Things to do in Cancun, the jewel of the Mexican Caribbean
Fantastic beaches, hotels for all tastes, bars, restaurants and shopping centers, a thousand activities and adventures, incredible natural landscapes, the priceless heritage of the Maya Civilization…, Cancun has it all… and much more! Therefore, on your next vacation, you have to visit this authentic jewel of the Mexican Caribbean.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend visit or a well-deserved two-week vacation, if it’s a romantic getaway with your partner or a trip with the whole family, your stay in Cancun includes a thousand and one possibilities to enjoy unforgettable days. Take a look at these suggestions of what you can see and do in this exciting Mexican destination and start planning your perfect trip to paradise.
Cancun beaches: white sand and turquoise blue sea
If something has made Cancun famous, those are its beaches: white sand and turquoise blue sea. 100% Caribbean! Visiting this incredible destination means, of course, enjoying some unforgettable beach days. Read a book in the shade of a palm tree, get the perfect tan, enjoy exciting water activities, have your favorite cocktail in the best beach clubs… Just choose the plan that you like the most!
Located south of the Hotel Zone, in front of the El Rey archaeological site, this is a huge public beach with one of the best panoramic views of the Caribbean. In addition, at the entrance is one of the most photographed places in Cancun: the sign with the name of the city in large colored letters, with the beautiful sea as background. The waves are more or less strong, and it is quite frequent to see some surfers out there, but don’t worry, there are lifeguards on-site during the day.
Playa Delfines also has the Blue Flag distinctive, which certifies a series of strict environmental, safety, and service criteria (bathrooms, palapas, etc.). This is also a protected area because, during the spawning season (from May to September), different species of sea turtles visit Playa Delfines to lay their eggs.
At the opposite end of the Hotel Zone (to the north), you can enjoy this charming, little public beach. The sea is super calm, just like a big pool, making it an excellent place to go with small children. You can also take a good walk connecting with other beaches in the area, and being in the heart of Punta Cancun you have all kinds of services close by, from restaurants to shopping centers.
Playa Caracol is also one of the departure points for the ferries that connect Cancun with Isla Mujeres. On the right side of the beachfront, you can see the long dock where the boats are boarded.
Also located in the northern part of the Hotel Zone, and also public, this beach is quite nice, shallow, and without waves, but, above all, very lively. Right on-site, you have bars and restaurants to enjoy some good snacks and your favorite drink. You can also hire a parasol and sun loungers, as well as equipment for different water activities.
Playa Tortugas is another embark point to Isla Mujeres. In this case, the piers are on the left side of the beach, and in addition to the boats, there is an 80 feet high tower from which you can Bungee jump directly over the water. Super fun!
Wide, quiet, ideal for families…, this is the third public beach in the north of Cancun. The place has different services, from public parking, bathrooms, and showers, to parasols, chairs, and sun loungers that you can rent to enjoy a delightful day at the beach.
As in Playa Delfines, Langosta Beach also has a Cancun sign with large colored letters where you can take a nice photo, and the views are beautiful as well. In addition, about 500 meters away, you can find one of the water channels that connect the Caribbean with the Nichupté lagoon. And speaking of the lagoon, also in front of Playa Langosta, right on the side of the lagoon, you can enjoy several water activities, including kayak or SUP tours among the mangroves.
Best things to do in Cancún, a living city
The heart of Cancun is the Hotel Zone, the long corridor (actually an island in the shape of a “7”) located between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupteé lagoon. There you can find most of the big hotels and best tourist attractions: bars and restaurants, shopping centers, golf courses, marinas, etc. But over time, the city of Cancun has also become a place that offers you great possibilities.
Explore the city and discover its authentic charm in places like the Kabah Urban Park, the House of Culture, and the Kukulkan Fountain, with its beautiful nightly show of illuminated fountains. For shopping, you have the large Plaza Las Américas, Mercado 28 and Plaza Bonita. And don’t miss the Parque de las Palapas, Puerto Juarez and its fishermen’s vibe, the Ka’Yok ‘Planetarium, the restaurants and bars (more local and less touristy), and the El Meco archaeological zone, among many other attractions. Cancun is a lively, authentic city that will surely surprise you.
Eating in Cancun
In addition to its beautiful beaches and world-class hotels, another thing that makes Cancun an incredible place is its delicious gastronomic offer. From a taco stand in the city center to a luxury restaurant in the Hotel Zone, you have options for all kinds of tastes and budgets. So don’t worry if you want sushi, a juicy hamburger, typical Yucatan-style food… in Cancun you can have it all. Just follow your nose and Bon appetite!
