remember there aren’t many amenities on this island, so pack your chairs, food, and activities.

Isla de Janitzio

islands in mexico
Day of the Dead celebrations in Janitzio

Do you want to explore islands in Mexico, but the ocean isn’t your thing? Believe it or not, Mexico provides stunning lake beaches as well. Isla de Janitzio lies within gorgeous Lake Patzcuaro. This lake provides recreation and scenery, but also contributes to one of Mexico’s largest and most notable cultural traditions.

Experience authentic Day of the Dead traditions on Isla de Janitzio. One of the most significant ceremonies of this holiday is a boat procession, lit by candlelight. This custom, celebrated in early November to honor the memories of the deceased, makes a spectacular display on Lake Patzcuaro on Isla de Janitzio.

This stunning island delivers an authentic cultural experience, along with stunning scenery and peaceful surroundings. Include Isla de Janitzio on your list for a unique Mexican island destination. This island is located between Mexico City and Guadalajara, making Isla de Janitzio the perfect place to stop along the way.


Aerial view of Mexcaltitan – image by Uno TV

Mexcaltitan earns the status as the only “magical” island in Mexico on this list. This island is also the only one intentionally designed by developers. These facts make Mexcaltitan a fabulous spectacle and distinct experience.

This island invokes Venice, with its extensive canal system and required boat travel. In the rainy season, travelers and locals traverse the city by boat or raised walkways. Built in 2001, this town ranks as one of 122 Magical Towns in Mexico.

Magical towns reach this recognition by demonstrating their particular character and value. The hope is the Magical Town designation will celebrate the culture and traditions of small Mexican communities and encourage migration from cities to smaller economies.

If you visit when shrimp are in season, make sure to enjoy some of the famous local catch. Take in the local art and music. Just like Isla Holbox, be prepared to travel every inch of this 400-meter wide island without a car.

Final Thoughts – Most Beautiful Islands To Visit In Mexico

Mainland Mexico offers some incredible moments. But for us, it’s all about the top islands you can visit in Mexico.

There’s nothing like relaxing with wildlife in Isla Mujeres or Deer Island. When we want more hustle and bustle, Cozumel provides the perfect balance of island calm and city thrills.

Have you ever visited a Magical Town before? Try Mexcaltitan for a real taste of small-town Mexican living. Isla Holbox is an up-and-coming island that has something for everyone to enjoy.

Plan a trip to one of these best islands in Mexico for a vacation you won’t soon forget. This list provides a few details about these spectacular locations. Don’t forget to conduct your research to determine boat reservations, island amenities, and other crucial tips before visiting these Mexican islands.

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