The Top Must See and Do Things in Cancun
Cancun is a beautiful resort and tourist city in the Yucatan Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. It is located on the Caribbean sea and houses many tourist sites from Mayan ruins and river along with cities like Tulum and Cobra. These ruins are the magnificent remains of the Mayan people. They are archaeological sites and a major tourist attraction today.
The Mayan civilization was one of the ancient cultures before the arrival of the European explorers. The mayans spread across several cities in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico to mention a few. If you intend visiting this amazing city and would like to have the full Cancun experience, here are all of the top things to do!
1. Walk through the walled city
Tulum also known as the walled city is a powerful and impressive city, it is beautifully positioned facing the sea and is located Located 131 kilometers south of Cancun. It is thought to be one of the most important cities of the Mayans. Some fresco remains can still be found inside the structure. Take a walk there and relive history.
2. See the tallest pyramid
Cobra, located in the state of Quintana Roo Mexico at 42 km. west of Tulum houses the tallest pyramid, Nohoch Mul which is 12 stories tall and has 120 steps to the top! Climbing up those steps is an adventure on it’s own. Cobra is over 80 sq. miles with 5 lakes and many buildings still covered by the jungle. More so, from the top of the pyramid, you can have a magnificent view of the jungle.
3. Go to Uxmal heights
Visit the Uxmal Mayan ruins is located in Yucatan Mexico. There you would see the highest structure in Uxmal, the pyramid of the magician which was built three times. The name Uxmal means ‘thrice-built’ , referring to the repeated constructions of the Pyramid of the Magician.
4. Swim in Riveria maya
The Mayan River, also known as Riveria maya is a major attraction for coastal and reef activities. It comprises of the Belize barrier reef which continues along the length of the river. This is the second largest barrier reef system in the world.The clarity of the water makes it one of the most visited locations.
5. Relax on dreamy beaches
Take a 15 minutes boat ride to one of the most popular destinations near Cancun, a tropical paradise; Isla Mujeres which literally means island of women. I guess this name comes from it’s dreamy beaches and laid back island feeling. You could book a tour with one of the several guides to take you through or simply rent a golf car and circle the island on your own.
6. The eco-archaeological parks
Xcaret Pronounced “Sh-car-ret” is an eco-archaeological park is filled with color, music, nature and a dose of the Mayan and Mexican culture.
Inside the park there is an aviary, an aquarium, a butterfly pavilion as well as places where you can view animals, from manatees to spider monkeys and more. If you get tired of viewing, you can also float down a lazy river, swim with dolphins, swim in underground rivers, climb a small Mayan ruin, relax on the beach and more. If you’ve got kids, you definitely should visit the Children’s World aka Mundo de Niños.More so, there are performances all through the day and night shows on Mayan and mexican culture to keep you entertained. The park also holds amazing annual events like a Day of the Dead festival; a celebration in honor of loved ones who have passed on.
7. Visit eco-adventure parks
If you want a rush of adrenaline then Xplor is the place to visit. Xplor a natural eco adventure park located in the Riviera Maya, just south of Playa del Carmen. You could ride on ziplines of which there are 14, ride on amphibious vehicles and go through underground rivers that features stalactites created millions of years ago !
To normalise your heart rate from the adrenaline rush take a bite in the buffet restaurant which offers yummy juices, cookies and smoothies.
8. See the descending snake shadows
A popular event to see is the Chichen Itza shadows. Located in the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins is the pyramid Kukulcan, the tallest of the pyramids located there. During the Spring and Fall equinoxes, (March 21 & Sept 21) the setting sun creates shadows down the steps of the pyramid that resemble a snake descending. This event usually draws big crowds and is one you should look forward to.
9. Visit the world’s largest aquarium
Xel-Ha boasts to have the “largest, most beautiful natural aquarium in the world”. It is one of the Experiencias Xcaret family that is, one of the eco parks.
You can swim in grottos & natural sinkholes. See local sea life, explore Mayan ruins, jump off the Stone of Courage, cross the floating bridge, ride bikes or fly kites. There are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied for the entire day or you can simply spend your time napping in a seaside hammock. Xel-Ha also features a delicious buffet restaurant and offers a children’s area.
10. Go scuba diving
If you love underwater activities, you should definitely visit the Carey Dive Center located on Isla Mujeres (Island of Women). They offer scuba diving, PADI diving courses, snorkeling, fishing, whale shark tours and Isla Contoy and cenote visits. This is one of the most well-established and experienced dive shops on the island, which is located just off the coast of Cancun. You’ll get outstanding services and have one of the best scuba dive instructors in Isla Mujeres teach you.
