Cancun is a city on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. People visit Cancun to see Mayan ruins, relax at the beaches, explore beautiful natural landscapes, and experience the thrill of adventure activities. There are many attractions that you can call the best things to do in Cancun, Mexico. But, the best ones for you depend on what you like.

If you enjoy exploring history, head for the Mayan ruins around the city. These are the best places to visit in Cancun to know about the ancient civilization. Just like Cancun, these were major port sites.

You will get a glimpse into the Mayan history, culture, sciences, and traditions through Cancun attractions. These include temples, castles, pyramids, sculptures, paintings, tools, and so on. The top places to see in Cancun to explore the Mayan culture are El Rey, Tulum, Chichen Itza, Coba Ruins, and Mayan Museum.

Other top excursions in Cancun focus on the rich natural landscapes. The city is surrounded by beautiful forests, lagoons, coastal cliffs, beaches, islands, underground caves, and more. Each of these gives you unique things to do near Cancun. Some of these places are great for exploring marine life.

You can go swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving at several spots near the city. There are also retreats and adventure parks in the wilderness for outdoor activities to do in Cancun. These include hiking, zipline, ATV rides, cliff diving, and more.

The third aspect of Cancun sightseeing revolves around the beaches, entertainment, food, shopping, and nightlife. It is a lively city with happening venues and a vibrant crowd. The city is also full of theme parks. These places offer fun things to do in Cancun for families and children. One of them is built around a natural lagoon. The park blends a nature retreat-like experience with rides of a waterpark. It is one of the best places to go in Cancun.

You will find a lot of interesting attractions and activities in the city and around it. The things to see in Cancun showcase various colours of Mexican culture.

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Top 21 Tourist Places to Visit in Cancun, Mexico

1. El Rey Ruins

This archeological site is one of the most important Mayan sites in Mexico. The site has 47 structures that give you a glimpse of a great ancient civilization. It is one of the most important Cancun attractions.

These structures date between 200 A.D. to 1200 B.C.E. The building walls show scenes from the culture. The site also has ruins of two temples and a fishing village. A guided tour will help you understand the purpose of the structures and provide insight into the Mayan culture. It is one of the most interesting things to do near Cancun, Mexico. You will need about 2 hours to explore these ruins.

El Rey Ruins

2. Mayan Museum of Cancun (Museo Maya de Cancún)

This museum is spread over 5 buildings and takes a deep dive into the Mayan culture in the region. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Cancun. The collection includes more than 3,500 artifacts. These artifacts depict several thousand years of history.

You will see statues, pieces of buildings, paintings, carvings, toys, tools, weapons, and so on. Some of these are 14,000 years old. You will need 2 to 3 hours to tour this museum when you visit Cancun, Mexico.

I suggest you should get your Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket to the Mayan Museum of Cancun in advance.

Mayan Museum of Cancun

3. Avenida Kukulkan

This beachside boulevard is known for fun things to do in Cancun, Mexico. The boulevard has a beach on one side and happening venues for leisure and entertainment on the other.

The boulevard is home to shopping streets, malls, restaurants, cafes, boutique stores, and so on. It is also one of the top places to go in Cancun for nightlife in the city. Some of the most popular beach clubs and bars are located on this street. You can easily dedicate an evening to this street.

Avenida Kukulkan

4. Interactive Aquarium

This aquarium allows you to touch and feed many of the animals. You can also play and swim with some of them. It is one of the best things to do in Cancun for families with children.

The aquarium houses a variety of aquatic animals, both large and small. You will see dolphins, clownfish, sharks, starfish, turtles, Axolotls, and many more. It is best known for its interactive attractions such as Swim with Dolphins, Scuba Diving in Fish Tanks, Interactive Ponds, Fish Spa, Dolphin Shows, and so on. You can easily dedicate a couple of hours to this aquarium.

I suggest you should get your Entrance Ticket to the Interactive Aquarium in advance. Also, I suggest you should try to Swim with Dolphins at Interactive Aquarium.

Interactive Aquarium

5. Chichen Itza

This ancient Mayan city is more than a thousand years old. It was once the economic center for the civilizations. These fascinating ruins are among the top things to see in Cancun. It is also the second biggest tourist attraction in Mexico.

