Cancun, aptly labeled as the “Glistening city of the Caribbean sea”, is an immensely gorgeous tropical nirvana that has become synonymous with luxury, palatial resorts, deluxe hotels and world-famous beaches. Often billed as America’s ultimate spring break destination, this Mexican haven is also well-known as an intoxicating playground with wild parties and a crazy nightlife circuit. When spring breaks sets in, Cancun flaunts its youthful hippie nature, luring throngs of sizzling eye candies, partyholics and college kids. Trust me, there are a lot of things to do in Cancun for young folks who want to get drunk and tanned on spring break.
But, don’t let Cancun’s energetic feel and colorful parties fool you. There’s more to this Mexican coastal city than its infamous nightlife and gorgeous coastline. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of fabulously cool things to do in Cancun, for those who are traveling with their family. What’s more, the city has a glut of historic wonders that would give a sweeping overview of the ancient Mayan civilization.
Traveling to Cancun – the northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico? Looking for a travel blog that lists down all the awesome things to do in Cancun? From a visit to the otherworldly Cancun Underwater Museum to a luxurious treatment in any of the finest spa Cancun resorts, we’ve rounded up some of the most incredibly fun and amazing things to do in Cancun.
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1. Be utterly amazed by the Cancun underwater museum
Experience a surreal one-of-a-kind snorkeling expedition by submersing into the Cancun Underwater Museum, one of the hottest and newest Cancun attractions. With this spellbinding sub-aquatic adventure, you’ll get to snorkel as well as enjoy the region’s prismatic marine life and stunning azure waters for more than 30 minutes. In addition, this snorkeling trip lets you feast your eyes on a series of eerie yet beautiful sculptures wonderfully made by Jason deCaires Taylor.
Cancun Underwater Museum, or also called as MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte), has over 500 intriguing and eye-catching sculptures. Not only does it encourage culture, but this extraordinary aquatic museum supports science as well. The sculptures in this museum are made of materials that foster coral life, allowing sea creatures to inhabit and interact with the wondrous underwater exhibits.
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2. A soothing weekend getaway on Isla Mujeres
Want to escape the frenetic beat of Cancun’s beaches and nightlife? Then, indulge on a relaxing and wondrous weekend getaway on Isla Mujeres, or also known as the Island of Women. Although there’s little to do on this tiny island, travelers, especially those who are traveling with their family, nevertheless love to visit this gorgeous quaint island.
In spite of its sleepy reputation, Isla Mujeres has quite a few sites worth visiting and checking out. One place that you should swing by during your visit to this island is the Hacienda Mundaca – the historic ruined manor of Mundaca, a slave trader in the 19thcentury. The puzzling death of the mansion’s owner adds to the haunting charm of this colonial estate.
The island is also famous for housing sea turtles, and you can sight of these fascinating creatures at the turtle farm or tortugranja. The farm, of course, has an aquarium and a ton of turtles, with tours both in English and Spanish. You can reach this wildlife sanctuary with a taxi cab ride from the downtown area of Isla Mujeres.
3. Visit the iconic Chichén Itzá
You can’t leave Cancun, Mexico without a day trip to the largest and most notable Mayan archaeological site in Yucatan – Chichén Itzá. Listed in 1998 as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this ancient wonder will utterly amaze its beholders with its fabulous well-preserved ruins that will give you an insight of the Mayan way of life in the ancient times. The focal point and the undisputed star of this Mayan site is the pyramid-shaped El Castillo, which was used by the Mayans once as a place of worship.
Sadly, because of its immense fame, this ancient Mayan site is crawling with visitors and tourists who are trying to snap a perfect photo of one of the world’s new Seven Wonders. Nonetheless, the spectacular ruins of Chichén Itzá are well worth it even for weary travelers. Trust me, you'll feel like Indiana Jones, as you explore these ruins.
Not fond of large crowds? You can avoid the sea of tourists by visiting it early in the morning, before the flocks of tourist buses arrive.