11. Learn Mayan and Mexican history
The Chichen Itza is your go to place for first hand Mayan and Mexican history. It is by far the largest and most impressive Mayan archaeological ruins site in the region. It was even voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.If you visit Chichen Itza. You’ll not only learn a bit about the Mayan people and Mexican history, but you’ll see a cenote where human sacrifices were performed and stare in awe when you see the massive structures that were built with only manpower and crude tools. Make sure to go with water, light clothing, a hat and if possible a sunscreen because it’s hot out there in the Jungle !
12. Cool off on virgin beaches
If you love virgin beaches, check out the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, A UNESCO World Heritage Site located south of Tulum, which includes more than a million acres, numerous habitats and 23 archaeological sites, some of which date back 2300 years. If you would like to spend more time here, there are small hotels and homes available for rent.
13. Go for a lively evening of Mexican music, culture and cuisine.
Xoximilco offers the best of Mexican cuisine, music and culture for visitors while riding on “trajineras”, colorfully decorated gondola-like boats. All courses and fresh fruit drinks, beer, tequila and soft drinks are included.
The tour ends with all trajineras gathering together for a lively party. This is a fun, one-of-a kind tour that highlights the best that Mexico has to offer.
14. Eat some local Foods!
After a relaxing fun filled day, have a chill evening by dining at some of the exquisite restaurants in the area. You could visit the La Habichuela, a bar and grill, located downtown on Calle Margaritas 25. They offer fine dining at its best.
Or try roadside food! From hand made tortillas to crunchy tacos, there are many roadside cheap stakes that would keep you wanting more. When in Tulum, do yourself a favour and head down to the Taqueria Honorio and treat yourself to good tacos at a ridiculously low price for the quality you get.
15. The Maya museum
You should visit the Maya museum (Museo Maya de Cancún) located In the Cancún Center, the city’s large convention complex. The Museum is worth visiting to learn more about the region’s rich history. This beautiful attraction does a good job of explaining the ancient roots of the region’s Mayan culture, from its founding centuries ago to the modern day.
16. Shop at the local markets
Visit the local markets and patronize them. Buy the handmade crafts, the fashion accessories, the woven scarves and souvenirs. Mercado 28, is a market downtown Cancun with 100 shops. You can find almost any collectible there, from embroided pillow covers to hand-painted pottery and even gifts for your loved ones at home.
17. Learn one or two Mexican words
It would be nice to learn one or two Mexican words.You can ask one of the locales to teach you how to say ‘good morning’ in Mexican. This would help enhance your experience. From relaxing on the beautiful beaches, to zip lining the Maya ruins, to swimming with Dolphins, to watching amazing dance performances and eating belly filling tacos, there is truly fun for everyone at the Cancun Islands.
18. Spring break parties
These parties are massive, wild and exciting! A lot of them are on the beach and include major concert with celebrities like Snoop Dog, Drake, Rihanna and much more. Partygoers frolic all day and night on the beach partying to no end. After one of these parties you may need a vacation from your vacation.
This popular water sport is an inexpensive thrill that provides a major rush and and great picture opportunities right from your resort beach. We do this every time we go to Cancun.
20. Foam Parties and Club hopping
The party scene in Cancun is wild, most resorts are all inclusive so your drinks are included all day! At the resort there will be people selling all inclusive club hopping packages that include no line/no cover and all drinks. Some of the clubs will have foam parties where they fill up the dance floor with foam up to your head. This gets totally wild and people have a lot of fun with this, a lot of people will just take their shirts right off in the club!
21. Stay in an all inclusive.
The all inclusive resorts in Cancun are some of the best and most extravagant in the world! They have some of the biggest most beautiful pools you can find and the best beaches in Mexico on them. No stress vacationing is the way to go here, most resorts have 4 or more restaurants and buffets along with multiple bars, nightclubs and casinos! Many people never leave the resorts as there is so much to do. It is also very inexpensive to do an all inclusive so it makes a lot of sense. Some resorts have full child care and child waterparks and pools. There are reefs right off of the beach that provide great snorkelling. There is always a local merchant night at each resort where they sell souvenirs and local arts so another reason to just stay in the resort.
22. Rent a scouter or motorcycle and explore.
Tourism is huge here and the roads are in great condition. You can rent a scouter very inexpensively and cruise around the local hotspots or find hidden gems of your own! Maps can be found everywhere that show the local hotspots.
23. Watersports through the mangroves.
The last time we visited Cancun, we took a tour that took us out on mini boats or jet ski’s depending on what you prefer through the winding mangroves for miles until we reached the ocean where they had us snorkelling at a beautiful reef. This was an exciting day out that I highly recommend. We got to see local wildlife and many different fish species, it is a great educational experience for kids and adults to learn some of the benefits of the mangroves and reefs!
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