Cancun is a hot spot for vacationers and can be the perfect place to unwind. The city has plenty of beaches, water sports, restaurants, and nightlife that can make for an excellent time. To help you plan your Cancun vacation, we compiled 18 Cancun things to do that will give you a memorable experience in the beautiful city!
Cancun’s reputation as being Mexico’s party capital doesn’t mean there are no other things to do here! In fact, up to 40% of American travelers are picking Mexico for their vacation. The main reason for this is because of Mexico’s beautiful beaches and warm waters. Cancun is a jewel in the crown for this area as it offers so many different types of activities, from relaxing on the beach to exploring Mayan ruins or doing water sports like snorkeling or scuba diving!
Cancun has been called “the city where you can do anything.” The city has both local attractions and things to see that are popular with tourists. This blog post will guide you through the best activities in Cancun, everything from exploring Mayan ruins to learning about Mexico’s unique culture!
Mexico Travel Restrictions For 2021
Mexico has been open to travelers again, and you need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result before being allowed entry.
Many hotels, attractions, and private tours are open with new health & safety protocols in place. Below is what Cancun visitors should expect.
Hotel guidelines: All hotel rooms will be equipped with COVID-19 air filters, and windows cannot be opened.
Restaurant guidelines: Many restaurants are open, and all have new health and safety protocols. New menus must be approved by the local government, and there will likely still be shortages of meat dishes.
Attractions and private tour Guidelines: Many of the best attractions and tours are still open, including snorkeling, kayaking, ziplining, and more.
Best Time To Visit Cancun
Cancun is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. But when should you visit? Should it be during the winter, or at another time? There are many factors to consider when deciding on your travel dates.
If you are traveling with family, consider visiting between November and March. The climate is mild, so you can even go swimming during these months!
April to October are the peak months for tourists, so if you decide to go during this time, be aware of more crowds and higher prices.
If you do not mind a warmer climate, consider visiting in the summer. Although there are more crowds during this time, you can find great deals on hotel rooms and packages!
If you are traveling on a budget, consider visiting during the winter. The month of December is especially good because hotel rates are low at this time!
Visit Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico and it’s easy to see why. The ruins are located just a short drive from Cancun, making them an easy day trip.
The site is also home to some of the best archeological sites in North America and gives you a glimpse into the lives of cultures that once thrived here. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting lost amid all the history and beauty-the grounds at Chichen Itza offer up so much to discover!
El Castillo is the main pyramid and most impressive structure in Chichen Itza. You will discover that the structure has several stairways divided into four sides with 91 steps each. The north and south stairs have a slight angle, while the east and west side are totally straight.
El Castillo is one of only three structures in Chichen Itza that you can climb to see an incredible view from above!
The Kukulkan Temple is behind El Castillo and it is an impressive structure. You will notice that the temple has a square base with eight sides, which gives this pyramid its unique look compared to other Mayan temples found in Chichen Itza.
Thousands of visitors flock to Chichen Itza each year, and for good reason. It is considered one of the seven Wonders of the World!
Explore Cancun’s Hotel Zone
To explore Cancun, you might want to visit the Hotel Zone.
The Hotel Zone is a long stretch of hotels that stretches from one end of Playa del Carmen to the other. It has been called “the longest hotel zone in the world.” Some people say it’s not as charming as some places but there are plenty of restaurants and shops for those who want to shop or have dinner while exploring this area.
Some people prefer to stay in their hotel during their vacation because they don’t want any surprises, but there are lots of activities here that will keep you entertained if you’re willing to take a walk.
You will find most of the nightlife is in the Hotel Zone, explore the many bars and restaurants in its famous street, Avenida Kukulkan.
There are a lot of shopping opportunities in the Hotel Zone, too. You can find stores that sell everything from clothing to souvenirs and gifts. Some bigger name brands have their own shops here as well for those who want to buy some designer clothes or accessories while traveling. The larger resorts also have malls on their properties that sell everything from clothes and gifts to art and jewelry.
There is also a children’s park located on the Hotel Zone called Iguana Park, which has an interesting collection of reptiles for those traveling with kids who want something different to do while exploring this area of Cancun.
Visit Downtown Cancun
In Cancun, the downtown area is a great place to start your exploration of this vibrant city. Here you will find many shops and restaurants that cater to locals as well as tourists. There are also a few museums in the downtown area that offer a glimpse into Mexican culture.