The biggest monument in this ancient city is the Temple of Kukulcan. This gigantic pyramid sits at the center of the city. The temple is renowned for its architecture, stonework, carvings, and cultural significance.

The site is also home to several other interesting places to see in Cancun. This includes the Great Ball Court, Las Monjas, Osario Pyramid, Temple of the Warriors, Casa Colorada, Temple of the Tables, Wall of Skulls, El Mercado, Steam Baths, Thousand Columns, and Platform of Venus.

This site gives you a storied insight into the Mayan civilization. It is one of the best excursions in Cancun for those who enjoy history, ancient architecture, and folklore. You will need 3 to 4 hours to tour this site.

I suggest you should book a Full Day Tour to Chichen Itza in advance.

Chichen Itza

6. Delfines Beach

Delfines Playa is perhaps the most beautiful beach in Cancun. It stretches for about 19 km and has a variety of facilities along the shoreline. People love this Cancun beach for the view, watersports, nightlife venues, or boating.

Sometimes you also get to spot dolphins playing around quite close to the beach. Delfines is also known for fun activities to do in Cancun such as swimming, surfing, jet skiing, boat trips, and so on. You can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying this beach when you visit Cancun.

Delfines Beach

7. Tortugas Beach

Also called Turtle Beach, this stretch of shoreline is known for being the most happening place to visit in Cancun. The beach remains alive with events, festivals, and beach-sports. Even at night, this beach comes alive with dance, music, and parties.

Tortugas is also popular for swimming and snorkelling. Its proximity to Mesoamerican Barrier Reef brings a lot of colour to underwater life. If you are looking for a little thrill, you can also go bungee jumping at this beach. It is a high-spirited venue and you can enjoy a few hours from Cancun travel to enjoy Tortugas beach.

Tortugas Beach

8. Isla Mujeres

This island sits about 12 km off the coast. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cancun for its pristine natural beauty. The white sandy beaches, green patches and turquoise water create a magical environment. It is a must-do in Cancun if you enjoy natural beauty.

You will also find it rich in wildlife. People often spot dolphins, sharks, and sailfishes roaming around the island. The island is also home to some amazing Cancun tourist attractions. This includes a wildlife sanctuary, bird sanctuary, underwater museum, and eco theme parks.

The underwater museum also gives you an amazing scuba diving experience. You dive into the ocean to see a variety of sculptures sitting at the bottom. Another popular spot for scuba diving is the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks.

The experience is quite well summarized in the name. You will get to see a lot of sharks in this cave. It is one of the best things to do near Cancun. Other major Cancun attractions to check out on this island are the Temple of Goddess Ixchel and the ruins of Mundaca Hacienda. You will need about 4 to 5 hours from your trip to Cancun to enjoy these islands.

I suggest you should book a Full Day Catarman Cruise Tour to Isla Mujeres with Snorkeling and Bar in advance.

Isla Mujeres

9. Coba Ruins

The Coba ruins were once the site of 6,500 Mayan structures though only a few can be seen in the ruins. The most striking among these structures are the stone causeways. These roads are elevated a little higher than the buildings and create a network.

The other structures at this site include the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, Ball Courts, Cojunta de Pinturas, Pyramid of Painted Lintel, Coba Stelae, and Grand Pyramid. The site is home to many interesting places to see in Cancun. You will need 2 to 3 hours to tour the Coba Ruins.

I suggest you should book a Day Trip to Coba Ruins in advance.

Coba Ruins

10. Tulum Ruins

This is the most popular tourist attraction in Cancun. This Mayan ruins site is among the top 3 most visited places in the Mexico. It is one of the most important historical places to visit in Cancun. Unlike most Mayan ruins, Tulum used to be a walled city. It was built on steep limestone cliffs with about 5-meter tall walls.

The city was of tremendous significance for the Mayan civilization and was hence well guarded. It is one of the few sites to have a large castle. Tulum was a major port and facilitated a lot of trade.

