Try to conjure up the top things to do in Cancun, and the first activities that come to mind might be dancing till dawn and drinking out of beer bongs. Although this side of Cancun is ready and waiting for anyone who wants to party like there’s no tomorrow, there is much more to explore.
“To sample the real soul of the city you have to venture beyond the sand,” shared Caribbean Journal.
Here are five of the best things to do in Cancun, including fun summer activities you can enjoy all year long, exciting water activities and top restaurants that will help you understand why Cancun is one of the top spring break destinations – indeed one of the best winter vacations for any age group – in the world!
Take a Day Trip to Isla Mujeres
Situated in the sparkling turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea just 25 minutes by boat from downtown Cancun, Isla Mujeres is blissfully tranquil by comparison. There are hotels and vacation home rentals available on Isla Mujeres, but the ferry from El Embarcadero or Puerto Juarez makes it easy to visit from Cancun.
“Rent yourself a golf cart for independent discovery of breezy beaches, Mayan ruins and the freshest fish tacos ever,” wrote Caribbean Journal.
Isla Mujeres is also a popular destination for water activities like snorkeling and scuba diving, thanks in large part to the island’s close proximity to the world’s second largest barrier reef. The beaches around Playa Norte are also a great spot to visit, along with the remains of a Mayan temple and sea turtle sanctuary at Punta Sur on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres.
Explore Cancun’s Mayan Ruins
Speaking of the ancient Maya, you don’t have to venture far from the Cancun International Airport to view some authentic Mayan ruins! The Museo de Maya on Boulevard Kulkulan in downtown Cancun is home to a wealth of info about the Yucatan Peninsula’s first inhabitants, including actual ruins.
“For just five dollars you can discover the ancient Mayan civilization that thrived throughout Mexico until the 16th century arrival of Spanish conquistadors,” wrote Caribbean Journal.
Be sure to allow time to wander through the San Miguelito archaeological site, which is located on the museum grounds and is home to scenic Mayan ruins. Although the site doesn’t compare in size and grandeur to the other ancient ruins of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, visitors are still impressed by the architecture and artifacts that are on display.
It can be hard to pull yourself away from the crystal clear, aquamarine Caribbean Sea and all the amazing water activities that come with it, but you won’t be sorry after spending a day exploring the Yucatan Peninsula’s freshwater cenotes. Pronounced “say-note-tay,” a cenote is a type of freshwater sinkhole that occurs naturally in the limestone bedrock – and you can just ask anyone living in Cancun or the Riviera Maya – they are absolutely stunning and offer a truly unique and unforgettable travel experience.
“Swimming, snorkeling or simply floating in crystalline cenotes is a classic Mexican experience no visitor should leave without having,” wrote Caribbean Journal.
Start by visiting Cenote Azul, which lies less than one hour south of the Cancun International Airport, or head to the large cenote near the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itzá and combine two experiences into one!
You didn’t actually think you would make it through this list without a single mention of tequila, did you? Instead of pounding shots at the local beach club, consider a tequila tasting instead. Pair it with a tour of the Tequila Herradura Sensory Museum and you can even learn about the history of this much-loved spirit and how it’s made.
“Pounding shots may give you a buzz, but it won’t give you an appreciation for the finer nuances of Mexico’s famous agave-based liquor,” wrote Caribbean Journal.
Schedule a Temazcal
Need to alleviate some stress (or sweat out some tequila)? Consider setting up a traditional Mayan temazcal, which is a type of sweat lodge and purification ritual first enjoyed by the ancients. There are a number of resorts and spas in the Cancun Hotel Zone and throughout the Riviera Maya who offer temazcal experiences – just ask your concierge to help locate one that works with your timing and budget!