Cancun beach and city hotel zone, Mexico

Things to do in  Cancun

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Cancun is more than a party destination with luxury resorts and superb white-sand beaches (though it's a good one). This is the Yucatán Peninsula's gateway to a lush world of jungle-clad pyramids, cenotes, and marine wildlife-filled reefs. Whether you want to explore Mayan archaeological sites, snorkel, scuba dive, or simply lounge by the Caribbean Sea with a margarita, you'll find plenty of things to do in Cancun.

Top 15 attractions in Cancun

Rio Secreto Nature Reserve

Rio Secreto, or the “Secret River,” is a series of caves carved out by the flow of an ancient underground river in Mexico. While the reserve is most famous for its large half-sunken cavern—a popular diving spot—you can also explore eerie passageways, swim in the river, and admire dripping stalactites, stalagmites, and colorful mineral formations.More

Chichen Itza

Discover the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itzá—one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Admire its main central pyramid, El Castillo (Kukulcán Pyramid), plus its temples, ball courts, and cenotes. Beat the crowds at this UNESCO World Heritage site with a skip-the-line or early access admission ticket, and delve deeper into its history on a day trip from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, which also tend to visit Valladolid, other cenotes, and Mayaland Resort for a buffet lunch.More


Tulum, the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city and a port for Coba, is one of the best preserved coastal Mayan cities in the Yucatan, in tandem with Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. Highlights of this archaeological site include the Temple of the Frescoes, which has spectacular figurines of the 'diving god.'More

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres (the “Island of Women”) is known for its rich marine life and pristine beaches. Here you can snorkel at Manchones Reef, scuba dive in the Cave of Sleeping Sharks, or stretch out on the white sands of North Beach (Playa Norte). On land you’ll find bustling nightlife, with oceanside bars and restaurants serving fresh seafood.More

Mayan Ruins of Coba (Zona Arqueológica de Cobá)

In the heart of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula lie the ruins of Coba (Zona Arqueológica de Cobá), an ancient Maya city considered to be one of the most important settlements in Mesoamerican history. During its peak between AD 500 and 900, Coba housed 50,000 residents and was the central terminus for the complex Maya system of roadways. The jungle site is still being excavated, but visitors can experience the already discovered remains of thesesacbes, or stone causeways, as well as a number of engraved and sculpted monuments.More


Xcaret is a natural wonderland on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula—it’s home to tropical trails through jungle ruins, natural lagoons ideal for snorkeling, and the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular light and dance show. Tailor your experience by booking an admission ticket with optional upgrades and round-trip transfers, or add on any exciting activities such as speed boat rides and Temescal wellness rituals.More

Playa Norte (North Beach)

Playa Norte (North Beach) is a relaxing strand on Isla Mujeres, a small island off the Yucatan Peninsula. Once considered a sacred site devoted to a Maya goddess, Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) earned its name when the Spanish discovered images of the goddess on the island. Today, Isla Mujeres and Playa Norte offer a laid-back alternative to bustling Cancun.More

Quintana Roo

One of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, Quintana Roo is the gateway to the Mexican Caribbean. Palm-lined beaches, Mayan ruins, and family-friendly nature parks characterize this east coast state where you can snorkel coral reefs, cool off in ancient cenotes, and party in the nightclubs of Cancún and Playa del Carmen.More

CoCo Bongo Cancun

CoCo Bongo in Cancun isn’t your typical nightclub and there’s no traditional dance floor. Instead, the popular venue hosts energetic performances including acrobats, bands, and musical impersonators who belt out tunes by artists ranging from Rihanna to Elvis. This lively spot is a must-visit for those looking for a fun night out in Cancun but don’t want to simply dance to DJs.More

Xoximilco Cancun

Xoxomilco, whose name means “garden of flowers” in Nahuatl, is Cancun’s homage to the floating gardens and canals of Mexico City’s famous Xochimilco neighborhood. Here, visitors can experience a number of Mexican traditions, including floating boats strung with flowers, live music, and regional food.More

Captain Hook Cancun

Aboard a Cancun-based Captain Hook pirate ship, spend a family-friendly evening that includes a buffet dinner served by salty seamen, dancing on the deck, and imbibing at an open bar. The 18th-century Spanish galleon replicas cruise the Caribbean while “pirates” entertain the crowd with tales of past escapades and dramatic sword fights.More


Named after a Mayan word meaning “the place where the waters are born,” the Xel-Ha aquatic park encompasses 14 acres (5.7 hectares) of jungle and ocean just south of Playa del Carmen. A must-visit family-friendly attraction, Xel-Ha is home to cenotes, a lazy river, fish-filled lagoons, and other natural attractions.More

