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11 Cancun activities that you must do!

Cancun activities

11 Cancun activities that you must do!

If you’re  choosing Cancun for your next holiday destination, you’re likely picturing yourself lying under the sun with a Margarita in hand, looking out over the pristine beaches of the Caribbean. 

However, beyond the picturesque beaches, there is wide variety of experiences that are well worth exploring. From romantic retreats, local culture, or action-packed adventures for the whole familyWe have compiled a list of essential Cancun activities  to make your vacation one to truly remember...

1 - Visit the Mayan Ruins!

The Mayan ruins of Mexico are the roots of its vivid historical culture, and visiting them is a crucial part of any holiday to this country.

In the Yucatan Peninsula in particular, there are countless archeological sites to choose from, with many right on Cancun’s doorstep. 

In fact, the El Rey ruins are situated right in Cancun’s famous Hotel Zone. Many of its 47 buildings are still standing today!

Cancun activities

During your stay in Cancun, a visit to Chichen Itza is a must. Located just two hours from Cancun by car or bus. 

Chichen Itza is the largest of the Mayan ruins, with its site covering six square miles. It is home to the Kukulkan’s Pyramid, which is 75 feet tall, and still wholly intact!

If you’ve got time for one more, Tulum is just an hour and a half drive away. It boasts the only Mayan city built on the coast. where you'll encounter "El Castillo", a cliff above Tulum's breathtaking beaches. The perfect landscape  for some spectacular photo opportunities. 

For more information about the many ruins available around the Cancun area, check out our Top 5 Mayan Ruins Guide post!

Cancun activities

2 - Swim in a Cenote!

Submerge yourself in mother nature's beautiful Cancun cenotes. Naturally occurring sinkholes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, exposing subterranean pools and rivers beneath.

These underground caverns were thought to have been a significant part of the Mayan culture, and there is an abundance of them in the Yucatan area.

One of the most popular cenotes to visit is Ik Kil, two hours from Cancun. 

An incredibly photogenic cenote, Ik Kil is 85 feet deep. With walls bedecked in greenery tiny waterfalls and thick vines cascading down from the top of the cavern.

You can simply take in the sights, or take a swim amongst the black catfish that populate the pool.

 If you’re planning a trip to Chichen Itza, Ik Kil is on the same route, so make time to take a dip in its refreshing groundwater pool and enjoy  these two Cancun activities on th same day.

Another recommendation is visiting Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote) found in Chichen Itza. Its beauty is somewhat haunting however, as it was used by the Mayans as a sacrificial site to their Rain God.

If you’re looking for a more secluded cenote, you may prefer to drive a further hour to visit Cuzamá. A network of three pools filled with stalactites.

Be forewarned, these cenotes are remotely located and not highly visited, so if you are the adventurous type, this might be the perfect choice!

3 - Go Scuba Diving!

As well as the many exotic reefs just off of Cancun’s coastline, there are numerous other options for scuba diving around Cancun. Why not investigating the ghostly shipwrecks that lay far beneath the surface?

The wrecks are huge and mysterious and are now habitat to many tropical fishes. From barracudas to turtles, and other underwater wildlife.

Cancun activities

Many of these wrecks are designated as nature preserves, so be sure to explore with caution and follow all instructions from your scuba guide.

If you’re looking for something really special, visit the world’s biggest Underwater Museum (MUSA). Over 460 sculptures by artist Jason deCaires Taylor that have been submerged in the depths of the Caribbean Sea.

The sculptures include cars, crowds, and a man watching TV.  This dive offers an eerie artistry in the sculptures, as well as the marine life that has begun to make a home in and around them.

Cancun activities

4 - Take a Walk on the Beach!

Mexico has no shortage of stunning beaches perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, or a romantic stroll. However, there are some beaches which grant even more.

At Puerto Morelos, for example, you can see the famous Faro Inclinado, a blue and white lighthouse built back in 1946.

The lighthouse's foundations were so ruined by Hurricane Beulah in 1967, that the tower now leans to one side. Known as the ‘the leaning lighthouse’, it is no longer used, but kept as a tribute to the storm and as a symbol of the town.

Another beach worth visiting is Akumal. A postcard-perfect paradise that is ‘home of the turtles’. At Akumal you can charter a fishing boat or simply snorkel with the turtles.

Our recommendation is  to arrive early before the crowds. 

This is especially true if you wish to swim with the turtles at Akumal bay. As the majority of tourists arrive, the bay can become cloudy due to its completely sandy bottom, reducing visibility greatly.

