Cancun is the most popular city in the Yucatan province. Cancun is known for its beautiful beaches, exclusive hotels and cozy boulevard. Cancun is also called the party city of Mexico. However, Cancun has so much more to offer than just the white beaches and parties. For many travelers, Cancun is the first destination they experience in Mexico. In this article we will tell you everything you need to know, what are the best things to do in Cancun, where to eat, what fun day trips you have and much more. Many things you read in this article are missed by other travelers because they stay there whole time in the resort.
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How many days do you need for Cancun
The answer to this question dependents on what type of traveler you are. If you are someone who doesn’t likes to switch destinations too much and wants to do not that much, we recommend a stay at least one week. However, if you want to travel through Yucatan and discover different places, we recommend to stay 1/2 nights, depending on your time schedule, in Cancun.
How to get to Cancun?
It is very easy to get to Cancun, because you have many flights to Cancun. We always use Skyscanner to book our flights. If you do a road trip through Mexico, Cancun is usually your start or end destination. If it is your final destination, you will probably come from Isla Holbox, Playa del Carmen, Valladolid or Tulum. It’s easy to travel to Cancun, just follow the signs and you’re there.
Things to do in Cancun?
You can compare Cancun with Las Vegas only in its Mexican way. It generally attracts a certain type of traveler. The one who is doesn’t leave his all-inclusive resort or the student who visit Cancun to drink and get a tan. As a result, Cancun hasn’t been best known as a top destination for travelers who want to discover Mexico. However, this doesn’t mean that you can do many fun things in Cancun, as many travelers miss these things. If you’re planning to stay in Cancun, our “best things to do in Cancun” tips will help you.
First of all, we will tell you what fun things you can do in Cancun. Then we tell you which fun day trips you can take from Cancun.
#1 Cancun Hotel Zone
Cancun can be divided into two parts, namely the mainland (Cancun downtown) and the island (Hotel Zone). Most people stay in the Hotel Zone. Here you find the big resorts, many clubs, beautiful beaches, restaurants and the boulevard. If you aren’t staying here, it is definitely worth to visit it. When you are at the Cancun Hotel Zone you will understand why this is the #1 best things to do in Cancun.
#2 Cancun beaches
One of the best things to do in Cancun is to enjoy the beautiful beaches. In the Hotel Zone you can find the most beautiful beaches. These beaches are as you imagine, white sand, clear water and of course the palm trees in the background. There are several beaches in the Hotel zone, each with its own advantage.
Playa Delfines is one of the largest and favorite of most people. Be careful though, because you can’t swim here. Playa Tortugas is perfect for children because the water is very calm. The disadvantage is that it can be very busy. If you want to go snorkeling in the water, for example, you need to go to Chac Mool Beach. If you are looking for a place with a relaxed atmosphere, visit Playa Forum.
#3 Downtown Cancun
If you have doubts about Cancun or if you want to do something without too many tourists, a visit to downtown Cancun is recommended. Here you will find where all the locals live. It is very nice to walk around because you will experience authentic Mexico. There are many small shops and fun local restaurants, definitely worth a visit.
#4 Cancun Snorkeling
Do you like to discover the world under water? Then snorkeling in the waters of Cancun is one of the best things to do in Cancun for you. During a 3.5-hour tour you will snorkel at old shipwrecks, coral and special animals such as the sea turtle. You can easily buy a ticket via below link. The advantage of booking via this link is that the group will be small.
Reef and Shipwreck Snorkeling Tour in Cancun | $ 60 per person
#5 Going out in Cancun
Of course, going out in Cancun should not be missing in the list of things to do in Cancun. It’s one of the main reasons why Cancun is so popular, making it well worth experiencing. There are several clubs you can visit in Cancun, we recommend Coco Bongo, because they play good music and see different artist performing a show.
#6 Mexican wrestling at Lucha Libre
A special activity, as we say ourselves. It isn’t normal wrestling. They compete in Mexican wrestling to win with wrestling, acrobatics and theater. The show (every Tuesday) at “Lucha Libre” lasts 3 hours and is a must if you are curious about what Mexican wrestling actually is. Defiantly a strange one in the list of best things to do in Cancun, but for sure a fun one!
#7 Sea turtles
The beaches of Cancun and in the province of Yucatan are one of the best places for sea turtles to bury their eggs in the sand. Between the months of May and October you can see the sea turtles dig their eggs in the sand. Between July and December, the eggs hatch and the little creatures go into the water.
The best place to see this is at Tortugranja in Isla Mujeres. This is a farm that specializes in sea turtles. For a small fee of $3 you can visit it and support the organization.
If you like to shop, the best place to visit is Mercado 28. It is located in downtown Cancun and mainly focused to the locals instead of the tourists. This makes it very nice to walk through, because you have hundreds of sellers who sell everything you can think of. If you want to buy a gift for someone who you love this is the place to do.
Best day trips from Cancun
We listed 7 day trips from Cancun that are worth to do. Each of the day trips from Cancun are really different. If we can give a recommended please follow the order that we give in our best day trips from Cancun. We have taken into account the experience, price, distance/duration and culture content. If you going to travel for example to Tulum and Isla Holbox, where we also have written an article about, you don’t have to do #2, #3, #6.
