Cancun, Mexico – 40 Great Things To Do

Cancun, Mexico – 40 Great Things To Do

Cancun in Mexico is one of the hottest holiday destinations for a good reason. There is an incredible amount of things to do. Even away from the beautiful beaches.

The bad news is – your holiday will probably be far too short. The good news is – no matter what your preferences are… You will surely find the perfect activities. We have researched the most exciting attractions and excursions for you.

You will of course read about the “important” things to do that are widely known and somehow belong to a trip to Cancun. But also some very special excursions that hardly anyone knows and which will take you away from the beaten tourist trails. Have fun reading!

The best attractions in Cancun and nearby

1. Enjoy the dreamlike beaches

The beaches of Cancun are among the most beautiful in the world. Of course – that’s why you’re just planning your trip there. The coastline of Cancun is more than 20 km long.

You can expect snow-white fine sand, turquoise crystal clear water and a fresh breeze from the sea. The hotel zone has many beautiful beaches that you can enjoy with a margarita in your hand. All of them are unique in their own way. So pack your bathing suits, and enjoy the beach!

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico - Enjoy the beautiful beaches

2. Take a shopping and foodie tour in the hotel zone

The hotel zone of Cancun is more than 20 km long. Actually, it is only a narrow strip of sand that separates the crystal clear Caribbean Sea from the dark waters of the Nichupte Lagoon. The hotel zone has buildings on both sides and it has only one street, Boulevard Kukulkan. There is one hotel next to the other, most visitors to Cancun stay here.

You will also find trendy restaurants, great shopping malls, good bars and most of Cancun’s hot nightlife. For example in the Forum by the Sea, where the Coco Bongo nightclub is located– there you can discover a typical American shopping world with boutiques for fashion, beach, jewels and souvenirs as well as restaurants and bars from Hooters to Hard Rock Café.

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico - Shopping Tour in the hotel zone

3. Discover Cancun Downtown

Don’t miss out on the city of Cancun. Since the city is very young, there is no central square with a cathedral and no magnificent buildings from the colonial era. But… Cancun is full of life, colorful shops, delicious food and nice bars.

Avenida Tulum  invites you with many shops and restaurants for an extended stroll. At the market Mercado 23  you will find a huge selection of local craftsmanship to take home as souvenirs – You won’t know what to buy first. And in Avenida Yaxchilan,  all street food lovers will get their money’s worth. The same applies to the Parque Las Palapas park. Here you will find the most delicious tacos in town. There are even guided tours on street food & urban art.

If you are looking for souvenirs at lower prices, then head to the market Mercado 28. It is located a little away from the main tourist streets, in the small shops there you will find travel souvenirs at better prices. There are also some restaurants, which are mostly visited by locals. You can enjoy delicious Mexican food and watch the everyday Mexican life in peace.

Attractions in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico - Visit Cancun Downtown

4. Visit an underwater museum

You’ve definitely been to a museum before. But have you been to a museum that is under water? There is such a museum in Cancun and Isla Mujeres. The exhibition is dedicated to the art and the protection of the sea. The museum owns 500 sculptures created by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor and several Mexican artists.

These sculptures have been formed from a material that promotes the settlement of corals and other marine life. They were placed on the bottom of the sea – and are slowly getting covered by corals. New sculptures are added constantly. You’ll just be amazed.

Of course, you have to get wet in order to visit the Underwater Museum. You can choose between a snorkeling tour  at the Underwater Museum in Cancún and at a shipwreck, and a diving tour with a quick training in Cancun and a dive on the reef and at the underwater museum on Isla Mujeres. Have fun!

What to do in Cancun Mexco: Visit to the Underwater Museum

5. Take a selfie with the Cancun sign

I confess, this is not the most exotic of all activities. But honestly – don’t we all like to take a selfie in special places from time to time? In Cancun, the colorful lettering with the name of the city on Playa Delfines is the perfect place for this project.

