Cancun is where you go to visit many of the most incredible beaches in the world. But there’s more! Check out this list of the best things to do in Cancun, including the best beaches and places nearby.
When you think of beaches, an image of Cancun soon comes to mind. Known for its extraordinary views framed by fine sand and the blue sea, this incredible place has even more to offer (and something for every taste).
Life in Cancun can be shortly described as something out of a movie where people drink margaritas by the sea, shop in exuberant malls, go on day trips to ancient ruins, hang out with friends at cool nightclubs — and the best part: repeat it all over again the next day. So get ready!
The best way to explore Cancun and all of its little corners is to rent a car and drive around. Plan your days well, as you’ll see they’ll go very fast. If you’re planning your visit to Cancun, compare the best car rental companies around on Rentcars.com and enjoy the best offers.
Best things to do in Cancun
1. Playa Delfines
Just 15 minutes from the airport, the Delfines beach is one of the most visited in Cancun and where an wooden balcony offers a panoramic and incredible view of the region. Definitely one of the tourist’s favorite points of interest.
This is also where most pictures you’ve seen from Cancun are taken, at the Hotel Zone. You’ve definitely seen this, right?
This is a great place to stay at least for one morning or afternoon, as this isn’t just one of the most popular beaches in Cancun for no reason. Here you’ll find white and fine sand, followed by the sea. The beach is very wide, so there’s a place for everyone to enjoy!
If you’re a history fan, you can spend an afternoon at the Mayan Museum of Cancun (Museo Maya de Cancún), just a short drive from the beach. A good alternative for rainy or cloudy days.
2. Isla Mujeres
To go to Isla Mujeres you’ll need to take a ferry from Puerto Juarez, near Playa Tortugas and Playa las Perlas. Crossing takes around 15 minutes and boats depart from 5 am to 9.30 pm every 30 minutes.
There, there’s a lot to see. Mostly, you’ll be spending time at Playa Norte and Punta Sur, two of the most popular places to be.
At Playa Norte, you have to make time not only for the beach, but also for the Parador Fotográfico, where you can take pictures near a sign with the name of the island and enjoy panoramic views of the sea.
At Punta Sur, there are three points of interest: the mirador and the Vista Pública, from where you’ll be able to see the incredible blueish-green sea of the Caribbean, and the Garrafon Natural Reef Park, where you’ll find not only natural beauty, but also a zip line for the adventurous ones.
3. Playa del Carmen
Just over an hour from downtown Cancun, Playa del Carmen is well worth the ride.
Beyond the beaches and the nightlife, in Playa del Carmen you can visit the Calle Quinta Avenida for some great shopping, the Parque Los Fundadores to see some incredible sculptures, the 3D Museum of Wonders for some illusions and much more.
Our tip is to visit one of the cenotes of the area, which are natural pools and quite common in the area of Yucatán. The most famous one is the Cenote Chaak Tun, where you can take a guided tour that includes all the necessary equipment for a safe visit.
Another hour on the road and you’ll arrive in Tulum, one of the last areas to be built and inhabited by the Mayans. Its ancient ruins by the sea are the biggest attraction, but you can also enjoy the beach and the cenotes.
The most famous beaches are Playa Paraiso and Playa Pescadores, from where you can see the ancient ruins from Tulum’s National Park.
The most popular cenote in the area is the Gran Cenote, with clear waters and beautiful colors. Some turtles live there, so the use of sunscreens and other products alike is prohibited to protect them. If you can, try to go during weekdays, as the weekends tend to be very crowded.
5. Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is the only place on the list that isn’t on the sea side, but it’s for good reason. Located 91 miles from Tulum or 125 miles from Cancun, this is a must visit place when you go to Mexico.
Chichén Itzá is one of the new seven wonders of the world, along with places like the Great Wall of China and Taj Mahal. The most popular sight of this ancient Mayan city is the Temple of Kukulcan (or El Castillo).
The site is enormous, as you can imagine, so there’s much more to see you have the time (and, please, make time!). Most notably, El Caracol and Templo de los Guerreros are worth the visit.
6. Playa Tortugas
Playa Tortugas is also one of the most famous ones in Cancun. Its waters are calm and warm, very inviting! The beach itself is not as wide, but has good structure, kiosks and toilets available.
Tortugas is also very known for Centro Tortugas, where the ferry boats to Isla Mujeres depart and arrive all day from and to Puerto Juarez.
For the most adventurous ones, this is also where you can bungee jump and parasail. Just go to the Adventure Bay, where these and other high adrenaline activities are offered.
Another great idea is to visit the Cancun Rotating Scenic Tower (Torre Escenica), which is the tallest building in the Mexican Caribbean and offers an incredible panoramic view of the city.
Tip: if you’re travelling with kids, take a little walk to the Playa las Perlas. This one is perfect for the little ones, as the waters are much calmer and look like pool from a distance.