One of the reasons that the Yucatan province is so popular is the fact that there are so many cenotes which you can’t find anywhere else in the world. That’s why we put this at #1 in our best day trips from Cancun list. A cenote is a natural water source in a limestone cave. It is great fun to visit them, because you can even swim in them. From Cancun you can visit the Cenote route (Ruta de Cenotes). This is located near Puerto Morelos, +/- 30 minutes drive from Cancun.
#2 Swim with whale sharks
Swimming with whale sharks should actually be the best activity to do only, because you can only do it between June and September, we have put it on position 2 in our list best day trips from Cancun. Swimming with the whale sharks is a once in a life time experience. For us it is perhaps the most beautiful encounter with a wild animal ever in our lives. The whale shark is the largest animal that you can swim with without any problems. Once you are snorkeling with this beautifully friendly animal you will probably understand why we are so positive about this. Book your ticket via below link.
Swim with Whale Sharks Tour | $125 per person
We swam with the whale sharks when we were in Isla Holbox. If you also go to Isla Holbox, you can use our article to help yourself. We tell you everything you need to know, from which awesome activities you can do, which places you have to eat and where you need to stay. Open our Isla Holbox article via the link.
#3 Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is one of the 7 wonders of the world and should definitely not be missed when visiting Mexico. It is a beautiful complex where you need a few hours to see everything. The idea that the people could build such buildings at the time, given the technology they had at the time, is breathtaking. You can easily book a tour from Cancun, this is also recommended, because you have a guide with you. Book via below link.
If you travel to Tulum we recommend to visit Chichen Itza when you are in Tulum. Read everything you need to know about Tulum in our article.
#4 Sunset sailing
In the Cancun region and mainly on the water you can see the most beautiful sunsets in the world. This is because the water is very calm in the evening. You can board a catamaran and sail on the water for 2.5 hours during sunset. They have an open bar on board so you won’t be short of anything. You can buy a ticket via below link.
Luxury Sailboat at Sunset | $148 per person
#5 Visit Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is the island near Cancun, it takes about 20 minutes by ferry to get here. It is a very beautiful island to visit, because the coast here is beautiful with different types of bays. We recommend to rent a golf cart and visit the island independently. Take a whole day for it and drive around the island. Recommended to visit: Lxchel temple, Garrafon Reef Park and the ruins of Hacienda Mundaca. If you have more time, go snorkeling, this is a really good place to do.
If you aren’t going to travel to Tulum we recommend to visit Tulum in 1 day. In Tulum you will find one of the most beautiful ruins of the Mayas. The Ruins of Tulum is a special place, because it used to be one of the largest cities of the Mayas civilization. In addition, the location is very special along the coast. Book your ticket below.
Tulum Half-Day Tour from Cancun | $57 per person
If you are planning to go to Tulum, you are lucky because we also we have been there and wrote a whole article about it. You can read everything you need to know in our Tulum article.
#7 Las Coloradas
If you are a nature lover and you want to see a special place, a visit to Las Coloradas is definitely worth it. It is an activity that is perhaps the most underrated of all the activities in the Yucatan province. Nevertheless we included in our list of best day trips from Cancun. This is because you have to drive for many hours. However, what you are about to see is really beautiful. In this nature reserve you will see different birds, mangrove and with absolute highlight the lake that is pink in color. Book your ticket via below link.
Tour Las Coloradas from Cancun | $94 per person
Where to stay in Cancun?
There are several options for staying in Cancun. If you want to stay in Cancun for a very short time, because you find other places in Mexico more interesting, it is best to stay in Suites Malecon. This hotel is close to the airport, has large rooms and a swimming pool.
If, like most travelers, you want to stay longer in Cancun, we recommend staying at Cancun Hotel Zone. Here you can find several resorts that are beautiful. Both resorts that we recommend are well priced. There are many other resorts, but in our opinion you pay a lot more for relatively the same, which is why we recommend these two. Both hotels score a 8 on Booking.com. Important to make your reservation as early possible as both resorts are very popular so rooms fill up quickly.
Hotel NYX Cancun
Hotel NYX Cancun is a beautiful resort that overlooks the sea. The food is very good in this hotel. It also has a private beach, which makes it very quiet to lie down. The rooms are very neat with good beds. This hotel has a great location, because you are close to the center but also experience the peace that you are looking for.
Price per night from:
$115 double room
Ocean Dream Cancun
Ocean Dream Cancun is a resort that is within walking distance of the center, very ideal. The resort is built very high so you have an amazing view of the sea from your room at the top. In addition, this resort has two swimming pools and you can enjoy fantastic food and drinks. It is possible to book all inclusive.
Price per night from:
$ 119 double room
Where to eat in Cancun?
Do you want to eat lobster, visit “Lorenzillo’s”. This place is one of the best-known restaurants in Cancun for eating lobster. If you want to eat food from India you can visit “Taste of India”. More interessed in Thai food? Visit “Thai Lounge Cancun”. If you want to eat sushi go to “Irori”. At this place they don’t serve a lot of different things only the things that you can order are incredibly tasty. Are you curious to eat Mexican food you should go to “La Destileria”. This place is modern and has a great atmosphere.
From Cancun you can travel to different places. Looking for a guide how to travel in Mexico? Check our Mexico itinerary! When you follow our Mexico itinerary your next destination is Tulum. Other commun places are Isla Holbox and Valladolid.