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25 Best Things to do in Cancun

Mexico

Cancun, Mexico is one of the country’s most popular cities. There are so many things to do in Cancun with kids, including visiting attractions like Xcaret Park, Ventura Park, and the Interactive Aquarium. Fun fact: these are also some of the best things to do in the Cancun Hotel Zone. On the other hand, there are plenty of things to do in Cancun alone too. Hop on an organized tour to check out unique destinations like the Underwater Museum and Isla Contoy.

If you’re looking for things to do in Cancun at night, go bar-hopping downtown. Keep reading to discover more Cancun attractions that suit everyone – whether you’re traveling alone, with your partner, or as a family.

Cancún Underwater Museum
Courtesy of museeum

1. Cancún Underwater Museum

Known as MUSA, the Cancun Underwater Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to the art of conservation. The underwater art museum features 500 sculptures submerged in Cancun National Marine Park. Predominantly created by British sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor, the sculptures include a VW Beetle and many human figures. Its aim is to conserve nearby coral reefs by offering an alternative dive destination. Visit their website to book a diving, snorkeling or glass-bottom boat tour today.

Isla Contoy
By lunamarina

2. Isla Contoy

Isla Contoy is an uninhabited tropical paradise located about an hour off the coast of Cancun. Known for its palm tree-lined beaches and azure waters, Isla Contoy measures just 5.3 miles in length. As a government-protected national park, only 200 people are able to visit every day. Fortunately, there are local eco-tourism companies that have permits and offer daily tours. Isla Contoy is also home to four turtle species and about 150 different marine birds.

Xcaret Park
By Beth and Anth

3. Xcaret Park

Xcaret Park is a theme park, an all-inclusive resort, and an ecotourism development. Some of the top things to do at Xcaret Park include visiting the main plaza, filled with handicraft stores; adventuring down the underground river; stepping inside a typical 19th-century Mexican mansion; exploring a traditional Mayan village; and visiting Xcaret’s archaeological sites. At night, watch the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular. Featuring over 300 artists, it’s said to be the greatest musical tribute to Mexico.

Mercado 28
By David Stanley

4. Mercado 28

One of the most fun things to do in Cancun is to grab a bargain at Mercado 28. The huge flea market is filled with stalls selling souvenirs and handmade goods, like colorful clothing, accessories, and gifts. But remember that haggling with local shopowners is expected at Mercado 28, so bring your A-Game. When you need a break from bargain hunting, enjoy traditional Mexican food from the market’s food stalls, or book an affordable tour.

El Meco Archaeological Site
Courtesy of Wikipedia

5. El Meco Archaeological Site

El Meco Archaeological Site is an ancient Mayan ruins site located near Cancun. Although it’s smaller and less well-known compared to its counterparts like Chichen Itza, this works in your favor as it means cheap entrance fees and fewer crowds. First inhabited in the 3rd century, El Meco features 14 structures, including its impressive 41ft-high Mayan pyramid, which is protected so climbing is prohibited. El Meco is also home to a family of friendly sunbathing iguanas.

Ventura Park Cancun
Courtesy of venturapark

6. Ventura Park Cancun

One of Cancun’s most family-friendly attractions, Ventura Park is an oceanfront amusement and water park that’s home to the renowned Wet’n Wild waterpark, a seaside go-kart track, and a large food court. There’s also Underworld with its virtual reality games, laser tag-meets-bumper cars adventure, and laser course called The Mission. Meanwhile, Aaah! Ventura has a bungee swing, a mini zipline course, and the Heli-Jump. As you can see, Ventura Park is packed full of fun activities.

Xoximilco
Courtesy of Xoximilco Cancún

7. Xoximilco

Xoximilco is a Mexican floating fiesta that pays tribute to the World Heritage Site of the same name in Mexico City. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Cancun, as it’s basically a Mexican party on the water. Begin your evening by playing traditional carnival-type games, then get set to taste the best Mexican cuisine while listening to traditional music like mariachi and ranchero, and riding a Mexican gondola through festive canals.

Interactive Aquarium Cancún
Courtesy of casamaya

8. Interactive Aquarium Cancún

Another one of the most family-friendly things to do in Cancun is to visit the Interactive Aquarium, which is focused on informing guests about marine conservation. It’s home to nearly 1200 marine animals, including dolphins, sea lions, the Mexican crocodile, starfish, seahorse, and many different types of fish. Some of the aquarium’s top attractions include a dolphin presentation and swimming with dolphins experience, touch tanks, aquarium treks (a unique underwater walking adventure), and a fish spa. 