This beach is also the favorite beach of the locals, as it is not built with hotels. So you can also combine your selfie date with a visit to the beach. But watch out – the currents are very strong on this beach, so swimming is not recommended.

Attractions in Cancun, Mexico - Cancun Sign at Playa Delfines

6. Experience a session in a Temazcal

A Temazcal is similar to a sauna. A Mayan sauna. It is an Indian sweat hut used for cleaning. This is not only about the physical, but also about the spiritual purification. The ritual in a Temazcal is always accompanied by a shaman.

If you don’t want to miss this interesting experience, use your time in Cancun to immerse yourself in the shamanistic world of the Maya. This experience is available for small groups or even in private.

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico - visit a Temazcal

7. Enjoy the view from the Scenic Tower in Cancún

Do you want to see the city, the beach, the hotel zone and the lagoon from above? Then you should visit the Scenic Tower in Cancún. With a height of 110 m, the tower is the tallest building in Cancún. In its cabin with glass walls there is room for 60 people.

As you slowly move up, the cabin gently rotates around the axis of the tower so you can enjoy the incredible views in all directions. The perfect opportunity to take great photos. The tower is open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The entrance fee is cheap, starting from about 15 USD depending on the fare category.

Activities in Cancun, Mexico - Visit to the scenic tower

8. Explore the Maya Museum in Cancun

In a party city like Cancun, the Maya Museum is a very welcome cultural highlight. It shelters one of the most important collections of the Yucatan Peninsula. About 400 artifacts – sculptures, ceramics and jewelry – can be admired in the museum.

After the old Museum of Anthropology in Cancun was badly damaged by a hurricane, the new museum was built in the hotel zone with high-security glass. It can even resist hurricanes. The very cheap entrance fee also includes a visit to the Mayan ruins of San Miguelito, which are located right next to the museum.

Cultural attractions in Cancun, Mexico: Maya Museum

9. Discover the beauty of the Lagoon Nichupte

So, let’s face it… most people in Cancun only talk about the beach and the Caribbean Sea. It is usually completely forgotten that Cancun is surrounded by water on two sides. The 3,000-hectare Nichupte Lagoon is an ecosystem of unique biodiversity, crisscrossed by mangrove forests and natural canals.

The quiet waters of the lagoon are connected to the Caribbean Sea by two natural channels. You can explore these beautiful, calm waters in many ways.

Among other things,  guided tours for the observation of wild animals are offered, exciting excursions on a fast wave runner, boat tours with snorkeling, speedboat  rides, guided jet ski tours to discover the lagoon, and hoverboarding  for adrenaline junkies. No matter what you choose, the lagoon is definitely worth a visit.

What to see in Cancun, Mexico: Night over the Nichupté Lagoon in the Hotel Zone

10. Learn Mexican Cooking

It’s not hard to enjoy Mexican cuisine when everything is served ready. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to prepare some great dishes yourself? Even at home?

Actually, it’s not that difficult – if you let a professional show you. At a Mexican cooking class in Cancun, you will learn what to look out for when shopping and how to get it right in the kitchen. Mixing margaritas is included in the training.

Fun activities in Cancun, Mexiko - Mexican cooking class

11. Explore Isla Blanca

The name Isla Blanca suggests that it is an island. But far from that. Isla Blanca is a beautiful peninsula about 25 km north of Cancun. With the exception of some kitesurfers, it is rather unknown to tourists. The peninsula has a beautiful white sandy beach and some small beach clubs. At one side there is the Caribbean Sea, at the other a small lagoon.

If you want to leave the beaten tourist trails, Isla Blanca is definitely worth a visit. However, not on weekends. Because then it is overcrowded with Mexican families fleeing the tourist crowds on the other beaches.

Isla Blanca offers little infrastructure – you have to take your garbage back with you. If you arrive by car, do NOT park at the very end close to the water. As the tide rises, this (fee-paying) parking lot is flooded quite quickly. You can also take a guided bike tour from Cancun, which includes a boat trip around the beautiful lagoon.

