Situated at the tip of the Yúcatan Peninsula, Cancún is awash with cultural thrills for adventurous and open-minded travelers of all ages. From ancient archaeological wonders to mind-expanding museums, you’ll discover a world where traditional realms meet the 21st century. In between all-inclusive comforts at Occidental Costa Cancún and Occidental Tucancún, don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in some of the region’s cultural experiences.
Underwater Art: MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte)
This isn’t your average museum. In 2009, a massive underwater contemporary museum of art called MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) was created in the waters surrounding Cancún, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc. Comprised of more than 500 evocative, life-size sculptures (most by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, as well as several from local Cancún sculptors) submerged between 10 and 20 feet deep, this incredible attraction is a must-visit for art-lovers and their families. You can experience MUSA in several ways: aboard a glass-bottom, snorkeling, or – for an even closer look, scuba diving.
- Good To Know: MUSA’s sculptures aren’t just amazing works of art. They also create an artificial reef for Cancún’s marine life to enjoy and cultivate.
A Mayan Marvel: Chichén Itzá
An astounding complex of Mayan ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula, Chichén Itzá, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This incredibly preserved historic marvel was once the cultural and economic capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, and as you explore you’ll feel deeply connected to this advanced civilization, via its towering pyramids, ornate temples and expansive ballcourts. Don’t miss the 80-foot-tall Pyramid of Kukulcan – also known as El Castillo (The Castle).
- Good To Know: Located nearby, Occidental Tucancún’s Chichén Itzá tour includes: comfortable transport, an expert bilingual guide, admission to the cenote and ruins, breakfast and buffet dinner, and drinks on the bus (beer, coffee and soft drinks).
Classic Dance: Ballet Folklórico en Aztlan
For more than 50 years, the Ballet Folklórico de Cancún has been celebrating and preserving indigenous Mexican culture through vibrant performances that are open to all at the Teatro de Cancún. You’ll witness skilled, traditionally costumed performers dancing to festive live music. Each extremely entertaining segment of the performance reflects different regions of Mexico. Added bonus – Ballet Folklórico de Cancún shows are accompanied by authentic Mexican food and drink.
- Good To Know: The roots of Mexican folk dances stretch back to the days when Mayans and Aztecs performed ritualistic dances to appease their gods – but elements such as waltzes and polkas were introduced when Europeans settled here.
Journey Through The Past: Museo Maya de Cancún
Cancún’s rich Mayan heritage comes to life at Museo Maya de Cancún, located in the heart of the city’s hotel zone. Offering access to one of the Yucatán’s most important collections of Mayan artifacts, the sleekly designed museum features more than 400 incredible pieces of sculpture, ceramics and jewelry on display at any one time. A visit here will illuminate the fascinating rise-and-fall of the Mayan empire, and give you insight into the beliefs, traditions and day-to-day life of its people. This isn’t just a museum – it also incorporates the archaeological site of San Miguelito, which visitors can explore. Be sure to see the detailed carving of the Mayan God Chaak, a great example of the heightened artistry that Mayans possessed.
- Good To Know: Museo Maya de Cancún is just the beginning of your Mayan immersion in Cancún. Don’t miss El Meco, which is home to the tallest archaeological structure in the area – the magnificent El Castillo, which is one of the only Mayan pyramids in the Cancún area. And located right in the Cancún Hotel Zone near KM 18, the El Rey Archaeological Area is one of the most easily accessible Mayan ruins in Cancún experiences for guests of Occidental Tucancún and Occidental Costa Cancún.
The Spirit of Cancún: Tequila Herradura Sensorial Museum
If you’re of legal drinking age, you can’t come to Cancún without enjoying a little of Mexico’s national spirit – Tequila! In order to truly be tequila, it must be produced in Mexico – just like real champagne has to come from France. Most tequila is produced in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, though some varieties come from Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. For aficionados who want to go a little further, a visit to the Tequila Herradura Sensorial Museum will showcase the modern and traditional artisanal methods of making this powerful and delicious elixir. You’ll also learn to properly identify the various varieties of tequila – you’ll never mistake reposado from añejo again.
- Good To Know: Maybe the rest of your family isn’t interested in tequila? No problem. The Tequila Herradura Sensorial Museum is located in Kukulcán Plaza, the perfect place for a Cancún shopping spree. Here, you’ll find not only a vast array of shops, but also entertainment options, some of Cancún’s best restaurants and a lively atmosphere.