Museo Maya de Cancún
By xiroro

9. Museo Maya de Cancún

Museo Maya de Cancun (Maya Museum) allows you to learn about the region’s ancient Mayan civilizations. Housed in a modern white building, the museum’s two permanent exhibitions focus on Quintana Roo’s archaeology and Mayan culture as a whole. Although the museum’s collection includes about 3500 pieces, only a tenth of these artifacts is on display. Maya Museum is located next to the San Miguelito archaeological site. Consisting of 40 structures, only five are open to the public.

Playa Delfines
By David Stanley

10. Playa Delfines

Dive into the turquoise and crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea at Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach), which is one of the area’s most popular beaches. What sets Playa Delfines apart from many nearby beaches is that it’s not lined with large hotels and restaurants. There are thatched umbrellas located along the beach’s sand shores to protect you against the intense heat, as well as a controlled swimming area with lifeguards and locals selling street food.

La Isla Shopping Village
By Anita Brown

11. La Isla Shopping Village

A spacious open-air shopping complex, La Isla Shopping Village is the area’s most visited shopping mall. Known locally as Plaza La Isla, the center has winding canals a la Venice and overlooks Nichupté Lagoon. Some of its big-name brands include Calvin Klein, Guess, Zara, and Hugo Boss. La Isla Shopping Village is also home to a plethora of restaurants, a Ferris wheel, a Mayan artisan center, a chocolate factory, and the Interactive Aquarium listed above.

Boulevard Kukulcan
Courtesy of Wikipedia

12. Boulevard Kukulcan

Bordered by the Caribbean Sea and Nichupté Lagoon, Boulevard Kukulcan stretches through Cancun’s central area and is lined with the area’s finest hotels, shopping centers, dining, and entertainment options. It’s named in honor of the feathered serpent, a Mayan deity. Some of the top places to visit along Boulevard Kukulcan include La Isla Shopping Village, Maya Museum and the San Miguelito Archaeological Site, Iberostar Golf Club, Aquaworld, El Rey Archaeological Zone, and many picturesque beaches.

Selvatica
Courtesy of traveltomtom

13. Selvatica

Selvatica calls itself the world’s number one adventure park, which is quite the accolade. Located in the scenic Mexican jungle, it has a 10-line zipline course, the Skywalk rope course, an adrenaline-pumping bungee swing, an off-roading circuit that’s tackled in either a Polaris RZR buggy or ATV, its own private freshwater cenote, and Tarzania, their exclusive human roller coaster. A visit to Selvatica is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Cancun.

Torre Escenica
Courtesy of gamatourscancun

14. Torre Escenica

Torre Escenica is just one of the many attractions you will find inside Xcaret Park. At nearly 263 feet high, the scenic tower is Riviera Maya’s highest point. From the top, you can take in 360-degree views of the area. Just some of the places you can spot from Torre Escenica include the Great Tlachco (a performing arts center), the Chapel of San Francisco de Asis, as well as the mesmerizing blues of the Caribbean Sea.

Playa Tortugas

15. Playa Tortugas

Considered one of the top beach spots for locals, this beach isn’t the most remote, but it’s a great option if you want a beach with lots to do. Along with the sandy beach to relax on, there is a wooden pier you can walk out on, multiple beachside restaurants to get something to eat, and if you’re lucky you’ll see turtles! Also, if you’re feeling brave, there is a wooden bungee jump tower along the pier that you can pay to jump from. We think that Playa Tortugas is a great beach option if you’re looking for a new beach destination in Cancun to explore.

Dolphin Discovery
By Dolphin Discovery

16. Dolphin Discovery

Dolphin Discovery is the world’s number one dolphin company and a certified socially responsible business. They have locations across the globe from Rome to Cancun. There are three main interactive programs at Dolphin Discovery, which each involve unforgettable experiences alongside dolphins: Dolphin Swim Adventure, Dolphin Encounter, and Dolphin Royal Swim. The latter includes an up-close dolphin experience, but then you can enjoy the facility’s infinity pool, a glorious lunch buffet, and the all-important open bar.

El Rey Archaeological Zone
By Margaret B.