One of these museums is Museo de la Cultura Popular Mexicana, which features exhibits on how Mexico’s crafts have been influenced by its varied history and geography. The museum also has an art gallery where visitors can purchase works from various artists who live in Mexico or abroad. In addition to the Museum of Popular Culture, there is Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo, which houses contemporary art from all over Latin America and the Caribbean.
Another museum in downtown Cancun is the Museo de la Isla del Caño, which showcases some of the area’s natural history and pre-Columbian artifacts that were once used by indigenous people living on this island. Visitors can also take an underwater tour around the waters near Isla Del Cano for $20.00.
While downtown, you will also find some great restaurants and nightlife that can be enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike. In fact, if your trip to Cancun coincides with the dates of a Mexican holiday or festival such as Dia de Los Muertos (November), Carnaval (February), or Semana Santa (Easter), then you will likely come across a parade or another festive event that is being held downtown.
Sample The Street Food
Cancun is a beautiful city that has many wonderful things to offer. One of the best parts about Cancun is all of the delicious food. From street vendors to high-end restaurants, you can find something for everyone!
Try out the street food like traditional Mexican cuisine like tacos, tamales, and quesadillas. These are some of the most common things you will see for sale on Cancun’s streets, but there are also vendors who sell other items like fresh fruit and desserts.
There is a wide variety of food that can be found on Cancun’s streets including a lot of different seafood, which makes sense since the city is right on the coast. For those who want something besides seafood, there are also street vendors selling other items like burgers and even hot dogs.
Street food can be found all around Cancun’s downtown area, but it is also common to see carts selling items like tacos or tamales in the Hotel Zone.
You can also find many seafood restaurants in Cancun, especially if you head to the beaches. I recommend eating at one of these places so that you can get a taste of some fresh fish while laying out on the sand!
Cancun City Tour
Most people who visit Cancun come for the beaches and water sports, but there are many other things to do while you’re here. One thing not to miss is a tour of Cancun City. Take a guided tour with an English-speaking guide or explore on your own by taking public transportation or renting a car. You can also take part in some activities that are unique to this region like visiting the Mayan Ruins at Tulum or snorkeling at Chinchorro Reefs off the coast of Isla Mujeres!
Explore the city’s top sights by joining a local guide for an informative and entertaining tour. See the world-famous Cancun Underwater Museum, visit the impressive Pyramid of Kukulkan, and enjoy breathtaking views from Xcaret Eco Theme Park.
The Cenote Adventure is a fun and interesting way to explore the cenotes of Mexico. The adventure starts with an English-speaking guide who will take you on a 4×4 tour of the area, which includes Laguna Bacalar, where locals play volleyball in crystal clear waters.
You’ll also visit one or two other cenotes as well as some Mayan ruins – all depending on what’s available at that time. Along the way, your guide will provide insight into this fascinating region and share folk tales about it too! The tour lasts for approximately three hours and costs $75 per person (including transportation).
There are so many cenote adventures to choose from in Cancun, but this one is a great way to get an overview of the entire region.
The Cenotes are very deep with super clear water. The cenotes are formed when limestone collapses, creating underground rivers between the surface and aquifer systems that feed into them.
They may look simple but you will be surprised by what is inside!
Snorkeling Near Cancun
Cancun is a beautiful place to snorkel. The water is so clear and the fish are so colorful, it’s hard not to be impressed. There are many different types of fish in Cancun — from the friendly clownfish to the bright blue tang to the majestic manta ray — you are bound to see something amazing.
There are over 150 different sculptures in the sea near Isla Mujeres or Playa del Carmen. These wonderful artworks are created by Jason deCaires Taylor, who started his first underwater sculpture park back in 2006.
Cancun is also a great place for scuba diving. There are many different kinds of reefs and sea life that you can explore with your PADI or NAUI certification (or as a beginner, as an open water diver). The waters surrounding Cancun make it one of the best places in the world for scuba diving.
Cancun’s Best Beaches
Cancun has many attractions to offer, but the beaches are where most people want to spend their time.
If you are looking for a more secluded beach, Playa Delfines is one of the best beaches in Cancun. This quiet and deserted place offers clear blue water that creates a calm environment to relax on the beach or swim across its surface.
Chichén Itzá Beach is the largest beach in Cancun and offers many opportunities to have fun. This is one of the best beaches for swimming, sunbathing, or just relaxing with a book underneath an umbrella.
Playa Forum is a popular beach that is located near the hotel zone of Cancun. This beautiful white sand beach has comfortable waters and plenty of shady palm trees for those who want to escape from the hot sun.
