Things to do in Cancun
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Cancun's activities and attractions revolve around the coastline. The area is blessed with many beautiful beaches and the variety of watersports is somewhat overwhelming. Some scuba diving or snorkelling is a must as the underwater world is just as lovely as the white sands, and there are some gorgeous dive sites between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, where coral reefs abound. Exploring the Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) is an exciting adventure for divers. Other favourite water activities include swimming with dolphins (or even sharks!), visiting the water park, or taking an excursion to the sleepy paradise island of Isla Mujeres.
If tourists can manage to drag themselves off the stunning white-sand beaches and away from the plethora of fun water activities, Cancun has some cultural and historical diversions as well. The Museo Maya is an impressively large museum showcasing Mayan artefacts found in the region and providing some fascinating historical context for visitors to the peninsula. The San Miguelito Archaeological Site (in the museum grounds) and the El Rey Ruins are both intriguing examples of ancient Mayan remains in Cancun. The famous ancient site of Chichen Itza, with its impressive pyramids and mysterious jungle setting, is one of Mexico's greatest attractions and a must for visitors to Cancun.
Set in the jungle and said to have been inhabited for more than 2,000 years, Chichen Itza is the Yucatan's most visited ancient Mayan site. The main attractions at Chichen Itza are…
Set in the jungle and said to have been inhabited for more than 2,000 years, Chichen Itza is the Yucatan's most visited ancient Mayan site. The main attractions at Chichen Itza are the Pyramid of Kukulkan (the plumed serpent god), and El Castillo, a grand pyramid topped by a temple that dominates the site and has been declared one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. Inside the pyramid is a smaller pyramid, the inner sanctum, containing one of the greatest finds on the site: the brilliant red jaguar throne with jade spots, inlaid eyes and real jaguar teeth. Another building of interest is El Caracol, an observatory with slits in the dome aligned with certain astronomical appearances at specific dates.
The stunning Isla Mujeres is a short ferry ride away from the resort, and is known for its relaxing atmosphere and slow island pace. Popular activities include lounging on the pret…
The stunning Isla Mujeres is a short ferry ride away from the resort, and is known for its relaxing atmosphere and slow island pace. Popular activities include lounging on the pretty beaches (particularly those on the north and west sides of the island), swimming with sharks and dolphins, deep-sea fishing, and kayaking. Divers should absolutely make a point of exploring the remarkable Underwater Sculpture Museum.
The project was set up in 2009 to create an artificial reef after the Cancun and Isla Mujeres areas had suffered storm damage, and will eventually help new coral reefs to form. Six artists from Mexico and Britain put this unique collection together, spreading the more than 500 sculptures across two underwater galleries at depths of between 9,8ft (3m) and 19,6ft (6m). The display encompasses human figures in a number of poses, and a variety of guided snorkelling and diving tours are available. Visitors can also view the collection from the comfort of a glass-bottom tour boat.
There are excellent restaurants in the Downtown area (El Centro), where the signature dish is freshly-caught, Tikin-Xic spice-coated fish. The fish is wrapped and roasted in a banana leaf.
Cancun's superb archaeological museum has three large exhibition halls and about 350 Mayan artefacts, including carvings, pottery, weapons, as well as tools, ritual objects and bur…
Cancun's superb archaeological museum has three large exhibition halls and about 350 Mayan artefacts, including carvings, pottery, weapons, as well as tools, ritual objects and burial masks. One of the highlights is the 14,000-year-old skeletal remains found in Tulum's underwater caves, which greets visitors as they arrive. The museum is enclosed by landscaped grounds and nestled within are some fascinating Mayan ruins, including a small pyramid. This site, called the San Miguelito Archaeological Site, is possibly the best part of a trip to the museum. The institution is new, modern and air-conditioned, and a visit can also be a welcome relief from the heat outside.
Cancun is unbeatable when it comes to sun-lounging and clear blue ocean water, with the northern stretch of Mujeres Bay including the popular Playa Langosta, Playa Las Perlas and P…
Cancun is unbeatable when it comes to sun-lounging and clear blue ocean water, with the northern stretch of Mujeres Bay including the popular Playa Langosta, Playa Las Perlas and Playa Tortugas, all of which are great for watersports, bars and restaurants. Playa Linda is a launching point for boat and dive tours, while Playa Caracol and Punta Cancun are excellent for family fun.
East side beaches are breezier with rougher surf. Chac Mool, Playa Marlin, Gaviota Azul and Playa Ballenas are ideal for parasailing and windsurfing; Punta Nizuc and Playa Delfines are perfect for a day of sand and surf. The best dive sites lie between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, at the colourful reefs of El Tunel, Grampin, Chuchos and Largo. The Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) is also a fantastic option for divers.