What is it like to visit La Isla de las Muñecas or the Island of the Dead Dolls in Mexico City?
I visited the island recently because I saw someone on Facebook was organizing a trip to visit the island and so I went along given it'd be cheaper.
We departed from Embarcadero Salitre.
For those who don't know, the island is located in Xochimilco and you have to get on a boat known as a trajinera to be taken to the island.
There are various points (embarcaderos) that you can take to see the water of Xochimilco but some are more ideal than others for visiting the island due to distance.
At any rate, what should you know before you take the trip and what was my experience like?
Cost & Time of the Trip to La Isla de las Muñecas
For me personally, I ended up spending a total of around 30 bucks total to enjoy the island.
To break down the costs exactly:
About 4.5 USD (89 pesos) for an Uber from my apartment to the Embarcadero.
Was basically 15.5 USD (310 pesos) for the 5 hour boat ride to and from the island.
Exactly 5.5 USD (110 pesos) for a michelada that was sold to me on the island itself (a michelada is basically just a liter of beer with cool shit added to it for taste for those who don' t know).
About 2 USD (40 pesos) for a very cheap souvenir that I bought for family back home but it broke when I got back home. Will have to fix it.
Then we have 1.10 USD (22 pesos) for a bag of doritos for myself and some cookies for the dude handling the trajinera (boat) to the island (I asked if he wanted to eat anything and he said cookies so there we go).
The tip to the dude handling the trajinera was 2.5 USD (50 pesos).
I bought an elote for 1.5 USD (30 pesos).
About 60 cents (12 pesos) to get back home after the ride was over (basically 7 pesos for a bus to the Metro Tasqueña and then 5 pesos to ride the metro back home.
Total: $33.2 USD.
I also could've bought more food if I wanted to but I wasn't hungry.
We did pass a restaurant where they sold some decent sized tacos for 3 bucks (60 pesos) each and where the quesadillas were 2.25 USD (45 pesos).
Also, it obviously would've costed more for me to take an Uber back home but I didn't because I didn't have data on my phone to access Uber (versus when I do when I'm in my apartment).
Finally, I did bring a lot of my own vodka to enjoy for most of the trip. You are allowed to bring your own food and drinks and I recommend you do that. I had about 9 shots of vodka during the trip (basically half a bottle).
Anyway, the total time of the trip was 5 hours as I said before.
So let's move on.
The Ride Over to La Isla de las Muñecas
Like I said, you'll be going through the waters of Xochimilco that have a long history dating back to the Pre Hispanic era.
The waters are overall clean.
Folks traveling through them who live in the area.
Depending on the hour you go, plenty of tourists or not.
As I wrote here (with plenty of photos of the Xochimilco waters), I visited this area once before and found it too touristy for my liking.
However, on this second visit, I found no tourists on the waters when we began the tour outside of one other boat that had some Mexican family on it.
But nobody else.
One of the differences to explain that was the embarcadero we went to was less popular and the other difference was that we showed up at 8 AM instead of 4 PM or whatever time in the afternoon it was when I first showed up.
By the time we were finishing our tour and heading back to the embarcadero, we saw WAY more people in the water.
A lot more music.
A lot more drunk people.
More boats hitting each other.
Harder to take good photos without the boats of other people blocking the view of whatever you want to take a picture of.
So on and so on.
It was nice to show up at 8 AM and get a fresh start where the entire journey to the Island was not like that and where we could enjoy it in peace and quiet.
So much nicer.
If you visit any part of the Xochimilco waters (to visit the islands or just enjoy the water), I STRONGLY recommend you do it starting in the morning at around 8 or 9 AM.
Anyway, to have an idea of what the journey to the island kinda looks like (as the scenery is fairly similar), check out this article that has photos of the Xochimilco waters.
At La Isla de las Muñecas
Once we got there, we were the only tourists.
Not a single other tourist was on the island except those in our small group and we didn't see a single other boat arrive while we were there.
Had the island all to ourselves.
It was 50 pesos (2.5 USD) to enter the island.
Also, there were three other people in my small group who brought more professional looking cameras and they all had to pay 100 pesos (5 bucks) for the right to use professional cameras.
I didn't because I only brought over my normal phone.
You apparently don't have to pay the 100 pesos if it is just a phone but you have to pay supposedly if you bring anything else to take photos beyond just a phone.
I'm not sure how legit that rule is or if they were just trying to nickle and dime the other members of the group.
