It’s better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.
– Asian Proverb
Imagine this. Walking on warm turquoise waters, feel soft, powdery white sand beneath your feet, your face caressed by the sea breeze, enjoying plenty of sunshine and sipping a frozen cold drink? Say “Si, por favor. Translation= Yes please!)”.
It is hard to believe that Cancun was once a sleepy fishing village up until the 1970’s when hotel investors and the government saw the tremendous potential of this naturally rich area, thus joined forces to transform it into Cancun, a magnetic destination it is today!
Strategically located at the northeastern tip of the Riviera Maya (in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo) bordering the Caribbean Sea and located only a few hours by airplane from major cities, Cancun is such an appealing city for travelers of all ages, from the young to the young at heart.
Besides working on your tan and get some natural vitamin D and vitamin Sea, you can enjoy a wide array of water sports, go swimming, snorkeling or diving in clear waters, go for a stroll along the beach or simply rest and relax poolside or soak up the sun right next to the Mar Caribe and hear the sound of waves gently reaching the shore.
Here are some suggestions of What to see and do in Cancun, Mexico.
Reveling in history and culture
El Rey archeological site
These ancient ruins, known as their playground, are a reminder of the great Mayan civilization who was present in a large area from Central America all the way to the Yucatan Peninsula. They established themselves and build some impressive structures which have stood the test of time and Mother Nature’s elements.
This small island, measuring only 7 km in length is located approximately an hour from the mainland.
Its name means “Women’s Island” and is a quick and fun escape. The best way to explore this tiny island is to rent a golf cart or simply go on foot.
Xcaret is known as the best ecological and archaeological park in Cancun and in Mexico. Several activities are offered to visitors, both local and international and they are included in the admission. Among them are: Exploration of underground rivers, Fauna observation (in their natural habitat), Mayan ball games and attend a colorful and spectacular show at night.
Aquatic sports lovers will be impressed with this theme and ecotourism park. It was built on the site of an ancient archaeological site, Xetha. Visitors to the park can go snorkeling, scuba diving, observe Flora, fauna and see underground currents.
Underground Caves or Cenotes
If the hustle and bustle of the city is too much, go under…to the underground caves otherwise known as cenotes which are fresh water wells and a system of caverns and rivers dating back centuries.
It gives a whole new meaning to enjoy the silence and beauty of a place. A must for adventure lovers and thrill seekers.
Who says that you have to stay in one place and go to the same beach day after day when along the Zona Hotelera in Cancun there are many public beaches waiting just for you?
From Playa Marlin to Playa Chac Mool to Playa Delfines,
the choice is yours. Simply put in your bag a towel, sunscreen, water and a snack. There is nothing like a great and relaxing day beach. In Spanish they say: “La vida es más sabrosa en la playa” (Life is so good at the beach).
Mexican Culinary Experiences
When in Mexico, you have to taste the colorful, flavorful and delicious food!
How about some Tacos?
Whichever meal you decide to sink your teeth into, your taste buds will thank you.
Let’s not forget the drinks!
A frozen Margarita
or the Mexican National drink by excellence, Tequila
To burn off some of the calories digested; it is a great idea to go for a walk. Fortunately Downtown Cancun is a great place to go on foot.
There are many shops and malls such as Plaza de Las Americas
La Isla shopping mall
And Plaza La Fiesta
If you still have energy left or if you wish to travel a bit further and take advantage of your time in Cancun, here are some other Day trip suggestions:
Playa del Carmen
Photo credit: Brad Nelson (Own work) CC BY-SA 2.5 Creative Commons Licence via Wikimedia Commons
Far less crowded than Cancun yet loved by both locals and foreigners alike, Playa del Carmen is slowly catching up to its neighbor to the north.
This coastal city is more laid-back, relaxed, and friendly but also lots of fun. It is a must stop for visitors going to the surrounding islands.
Take a walk along Quinta Avenida, have a good meal at a local restaurant or have a drink at one of the many bars with a million-dollar view. It will be unforgettable.
Right across Playa del Carmen is the island of Cozumel which is the Mexican largest island.
It is known for its reefs (arrecifes) which are the delight of scuba divers. There are lots of water-related activities (fishing, sailing, kayak etc.) but it is also a haven for those who seek to be in contact with nature.
Of course, it’s the Caribbean, therefore tranquil, white-sand beaches abound. The choice is yours.
No trip to Cancun and Rivera Maya would be complete without a short or extended visit to one of the world’s most stunning Mayan archaeological sites, Tulum.
You probably have seen El Castillo, or the Castle which is within Tulum National Park and overlooks the Caribbean Sea.
How can such an advanced and brilliant civilization found that specific location, built a walled-city, lived and thrived many centuries ago and disappear after the arrival of the foreign invaders? Simply puzzling and mind-boggling.
Tulum is of the best preserved Mayan archaeological sites and obviously one of the most popular and visited in the country for many good reasons.
Besides its rich history and breathtaking beauty, it is a perfect place to relax and unwind at the beach. Because after all you will never find such a million-dollar view!
As you can see there is so much to see and do in Cancun, Mexico. The only thing you will miss is time, more time to explore more.
Whether you go for a holiday in the sun solo, with family or perhaps on your honeymoon
or simply to live exciting and unforgettable adventures, you now have a great option!
Now it’s your turn…
Have you been to Cancun or would you like to go?
What have you heard or read about it?
Share your two cents with us in the comments section below.
Until next time. Hasta la próxima!
All the best, todo lo mejor.