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico - visit  Isla Blanca

Adventure Parks and fun activities near Cancun

12. Swim in an underground river

There are several theme parks in the Cancun region where you can experience great adventures. That might not sound THAT exciting at first – at least I thought so until I was there for the first time. The theme parks in the area are among the most beautiful in the world and have been awarded many international prizes. So you can be really looking forwards to a visit.

The most famous park is located in Xcaret between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. There you will find an underground river, where you can explore the corridors underground in the cool blue water.

Of course, this is not Xcaret’s only attraction. A breeding station for sea turtles, exotic birds, butterflies, jaguars and flamingos are only part of the program. You can enjoy extraordinary underwater experiences – in adventures like Seatrek or swimming with sharks you can test your courage.

There are Mayan ruins in the park, and an incredibly diverse presentation of Mexico’s history and culture. The Voladores de Papantla, the equestrian skills of Mexican cowboys (“Charros“), an entire Mayan village including old Indian dances and ritual ball game as well as a very impressive show in the evening always make a day in Xcaret seem too short.

Tickets for Xcaret are available either in the queue at the daily box office, or in advance online, where they are also slightly cheaper in price. The day ticket includes almost all attractions of the park, only special activities with limited available places have to be reserved with additional cost extra. This applies, for example, to swimming with dolphins, the underwater walk at the bottom of the sea with Seatrek and a few others. More information can be found on the homepage of Xcaret.

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico - Swimming in the Underground River in Xcaret

13. Marvel at the underwater world while snorkeling

Snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea… sounds like a dream. The good snorkeling grounds, where there is a lot to see, however, are not very close to the beach. You need a boat and a guide to get there. And the current can become quite violent, as I had to realize myself. So nothing to admire the fish with your children.

The ideal solution is the theme park of Xel-Há. There is a quiet lagoon where the water of a river mixes with the waters of the Caribbean Sea. The combination makes a unique ecosystem that cannot be found anywhere else. The many colorful fish will hardly leave any room for you in the water.

In addition, many more exciting activities around the water await you – let yourself drift on pneumatic tires across the river and through the mangroves, climb over the water on ropes and test your courage as you jump from high rocks into the cool water. And much more. Delicious food and refreshing drinks will strengthen you for the next adventure.

Tickets are available with queue at the daily ticket office or via the internet directly on the Xel-Há Homepage, where they are also cheaper than at the daily ticket office. Most activities are included in the day ticket, some adventures with limited places can be reserved at extra cost.

What to do in Cancun, Mexico - Snorkelling in the lagoon of Xel-Há

14. Drive an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) in the jungle

Did you ever drive an ATV? So, not on well-maintained asphalt roads on the way from the villa to the downtown office – but on difficult roads? If you can answer this question with “no” and still want to go on such an adventure, then the Xplor theme park is the place for you.

In addition to said tours in the all-terrain vehicle, an underground cave system including a river for swimming and paddling awaits you, as well as several zip lines, carrying you through the air high above the tops of the jungle. Good food and delicious drinks ensure your well-being after the exciting experiences.

The whole thing is available in Xplor during daylight or at night in a second program at the light of fire under the name Xplor Fuego. Tickets are available at the box office with queue or slightly cheaper directly from Xplor in advance.

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico - Drive an ATV through the djungle of Xplor theme park

15. Fly on a zip line through the jungle

Do you sometimes need a real adrenaline kick? Then you should fly with a zip line at lofty heights through the jungle. You are secured with belt and safety roller and wear helmet and gloves – and there you go. Depending on the zip line, you end up on dry land, or in cool water.

You only need good nerves and the right tour for this adventure. The best zip lines can be found in Selvatica Park  or Xplor.

