In honor of our recent re-launch at Cancun International Airport, we've compiled a list of our top 10 favorite things to do in Cancun. Have fun!
1. Explore Mayan Culture
Cancun wouldn’t be what it is without the help of one of the original civilizations of the New World – the Mayans. With their impressive architecture and sophisticated mathematical and astronomical predictions, the Mayans were far ahead of their time, but what they left behind is truly timeless. Explore the ruins of Chichen Itza (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) or sneak away to Ek Balam to see some of the most striking buildings, temples, and palaces. Tulum, the walled city, offers the most spectacular views (think mossy ruins overlooking the turquoise ocean), and Coba gives you a glimpse of what life in the city was like over 3,000 years ago. No matter where you decide to go, you’ll be left speechless at the rich history and surrounding beauty.
2. A Whole New World
If you’ve never been snorkeling or scuba diving, or even if you’ve done it a million times, Cancun is the perfect place to explore. The warm oceans are crystal clear and offer some of the most incredible views of brightly colored fish, coral, and marine life you can’t find anywhere else. There’s really no “best” place to snorkel or scuba dive (they’re all beautiful), but Akumal Beach, Xel Ha, Isla Holbox, and Isla Mujeres should be at the top of your list.
3. Fly through the Jungle
Seriously, fly through it. Zip lines have become a mainstay of the Cancun adventure tourism industry, for good reason. Where else do you get to soar above – and through – a canopy in the Mexican jungle? Not only is it the ultimate adrenaline rush, but with a zip line, you get to see views you’d normally never see before and actually fly through them, making it much more than your standard sight-seeing tour. Plus, it’s an adrenaline rush! There are a ton of different companies to choose from, but it’s a good idea to make your reservation directly through the company and not a third-party system. Also, look for a company that offers a weather guarantee so you can get refunded in case it’s too rainy to fly.
4. Jaguars, Flamingos, and Ipomea Tiliacea, Oh My!
As if you needed any more reasons, you can also add “wildlife” to the list of why Cancun is such an amazing destination. The tropical climate lends itself to some of the most striking (and endangered) species on earth. For seasoned hikers, take the road less traveled, pack a well-stocked backpack, and explore nature on your own. If you’re a little less confident in your abilities, consider taking an ecological tour or heading to a nature reserve. Not only will the guides teach you about the ecological history of the area, but you’ll get to see species that are too rare to see in the wild. Xcaret Park and Isla Contoy are two favorites.
5. Don’t Forget Your Clubs
If you need some familiarity while you’re away, or just want a day to relax, Cancun has some of the best golf courses in Mexico. Ccheck out this collection of some of the best courses around the city. No matter which course you decide on, it’s practically a guarantee that you’ll be met with a well-designed course, beautiful weather, and spectacular views.
After you’ve spent days zipping through the jungles and hiking around ancient Mayan ruins, sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all. Cancun can definitely help you with that. A spa in the city is great, but how could anything in Las Vegas or NYC beat Cancun, where you can get a hot stone massage on the beach or under a lush canopy? Even better, some of the most common treatments here are catered to fit Cancun’s traditional culture – meaning you can receive services not offered in the states, like Temazcal (a pre-Hispanic style steam bath), Thalassotherapy (Ancient Greco-Roman technique using seawater, marine algae, and marine mud), or traditional Mayan massages. Click here to see a spa directory and choose your own relaxation path.
7. Eat Like a Local
You know the Mexican food we eat up here in the states? Fried, covered in sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese? Surprisingly enough, our version of Mexican food isn’t what authentic Mexican food at all. Authentic Mexican food certainly uses the same basics as tortillas, dairy (think cojitas cheese), chile, corn, and slow-cooked meat like chicken and goat. There’s also far more fruits and veggies, not as much as fried food, and everything is spicy, spicy, spicy! When you go to Cancun, don’t expect each restaurant to serve Chipotle-style burritos. Take a risk and go on a culinary adventure! It’s the best way to get to know a culture.
8. Hit the Club
For those who want a little more party in their vacation, Cancun is the height of nightlife in Mexico. But don’t expect the traditional DJ-and-dance-music setup like you’d find back home. At Coco Bongo, the premiere spot for nightlife in Cancun, thousands of people pack into a huge space and are dazzled by a constant stream of live music and jaw-dropping performances. Think Cirque du Soleil in a Mexican nightclub. It’s not your everyday club, which makes it that much more exciting. Click here to learn more and get your tickets.
9. Get Away
Want to get away from your getaway? Cancun can be a little overwhelming at times, especially with the huge tourism industry. There’s a lot of glitz and glamour, and the city marches to a fast beat. If you want to enjoy a quiet town, head over to Puerto Morelos, a small fishing village about 20 miles away from Cancun. Everything slows down here. Spend lazy days on the coast, which is part of the National Marine Park, or go to a restaurant to eat seafood caught 10 minutes ago. There’s a natural beauty and quaint charm in Puerto Morelos, making it the perfect spot for strolling and wandering.
10. Pick up a Souvenir… or Five.
Because the area is friendly to tourists, there are loads of shopping malls that offer luxurious fares you’re likely to find at home. But if you want to pick something up that’s authentic, local, and handmade, head over to Mercado 28. It’s a typical Mexican market, but huge – it has everything from daily groceries to small souvenirs and fine jewelry. And because it’s not in the hotel district, everything costs about half as much as you’d find in the center of town.
Did we miss anything? What are your favorite things to do in Cancun? We’d love to hear about your adventures in the comments below!
Posted 76 days ago
by Maggie 2 Comments
56 days ago
Thanks for sharing, Rachael. I haven’t been to Cancun but I would love to visit.
I've been to Cancun and I gotta agree that it's a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving and that's coming from a diving aficionado like me. In fact, I'm planning of relocating and live the rest of my life in this piece of paradise.