4. Visit El Rey Ruins
El Rey Ruins, although they don’t have the wow factor of Chichén Itzá, draw dozens of tourists on a daily basis, thanks to their convenient location. Lodged right at the heart of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, these ruins are supremely accessible to tourists, and its small size makes the site easy to explore in a short time. For many visitors, however, the ruins themselves aren’t the main draw in this historic site. People mostly head to El Rey, to get snap photos as well as get an up close look of the legions of iguanas that invaded this former Mayan Town. Rated by USA Travel as one of the best things to do in Cancun, a visit to El Rey gives you a rare chance to mingle with these surprisingly friendly herbivorous lizards.
5. Gawk at the beautiful birds at Isla Contoy
Hop on a cushy cruise vessel, and head off to Isla Contoy – a small nature sanctuary blessed with gorgeous palm trees, crystal clear turquoise waters and pristine beaches. Here, you can gaze and take photos of over 100 species of birds, while enjoying the lovely tropical breeze of the island. Whether you’re a wildlife lover, photography connoisseur or someone who enjoys beautiful sights, a visit to Isla Contoy should be on your list of things to do in Cancun.
6. Tick off the city’s finest beaches
Cancun’s biggest tourist draw is its extremely gorgeous beaches, which wonderfully line the Hotel Zone’s coast and continue along the Riviera Maya. Warm turquoise Caribbean waters meeting talcum powder sands are the norm in this beloved spring break destination. Choose beaches that run down Hotel Zone’s east side to get the best waves for water sports. If, however, you prefer calmer waters, stick to beaches on the northern stretch. Playa Cac Mool and Playa Delfines are, as far as I’m concerned, two of the best Cancun beaches.
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7. Visit Museo Maya de Cancun
A sojourn to the Museo Maya de Cancun should be a shoo-in, when creating a travel itinerary or a list of things to do in Cancun. As you wander and explore the museum, you’ll get to see heaps of ruins, skeletal remains, relics and historic artifacts that date back thousands of years ago. As an added bonus, the museum boasts a dazzling architectural design as well.
8. Indulge on a relaxing spa treatment
Transport your mind, body and spirit into a state of pure euphoria by treating yourself with a luxurious and soothing spa treatment in any of the premier spa Cancun resorts. In Cancun, you may pamper your senses and get a slice of heaven with spa treatments that fuse native ancient Mayan healing therapies with contemporary stress-relieving techniques. Moreover, Cancun has a handful of yoga retreats and studios that will give you a blistering and refreshing experience. If you are in this city, and you feel like you’re really burned out, getting a spa treatment should be on top of your list of things to do in Cancun.
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9. Go loco after dark
One of the best and most popular things to do in Cancun is to experience its energetic and colorful nightlife scene. Known as a free-spirited party town, Cancun is literally dotted with lively bars, lounges and clubs, where you can let your hair down as well as go a little loco. Coco Bongo and Senor Frogs are two cool places that promise to give you a swell time in this sunny Mexican hub. There are places with salsa dancing and live music to spice up your nights in Cancun too, like the Grand Mambo Café in the downtown area.
10. Head downtown
Tired of lounging on the beach? Had enough of Cancun’s brazen beachfront parties? Then, make your way to the city’s downtown area, and experience Cancun from a completely different perspective. With its Salsa bars, bustling markets and Mexican cantinas, a trip on this part of the city will give you an authentic taste of Cancun’s culture. And when nighttime comes, wander around Yaxchilan Avenue and hit its incredible live bars for a memorable night out with fellow travelers and locals.
11. Soar above the sea like Ironman
On the lookout for adrenaline-pumping things to do in Cancun? Want to live your superhero fantasies? Why don’t you take a jetpack ride in Cancun? Revolutionizing the world of water sports, jetpacking is a heart-pumping adventure that lets you soar above the ocean with a powerful water-propelled jetpack strapped to your back. Though it’s easy as riding a bicycle, a jetpack adventure in Cancun will require a tremendous amount of courage.