Action activities in Cancun, Mexico - Zip Line in Xplor adventure park

16. Fly with a Jetpack

Did you ever want to feel like Superman? And failed to fly? Then you should try with a jetpack. You will receive safety instructions and will be guided by a professional trainer via helmet radio. And no one can stop you when you fly over the beautiful Nichupte Lagoon on your jetpack tour and explore hidden places.

Activities in Cancún - Jetpack over the waters of the lagoon

Cool things to do at night in Cancun, Mexico

17. Dance the night away

Cancun is probably one of the hottest party cities on this planet. You can easily go on holiday there for a month and have lots of fun without ever seeing daylight or even getting close to the beach.

The most trendy club in Cancun is Coco Bongo in the hotel zone. The club is a successful mix of Las Vegas-style nightclub and show. There are acrobats, live bands and great DJs.

Ok, the admission charge is not really cheap, and the queue at the entrance can be quite exhausting. Nevertheless, you can look forwards to an extraordinary experience. For those who would like to experience an exciting evening with Open Bar at Coco Bongo, there are also tickets in advance.

What to Do in Cancun Mexico - Enjoy a Nightlife Party

18. Experience a special Mexican evening on the water

Is there a romantic occasion to celebrate on your trip to Cancun? Or are you on the road with a funny group? Then you should plan a special Mexican evening at the theme park Xoximilco.

The park is modelled on the original Xochimilco in Mexico City – however, it is bigger, cleaner, more diverse and beautifully designed. On illuminated boats you drift through dark water channels in the tropical jungle.

You will meet other boats with live music from different regions of Mexico, and boats with typical food from all over the country. You can enjoy tasting, sip delicious drinks, enjoy good mood and music and spend a very unique evening. And don’t worry… you don’t have to row yourself.

The best way to book tickets for Xoximilco  is to get them directly online. Please do not forget to equip yourself with sufficient biodegradable insect repellent.

What to do in Cancun, Mexico - A night at Xoximilco Cancun

19. Visit Cirque de Soleil

Have you ever seen a show of Cirque de Soleil? The circus moves around the world with its shows, and it is usually not easy to get a ticket. The shows of acrobats and artists are widely famous for a good reason.

In Playa del Carmen, near Cancun, Cirque de Soleil has a permanent home. In a beautiful theatre that was built just for them. If you want to experience this unique show,  your holiday is a wonderful opportunity.

20. Romantic moments for two – Honeymoon in Cancún

Are you going to Cancún with a very special person? Maybe on honeymoon? Or for an anniversary? Or maybe you have planned a very important question? Then a romantic evening for two might be the right setting.

For example, a dinner with lobster on a Spanish galleon. To the sounds of a saxophone you can enjoy the open bar at sunset and in the moonlight. Or a private yacht trip at sunset? Snacks and drinks included.

If you want to capture this very special journey for eternity, you can also schedule a private photo shooting with a professional photographer.

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico: Romantic Events for Honey mooners

21. Sip delicious margaritas at Señor Frogs

Margaritas are terribly “in” in Cancun and you can get them at almost every corner. But if you want to taste the supposedly best margaritas in town, you should visit Señor Frogs. The location is more than just a restaurant – it is an institution. Especially when it comes to margaritas.

Señor Frogs is located in the hotel zone of Cancún and is one of the „oldest“ restaurants in town. It feels like it has always been there. In this family restaurant with a funny and slanted ambience, you can try the allegedly most delicious margaritas. In addition, a lot of food, which above all promotes the tolerability of alcohol.

Wild parties are celebrated in the evenings. You can like the ambience at the Señor Frogs or not – but it is definitely quite unique.

Activities in Cancun, Mexico: Margaritas at Senor Frogs

22. Enjoy the world of music at the Cancun Jazz Festival

Are you just planning a trip to Cancún at the end of October? And you also do love music? Then you landed a lucky hit. Every year in October, the Jazz Festival takes place in Cancun.

At this event you can experience many great jazz artist in live shows and sweeten your trip with the sounds of music. More information can be found on the website  of the Cancun Jazz Festival.

