Best things to do in Cancun, Mexico – What to do in Cancun

Family fun in Cancun

If you love beaches, adventure, nightlife and culture, Cancun in Mexico is the perfect holiday spot for you.

The Caribbean aquamarine water, white sands, and the region’s balmy year-round temperatures lure more than seven million tourists to Cancun every year.

Cancun attracts tourists of all kinds – groups of youngsters, couples in love, families with kids, and elders. There is something to do for everybody in Cancun. Some of these activities are inside the Cancun Hotel Zone itself.

Here is our list of the best things to do in Cancun –

1. Visit Chichen Itza

If you are visiting Cancun Chichen Itza must be on your itinerary. After all, it is Mexico’s most visited tourist destination. Recently it was selected as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Chichen Itza is the site of an ancient city which thrived from 600 A.D. to the 1200s. El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan (a massive step pyramid) is the central attraction at Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza is 200 Kms from Cancun and takes around two hours of travel. Because of this distance, all packages come with pick up and drop facilities.

Chichen Itza Guided Tour + Transport

Don’t need transport and the guided tour? Book ONLY the entry tickets to Chichen Itza

2. Challenge your senses at Xenses Park

If you are traveling to Cancun with a kid that loves science, don’t miss the Xenses Park.

The highlight of this park is the Mexican village which ignores the laws of physics. In this village, you won’t be able to tell if you’re climbing up or down the street, if the water is flowing forward or backward or if the gravity has been reversed. You won’t be able to tell if the doors are small or you have become a giant!

True to its name, this Park tries to challenge what you are used to. All this besides the regulars such as water sports, nature activities, special activities for kids, cultural events etc.

Xenses Park is 72 Kms (45 Miles) from the Hotel Zone of Cancun and the distance can be covered in one hour. Most packages include transportation from your hotel to the Park and back.

‘Skip the line’ tickets to Xenses Park

3. Take a ferry to Isla Mujeres

Snorkeling in Isla Mujeres
The shallow waters on Isla Mujeres’s beaches are a goldmine of marine life. Go snorkeling – don’t miss out the opportunity to make your Cancun holiday memorable. Patryk Kosmider /

After you have spent a few hectic days partying in Cancun, try out Isla Mujeres to regain your energies. This island is located 8 miles off the Yucatán Peninsula and is a 20 minutes’ ferry ride away.

Ferries to Isla Mujeres are available from one of the three Cancún ports – Punta Sam, Puerto Juárez and Gran Puerto.

Once on the lazy island, you can check out Hacienda Mundaca (ruined mansion of a slave trader), Turtle farm, or head to Playa del Norte, one of the best beaches in the region.

If you love to get your feet wet, step into the water for some of the finest snorkeling in the region.

Book Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy combo tour

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4. Get adventurous in Garrafon Natural Reef Park

Garrafon Natural Reef Park is located a 20 minutes’ ferry ride from Cancun – on the Isla Mujeres island.

If you love adventure this is just the best thing to do in Cancun for you can indulge in snorkeling, kayaking, zip-lines etc.

Once you are done with all the adventures, try out some local beer and cuisine.

Book visit to Garrafon National Reef Park

5. Check out El Rey Ruins

El Rey Ruins is an archeological site conveniently located within Cancun’s Hotel Zone. These ruins were inhabited by the Mayans as early as 900 AD.

They are not as spectacular as Chichén Itzá, but they are within Cancun.

Many visitors also love the thousands of iguanas who seem to have invaded the ruins.

You can walk in anytime between 8 am to 5 pm for a fee of roughly 50 pesos.

6. Take a dip in a Cenote

A trip to Cancun will be incomplete without a visit to a Cenote. In ancient Mayan language, ‘Cenotes’ means ‘secret well.’

These underwater caves and caverns are one of the main attractions in Yucatan Peninsula.

You can swim, scuba dive or snorkel in Cenotes and see stunning formations of stalagmites and stalactites.

Usually, the cenotes have locker rentals, washroom facilities and jumping platforms which add up to the experience.

Book a tour to Chichen Itza and Ik Kil Cenote

7. Zip past Nichupté Lagoon in a Jungle Speed Boat

Speedboat in Nichupte Lagoon
The thrill of speed coupled with the vastness of blue water and the freshness of the greenery around is a heady mix. Don’t miss this must-do activity in Cancun. Tono Balaguer /

Nichupté Lagoon is 7000 acres of lagoons in the heart of Cancun, Mexico. Its beautiful landscapes, crystalline water, and vibrant wildlife have attracted tourists for decades.

You can explore Nichupté Lagoon in kayaks, Jet Skis or WaveRunners. However, our favorite is the Jungle Speed Boat. Nothing mixes with scenic views as a speedboat.

We suggest you zip past these dark green trees in your own two-person jungle speedboat and make your Cancun visit that much more memorable.

Book your Jungle Boat ride!

8. Swim with the Dolphins at Delphinus Dreams

If you’re visiting with kids, Delphinus Dreams is one of the best things to do in Cancun. Also, known as the Interactive Aquarium, this Cancun attraction is located close to the Hotel Zone.

You can try the touch tanks, dolphin swims or shark feedings and get close to marine life.

The Interactive Aquarium is open on all seven days from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm.

If your kid wants to get up close, check out the “Trainer for a Day” program where they will learn different training and care techniques for marine life.

