Mexico's official party capital, Cancun, has spectacular beachfront access to the Caribbean Sea and is known for its nightlife and nightclubs. But, apart from the beaches, there are a plethora of other things to do in Cancun.
Cancun, sometimes known as the "Gateway to the Yucatan Peninsula," is frequently the first place that most Americans visit when they come to Mexico. According to some estimates, up to 40% of American vacationers choose Mexico as their destination of choice.
Discover Ancient Ruins via Virtual Reality Experience
A Mexican Las Vegas, except more congested and fuller of annoying first-time visitors who are frightened to drink the water or leave their all-inclusive resorts. Hundreds of students go to Mexico around Spring Break to party hard and acquire a tan, utterly ignoring the country's rich cultural heritage.
Having said that, the city does offer fantastic nightlife and some stunning beaches to enjoy. However, there are plenty of additional enjoyable activities in Cancun that the majority of visitors overlook...
You may be interested in some of my recommendations for interesting and quirky things to do in Cancun, whether you're there during the day or at night. These suggestions are applicable regardless of the time of year you visit.
Travel Restrictions to Mexico 2022
Is cancun safe to travel to? Yes, Mexico has waived all COVID-19 entrance criteria for the time being. As of January 2022, tests, immunization records, and health-related paperwork will no longer be necessary. On the other hand, Americans are required to undergo testing in Mexico before returning to the United States.
Most hotels, attractions, and private excursions are now open, with new health and safety measures in place. Certain restrictions (such as wearing a mask) may apply to your trip depending on your location.
1. Swimming in Cenotes is a Popular Activity
The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is renowned for its spectacular cenotes, which are natural lakes created in limestone caverns. It is estimated that there are hundreds of cenotes around the Riviera Maya, many of which are swimmable.
Craters in the limestone surface collapse, producing an entry into the Yucatan's extensive subterranean river system, which is known as cenotes. The majority of individuals who come to them do so to go swimming, scuba diving, or snorkeling.
Cenotes in the Ruta de Cenotes (Cenote Route) near the city of Puerto Morelos, approximately a 30-minute drive from Cancun, are some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world.
Among the various cenotes in this area are Cenote La Noria, Verde Lucero, Cenote Mojarras, and Cenote Selvatica, to name a few. Verde Lucero was my favorite since it has its own zip line!
2. Ceremonial Temazcal
A Temazcal ritual is a traditional Mayan purifying ceremony that takes place in a hut that is just a few feet square. You enter the sweat lodge after stripping down to your underwear (or swimwear), which has been heated with hot rocks and water, transforming it into a steamy sauna experience.
The ceremony is overseen by a local shaman. He leads the process and ensures the well-being of those taking part. The temazcal ritual takes place in complete darkness. At the same time, the shaman pours water over the hot rocks while singing and utilizing various plants to call up spirits from the depths of the earth.
Although Temazcal has been used since ancient times, it is considered a cleansing ceremony that cleanses the body, mind, and spirit. While your body is sweating in the claustrophobic hut, you enter a profound state of concentration, which is aided by the shamanic chanting in the background.
3. Visit the most beautiful beaches in Cancun
In Hotel Zone, you will find several Cancun beaches where you can relax and sip a margarita. Still, some are very beautiful and unique in terms of mood and attractiveness.
Playa Delfines is one of the main best beaches in Cancun and is located on the Caribbean Sea. It is also notable for the presence of the famous Cancun sign and the absence of hotels or resorts, which makes it a favorite among locals. Fortunately, swimming is not permitted because the currents are quite strong.
Playa Tortugas is the perfect beach for families with children since the waves are minimal and allow for safe swimming. The only disadvantage is that it might get overcrowded at times. At the beachside restaurant, you may relax with a drink or some seafood.
Swimming in the Caribbean seas from Chac Mool Beach is an absolute must-do activity. There are several operators that hire water sports equipment, making this gorgeous beach a haven for water sports enthusiasts of all types.
There is no better place to find the right balance between a bustling scene and a tropical hideaway than Playa Forum. This beach, which is situated behind Coco Bongo, the most famous nightclub in Cancun, is surrounded by a variety of restaurants and clubs.
4. Ruins of the Maya city of Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza, a Maya city in Mexico, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is noted for its incredible ancient pyramids. Located in Chichen Itza, the oldest structure goes back to the 5th century.
The Temple Of Kukulkan (also known as "El Castillo"), a 98-foot-tall pyramid construction, is the most spectacular landmark in the city. The nine terraces around it represent the belief in the existence of nine levels in heaven.