Fortunately for visitors there are guided tours available that will show you all of the beautiful sites that exist on every beach. This way you won’t miss out on any opportunity to explore this amazing area!
If you are looking to have a fun time in Cancun, then zip lining is the activity for you. This will be an adventure of your life where you can fly through the trees and feel like Tarzan swinging from vine to vine.
Zip lining is not only an exhilarating experience but it also gives you a chance to see what life looks like from high up in the jungle canopy. The best part about this tour is that it offers great views of Cancun’s most popular attractions including Chichen Itza, Tulum Ruins, Valladolid Temples, or any other place that catches your eye because they are all within driving distance from zip line starting point.
Xplor Adventure Park is the location of your adventure, and this park provides you with different options to choose from. From zip lining to ATV riding in the jungle or even swimming through caves there are so many activities for everyone who wants to have fun while visiting Cancun.
Cancun Scenic Tower
Cancun Scenic Tower is an observation tower in Cancun, Mexico. Built in 2007, the tower has a height of 146 meters and offers 360-degree views of Cancun and its surroundings. It stands on Kukulcan Boulevard which was formerly known as Avenida Tulum.
Admire the natural beauty of Cancun from the observation deck. Take a selfie with views that stretch for miles in all directions. The open-air viewing platform is enclosed by a glass wall and floor to provide an unobstructed view, without being exposed to the elements. When you’re done taking it all in, head down one level where there’s a restaurant and bar.
The tower is open daily from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. Admission costs $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12 years old (free admission when visiting La Isla Shopping Village).
Cancun Nightlife & Nightclubs
Cancun is one of the most popular and lively cities in Mexico. It’s a great place to visit for those who love the nightlife and want to dance until dawn, as it offers an excellent selection of nightclubs.
Coco Bongo is one of the most famous nightclubs in Cancun. It’s often selected by celebrities and has won various awards, which says a lot about its quality! The club features five different dance floors where you can enjoy all kinds of music from salsa to pop.
Coco Maya is located right next to CoCo Bongo, which makes it very easy to access. This club has live music and DJ sets every day of the week for you to enjoy.
Zenzi Zenzi is located in an upscale shopping mall called Plaza Kukulcan Mall. It features a huge dance floor where you can dance all night long with your friends or new acquaintances. The club also has various VIP areas for those who want to party in more exclusive conditions.
There are plenty of bars and pubs all around the city, so you will certainly find one that suits your tastes perfectly! Some of our recommendations include The Irish Rover Bar, Kanaloa Sports bar, or El Embarcadero Pub.
Try Stand Up Paddleboarding: SUP
Stand Up Paddleboarding is a relatively new sport that has swept the world. It is an easy, relaxing way to get out on the water and enjoy all that nature has to offer you.
It is a great family activity that everyone can enjoy. It is also an excellent way to see the island that you are staying on, as most SUP tours go right past some of the best beaches and views in Cancun.
You might want to try riding a stand up paddle board at night time, when there are no waves or winds blowing around – it’s very peaceful out on the water.
If you are not staying in Cancun, but want to try SUP while you are there, it is very easy to find transport around town or get a guide who can take you places that normal people don’t go everyday.
Paddleboarding Tours usually last two hours and cost about $50-$60 USD per person.
If you are looking to rent a stand up paddleboard in Cancun, there are quite a few places that do it – most hotels have their own boards for guests to use. You can also find SUP rentals from various shops downtown and at the beach areas around town.
Whether you are looking for relaxation or adventure, Stand Up Paddleboarding will give you what you want. You can expect to see beautiful sites while exploring the coastlines of Cancun.
Scuba Diving Adventures
Scuba Diving Adventures is one of the most popular activities in Cancun. The underwater world is full of life, colors, and adventure just waiting for you to explore it! If you have never been diving before then this would be a great place to start your journey.
Beginners can take lessons from professionals who will teach you all about how scuba gear works, what the ocean floor looks like, and more importantly how not to panic when something goes wrong. There are many different dives that beginners can choose from so there’s no need to worry if you don’t know where to begin.
A great place to do scuba diving is in Isla Mujeres. You will discover the underwater museum which has many artifacts that were found underwater by the famous Jacques Cousteau decades ago. There is plenty of fish to see as well! The nearby cenotes are also an amazing site to see.
Isla Mujeres Day Trip
Isla Mujeres is a small island located just off of Cancun’s coast. This day trip allows you to experience the beauty of Mexico without having to travel far and is often described as a relaxing “mini-vacation” within itself.
