The Best Things To Do In Cancun
When you think about Mexico’s vast destinations, what comes to mind first? For the typical person, Cancun is the answer and it’s as amazing as you might think. While thoughts of turquoise blue waters and white sandy beaches is typically what people think of when the topic of Cancun comes up, there’s something uniquely amazing about this coastal city. While it very much has all of the tropical ambiance you could want in a holiday, all you need to do is walk into the city to find an authentic vibe – secluded patches of beach, taco stands on the corner – all the quintessential Mexican getaway.
For a lot of visitors, this blend of two different atmospheres is what keeps them coming back to Cancun. When you need a break from the hotel resort lifestyle (and believe it or not, you’re definitely going to want to go out and explore!), a trip into Cancun the city is just what you need for that relaxing escape. On the other hand, if you’re staying in the city and want to head to the beach, all you need is an inexpensive bus ticket to be at any of the resort locations in a matter of minutes.
Shopping and dining hits all budget price points – you can enjoy dinner at an elegant fine dining restaurant after a day of eating delicious street tacos and fresh seafood from a local café. Museums and cultural centers also provide something to do when weather is not at its best or you want to take a break from the sunshine out on the beach.
Cancun is also centrally located near many nearby points of interest and ruins, which makes them all easy to explore and use Cancun as the base for any holiday. Spend a day or two outside of the beach town to experience a tropical setting in Isla Contoy or head north to swim with whale sharks in Isla Holbox – this area is low key and the perfect getaway when you want a break from Cancun’s more upbeat ambiance. Not sure what you want to do? Hire a car and set out for a drive in the area, taking in the sights and sounds from local beach communities as you head to Playa Del Carmen and other surrounding cities!
HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN CANCUN…
Make sure you take a day trip to Chichen Itza, the ancient capital of Maya and one of the Seven Modern Day Wonders of the World. Meander through the amazing ruins, learning the history of this bygone civilisation. You will see pyramids and sacred temples – 75 feet high – and feel the tension in the Temple of a Thousand Columns, where so many were sacrificed to appease the gods.
It’s party time at CoCo Bongo! With locations in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, CoCo Bongo is the perfect way to let your hair down by the Caribbean Sea! It’s a disco atmosphere but with so much more; cheer the amazing acrobatics and applaud the musical tributes to famous entertainers deep into the night. Eat and drink, but most importantly, party the night away at one of the most exciting nightlife venues around!
For fun and adventure in a beautiful environment, Xel-Há is a must! An hour and a half from Cancun; you can snorkel with the fish and swim through the underwater caves and lagoons! Stroll, bike ride, or take a train through the 9 hectares of lush gardens, test your balance and agility on the Trepachanga, or be truly adventurous and dive off the Cliffs of Courage! There is so much to do here.
The mystery of the Coba Ruins starts with when they were built – sometime between the years’ 500 and 900. Walk, or hire a bike or rickshaw, and explore this network of famous ruins and ancient pyramids. As you travel along the stone pathways – built so long ago – and enjoy the forest which surrounds you, take in the history and try to imagine the life of these ancient and mysterious people!
The natural wonderland of Xcaret lies in the Riviera Maya District, and it really shouldn’t be missed! This fun packed park offers a ton of excitement for the whole family; snorkel and swim, take a coral reef dive, and meet the dolphins and turtles! Take in the Xcaret Mexico Spectacular and be a part of the Sacred Mayan Journey; there is just so much to see and do here!
From pristine underwater diving experiences to relaxed summer days laying on the beach; the largely undeveloped island of Cozumel is a hidden paradise waiting to be explored! Boasting a chilled out Caribbean vibe and a traditional colonial culture, this beautiful paradise won’t stay like this forever!
Rio Secreto Nature Reserve
Since the ancient Mayan times, the Rio Secreto Nature Reserve has fascinated all those lucky enough to experience its underground beauty. Opened to the public in only 2007, the caves and the underground secret river that flows through them, are a very popular destination. Swim in the eerie waters of the cavern and soak up the unique beauty for yourself!
Sac Actun Cenote System
Take a break from Cancun and leave the world behind at the Sac Actum Cenote System, the world’s longest underground cave and waterway system, located in the jungles of Tulum. Snorkel in the underground caves and then explore the jungle above! If you take the guided tour option, you will also be sure to learn the culture of the region and the characteristics of the local environment along the way.
Xplor Adventure Park
At Xplor Adventure Park, the natural beauty of the land – above and below the ground – provides the inspiration for a great day of fun that will not be forgotten! Ride an amphibious vehicle to explore the underground caves, head to the skies and zipline above the tree canopies, or raft and paddle through the river rapids! There is just so much to do, you will never be bored!
Nohoch Nah Chich
Experienced divers flock to the magnificent underground waterways of Nohoch Nah Chich; explore its beauty and experience the thrill of this underground expanse. It’s a very popular day trip, starting from either Cancun or Playa del Carmen, with its large underwater cave system stretching for around 8 kilometres! For experienced divers only, this is a “must-do” and something you will never forget!
El Rey Ruins (Las Ruinas del Rey)
Just a short trip from the tourist zone of Cancun is the perfect opportunity to step back in time at the El Rey Ruins. In this fascinating outdoor museum, there are 47 structures dating back to 900AD, including the remnants of the building where religious ceremonies were held to honour the Mayan Sun God! The El Rey Ruins is truly a place where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle and just relax and explore the history of this great country.
A trip to Cancun will inevitably lead you to Avenida Kukulkan. Let yourself go and just enjoy the eclectic nature of this thoroughfare. Wander past the shops and maybe buy a memento, have a few drinks, and choose where to eat for the evening. Only you can decide if the Avenida Kukulkan is truly representative of the country’s culture, but it sure is worth a visit to find out!
Cancun Underwater Museum
Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes the Cancun Underground Museum, combing art with conservation! With over 500 underwater sculptures, the Cancun Underground Museum brings fun to the waters, while also supporting the development of reef structures. This amazing concept is delivered so well that it is an absolute must see! You don’t even have to get wet to enjoy it – just take the glass bottom boat!
Playa del Carmen
The coastal town of Playa del Carmen is arguably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. Famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and pristine white-sand beaches lined with lush palm trees; this paradise is all about relaxation through the day, and all wild parties through the night!
Tulum is a small town situated on Mexico’s Caribbean coast and is home to the world-famous Mayan archaeological site at Tulum National Park. Surrounded by rich history, deep green jungle forests, picturesque cenotes, and its pristine white sand beaches; Tulum is a mix of relaxation and adventure!
Just a short ferry ride from Cancun is the picturesque Isla Mujeres. Get away from the mainland crowds and enjoy the beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters that the island is famous for. Snorkelling and diving are popular here, as are the trendy restaurants on this island paradise.
The Yucatan Peninsula is famous for fun and relaxation at Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, but make sure you also try to include a visit to the capital, Merida, where the architecture and colour fill your days and nights with splendour. As you explore the region, take in the Mayan history with a stroll through the many ruins on offer, enjoy the pristine beaches of the coast, and dive or snorkel in the pristine turquoise waters. Then, as the sun goes down, let your hair down and take in the spectacular nightlife that the region is famous for!
You can choose action-packed days, leisurely exploring, or just relax and soak up the beauty of the one and only Puerto Morelos. Snorkel the marine reserve, and be amazed at its kaleidoscope of colour as the fish glide through the corals, or explore the ancient Mayan history, and the natural beauty of the region, such as the underground river and crystal caves. As you stroll through the town keep an eye out for Faro Inclinado; the leaning lighthouse so popular with photographers.
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