Aside from the Castle, the Temple of Frescoes is one of the most interesting sites in Tulum. The temple has a painting depicting the three levels of the Mayan world. The temple gives a glimpse of the Mayan culture, religion, and traditions. It is one of the most interesting things to see in Cancun. The site has several other buildings and you will need about 2 to 3 hours to explore Tulum.

I suggest you should book a Full Day Trip to Tulum Ruins in advance.

Tulum Ruins

11. Xel-Ha Park

This themed waterpark is actually a large natural aquarium with more than 70 marine species. You can put on snorkelling gear and explore the underwater wonders. Some of the most commonly spotted species include angelfish, parrotfish, queen conch, barracuda, rays, and more.

The park also has many fun things to do in Cancun. You can enjoy a river tour in a tube, explore the underwater caves, cliff-dive into the water, zoom on ziplines, explore the forests, and more. You can easily take 3 to 4 hours from your trip to Cancun to enjoy this waterpark.

I suggest you should get a All-Inclusive Admission Ticket to Xel-Ha Park in advance.

Xel-Ha Park

12. Wet’n Wild (Ventura Park)

This is yet another popular waterpark in the city and is one of the best things to do in Cancun for families with children. The park has slides, rides, games, wave pools, and more. Some of the most popular rides in this park include the Twister, Wave Pool, Kamikaze, Space Bowl, Wet Bubble, and Bubba Tub. The park also has a special activity zone where you can swim with dolphins. You can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying this park with kids when you travel to Cancun.

I suggest you should get your Entry Tickets to Wet’n Wild (Ventura Park) in advance.

Wet'n Wild (Ventura Park)

13. CrocoCun Zoo

This zoo allows you to see the animals in various habitats as well as interact with them. The zoo houses crocodiles, snakes, deer, monkeys, and several types of birds. The zoo focuses more on educating people and engaging with the animals.

It is one of the top things to do in Cancun for families. The zoo has special activities for children where they can touch, carry, and feed many of the animals. You can easily spend an hour or so exploring this zoo.

I suggest you should get your Entry Ticket to the CrocoCun Zoo in advance.

CrocoCun Zoo

14. Selvatica Zipline

This zipline has been one of the best excursions in Cancun for thrill seekers. The adventure park has several ziplines of varying lengths and is listed among top ten adventures in the world. The most popular rides in this adventure park include Air Assault, Polaris Ace, Aerial Bridges, Giant Bungee, Monster Zipline, Tanzania, and Human Coaster.

It has some of the best adventure activities to do in Cancun. Alongside zip lines, the park also has ATV rides, canopy adventures, rope courses, sky bridges, swimming rides, and more. You can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying the rides in this park.

I suggest you should book your Selvetica Park Zipline Adventure Experience in advance.

15. Playa del Carmen

This beachside resort town is known for its beaches and artists colony. It is a luxury retreat with pristine beaches, leisure activities, cultural venues, and a happening nightlife.

The Carmen beach is one of the most popular places to go in Cancun for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The coastline is rich with marine life including corals, moray eels, sea turtles, small fishes, and so on. You can take 2 to 3 hours from your trip to Cancun to enjoy this place.

I suggest you should book your Tour to Playa del Carmen in advance.

Playa del Carmen

16. Isla Contoy

This island is located at the meeting point of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The island is known for its rich marine life and corals. It is one of the best places to visit near Cancun for hiking, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, and boat tours.

You will see sharks, dolphins, rays, turtles, and more. The island itself is home to several species of birds including cormorants, frigates, pelicans, flamingos, herons, and so on. This island is one of the finest natural retreats to explore when you travel to Cancun. You will need at least 3 to 4 hours for this trip.

I suggest you should book your Full Day Trip to Isla Contoy in advance.

Isla Contoy

17. Nichupte Lagoon

This beautiful blue lagoon is popular as a nature retreat from Cancun. The lagoon is surrounded by mangrove forests creating a beautiful ecosystem. This place is especially popular for outdoor activities to do in Cancun. This includes fishing, kayaking, canoeing, snorkelling, scuba diving, and boat tours. You will need at least 2 to 3 hours to explore the lagoon.

I suggest you should go for a Kayak Tour in Nichupte Lagoon.