5 - Visit a Nature Park!

One of the top Cancun activities is paying a visit to the eco parks, especially if you’re bringing the kids! Xcaret Park is a great day out, with underground rivers, wildlife, and entertainment all rooted in nature and traditional Mayan culture.

Meanwhile, Xel-Ha is a wondrous natural and interactive aquarium offering lagoons and rivers. Its name literally means ‘where the water is born’. Snorkel, swim, and encounter all kinds of marine wildlife.

Cancun activities

Both parks are approximately an hour’s drive from Cancun – contact us today for discounted rates on day passes and tours!

Cancun activities

6 - Tour the Jungle!

If you’re the adventurous type, there are some excellent alternative ways to see the jungle in and around Cancun!

In Selvatica, experience the canopy through the eyes of a monkey as you swing through skywalks, jungle coasters, zip lines and bungee jumps.

Be sure to bring your biodegradable sunscreen and insect repellant!

If you prefer to see things from the water, many companies rent out family speed boats for a cruise through the natural mangrove channels of Nichupte Lagoon,. This laggon is the body of water surrounded by the Cancun Hotel Zone. Contact us for more information and tour discounts!

7 - Explore
Downtown Cancun!

Although it may be tempting to linger in the luxury of the Hotel Zone, heading downtown is the best way to experience local life in Cancun.

Downtown Cancun activities include, the famous Mercado 28 where you'll find out souvenirs and hand-crafted goods. Also, the central plaza Parque Las Palapas, where you can dig into some delicious street food from a local vendor.

Cancun activities

Cancun activities

8 - Float in an
Underground River!

There is a colossal network of underground rivers and pools in the Yucatan Peninsula. The most notable of which being the Rio Secreto, a magical 1 km long river in an underground cavern brimming with stalactites and stalagmites.

Hike through the crystal caves, swim in the clear waters, and enjoy a unique meditation experience in the silent chamber at the end of the river.

In the Salón de Paz or ‘Room of Peace’, you can witness an incredible light and sound show projected onto the ancient natural formations.

9 - Spend a Day at
Isla Mujeres!

Once used as a hiding place for pirates, this island is a treasure within itself.

Lying just off the coast of Cancun, across the Bay of Women, Isla Mujeres was deemed special enough to be named one of Mexico’s ‘Magic Towns’ or Pueblo Magico in 2015.

You can reach it via the Ultramar ferry, which leaves every half an hour from 9-5, and only takes 20 minutes to cross.

Cancun activities

For a more romantic option, you may choose to take a Catamaran tour to the island. Along the way, you'll make stops for snorkeling in the tropical reef near its shores before hitting the island’s beaches or shopping district.

This island is a real heaven. Simply spend the day relaxing on the beach, browse the local handicraft market, explore the entire island in a buggy, or visit pirates’ tombs and seawall murals.

If you’re a watersport enthusiast, take a fishing expedition, or swim with dolphins, sea lions, manatees, sharks, and stingrays, all in their natural habitats.

Cancun activities

10 - Taste the Local Cuisine!

Take a 3-hour walking tour through the streets of Cancun with Riviera Maya Food Tours. One of the most authentic Cancun activities, as it is  led by a local chef who will introduce you to dozens of authentic Mexican flavors on the way.

Indulge in local delicacies from the market and regional dishes, as well as classic ceviche, beer and tequila.

You’ll even enjoy a traditional dessert! Take part in a small group tour, or if you’d prefer, book a completely private tour for you and the family.

11 - Enjoy a Night Out!

Treat yourself to dinner at one of Cancun’s best restaurants. Perhaps high-end steakhouse Cambalache, or Tora Mexico, an international sushi restaurant with an outdoor deck overlooking the sea.

Both restaurants are worth booking in advance, as they are very popular!

Cancun activities

Finish off your night at Coco Bongo. At this unique club there is no traditional dance floor and DJ setup. Instead they offer a seemingly never-ending collection of acrobats, impersonation musicians, and live bands for your enjoyment throughout the night.

Cancun activities

Visit Cancun Today!

There is no shortage of amazing and unique Cancun activities. Whether you’re flying solo, on a romantic retreat, or on your annual family vacation! Whether you’re diving, eating, or exploring, there is something for everyone here!

At the end of each exciting day, tumble into a soft, comfortable bed at one of our luxurious vacation or timeshare rentals in Cancun.

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