17. El Rey Archaeological Zone

El Rey Archaeological Zone is a hidden gem located in the central Cancun Hotel Zone; mere minutes from many of the area’s top resorts. The site includes 47 different structures, which are approximately 1000 years old. The name comes from the fact it has a sculpture that resembles a monarch, as El Rey means the king. Alternatively, the previously mentioned El Meco Archaeological Site is larger in size, while the Maya Museum displays other interesting ancient artifacts.

Ultramar
By Prayitno

18. Ultramar

Ultramar is the number one passenger ferry company in Mexico. It has four departure points in Cancun, with all boats heading to the lovely Isla Mujeres. Ultramar’s ferry service to Isla Mujeres has made the island easily accessible, and the resulting increase in tourism has immensely benefitted the local community. Once you arrive in Isla Mujeres, enjoy swimming at Playa Norte, visit a Mayan temple, or go snorkeling or diving around its surrounding coral reefs.

Downtown Cancun
Courtesy of Iain Gaynor

19. Downtown Cancun

Cancun is separated into two main sections: the Hotel Zone and Downtown Cancun, where most locals reside. Mercado 28, the market we mentioned above, is just one of the attractions located downtown. Other places to visit in this area include Parque Las Palapas, the city’s main park; Malecon Tajamar, which has a walkway along the lagoon with Hotel Zone skyline views; Yaxchilan Avenue for the best bar-hopping; Avenida Tulum, downtown’s main street; and Malecon Americas Shopping Center.

Cenote la noria
By Alejandro Alars 3.0 Visual Arts

20. Cenote La Noria

One of the best things to do in Cancun is to escape the heat and dive deep into the crystal clear waters of Cenote La Noria. This cenote, in particular, is known for having water so clear you can see fish swimming alongside you. Cenote La Noria is also naturally decorated with impressive stalactites. It’s worth noting that it is open every day except Monday and that many hotels conveniently offer a cenote shuttle service.

Tezmacal ritual
Courtesy of Temazcal Cancun

21. Tezmacal ritual 

Temazcal is another attraction you can check out at Xcaret Park. A Mayan temazcal ceremony is a pre-Hispanic ritual that cleanses both the body and spirit. Surrounded by jungle and the underground river, a shaman guide will lead you through the experience, which involves a circle of fire ceremony, a ceremony inside the temazcal building itself, and a final bath in the river. This temazcal ritual will leave you feeling like an actual new person.

Playa Chacmool
Courtesy of Top Beach Destinations

22. Playa Chacmool

You will find the pleasant Playa Chac Mool (Chac Mool Beach) along Boulevard Kukulcan in the Hotel Zone. Backdropped by soaring condominium buildings, soak up the sun at Playa Chac Mool, known for its clear water, small waves, and white-sand shores. Similar to Playa Delfines, Playa Chac Mool has umbrellas available and lifeguards on duty during the day. But it goes one step further with a small surf school that also has stand-up paddleboards for rent. 

Xplor Adventure Park - Cancun
Courtesy of Traveladdicts

23. Xplor Adventure Park 

Xplor Adventure Park’s biggest competitor is the aforementioned Selvatica, as they offer similar adrenaline-pumping experiences. However, Xplore is the self-proclaimed number one zipline park in the world. There’s Toboganxote, the world’s only 5-in-1 waterslide; two zipline circuits with seven lines apiece; jungle tours in amphibious vehicles; underground river and rafting experiences; and Hammock Splash, where you zip line directly into a refreshing cenote. So for adventure things to do in Cancun, Xplor is a one-stop-shop.

Maya city of Chichen Itza, Cancun

24. Maya city of Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the greatest ancient Mayan centers along the Yucatan Peninsula. The pre-Hispanic city dates back to 550 AD and is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Its main structure is the Temple of Kukulcan (also known as El Castillo), which has 365 steps (one for each day of the year). Head to Chichen Itza first thing in the morning to avoid crowds.

Verde Lucero, Cancun
By Fernando Jimenez Castillo

25. Verde Lucero

If one cenote isn’t enough, check out Cenote Verde Lucero, which means bright green cenote in English. Similar to Cenote La Noria, Verde Lucero has beautifully clear water. But what sets it apart is its fun zipline. Yes, you can zip line and drop directly into Cenote Verde Lucero! There are also other ropes that extend across the cenote for simply hanging off of, as well as several jumping platforms and complimentary boards floating around. 

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