Cultural attractions in Cancun, Mexico: Cancun Jazz Festival

23. Enjoy a Mexican tequila tasting at the restaurant La Destilería

In Mexico, of course, there is tequila on every corner. But honestly – what do you know about tequila, except how to drink it?

The restaurant La Destilería at Plaza Kukulkan in the hotel zone is a very special place for lovers of this drink. The cozy Mexican-style restaurant offers not only a restaurant with excellent cuisine and plenty of tequila.

At the Tequila Museum you can learn a lot about the famous Mexican drink, and in the in-house shop you can top up your supplies for the journey back home. After all, you want to take a small piece of Mexico home with you, or not?

Cancun Activities - Tequila Tasting

What to do in Cancun: Excursions to the Caribbean coast of Quintana Roo and the Riviera Maya

24. Visit Tulum – the only Mayan city by the sea

You’ve probably heard about the famous Mayan ruins in Tulum. About the Temple of The Winds, on a rock high above the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. And the dreamlike beach right next to it. That sounds like a place you should have seen, right?

But also the small town of Tulum with its relaxed bohemian ambience is worth a visit. Best, you explore Tulum with a bike. Both downtown and the hotel zone known as the Beach Strip with its sometimes quite famous restaurants invite you to stroll. Trendy boutiques provide a certain extra – but be prepared for the price label shock.

Tulum is easily accessible by public bus ADO from Cancun. If you don’t want to visit the city and just focus on the Mayan ruins, you can also simply opt for a guided tour with pick-up from your hotel.

What todo in Cancun, Mexico - Excursion to Tulum village and the Mayan ruins of Tulum

25. Enjoy the tropical way of life on Isla Mujeres

The Caribbean-Mexican ambience of Isla Mujeres has its own magic. At least if you stay away from the big cruise ships.

A small fishing village with colorful houses awaits you for a walk, and the seafood in the restaurants is unsurpassed in its freshness. There are also fantastic beaches with crystal clear waters that invite you to swim and snorkel.

From Cancun there are regular cheap ferries to Isla Mujeres – from the port of Puerto Juarez north of Cancun, or from Playa Tortuga in the hotel zone. The crossing takes about 20 minutes, and the trip is really worth it.

If you want to visit the Garrafon National Park on the island, a tour from Cancun  is a good way to go. Of course, you can also take a boat trip for snorkeling with open bar and buffet. If you prefer it more the personal way, you can also choose a private tour in a boat to the most beautiful places.

Excursions in Cancun,Mexico - A visit to Isla Mujeres

26. Experience the magic of Holbox Island

Have you ever heard about the island of Holbox? Probably not, but that is normal. The island is located off the coast of Mexico in the Yucatan Strait, on the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Holbox has a small, colorful village and a unique nature – thousands of birds. The world’s biggest fish – the whale sharks – come here in the summer for mating.

There are hardly any cars, and no banks or ATMs on the island. The roads are made of sand, and the transport is done by golf cart. And… Holbox is incredibly beautiful with its 34 km long white sandy beach. The ideal location for bird watching and kitesurfing.

You can get to Holbox by ferry from the port of Chiquila in the north of Yucatan, the ferry leaves every two hours. Better still with a guided tour, as Holbox is a bit off the beaten track of the tourists.

What to do in Cancun, Mexico - A tripto Isla Holbox

27. Discover the beauty of nature on Contoy Island

Contoy is a very special island in Mexico. The island is about 3 km²  in size and not inhabited – apart from a team of scientists who monitor and study the ecosystem in this nature reserve.

The island is home to huge colonies of birds, and the pristine beaches and coral reefs are unsurpassed in their beauty. Tourist visits are limited to 200 people per day to protect the ecosystem.

If you want to discover Contoy, it can only be done with a guided tour. If you have a large travel budget, you can also enjoy a private tour with your own boat.