Nichupte Lagoon

18. El Parque de las Palapas

This small plaza sits in downtown and is known for the street food joints. The park has a lot of small shops and carts where you can indulge yourself with delightful Mexican street food.

You can try out churros, marquesitas, esquitas, carnitas tacos, torta, and more. It is a must-do in Cancun for foodies. The place also livens up in the evening with music and performances. You should dedicate an evening to this venue.

El Parque de las Palapas

19. Rio Secreto Nature Reserve

Also known as the Secret River, this reserve has a series of caves carved by the flow of ancient underground rivers. These caves have developed into vibrant ecosystems.

This reserve is popular for hiking, cave exploration, snorkeling, swimming, ATV tours, and scuba diving. The caves have small and large pools with colourful rock formations, stalagmites, stalactites, and crystals. These caves are also part of many Mayan legends. Take 2 to 3 hours from your trip to Cancun to explore this magical wonder.

I suggest you should book your Trip to Rio Secreto Nature Reserve in advance.

Rio Secreto Nature Reserve

20. La Isla Shopping Village

This shopping venue is a delight for buying all sorts of things when you visit Cancun. This shopping village stands on the waterfront with a variety of shops selling local as well as international brands. You can enjoy strolls along the winding canals while you explore the stores. You can easily spend a couple of hours from Cancun travel to shop at this venue.

I suggest you should book a Shopping Tour in Cancun in advance.

La Isla Shopping Village

21. Xoximilco

Also known as the “Garden of Flowers”, this neighbourhood revives the floating garden concept. The neighbourhood has several boats tied together to create a community. Each boat is an event by itself. You get to enjoy lively music, regional food, dance performances, and so on. It is a nice way to spend an evening during Cancun sightseeing.

I suggest you should book your Entry Ticket to the Xocimilco in advance.

Xoximilco

If you are looking for more places to visit in Cancun, check out the sections below. We have compiled a complete list of attractions and activities that you can enjoy in Cancun and around it.

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico

Monuments, Museums & Historical Places to Visit in Cancun, Mexico

  1. El Rey Archeological Zone
  2. Museo Maya de Cancun
  3. Chichen Itza
  4. Tulum Archeological Site
  5. Parroquaia de Cristo Resucitado
  6. Modern Underwatet Sculpture Museum (MUSA)
  7. Cabo Ruins
  8. El Meco Archeological Site
  9. Yamil Lu’um
  10. Cancun Wax Museum
  11. Monumento Ruta de los Cenotes

Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Cancun, Mexico

  1. Xel Ha Park
  2. Kabah Ecological Park
  3. Nichupte Lagoon
  4. Rio Secreto Nature Reserve
  5. Ik Kil

Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Cancun, Mexico

  1. Xcaret Park
  2. Interactive Aquarium
  3. Puerto Maya
  4. Captain Hook Boat
  5. Coco Bongo
  6. Xoximilco
  7. Xel Ha Park
  8. Ventura Park
  9. Parques de las Palapas
  10. Selvatica Adventure Park
  11. Jungala Aqua Experience
  12. Dolphin Discovery Playa del Carmen
  13. Mayan Water Complex
  14. Piston Pueblo
  15. Wet’n Wild
  16. CrocoCun Zoo

Shopping in Cancun, Mexico

  1. La Isla Shopping Village
  2. Mercado 28
  3. Marina Town Center
  4. Las Plazas Outlet
  5. Plaza Las Americas
  6. Luxury Avenue Shopping Mall
  7. Boulevard Kukulcan
  8. Tulum Avenue
  9. Fashion Harbour
  10. Plaza la Fiesta

Beaches & Islands in Cancun, Mexico

  1. Playa Delfines
  2. Playa Langosta
  3. Playa Tortugas
  4. Playa Norte
  5. Isla Mujeres
  6. Playa Gaviota Azul
  7. Playa Forum
  8. Playa Ballenas
  9. Dolphin Beach Point
  10. Playa Marlin
  11. Playa Chac Mool
  12. El Nino Beach
  13. Playa Las Perlas
  14. Isla Contoy
  15. Caracol Beach
  16. Playa del Carmen
  17. Isla Holbox
  18. Playa Ancha
  19. Playa Centro
  20. Playa Blanca

Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Cancun, Mexico

  1. Hiking
  2. Zipline
  3. Cave Exploration
  4. Boat Cruise
  5. Kayaking
  6. Canoeing
  7. Scuba Diving
  8. Snorkelling
  9. Surfing

Sightseeing in Cancun, Mexico

  1. Boulevard Kukulcan
  2. Punta Nizuc
  3. Party Zone
  4. Puerto Juarez
  5. Puerto Cancun

Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Cancun, Mexico

  1. Rosa Negra
  2. Parque de la Palapas
  3. Mextreme
  4. La Habichuela
  5. Puerto Madero
  6. Margely Mariscos
  7. Marinero’s
  8. La Parilla
  9. Nicoletta
  10. El Rinconcito de Puebla
  11. Taqueria Los Chachalacos
  12. Taqueria Coapnitos
  13. Cancun Lighthouse
  14. La Buena Barra
  15. Flor de Lis
  16. La Casa de los Abuelos
  17. Loncheria El Pocito
  18. Icaza
  19. El Paisano del 23
  20. La Organica
  21. Huelic Tortilleria
  22. Marakame
  23. Mar de Miel Cafe y Cocina
  24. El Huerto del Eden
  25. Herbivoro

Where to Stay in Cancun?

Here we have listed Top Rated Luxurious, Mid-Range and Budget Hotels in Cancun. You can check below listed hotels for your perfect stay in Cancun.

Luxurious Hotels

  1. Moon Palace Cancun
  2. Emporio Cancun
  3. Secrets The Vine Cancun
  4. Hilton Cancun, an All-Inclusive Resort
  5. Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach
  6. Hilton Cancun Mar Caribe All-Inclusive Resort
  7. Haven Riviera Cancun
  8. Hotel NYX Cancun
  9. Hyatt Zilara Cancun
  10. Paradisus Cancun

Mid-Range Hotels

  1. Hotel Krystal Cancun
  2. The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun
  3. All Ritmo Cancun Resort & Waterpark
  4. Canopy by Hilton Cancun La Isla
  5. Aloft Cancun
  6. Flamingo Cancún All Inclusive
  7. Mayan Monkey | Best Hotel In Cancun
  8. Beachscape Kin Ha Villas & Suites
  9. Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina
  10. Real Inn Cancun

Budget Hotels

  1. Selina Cancun Laguna, Hotel Zone
  2. Oh! Cancun The Urban Oasis & Beach Club
  3. Aquamarina Beach Hotel
  4. Mex Hoteles
  5. Krystal Urban Cancún & Beach Club
  6. Selina Cancun Downtown
  7. Wyndham Garden Cancun Downtown
  8. Hotel Adhara Cancún
  9. Hotel Plaza Caribe
  10. Nomads Hostel, Hotel & Rooftop Cancún

TripAdvisor

Custom Tours Package in Cancun

How to Reach Cancun, Mexico?

By Air

The city is served by the Cancun International Airport. This airport receives direct flights to visit Cancun from Mexico, South America, North America, Europe, Russia, and a few Asian cities. Some of the top direct flight destinations to reach Cancun include Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Toronto, Montreal, Paris, Madrid, Quebec, London, Ottawa, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, San Fransisco, Austin, Portland, Boston, Cincinnati, Miami, San Jose, Bogota, Frankfurt, Panama City, Zurich, Barcelona, Lisbon, and several others. You can get buses and cabs to get to the city from the airport.

By Road

Puerto Juarez is the main train station in Cancun. You can reach Cancun directly by train to several cities in Mexico. This includes Merida, Progreso, Campeche, El Chapo, Chetumal, and Minatitlan. These stations connect Cancun to several major towns in the country. Mexico also has a decent bus network.

However, if you are traveling a significant distance, you should go for a bus or a train.

If you are planning to travel to Cancun by road, you should head for routes 180 or 307. Both of these routes take you to Cancun.

By Water

There are no direct water routes to reach Cancun. But you can make boat trips to and from nearby islands.


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