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9. Go on a Lobster Dinner Cruise

If you are traveling as a couple, one of the best things to do in Cancun is the lobster dinner cruise along the coast of Cancun.

The fine dining, the moonlit sky, the ship’s saxophonist, and the magnificent Spanish galleon on which you will be cruising make it an extremely romantic evening.

If you want to sweep your partner off their feet, this 2.5 hours cruise is just the right recommendation.

Don’t fancy lobsters so much? No problem. The Spanish Galleon’s kitchen also serves steak and vegetarian food. As for the wine, that is on the house.

Book your Lobster Dinner Cruise

10. Get entertained at Xel-Ha Park

Xel-Ha Park is an aquatic theme park located on the Caribbean coast of the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico.

It is an all-inclusive Park where you can enjoy water activities, ecological attractions, adventure thrills and cultural events.

If you are holidaying with kids, teenagers etc this is one of the best things to do in Cancun.

Xel-Ha Park is 97 Kms (60 Miles) from Cancun’s Hotel Zone and the journey time is two hours. That’s why all packages to Hel-Ha Park include hotel pickup and drop.

Even though there is a bit of traveling, we suggest you don’t miss this tropical island paradise.

‘Skip the Line’ tickets to Xel-Ha Park

11. Visit the Mayan ruins at Tulum

The Mayan Tulum ruins are situated on 12-meter (39 ft) tall cliffs along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula.

These ruins are significant because they formed the last city built and inhabited by the Mayans. It is believed that when the Spanish invaded Mexico they brought along old world diseases and wiped out this city.

If you love history, you will love visiting the Mayan ruins which are 124 Kms (77 miles) from Cancun. Most packages include return transport from your hotel to the Mayan ruins.

Book tickets for Mayan ruins in Tulum

12. Try Playa Delfines, a beach with a difference

After you have tried all the beaches along the Hotel Zone, go to Playa Delfines.

This beach is one of the highest points of Cancun and is sparsely populated all through the day.

It is accessible by bus, taxi or rental car. If you want to go for a swim, be wary of heavy currents and riptides since the beach is notorious for its rough waters.

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13. Get dazzled by Río Secreto

Rio Secreto, Cancun
A visit to Rio Secreto means walking in knee-deep water for around one hour enjoying geological wonder. Even though the entry fee is a bit costly, you step out of the underground river feeling it was all worth it. Nenad Basic /

Río Secreto is one of the most spectacular cave systems in the world. Some even call it the ‘crystal museum’ because this underground river is adorned with stunning stalactites and glittering minerals.

Tourists who have visited Río Secreto come out spellbound after seeing the brightly colored minerals sparkle in the glow of their head torch.

If you love adventure you can’t miss out on Rio Secreto. You will have to get into your wetsuit, wear your helmet, strap on your life vest and then spend a major part of your day hiking and swimming through a kilometer of this natural phenomenon.

Río Secreto is 85 Kms (53 Miles) from Cancun and the travel time is usually one hour 15 minutes. Most packages offer the return transport from your hotel to the tourist attraction.

Book tickets to Río Secreto

14. Get drunk at Tequila Herradura Sensory Museum

If you have ever had a shot of Tequila, you would have fallen in love with this Mexican drink. Your visit to Cancun is a nice opportunity to learn more about Mexico’s National drink and the Tequila Herradura Sensory Museum helps you do just that.

This Tequila museum is in the Hotel Zone itself. You can learn about both modern and traditional methods of producing Tequila. What’s more…you can drink as much Tequila as you want during this museum tour.

We suggest you walk or take a cab to this museum for they will be offering you the best Tequila in the World.

15. Check out Xcaret, an Eco-Archeological Park

This entertainment park has something for everybody. Cultural activities, nature activities, water sports, entertainment for kids – you name it and Xcaret has it.

Located on the seashore near Cancun in the Riviera Maya, this Park is an all action, all thrill experience which you shouldn’t miss.

If possible don’t miss out on the “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular.” It is a celebration of light and color with 300 artists, which details out the history of Mexico as nobody has ever done before.

Xcaret park is 75 Kms (47 Miles) from Cancun and that’s why all packages also include hotel pickup and drop-off.

Buy tickets to Xcaret Park

16. Experience best of Cancun nightlife at Coco Bongo

Coco Bongo, Cancun
Coco Bongo is the ultimate Cancun nightlife experience. If you like crowds, you will love spending a night out at Coco Bongo. Chad Zuber /

Coco Bongo is the highlight of Cancun nightlife. If you love partying, visiting Coco Bango is one of the best things to do in Cancun.

Be aware that it is not your usual nightclub. If you are expecting a traditional nightclub experience at Coco Bongo, you will be disappointed. Instead, this Cancun classic is all about nonstop performances and stage antics even as you drink and party with your friends. Performances keep coming one after the other with each lasting anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.

There is a cover charge to enter, which inflates from Thursday to Sunday. However, this cover charge includes unlimited domestic drinks from 10:30 pm to 3:30 am.

Book your entry to Coco Bongo Nightclub

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He is a two-faced traveler, who enjoys both the hustle-bustle of an urban holiday and the serenity of a break from the rest of the World. During some of his vacations, he is a resort hopper, and on others, he barely spends time in his hotel. He loves to try mouth-watering local cuisines, especially non-vegetarian dishes. Favourite Cities: Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Dublin, Prague, Vienna