Excursions in Cancun, Mexico - A trip to Isla Contoy

28. Swim with the world’s largest fish

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world, and they are extremely rare. Adult whale sharks grow to about 13 meters long – but there are also bigger ones. Actually they are sharks, but they eat plankton like the whales. Beautiful, gentle giants.

Whale sharks are loners, but at mating time they meet in large groups. In only two places in the world. One of them is located in Mexico, near the islands of Holbox and Contoy.

Between May and September,  the sea in this area is filled with hundreds of those majestic animals. And if you want, you can swim or snorkel with them.

This can only be done in the right season and as part of a guided tour, the number of visitors per day is strictly limited for reasons of nature conservation. For this adventure you must not be afraid of swimming in the open sea.

Activities in Cancun, Mexico - Swimming with whale sharks

29. Visit a turtle breeding station

If you want to see the beautiful sea turtles at close range, a visit to a turtle breeding station is an excellent opportunity. You have two options for this. The Xcaret adventure park has a great breeding station for these magnificent creatures.

But also on the Isla Mujeres, which you can easily reach from Cancun by ferry, there is a turtle breeding station. It is called Tortugranja  and goes back to the efforts of a fisherman and his family. Tortugranja is located about 5 km south of town on the island.

The station releases about 100,000 baby turtles each year, according to the course of nature. The little ones have a hard time in the open sea. Only one in a thousand survives. But those who do keep returning to Tortugranja to give their babies an equally well-protected start to life.

If you’re lucky, you can even witness the release of a bunch of baby turtles. Of course, it always depends on the natural circumstances of the day. But between July and November, small turtles are released into the sea on many days – just ask. Tortugranja opens daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., guided tours are only available in Spanish.

Excursions in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico - Visit to a turtle farm

30. Explore the unspoiled nature of Sian Ka’an

Sian Ka’an is located south of Tulum, and it is a magic place. Although… it is probably presumptuous to call it a “place”. It is a biosphere reserve with a size of more than 650,000 hectares. Uninhabited, apart from a handful of tiny Mayan villages that have been living there for centuries from farming.

The great thing about Sian Ka’an is – it’s generally forbidden to enter. Except for a few places where guided tours are possible. Sian Ka’an is home to a biodiversity like few places in the world. In addition, about 23 archaeological sites of the Mayan culture have been discovered there so far.

If you want to get to know the breathtaking nature of Sian Ka’an, you can enjoy various tours: a half-day tour, a  full-day tour, a private tour for early morning bird watching or a private tour for small groups.

Excursions from Cancun, Mexico - Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

31. Swim with crocodiles and discover a Mayan Village

So – everyone is talking about the Maya of ancient times. And most people believe the Maya are extinct after the ancient ruins were abandoned. But far from it… the Peninsula of Yucatan is still inhabited mainly by Maya.

If you want to visit a real Maya village and get to know the people, then this eco-tour is for you. You will also learn about the breeding of the Melipona bees by the Maya and you can swim with crocodiles… secured in a cage, it goes without saying.

Excursion in Cancun, Mexico: Visit to a mayan village and swimming with crocodiles

32. Visit Bacalar and the lagoon of the seven colors

At the southern end of the Mexican Caribbean, almost close to the border with Belize – there is the small town of Bacalar. And most tourists on the Yucatan peninsula have never heard about it. Though it is located right next to the famous lagoon of seven colors.

The lagoon was created by a natural combination of several cenotes  and is simply beautiful. Although crocodiles also live there, you just can’t stop swimming. A boat trip is also a great experience.

Bacalar itself is a sleepy little town – perfect to relax. You can visit the old Spanish fortress Fuerte de San Felipe  and the Pirate Museum or admire the street art that is available here at almost every corner. Nearby there are also some beautiful cenotes  for swimming.

If you don’t want to rent a car yourself and go on the long way to Bacalar, you can also easily take a guided tour.