Chichen Itza has been meticulously conserved, allowing visitors to see firsthand how the ancient Maya people lived. It is about 2.5 hours by vehicle or 3 hours by bus from Cancun, and it is the most visited Mayan site in the Yucatan. It is situated on the Yucatan Peninsula.
5. Mercado 28
Mercado 28 (Market 28) is a massive retail complex in the heart of Cancun's city. This isn't your typical mall; instead, it's a huge flea market with over 600 exhibitors selling just about anything and everything.
Mercado 28 is a great place to pick up some unique Mexican goods, ranging from textiles to maracas and leather products. Many of the products are handmade and one-of-a-kind, making them excellent travel presents.
Please feel free to put your negotiating abilities to the test here. If you refuse to accept the seller's original price, you may be able to walk away with a beautiful bargain. Stop by one of the nearby eateries for a meal for a fraction of the cost of a meal at the Hotel Zone!
Mercado 28 is easily accessible by bus from the Hotel Zone, but if you are driving, make sure to keep track of which parking lot you are in since there are four separate entrances and parking lots that appear pretty similar.
6. Cancun's best nightlife and nightclubs
I can't speak about Cancun without bringing up the subject of nightlife. The city is well-known for its wild nightlife, which is most prevalent during Spring Break when students flock to Mexico for a bit of adventure.
When the sun goes down after a day at the beach, you may let loose and dance the night away till dawn. The greatest nightclubs in Cancun nightlife normally have massive lineups of people waiting to get in, but it's well worth it.
- You can easily see why Coco Bongo is Cancun's most famous nightclub. They have acrobats, cover bands, and DJs to keep the party going all night. It's a cross between a nightclub and a Vegas performance, in a way!
- The City Nightclub hosts famous DJs on a regular basis, including Tiesto, Fergie, and Paul Van Dyk, who play at the club. The club has three levels and nine bars, and it can accommodate up to 5000 people per evening.
- Those who want to celebrate bikini season can head to Mandala Beach Club. Great music and wonderful tropical beverages are available at this outdoor house music club, which is open every day from 9:30 PM to 1:00 AM.
- This is the place to go for techno and house music Daddy O, professional dancers and light displays, and body painting. Party till the wee hours of the morning on the club's two levels, which feature five bars.
7. Swimming with Whale Sharks is a Unique Experience
Because the Whale Shark is on the endangered species list, having the chance to swim with these amazing animals will have a lasting effect on anybody who is fortunate enough to do so.
You may swim with these enormous, peaceful animals in the Yucatan peninsula, which is one of the few areas where you can do so. An adult can grow to be 12 meters long and weigh up to 20 tonnes, making it the world's biggest fish.
Baby whale sharks are very playful and have been seen playing with swimmers. The most fantastic time to swim with sharks is during the day between June and September. Tours depart from Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Isla Holbox, among other locations.
8. The Sea Turtles
Sea turtles may be seen on the beaches surrounding Cancun, which are among the most fantastic spots in the world to see them. Turtles lay their eggs on the beach between May and October, and you may observe them from the shore. From July to December, the tiny ones hatch and flop into the water.
Tortugranja, a turtle farm and conservation facility on Isla Mujeres, is the most incredible spot to see sea turtles in their natural habitat. According to the National Park Service, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and loggerhead turtles are the most prevalent turtle species that may be seen in and around Cancun and Isla Mujeres.
For a $3 admission, visitors may see turtles throughout the year and at various stages of growth at Tortugranja. You may feed them and interact with them while under the supervision of a guide, much as you can, with crabs, urchins, and conchs as well.
9. Having a Drink at Seor Frogs
Seor Frogs is the quintessential Cancun bar where you can have a drink after a long day at the beach. The atmosphere is exciting, and everyone is singing and dancing. You may also get some food at this location.
The floor is coated with sawdust, and the walls are adorned with amusing placards. They serve beverages in enormous "yard" glasses, and a Conga line may break out at any time.
You may also bring children if they are above the age of eight – but it is not suitable for younger children due to the amount of noise and the number of individuals who are partying hard.
10. Las Coloradas
The Las Coloradas, sometimes known as "the red ones," is a group of pink lakes located near a tiny fishing community of the same name. It is part of a natural reserve that includes 150,000 acres and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including birds.
Apart from fishing, the stunning pink water is part of a salt processing plant, one of the area's most important businesses. The crimson plankton and shrimp that give the lakes their vibrant pink hue are responsible for this.
A hire vehicle will take you to Las Coloradas around three hours from Cancun. Accommodations in Rio Lagartos, 30 minutes distant, are available to those who choose to spend the night in the region. Tours to see the flamingos may also be arranged from Rio Lagartos.