Anyone who hears the name Cancun knows perfectly well that this is a vacation paradise with white sand beaches, turquoise seas and a great experience for the whole family.
And although at this time of year you will find some of the best beaches with the sargasso problem, it is still one of the best options to visit on your vacation, and if you think Cancun is just a place recognized for its beaches or nightlife, you will be surprised to know that Cancun has many other places you can visit. Museums, aquariums, golf courses, restaurants, beaches, cenotes and much more!
Here’s a list of the top 20 places to visit in Cancun.
In a peaceful corner of the Hotel Zone south of the Maya Museum, Playa Delfines is a Blue Flag beach where you can escape the crowds of Cancun.
Long and wide, it is a public beach with thick white sand and powerful waves that attract surfers but can be a little hard to swim on.
Playa Delfines has a swimming area delineated and guarded by a lifeguard, and you can always paddle in the rough waters without having to worry.
There is a bar on the beach for eating and drinking, and you can use the palapas (palm shelters) for free.
On the back, in large print, is the “Cancun” sign, which you may have seen on postcards or Internet photos.
A 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, Isla Mujeres will feel like a place out of this world.
Isla Mujeres is a beautiful place that is practically underdeveloped compared to Cancun.
A little more than six kilometers long, the island is sailed mainly by golf cart, bicycle or on foot, and if you stay overnight, you’ll notice how things calm down even more once the last ferries leave for Cancun.
One of the many things to love about Isla Mujeres is its west coast, leeward, protected from the winds and currents of the Caribbean Sea and bathed by clear, undulating waters.
The best of them is the famous North Beach, with white and dusty sand, bright turquoise waters and curious pelicans perched on the wooden breakwaters.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Cancun then I highly recommend Isla Mujeres as it will be one of the best places to visit in Cancun.
Outside Playa del Carmen, one hour from Cancun, Xcaret is another of those places that justify every minute of the trip.
It is a combination of activity and cultural park that contains authentic pre-Hispanic ruins and the opportunity to see Mayan artisans at work, Papantla flyers and a Mesoamerican ball game in the Gran Tlacho theater with capacity for 6,000 people.
There are also more recent Mexican traditions such as Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and folkloric dance demonstrations.
During the construction of Xcaret, a series of cenotes (caves and sinks) created by the underground rivers were discovered, and snorkeling can be practiced through its crystal clear waters.
The Xcaret group manages a number of must-see attractions nearby, such as the new Xenses multi-sensory theme park, the Xel-Ha water park, and the outdoor adventure center, Xplor Park. For the distance is best to use transportation from Cancun to this park and what better than eTransfers, the official shuttle from Cancun.
Keep your Xcaret bracelet, and when you return to Cancun you will be able to enter the Scenic Observation Tower in the hotel zone completely free of charge.
At the highest point in Cancun, the tower has a rotating capsule, which is accessed from the bottom and rises to 80 meters above sea level.
Above the speaker is a brief engraved summary of the history, geography, and statistics of the city, as well as details of all landmarks visible from the top.
When you consider the clarity of the water, warm temperatures, reefs, marine life and attractions like the Underwater Museum (MUSA), you can see why Cancun has a surplus of dive centers.
If you have the time, the resort is a world-class place to learn, and you can speed up the process by completing your theory online before you come
Experienced divers can choose from dozens of sites and unforgettable encounters with dolphins, whale sharks (May to September), bull sharks (November to March) or sea turtles.
There are also caves deep enough not to be affected by above-water conditions.
Cenotes along the Riviera Maya to the south are prepared for cave diving, and many of them have recently been explored for the first time.
4Underwater Art Museum (MUSA)
This Underwater Art Museum (MUSA) on the west coast of Isla Mujeres was inaugurated in 2009 as an imaginative way to reduce traffic to the reefs of Cancun.
Little by little, corals and other spectacular forms of marine life have begun to gain ground in the museum’s sculptures, designed by English artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
There are more than 500 works submerged in 400 square meters of shallow, empty sea.
These pieces can be seen from a glass-bottomed boat if you prefer to stay dry, but most people opt for snorkeling and diving for a better approach.
It is a safe place for newcomers to try a boat dive for the first time.
The museum is very popular, so try to be early in the place so you can make the most of the time and explore more at ease.
Believe it or not, in Cancun you can also find quiet places to visit with your family, such as the Palapas Park in Cancun.
In this place the most fun you will find are the electric cars that can be rented for 20 pesos for 10 minutes, and these are accompanied by carousels and a large playground.
Adults can explore the palapas, stalls built like beach huts that sell handicrafts and jewelry, and be tempted by the many Mexican street food vendors.
If you want something sweet, a flan, a sorbet or a marquesita (a tube of a sweet wafer filled with Nutella, caramel, condensed milk), you can go for a churro. Salty snacks include quesadilla, salty grilled corn, tacos and more.
This is definitely one more place to visit in Cancun with your family.
2Chac Mool Beach
A glorious public beach, Playa Chac Mool is located in the Hotel Zone and is a less touristy alternative to resorts and private beaches.
Here there is no beach bar and only one stand where you can rent an umbrella and a lounger.
Come early because the umbrellas and loungers occupy themselves quickly.
To eat and drink you can bring your own provisions or walk a bit to the OXXO (the 7-Eleven of Mexico). Playa Chac Mool has the famous white sands of Cancun, shaken by the waves.
The waves break quite far away, leaving a large shallow area with turquoise waters in which children can splash.
The calcareous rocky bed of the Yucatan peninsula is crossed by subterranean rivers, which have hollowed out caves or cenotes, some of which have collapsed, leaving open pools.
Most of the cenotes are at least an hour from Cancun but are available on organized tours from the resort.
Ik Kil is one to consider, as it is located near Chichen Itza and is often included in the same tour.
This cenote is open to the sky in a basin 25 meters below the forest floor and 60 meters in diameter.
There are dripping waterfalls and creepers from the forest vegetation that hang down and touch the water.
Ik Kil is up to 40 meters and has been used for extreme diving competitions; you can also try it by diving into the water from the stone steps.
Obviously the Ik Kil Cenote is not the only one near Cancun. Dos Ojos Cenote and Rio Secreto are also worth a visit.