Anyway, the island isn't very big.
You could do a full circle walking around the entire touristy part within like 3 to 5 minutes at most.
Something like that.
And it's basically just all dolls scattered about everywhere with a very rustic looking bathroom for men and women, a bedroom looking place that appeared to be closed, some other closed building and a few other buildings that had a ton of dolls in them.
One of those buildings with dolls was a place where we were all taken inside to be explained the history of the island by some woman who was standing around.
She gave a brief explanation in Spanish that lasted for just a few minutes and answered any questions.
The basic history anyway was that some random girl drowned to death and cried out "MY DOLL! I WANT MY DOLL!" or something like that.
Then some old man who owned the island went crazy, put up dolls everywhere to keep her spirit away, became more isolated and then died very close to the spot where the little girl died many years later.
Personally, I've always wondered how much of a hand the Mexico government or Mexico City government had in trying to turn this place into a tourist attraction or was it more natural?
Something about it all just screams like some place invented to attract tourists.
Not saying the story is bullshit -- there are news articles about it dating back decades -- but something about how touristy the spot is does feel weird.
Regardless, it is what it is.
You can also buy beer and snacks on the island.
I had a michelada for 110 pesos (5.5 USD) and they also sell mojitos for 130 pesos (6.5 USD) or 90 pesos for 500 mL of a mojito (4.5 USD).
The snacks cost whatever. I didn't buy any on the island.
Also, you can see a lot of agricultural work on the island beyond the touristy part for visitors.
It looked like they were growing corn or whatever.
Anyway, the island was cool to visit but, if I'm being honest, I got kinda bored about 20 minutes or whatever while on it.
Eventually sat down on some bench and kept drinking my michelada while some dog greeted me and I gave it pets.
Was La Isla de las Muñecas Creepy?
I personally didn't find it creepy.
Though, funny enough, I did "half suspect" that one of the dolls was moving its eyes to keep looking at me as I walked around it in some random small building.
Maybe that happened or maybe I imagined it due to some optical illusion or some shit.
Anyway, I will say that, as I wrote here, that I always have had a strong tendency to feel the presence of ghosts or spirits literally all of my life.
And that's not a joke.
I'm not saying any shit like I talk to ghosts or whatever but I legit have always had some weird "feeling" of being watched all of my life and sometimes even seeing a ghost once in a blue moon (like maybe once every 5 years or some shit).
Having said that, I didn't feel anything on this island.
It felt completely peaceful.
Out of curiosity, I asked the dude who handled our trajinera (boat) while half drunk on vodka and beer some questions.
Me: "So you've been to this island a lot, I suppose?"
The Trajinera Dude: "I suppose I have."
Me: "Ever seen anything weird? Felt some spirit? Shit like that?"
The Trajinera Dude: "No, it's a very peaceful island. But I have heard stories of people seeing weird shit at night."
Of course, that was all paraphrased and translated from Spanish to English.
So, according to THE MAN who travels to the island constantly, shit doesn't happen here.
Except at night according to a friend of a friend or some shit.
After posting photos of the island to Facebook, two people I know left these comments here.
So apparently others do think it is creepy!
Can't blame them. The story behind the island does seem creepy, I suppose.
But nothing about my experience was creepy.
Didn't feel any spirits and it seemed peaceful overall.
Maybe I should return for Day of the Dead.
Well, for those curious, I did find some videos checking out if any weird shit happens here or not on this island as you can see here.
Let's move on.
Final Verdict: Was it Worth it Visiting La Isla de las Muñecas
Overall, it was cool to see.
Given the low cost, why not visit it?
I enjoyed the scenery on the water even more than the island itself but the island was a nice cherry on top.
Like I said though, you absolutely should try going at 8 AM or 9 AM and, if I had to guess, perhaps visit during Day of the Dead for maximum value.
If I really wanted to troll tourists visiting during that time and happened to be some local living in some building in the general area, I'd try to sneak some device that lets out a recording that says in a female voice in Spanish: "MY DOLL! I WANT MY DOLL!"
Maybe that's a good idea for those working on the island selling micheladas or something.
Though, if tourists knew it was a recording (and word would get out if they did it too much), then it'd probably hurt the "creepy" factor to the place and make it seem all fake.
Well, not a bad idea for some good ol' trolling, I suppose.
Anyway, if you got anything to add, drop a comment below.
And follow my Twitter here.
Check out some of the photos I took of the place below.
Thanks for reading.