Excursions fromCancun, Mexico - Bacalar and the Lagoon of seven colors

Excursions from Cancun to nearby Yucatan

33. Discover the ancient world of the Maya in Chichén Itzá

You could almost say that the Yucatan Peninsula is “covered” with ancient Mayan cities. But hardly any other is as big and well known as Chichén Itza. The Kukulkan Pyramid of the ancient city is even the symbol of Yucatan and one of the seven wonders of the world, and you should definitely not miss a visit to this place.

The most impressive and also the most crowded is Chichén Itzá on the day of the solstice at the beginning of spring and autumn. On these days – if the sun is shining – an effect of light and shadow forms on the steps of the pyramid, which, together with the stone snake heads at the foot of the stairs, looks as if a huge snake is actually crawling out of the pyramid.

The pyramid is dedicated to Kukulkan, the most important god of the Maya in the form of a feathered serpent. And the old Maya were incredibly good astronomers and architects.

But also on any other day, Chichén Itzá is a unique experience. A guided tour is recommended as this place is about four hour drive from Cancun. The ruins can also be reached by the public bus of ADO – but it has already happened to me that the buses back to Cancun were full and I had to return by hitchhike in emergency mode. Something like this doesn’t happen with a tour.

There are a lot of offers for tours to Chichén Itzá. The most interesting we found the sunrise tour to the old Mayan city, the tour to Chichén Itza and the Cenote Maya, and the combined tour to Chichén Itza and Valladolid.

If your travel budget is large enough or you are travelling with a nice group who can share the cost, a private tour is also a good alternative. These are available either only to Chichén Itza or in combination with the Cenote Ik-Kil and Coba. All tours are more suitable for early birds due to the long journey.

Things to do in Cancuna, Mexico - Excursion to Chichen Itza and the Kukulkan Pyramid (El Castillo)

34. Explore the nature of Rio Lagartos

Do you love the beauty of nature? Then a visit to Rio Lagartos in the north of the Yucatan peninsula should be on your agenda. The small village is located on a beautiful lagoon where the largest flamingo colony of Mexico raises its offspring.

In April and May, about 18,000 of the pink birds gather here, and from June on, the first grey chicks will be seen. Most flamingos spend autumn in the lagoons of Celestun in the west of Yucatan.

In addition to the flamingos, there are a variety of other birds, mammals and reptiles – the place takes its name of the many crocodiles. You can discover the lagoon on a boat trip and get very close to nature. From Cancun there are guided tours with pick-up from the hotel where you are in good hands.

Activities in Cancun, Mexico - Excursion to Rio Lagartos

35. Let yourself be enchanted by the colonial beauty of Valladolid

The town of Valladolid is located in Yucatan halfway between Cancun and Mérida and is a real pearl from the colonial era. Walking through the old streets, you can immerse yourself in the ambience of ancient Mexico and shoot wonderful photos. The city is also a great place to shop for Mexican handicraft.

Visit the famous Cathedral of San Servacio  and the ancient Monastery Convento San Bernardino with its mysterious gardens, the Government Palace and a number of interesting museums. You can then take a refreshing swim in the Cenote Zaci near the center of town. Valladolid is also famous for some very special treats such as Lomitas, Longanizo, Cochinita Pibil  and delicious ice cream.

Valladolid is about two hour drive from Cancun and is easily accessible by public bus line ADO. If you want to combine Valladolid with a visit to Chichén Itza, a guided tour might be the best solution.

What to do in Cancun, Mexico - Excurson to Valladolid, Yucatan

36. Discover Mérida – The city of millionaires and gateway to the Mayan world

In our world there are three cities called Mérida – the one in Mexico is the capital of Yucatan and the gateway to the world of the Maya. The city is a colonial pearl of incomparable beauty… more than 100 years ago, Mérida was the city with the highest population density of millionaires in the world. The magnificent downtown architecture still reflects these times today.

