Welcome to Cancun
Cancun is one of Mexico’s largest and most popular resort destinations, hosting millions of visitors from around the world each year. The beaches, the water, the amenities, and the nightlife are just a few of the things that make Cancun the ultimate Mexican Caribbean destination. With proximity to nearby Mayan cultural centers and offshore islands, there’s a little something for everyone in Cancun.
For more transportation information, check out our Getting Around The Yucatan Guide
1. Have A Beach Day
The Hotel Zone beaches go on for miles and are sandy and fantastic. Most resorts have their own stretch of beach with loungers and day beds but feel free to walk down the beaches to find your favorite stretch of sand. Playa Delfines is the most popular (and beautiful) public beach and is a great place to take a swim and lay out for a tan. The water can get a little choppy at times so it’s not ideal for small children. Delfines is home to the famous colorful “Cancun” sign too for those looking for that classic Instagram shot. For better swimming, try Playa Chac Mool which is also in the Hotel Zone. Gentle, quiet and tranquilo.
2. Experience The Adventure Parks
About an hour south of Cancun are a cluster of world famous adventure parks that are unlike anything you’ve probably experienced before. The most famous is Xcaret with its meandering canals you can swim through, incredible beach coves, cultural shows, jungle hikes and so much more. They are a little pricey, but the adventure parks are widely considered a must do in the area. Other very popular parks include Xplor with its caves, ziplines, rafting and ATV’s, Xel-Ha with its waterslides, snorkeling, mangrove tubing and other water activities, Xplor Fuego nighttime torchlight adventure, Xenotes cenote experience, Xoximilco floating fiesta and the oddly popular Xenses optical illusion park.
3. Take A Day Trip To Chichen Itza
If you’ve never been to a Mayan ruin, why not start with one of the best! Chichen Itza is an epic collection of temples and monuments that are worth the trip to get there. Around a two-hour drive from Cancun, many people combine the adventure with a swim at a cenote on the way back to cool off. You can rent a car and do the drive yourself, but most people book either a private tour guide or take a group tour for simplicity. This also allows you to zonk out in the van on the way back! Note that group tours typically do not include the park entrance fee of $30 USD adult or $5 child.
Don’t mind getting up early? Check out this awesome sunrise tour to Chichen Itza!
4. Visit A Cenote
Talk about healing properties. The cenote choices in the Cancun area are vast and diverse as there are literally dozens of incredible locations nearby. You can swim, scuba dive, snorkel or just walk through one of these breathtaking and powerful forces of nature.
Explore cenote tours from Cancun here.
For more cenote info and great cenote recommendations, be sure to check out our Ultimate Cenote Guide.
5. Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
Hire a tour company to jet you around the lagoons or go with a dive shop and see what lies beneath. The Underwater Sculpture Museum at MUSA has become quite a popular attraction in recent years. Over 500 sculptures were built and installed in the blue shallow waters in an attempt to rebuild the reef system. But there are plenty of other diving and snorkeling options as well! Get in the water and explore, a true treasure awaits.
This is one of the more popular snorkeling tours that visits several reefs and a shipwreck not to far from Cancun.
Check out a variety of scuba diving options for beginners and experienced divers.
6. Enjoy The Nightlife
You are in the Mexican Caribbean’s party center after all! The northern part of Zona Hotelera is called Punta Cancun and is the nightlife party area with plenty of clubs and tourist bars. Some say the best club to dance and drink the night away is Coco Bongo but don’t let us sway your decision, there are many places to party on offer, mostly in the Zona Hotelera.
This VIP Adnission package to Coco Bongo comes with skip-the-line VIP entry (the lines here can be crazy), excellent seats for the shows, 15 premium drinks and more.
This Gold Pass to Mandala Club Cancun includes admission and $50 of food and drinks.
7. Explore The Rio Secreto Nature Reserve
This wild little day trip isn’t what you normally think of when you think of Cancun, but dont let that stop you from taking a break from the sunshine and trying out a new adventure! Rio Secreto (The Secret River) is an underground cave/cenote system filled with stalactites, stalagmites and beautiful fresh water that you’ll spend the day wading and swimming through. Small group tours include guide, transport, lunch, wetsuits, hard hats, water shoes and more. This is widely considered an unforgettable experience.
This is definitely one of the most popular tours and has an option for hotel pick up for convenience.
8. Visit The Islands
Just off the coast of Cancun are the magical islands of Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy. If you don’t have the time to spend a few days on the laid-back Isla Mujeres, be sure to take a day tour to visit. There are a wide variety of catamaran and snorkeling tours available departing from Cancun. If you feel like getting a little more “wild”, include a stop at the Isla Contoy nature preserve.
Here are a number of excellent day tours to Isla Mujeres.
These are the top rated tours to Isla Contoy.