Tickets cost $40 USD per person which includes food and drinks onboard the ferry, snorkeling equipment rental, transportation by bus once you arrive on Isla Mujeres, and an island tour with stops at popular landmarks like Arrecife La Punta beach, Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, Casa del Mojito Bar and more.
On your tour, you will discover that Isla Mujeres is famous for its underwater sculpture park and the turquoise waters around the island – perfect for snorkeling!
Watch sea turtles and stingrays, and maybe even a whale shark or nurse sharks! Or rent a golf cart and explore the island on your own.
Visit Las Coloradas
Las Coloradas is a salty lagoon on the southern coast of Cancun. It has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Mexico, attracting over 1 million visitors each year.
The lagoon is home to more than 200 species of birds, as well as three different types of crocodiles and four types of turtles. Visitors can explore this stunning natural wonderland by taking a kayak tour or renting an electric boat for themselves.
One thing that sets Las Coloradas apart from other lagoons around the world is its high salt content- it’s nearly twice as salty as your average ocean water. You’ll find yourself tasting salt on your lips after even just dipping them into the water! Plus, you’ll be able to see the mud and vegetation in its waters from afar, making it seem like you’re swimming in some sort of red oasis.
This is why we recommend visiting Las Coloradas during low tide when nearly twice as much water will be exposed compared to high tide! This way, you’ll have more time to explore this stunning wonderland for yourself.
In addition to kayaking and renting electric boats, Las Coloradas is a great place for snorkeling as well! You’ll be able to see fish of all different colors swimming around the lagoon if you don’t feel like going too deep into its waters.
Swim With Whale Sharks
You’ve probably heard about the amazing experience of swimming with whale sharks, but you might not know much about what it entails.
Swimming With Whale Sharks: Despite their name, these gentle giants can grow up to 50 feet long and weigh as much as 40 tons! They cruise along the surface of the ocean at a leisurely pace and are frequently found off the coast of Isla Mujeres in Mexico’s Caribbean Sea – so if you want to swim with them, be sure to include this spot on your itinerary.
The best time to swim with whale sharks is between April and September when the sea is warmest; they can be found in water as deep as 150 feet! Although you might feel nervous at first (it’s not every day that one gets up close with such a humongous animal), it should take no more than five minutes to get used to their presence. After all, these creatures are not known to be aggressive in any way.
Admire The Sea Turtles
When you visit Cancun, Mexico, one of the best things to do is watch sea turtles.
Sea turtles are a symbol of peace and wisdom in many cultures. They have been living on Earth for more than 150 million years and they’ve seen it all.
Every year between May and July thousands of female turtles crawl up onto the beach in Cancun to dig a nest just below the surface where it’s safe from predators. It takes them about an hour or two before they are done laying dozens of ping pong ball-sized eggs, before covering it up with sand and crawling back into the sea.
The best time to see these incredible creatures is between March and September. You can also see them on the Isla Mujeres, which is located just off of Cancun’s coast.
You can head out on a guided turtle tour or visit one of the two local sanctuaries that protect these amazing creatures and release newborns into the sea.
Day Trip To Tulum
There is no better place to feel far away from civilization. Tulum’s white sands, clear water, and the ruins of an ancient Mayan city are all waiting for you!
Tulum is a small town on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula that has been attracting tourists since the 1990s because of its serene natural beauty. The site was once an important ceremonial center during the height of Maya culture in 600 AD. Today, it is one of the most popular destinations in Cancun for visitors looking for something different than Cancun nightlife or just wanting to escape into nature with their family or friends. And with so many things to do at this site, it really offers something for everyone!
The best way to see Tulum is to hire a local guide who knows the area well.
Take your time exploring every corner of this ancient city, and you will be amazed at how much there still remains to discover!
Be sure not to miss out on Tulum’s famous zenith sunsets that happen each night around dusk. Watching these stunning views never gets old!
Tulum is one of the most breathtaking places in all of Mexico. It has a long history and fascinating wildlife, not to mention some gorgeous beaches.
Tulum’s ancient Mayan ruins are what draw many visitors here from around the world, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook everything else this city has to offer. From the tropical forest that surrounds the town to pure white sands, Tulum offers something for everyone.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You now know some of the best things to do in Cancun. With so many options for visitors and locals alike, there is something for everyone on this list. Whether you want an adrenaline rush or simply a relaxing day at the beach with your friends, we hope that our guide has provided you with everything you need to plan your trip. Enjoy yourself out there-just don’t forget sunscreen!