Dolphin Beach (Playa Delfines)

Dolphin Beach (Playa Delfines) is a welcome respite from the crowded beaches and bustling nightclubs for which Cancun has become known. Located just beyond the hotel zone at one of the city’s highest points, this quiet stretch of sand offers picture-perfect expansive views and an ideal setting for a leisurely stroll, catching waves, or simply relaxing.More

Cancun Underwater Museum of Art (Museo Subacuático de Arte)

Many cities boast art, history, and cultural museums, but Cancun’s version of these is a little out of the ordinary. The Cancun Underwater Museum of Art (Museo Subacuático de Arte) is an ongoing project promoting art as well as lively coral reefs. Snorkelers and divers can view its collection of more than 500 sunken sculptures that lie up to 20 feet (6 meters) deep.More

Cancun Hotel Zone (Avenida Kukulkan)

Avenida Kukulkan, also known as Cancun’s Hotel Zone, is a pulsing thoroughfare lined with oceanfront resorts that separate the Caribbean Sea from the Nichupte Lagoon. This long, flat strip is home to some of Cancun’s best shopping, dining, and nightlife. From Avenida Kukulkan, various paths lead out to a limitless stretch of white sand.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Cancun

ATV Adventure, Interactive Bridges, Ziplines, Cenote & Free Lunch
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Luxury Catamaran and Snorkel. Lunch & Open Bar Onboard and Visit to Isla Mujeres
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Best ATV Tour, Ziplines and Cenote Swim with Lunch and Transport Included
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Horseback Riding in Cancun Includes ATV, Cenote, Ziplines, Lunch and Transfer
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Luxury SUV from Cancun International Airport

Luxury SUV from Cancun International Airport

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Tulum Guided Tour, Magical Cenote, Lagoon Snorkeling and Beachside Lunch
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All about Cancun

When to visit

For warm, but not too hot, weather, visit Cancún from December to April. This is the high season, however, so prepare for crowds, especially in spring when Cancún turns into a hub for rowdy college students. Summer and fall are typically more humid and rainy, but the tail end of the hurricane season (mid to late November) can be a good option.

Getting around

A good public bus system travels through the Hotel Zone along Boulevard Kukulcán and around downtown Cancún. There are also regional buses that can get you to attractions such as Chichén Itzá, as well as the nearby resort towns of Tulum and Playa del Carmen. If you are planning to explore the area, taking a guided tour with hassle-free hotel pickup and drop-off is ideal.

Traveler tips

When landing at Cancún International Airport, you will likely be met by a group of taxi drivers vying for your business. You’ll save money and hassle by pre-booking your airport transfer service and walking straight past the crowd to meet your driver, who will be waiting for you when you land. Most services offer a round-trip option so you don’t need to worry about booking your trip back to the airport.


People Also Ask

What is Cancun best known for?

Cancún is beloved by spring breakers and familes alike for its white-sand beaches and Caribbean water. The city’s excellent resorts, many of them all-inclusive, typically offer direct access to the beach, making Cancún an excellent destination to wind down on the sand with a margarita in hand. And, after hours, the nightlife is always hopping.

What kind of fun things are there to do in Cancun?

The resorts of Cancún’s Hotel Zone offer water sports aplenty, from snorkeling, scuba diving, and paddleboarding to speed boating, jet skiing, and flyboarding. Xcaret adventure park, where you can go ziplining and river rafting, is a popular day trip, as is Isla Mujeres, which is best reached by catamaran. Swimming with whale sharks is another bucket list activity that's popular in Cancun.

What is the best month to visit Cancun?

The weather in Cancún is perfect almost all year round but at its very best between December and April—ideal for escaping the wintery weather of North America’s more northerly climes. While winter does bring many travelers, the crowds are not as heavy as those of mid-March to early April when spring breakers arrive en masse.

Is it expensive to go to Cancun?

No, Cancun isn't expensive. How much money you spend in Cancún depends on how you choose to spend your vacation. While you can splash out on luxury hotels, fine dining, and late nights in the city’s clubs, you can just as easily keep costs low by booking all-inclusive packages and combination tours.

Is 3 days enough in Cancun?

Yes, three days is long enough in Cancún to spend a lazy day on the beach, do some water-based activities, and explore some of the Riviera Maya’s cultural attractions such as Maya ruins and cenotes. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for relaxing however, so you may want to add on another day or two.

What is there to do in Cancun besides beach?

Cancún is a gateway to the ancient Maya ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza. You can also swim in the cool, clear waters of the Yucatán peninsula’s cenotes, including the crystal caves of Rio Secreto, and go scuba diving off Isla Mujeres: all can be easily reached on a day trip from Cancún.

Frequently Asked Questions
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