Stunning beaches and a thriving nightlife are Cancun's main attractions, but it would be foolish to limit yourself to a city that offers visitors so much! From ancient ruins to top restaurants and wildlife, here are a few of the highlights.
Cancun, a Mexican city that has a rich past, still shining through the Mayan ruins and culture that is reflected in every nook and cranny of the city, combined with breathtaking views of spectacular beaches, crystalline waters, and more. There are so many places to visit in Cancun and there is something for everyone in it! So, what are you waiting for?
Check out this list of the best places to visit in Cancun to know what awaits you here.
While you’re out and about in the famous country of Mexico, don’t forget to check out Cancun, which is considered to be a must-visit by several tourists and even the locals for its spectacular beaches, water parks, museums, and more.
Tour At a Glance:
Day 1: Chichen Itza
Day 2: Isla Mujeres
Day 3: The Maya Museum
Day 4: All Ritmo Water Park
Day 5: The Cancun Underwater Museum
Day 6: Cenotes
The Maya city of Chichen Itza, famous for its pyramid ruins, is both a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The ancient city dates back to the 5th century, though its most impressive structures were built later in the 9th through 12th centuries and are a mix of Maya, Toltec, and Puuc styles. El Castillo (aka the Temple of Kukulkan) is the best-known pyramid, designed according to the astronomical calendar so that during the equinoxes, the sunlight creates a vision of a feathered snake climbing down its sides. Travelers here will also find the Mesoamerican ball court, with its unique audio qualities and intricately carved rings. Several other impressive structures and landmarks are here, including the Sacred Cenote, a place of pilgrimage and sacrifice; the tzompantli, where skulls of captured warriors were displayed; and El Caracol, the ancient observatory, among many others. There are several tour operators running day trips from Cancun to Chichen Itza, many with stops along the way to cenotes, the Tulum ruins, or Valladolid.
Take a one-day trip from Cancun to the most popular tourist destination, Isla Mujeres. If you are in Cancun to unwind and you love beaches, Isla Mujeres is the place for you! Isla Mujeres is home to the Temple of Ixchel, the fertility Goddess of the Mayans. This eight-kilometer Island has been pulling large crowds to its main beach site of Playa Norte and has restaurants like the Rooster and Ruben’s restaurant, serving delectable food in the Downtown area. Visit the Punta Sur National park at Isla Mujeres in the South End and go snorkeling, kayaking, zip-lining at the Garrafon Natural Reef Park.
Located in the Cancún Center, the city's large convention complex, the Maya Museum (Museo Maya de Cancún) is an attraction that's certainly worth visiting to learn more about the region's rich history. The largest such museum project since the opening of the Templo Mayor Museum in Mexico City in 1987, this superb attraction does a good job of explaining the ancient roots of the region's Mayan culture, from its founding centuries ago right up to the modern-day.
Highlights include some 350 artifacts spread across three halls, most from in and around Cancún, including skeletal remains found in Tulum that date back 14,000 years, and the remains of the famous 10,000-year-old "Woman of the Palms." Other notable exhibits include displays of Mayan architecture and art, including sculptures from Chichén Itzá and the adjoining San Miguelito archeological site. There's also a variety of programming for kids, including art and crafts.
All Ritmo waterpark is a fun place to visit in Cancun with water rides, water slides, and water umbrellas that freshen you up of all the tiredness of modern-day living. The park also has a mini-golf arena, a soccer field, a tennis court, and a full-fledged games area where you can relax and indulge in some game therapy with your friends or family. The water park also has around nine dining options ranging from casual burger places to exquisite buffet dining restaurants to bars serving super exotic cocktails.
One of the most unusual points of interest in this resort town is the Cancún Underwater Museum (MUSA). Set up in 2009 in the wake of storm damage to the Cancún National Marine Park, this seabed-based attraction is dedicated to the "art of conservation" and is a delight for divers to explore. The core of this unique art collection is the more than 500 sculptures spread across two underwater galleries (a few are located on land in a nearby mall) submerged at depths of between three and six meters and encompassing human figures in a variety of poses (there's even a concrete car).
Put together by six artists from Mexico and Britain, the sculptures will ultimately form the basis for new coral reefs. A variety of guided snorkeling and diving tours are available. If diving is not your thing, this remarkable collection can be viewed from the comfort of one of the many glass-bottom tour boats that ply the waters.
Cenotes, sometimes written xenotes, are natural pools formed from collapsed limestone with sapphire, turquoise, and emerald waters. The entire coast of the Riviera Maya is dotted with cenotes, nearly 7,000 in total. Some cenotes are open to the sun and surrounded by tropical trees and hanging vines – great for a swim or snorkel, while others are parts of the vast, underground cave and river systems, fun to scuba through on a guided tour. Many cenotes are easy to reach on your own by driving or taxiing, like Dos Ojos and Gran Cenote near Tulum or Ik Kil and Suytun near Chichen Itza. Access is usually granted for a small entry fee, with life jackets and snorkel masks to rent onsite; Dos Ojos even has flashlights for cavern snorkeling and diving.
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