In Mérida you will find a beautiful old city center, lots of culture and delicious food. At every step, you feel like being in the world of the Maya of today. For me personally, Mérida would also be a perfect place for a romantic getaway.

Mérida is easily accessible by public bus ADO from Cancun – but the drive is about four hours. If you really want to enjoy Mérida, a night on site would be recommended. For those on a hurry and with a large travel budget, a private day trip from Cancun is offered, which will take you to Mérida, the Mayan ruins of Uxmal and a cocoa plantation.

Things to do in Cancun, Mexico - Excursion to Merida, Yucatan

37. Refresh yourself in the cool water of a Cenote

The Yucatan Peninsula is crisscrossed by a vast system of underground rivers and ponds. In some places, the earth’s surface has collapsed due to erosion, giving access to the hidden waters. These are the so-called cenotes. Each of them is unique, and none is alike the other.

You shouldn’t explore the cenotes alone. There are connections to the sea and also tides in many places, so the risk of drowning or getting lost in the extensive systems should not be underestimated.

But there are good organized excursions to the Cenotes. You can take a tour to Cenotes with fun activities  such as canoeing, zip lines and much more – or you can take a tour to a remote Mayan village to explore the natural cenotes  of the area.

What to do in Cancun, Mexico - Excursion to Cenote Ik-Kil near Chichen Itza

38. Visit the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam

The Mayan ruins of Ek Balam have only been excavated in recent years, making them one of the “latest” attractions from the World of the Maya. Nevertheless, Ek Balam is one of the oldest Mayan cities in the region. The city is smaller than Chichén Itzá, but with its impressive decorations and paved paths (Sacbés) in all directions, Ek Balam is definitely worth a visit.

The city is located in the jungle near Valladolid. It is not easily accessible by public transport. If you decide on a guided tour,  you can combine it with a refreshing dip in a cenote and a blessing by a Mayan shaman.

What to do in Cancun, Mexico - Excursion to the Mayan ruins of  Ek-Balam

39. Marvel at the pink lakes of Las Coloradas

The lagoons of Las Coloradas have a unique beauty. They are pink. In very sunny weather they can shine bright pink.

But this is not the result of man-made pollution – the color of the water is created by completely natural processes. The pink lagoons were the “salt mines” of the old Maya, and that is what they are still today.

This very special place is located in Yucatan, close to the nature reserve of Rio Lagartos. A trip to the lagoons of Las Coloradas can therefore be combined with a visit to the reserve, but also with a foray through the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam.

What to do in Cancun, Mexico - Excursion to the Pink Lagoons in Las Coloradas in Yucatan

40. Discover the colonial town Izamal

The small town of Izamal is one of the most beautiful villages of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its history goes back almost 2000 years. The formerly large Mayan city was taken over by the Spanish and overbuilt. On the site of the largest Mayan building, the present-day Franciscan abbey Convento de San Antonio de Padua was built, which also houses the statue of the patron saints of Yucatan.

Izamal has a unique colonial charm with its yellow painted buildings. About 80 Mayan ruins discovered so far are scattered across the city. Typical of the city are horse-drawn carriages offering romantic tours.

Nearby there is the village of Cuzamá, where three beautiful cenotes  are located. They are located on the site of a former Sisal Hacienda, and you can visit them in an old sisal transport cart pulled by horses, running on tracks.

Izamal is not quite around the corner from Cancun. You can reach the town by public bus or by car, or you can opt for the conveniences of a guided tour.

What to do in Cancun, Mexico  Excursion to Izamal, Yucatan

If you are tired from the tons of activities in Cancun and want to relax again, then the wonderful beach is the perfect place for you. So head back into the sun, take a cool margarita at hand and just enjoy! Because that was actually the reason for your exciting trip.

Recommendation

Of course, there are many more exciting tours and activities available for your trip. Check out GetYourGuide for a great variety of offers, excellent service and cheap prices. Find the event that suits you best and read customer reviews. So you will not miss any of the great adventures of your choice!

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