Shopping in Cancun
Another attraction of this fantastic destination is its shopping scene: you cannot visit Cancun and not go shopping. In the Hotel Zone, you have world-class shopping centers, such as Plaza Kukulkan and La Isla. There you can find the best national and international brands and other super original stores. If you want beautiful crafts or the most typical souvenirs, get to town and visit Market 28 or Plaza Las Americas, a large shopping center with more than 200 stores. Plaza Forum in the Punta Cancun area and the new Marina Puerto Cancun shopping center are also good shopping options.
Live the nightlife in Cancun
Party is Cancun’s middle name… and it sure is a good one! Its lively nightlife is a must for everyone who visits this amusing tourist destination. As with its enormous gastronomic variety, Cancun’s nightlife also offers you a lot of possibilities. Dance until you drop in any of its famous nightclubs, such as Coco Bongo, Mandala, or The City. You can also have fun like never before in the bars of Punta Cancun, such as La Vaquita or Señor Frog’s, or on the thousand spots along Kukulkan Boulevard. Looking for something more intimate? Try the different piano bars and lobby bars where you can enjoy a super romantic evening.
Isla Mujeres, the tiny Caribbean paradise
Cancun offers you a thousand and one plans to enjoy some magical days, and that includes a bunch of excursions. There are activities for a few hours, half-day tours, or full-day plans, and you can enjoy them on your own or on organized tours. The important thing is that you dare to discover the incredible attractions close to the city.
And one of the excursions that you should not miss is a visit to Isla Mujeres, the tiny Caribbean paradise that is just 4 miles from the coast of Cancun. Hire an excursion or take the ferries to the island –they depart from Puerto Juarez and some other spots of the Hotel Zone. Enjoy an unforgettable day on this beautiful island that has the distinction of Pueblo Magico. Breathtaking beaches, water activities, nature, delicious food… the perfect day!
Discover the Mayan World
Centuries of accumulated treasures! Discover the heritage of the ancient Mayas and learn about the great history of a unique civilization. The archaeological sites of El Rey, El Meco, and San Miguelito, and the incredible Mayan Museum are attractions that you can enjoy directly in Cancun. But also be sure to visit some of the ancient Maya cities you can find in the area. Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Coba are just a few examples. With Vacaciones Barceló, you can visit any of these historical and cultural jewels enjoying all the comforts.
Fun things to do in Cancun, an underwater paradise
If Cancun surprises you out of the water, wait until you discover its incredible underwater treasures. Along the entire coast of the Mexican Caribbean, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) constitutes the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second-longest in the world. This extraordinary ecosystem extends along more than 600 miles, crossing the coasts of four countries, and is home to more than 65 species of coral, as well as all kinds of marine flora and fauna. A true natural wonder of enormous ecological value!
And the SAM is precisely responsible for Cancun and Riviera Maya being two of the major diving destinations in the world (enlace a Snorkeling in Riviera Maya). So don’t wait any longer and enjoy this underwater paradise on a reef snorkeling tour, or take a scuba diving course that allows you to fully explore this natural wonder.
MUSA – Underwater Museum of Art
Diving in Cancun allows you to discover the abundant marine life of the Mexican Caribbean. But did you know that it also offers you the chance to visit a staggering underwater art museum? The MUSA project, born in 2010 and located between the waters of Cancun and Isla Mujeres, allows you to discover a collection of more than 500 striking sculptures created by various artists. Works of art that not only refer to different themes but have also been installed at the bottom of the sea to become home to different marine species, creating an impressive artificial reef. Art and nature go hand in hand to offer you a truly spectacular place.
Adventures in Cancun: 100% pure adrenaline!
Beach, sun, sea, shopping, food, party… and adventure! Indeed, Cancun also offers you a good dose of adrenaline. 4×4 tours, zip lines over the jungle, exploring cenotes and underground rivers, exciting water activities, bungee jumping, and skydiving are just some of the mind-blowing experiences waiting for you.
A great example of all this is the Jungla Maya excursion offered by Vacaciones Barceló. Enjoy about 4 hours of excitement and adrenaline that include: an off-road trip in Mercedes Benz 4×4 Unimog trucks, a 40 feet rappel into a cenote to swim in its crystal clear waters, a zip line circuit that flys over the jungle and ends with a splash in a cenote, and snorkeling in an underground river –part of the remarkable Sac-Actun system, the longest underground water network in the world–, among other sensational activities.