Essential things to do in Cancun.
This list of the best things to do in Cancun will help you prepare your trip to one of the most famous sun and beach vacation destinations in the world. Bathed by the transparent and turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, this city is the gateway to the paradisiacal Riviera Maya and the one with the most hotel infrastructure in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Having direct flights from most major cities around the world, many travel agencies offer all-inclusive vacation packages in Cancun at a very competitive price. According to our experience, we believe that a good option is to take advantage of these offers to stay in a good hotel / resort in the great hotel zone and complete your trip with day trips through the Yucatan Peninsula, taking into account that although Cancun is considered a sun and beach destination, it is located near the most important sites of the ancient Mayan civilization such as Chitzén Itzá, Tulum and Cobá.In addition to the possibility of making these more cultural visits, you also have numerous leisure activities such as bathing in one of the fantastic cenotes, snorkeling or diving for its magnificent coral reef, shopping or enjoying delicious Mexican food.
Relax on the beaches of Cancun.
Relaxing on a lounger and taking a dip in some of the best white sand beaches and crystal clear waters is one of the best things to do in Cancun. This city has more than 20 kilometers of public beaches of all kinds: touristy, local, calm waters or waves, with water activities, which will allow you to choose according to your preferences. Among the most recommended is Playa Delfines, where the large letters of CANCUN are located and which offers spectacular views of the sea, although the strong waves make it more recommended for surfing than for bathing. Another of the most famous and popular is Playa Tortugas where you can practice all kinds of water sports and enjoy the parties that are usually mounted in it. If you prefer tranquility you can go to Playa Langosta or Playa Caracol with a more familiar atmosphere and calm waters, ideal for snorkeling or swimming. Other recommended beaches are: Playa Linda, Playa Ballenas, Playa Las Perlas or Playa Chac Mool.To get to some beaches and points of interest in Cancun we recommend you book the tourist bus that stops at all these points.
Visit Chitzén Itzá.
Chitzén Itzá, the most important Mayan site in Mexico and one of the seven wonders of the world, is another place to visit in Cancun. In this ancient city of the Mayan civilization important structures such as the Temple of the Jaguar, the Ball Court and above all, the famous Kukulkán Pyramid are still preserved in good condition.To visit Chichén Itzá it is recommended to arrive early, it opens at 8 in the morning, to avoid finding many tourists and invest a minimum of 3 hours to visit all its most interesting points. When you leave the enclosure you can complete the visit by approaching the spectacular cenote Il Kil, where you can take a relaxing bath inside a wonder of nature.
To get to Chichen Itza you can rent a car or take a bus at the ADO station in Cancun, located on Calle Pino Lot 1 and 2, which takes just over 3 hours. If you prefer to learn more about the history of this site and enjoy greater comfort by including hotel pickup, we recommend you book one of these excursions with a guide in Spanish:
- Excursion to Chichen Itza and Mayan cenote
- Offer: Chichen Itza + Tulum in two days
- Excursion to Chichen Itza in the morning
For more information you can consult this post on how to get to Chichen Itza from Cancun.
Get to know Cancun city.
If you are staying in an all-inclusive hotel and you are tired of lying in a hammock by the pool or the beach with a cocktail in hand, it can be a good distraction to take a bus to visit the city of Cancun.In areas such as the Palapas Park you can know the authentic essence of the city and try local Mexican food in one of the best restaurants to eat in Cancun Another of the best things to do in Cancun city is to look for a souvenir in one of the craft stalls of Mercado 28, located next to Plaza Bonita, which recreates a colorful Mexican town. If you have more time and have not had the opportunity to see any Mayan ruin, we advise you to approach the archaeological site El Meco or San Miguelito.To finish the route through the city of Cancun you can enter the Tequila Museum, to learn the whole process of making this Mexican alcoholic beverage and take a souvenir bottle. A more comfortable option to visit all these points of the city and learn about their history is to book this guided tour in Spanish that includes hotel pickup. To get to this city we recommend you read this post about how to get to Cancun from the airport.
Arrive by boat to Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy.
Islas Mujeres and Isla Contoy, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and located a few kilometers from the hotel zone, are the two most essential islands to see in Cancun. On these two islands you will enjoy white sand beaches, intense turquoise green waters, shallow seabeds full of coral and tropical fish and a delicious gastronomy in which the snail ceviche surprises. In Islas Mujeres it is recommended to rent a bike or a golf cart to find the quietest and most beautiful beaches such as Playa Norte and snorkel in the marine park El Garrafón.While in Isla Contoy you can also practice snorkeling or diving by having one of the most incredible coral reefs in the world and approaching the Isla Contoy National Park with a great diversity of fauna and paradisiacal beaches. For more information you can read this list of things to do in Islas Mujeres.From the hotel zone ferries leave every half hour that will leave you in Islas Mujeres in 20 minutes. You can book them in advance from this page. For more information you can consult this post on how to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun.
To get to Isla Contoy, you can only do it by hiring an organized excursion as it is a protected natural area. A good option is to book one of these tours located among the best excursions in Cancun:
- Excursion to Isla Mujeres by catamaran.
- Excursion to Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres.
- Private excursion to Isla Mujeres.
Tour the Hotel Zone.
The Hotel Zone is the part of Cancun where most large hotels, international restaurants, nightclubs, parks, shopping centers and endless entertainment venues are concentrated. This area, located near the beach and crossed by the great avenue Boulevard Kukulkán, has interesting points such as the archaeological site El Rey and the beautiful Laguna Nichupté.Si you want to have the best perspective of this whole part of the city we recommend you climb the 110-meter-high Scenic Tower, one of the best things to do in Cancun and from which you can see Isla Mujeres.Once these visits are completed you can go shopping at the Plaza Forum by The Sea shopping center or La Isla Shopping Village, which has a huge Ferris wheel with fantastic views. To finish you can have fun in the famous Coco Bongo nightclub that offers live music and several shows.
Visit the Ruins of Tulum, one of the best things to do in Cancun.
The Mayan ruins of Tulum, located at the top of a small cliff with the turquoise waters of the Caribbean in the background, is one of the most beautiful places to see in Riviera Maya and is within this route through the Riviera Maya in 7 days. This archaeological site of which some important structures are preserved such as the Temple of the Frescoes and the one known as El Castillo, can be covered perfectly in about two hours and end up taking a bath on the beach located just below the ruins. If you have extra time we recommend you go to Playa Paraíso, located half an hour walk from the site, where you can eat at one of the beach bars and take a postcard photo next to a solitary palm tree.
To get to these ruins, if you do not want to rent a car, you will have to take an ADO bus to the city of Tulum and from there a van or van to the entrance of the site. The total duration of the journey is about 3 hours.
Another more comfortable option is to book this morning Tulum tour or this two-day tour to Tulum and Coba, both tours include the Spanish guide and hotel pickup.
For more information you can read this post about the essential things to visit and do in Tulum.