12. Explore the Great Maya Reef
Exploring the Great May Reef is truly one of the must-experience bucket-list-worthy things to do in Cancun. After all, it is an awe-inspiring playground for snorkelers and scuba divers, rivaled only by Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef. As you plunge into marvelous and complex ecosystem, you get to swim alongside a rainbow collection of sea creatures, as well as spot a colorful array of corals. Furthermore, a diving or snorkeling in the Great Maya Reef may let you catch sight of the endangered Loggerhead sea turtle.
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13. Hit the Interactive Aquarium
Traveling to Cancun with a bunch of kids? One of the top things to do in Cancun, when traveling with a family, is to pay a visit to the Interactive Aquarium. Billed as one of the most family-friendly Cancun points of interest, this aquatic museum takes a hands-in approach to educating its visitors about the charming local marine life. From shark feedings and dolphin swims to touch tanks, you’ll surely get up close and personal with a myriad of underwater dwellers in the Interactive Aquarium.
14. Swim with a friendly dolphin in Cancun
Ever dreamed of swimming with a flock of dolphins? Well, who doesn’t? Thankfully, a visit to Cancun will give you plenty of chances to make that dream come true. The Delphinus Dreams Cancún in Hotel Zone, for instance, offers a multitude of programs, with each focused on a different kind of interaction with the dolphins. Likewise, the Dolphin Discover at Isla Mujeres allows you to swim alongside these friendly sea creatures in natural ocean pools. Alternatively, you can take boat trip out to the sea, and try your luck meeting the dolphins in their natural habitat.
15. Jeep adventures
Experience some of most striking landscapes of Cancun in a thrilling self-drive jeep safari adventure!
16. Shop in swanky and shiny boutiques
Need a new pair of sunglasses, sunhat or a glamorous outfit for a lovely night out in Cancun? From the plush boutiques at Luxury Avenue to the designer goodies at La Isla shopping mall, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to opulent places to shop in Cancun.
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17. Haggle at the local open-air markets
Looking for cheap buys in Cancun? Market 28 is a vibrant and amazing market where you can get superbly cheap deals for traditional crafts, souvenirs and clothes. Another great market to buy incredibly affordable stuff is Market 23, which is known for its cheap street food, piles of fresh produce and pottery.
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18. Explore the cenotes
Doesn’t ring a bell? Cenotes are hidden sacred sinkholes filled beautifully with water, creating a magical environment for diving, snorkeling and swimming. Of course, you can swim, dive into, snorkel and explore the marine life and underwater formations that fill the picturesque cenotes in Yucatan. Ik-Kil, nestled just a couple of miles from Chichén Itzá, is deemed as one of most sought-after pools and cenotes to cool off in this region. A crystal clear oasis, this 130-feet-deep cenote is flanked by lush vegetation and waterfalls. In addition, you may spot a school of fish and sea turtle, as you take a dip here.
19. Spend a day at Xcaret Park
One of the top things to do in Cancun, for families, is to visit Xcaret Park – a wonderful eco-archaeological park that will delight you in a lot of different ways. Brimming with interesting diversions and adventures, this the zesty theme park offers mouthwatering traditional food, entertainment, culture and a plethora of fun activities to fill your day.
Wildlife enthusiasts will find their bliss in this park by observing place’s butterflies, parrots, jaguars, marine fossils and flamingos. Adrenaline junkies, meanwhile, will get their adventure fix by exploring the underground river, rocks formations and Mayan cenotes.
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20. Take day trip to Tulum
Taking a day trip to Tulum should be on top of your list of things to do in Cancun. Lauded one of the popular destinations in Mexico, Tulum is one breathtaking place that leaves its visitors spell bound with its bright sun and majestic coastline. A trip from Cancun to Tulum will include enjoying its balmy breeze as well as watching its jade-green water, sugar sands and beautiful coastline.
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks
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