Top 9 Things to See and Do in and Around Cancun

Mexico, Travel Tips

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By Ryan Gargiulo

Are you planning a getaway to Cancun and want to find the best things to do?

Look no further! Below, you’ll find a list of the best activities and adventures to check out during your next trip to Cancun, Mexico.

Cancun is famously known for being the party capital of Mexico.

However, there are so many more amazing things to see and do both in and around Cancun for those who aren’t interested in partying like a spring breaker.

Upon landing at Cancun International Airport, you will want to make sure you reserve a shuttle service in advance in order to not waste time wandering around the terminal looking for transportation to your hotel.

This will also help you avoid waiting too long for a shuttle or getting scammed by a taxi. We recommend reaching out to Cancun Airport Transfers.

Note: The ride from Cancun International Airport to the Hotel Zone takes approximately 30 minutes from door to door.

If you prefer to plan a more independent style trip to Cancun, you could also try renting a car for the duration of your trip.

Securing a car rental in Cancun will give you the ultimate flexibility when it comes to being able to move around the city and the rest of the Riviera Maya without limitations.

Visit Downtown Cancun

Downtown Cancun is a place that is often missed by tourists who prefer to stick to the beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts in the hotel zone.

What many people don’t know is that the downtown area is packed with traditional markets and restaurants with tasty, traditional Mexican food.

If you’re looking to bring home some souvenirs, we recommend heading over to Mercado 28.

At the Mercado 28, you will find a variety of things to take back home with you including pottery, tequila, shot glasses, t-shirts and more.

This market has over 600 vendors who sell just about everything you would ever want and need when it comes to souvenirs.


Visit the Cenotes

The Yucatan Peninsula is home to more than 300+ cenotes. Cenotes are natural, underground water holes that you can swim and dive in.

Cenotes are formed when limestone surfaces break down and create an often large hole into Yucatan’s underground river system.

Since you won’t have time to see them all you might want to visit some of the more popular cenotes near Cancun.

Your best bet would be to head to the Ruta De Cenotes which is located just 30-45 minutes drive from Cancun.

Along the way, you’ll see cenotes such as Cenote Azul, Cenote El Jardin and more. It’s recommended that you visit more than one as each cenote has different characteristics and features.


Visit Cancun’s Beaches

Ready for some fun in the sun? Cancun’s coastline spans more than 13 miles and almost all of it is blessed with light blue waters, soft white sand, and perfect weather.

Some of the beaches that you cannot miss include:

  • Playa Delfines

Playa Delfines is one of the largest beaches Cancun has to offer.

Unlike most of Cancun’s beaches, this one is not surrounded by hotels and makes it a popular place for locals.

  • Playa Tortugas

Playa Tortugas is great for families. It has small waves that are perfect for kids to swim in.

There is a restaurant on the beach if you would also like to have something to eat or drink.

  • Chac Mool Beach

Chac Mool Beach is particularly great for watersports and you can rent sports equipment here if that’s what you’re looking for.

  • Playa Forum

Playa Forum is a vibrant beach with many restaurants and bars.

Perfect for young party-goers. It is also located behind the popular Coco Bongo beach.

Take a Catamaran Cruise

Ready to kick back, relax and enjoy a beautiful sunset on the Caribbean sea?

If so, you won’t want to miss out on a Cancun catamaran cruise.

If you’re looking for a more private experience, you can charter a catamaran for the day, go snorkeling in the clear blue Caribbean waters or decide to take a sunset cruise alongside your friends, family and loved ones.

A lot of the group catamaran cruises offer dinner cruises with relatively tasty meals.

If you really love being on the water you can always book a full day catamaran trip with snorkeling and an open bar.

Chichen Itza

Visit Chichen Itza

Recently named one of the new wonders of the world, Chichen Itza is an awe-inducing ancient Mayan site and was one of the largest Mayan cities.

Explore the Temple of Warriors, El Castillo, and the Great Ball Court.

These ancient structures are part of the main attraction

During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun shines a shadow through the side of the temple and it replicates a snake.

Many people come to Chichen Itza every year to see this famous snake shadow.


Party at Some of Cancun’s Best Clubs

If you want to party at some of Cancun’s wildest bars and clubs, head over to the Forum by the Sea — a large shopping area that is also home to a variety of restaurants and some of Cancun’s best nightclubs.

One of the popular clubs that tourists tend to frequent is known as Coco Bongo.

The experience at Coco Bongo is a true mix between a live acrobatic/cinematic style show and a nightclub.

If you’re looking to sign and dance the night away, Coco Bongo is the place to be.

Note: Tickets to the Coco Bongo will set you back anywhere from $730MXN (26USD) to $4020MXN ($195USD) depending on where you want to sit and if you are enjoying one of the shows or just the party.

Eat Cancun’s Amazing Tacos

No trip to Mexico comes without stuffing your face with authentic Mexican tacos and fortunately, the variety of tacos available is virtually limitless.

You will definitely want to grab some tacos al pastor, the most popular of all tacos in Mexico.

That said, don’t forget to chow down on other tacos such as tacos de res (beef), tacos de pollo (chicken), tacos de camaron (shrimp), tacos de pescado (fish) and more.

The best tacos in the city will be found not in the hotel zone but the downtown (centro) area of Cancun.


Try Mexican Tequila

No trip to Mexico is complete without trying tequila.

You can choose to try a variety of tequilas at one of the many tequila tastings available or you can decide to simply pick up a bottle of your own at the local liquor store.

Restaurante La Destileria has a wonderful tequila tour that you might enjoy.

It lets visitors see the full process of tequila distillation.

The tour also includes a taste of some of their different tequilas as well.

Another restaurant that offers a large list of tequila is Hacienda Sisal.

It is another must experience for tequila drinkers and their menu includes tequila and food pairing suggestions.


Visit Valladolid

Looking to escape Cancun for a night or two?

Valladolid is a quaint and beautiful little town about an hour and a half from Cancun.

While Valladolid has a very Spanish vibe to it, it also offers the opportunity to take a look at the history and culture that is home to the Yucatan Peninsula.

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