Most places pale in comparison to the immense beauty of Cancun. This city offers breathtaking white sandy beaches, outstanding snorkeling options and the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Away from the water, there is much to do including visiting important historical sites and eating local cuisine. Cancun’s location on the Yucatan Peninsula makes it a perfect getaway spot most of the year. Called the Mexican Caribbean, this city and its surrounding area features many unique activities. Come along as we explore the top things to do in Cancun.
1. Step Back in History at Chichen Itza
Visitors find Chichen Itza an easy two hour trip southeast of Cancun. This site is a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site which was originally created around the tenth century. Once the predominant city in the region, it stands as an example of the blending of Mayan and Toltec architecture. The Temple of Kukulkan Pyramid contains 91 steps on each of its four sides. Historians believe that each step may represent a day of the year Visitors who pay $167 to visit can also view the Great Ball Court, the Wall of Skulls and the Temple of the Eagles and Jaguars while visiting this attraction that is one of the top things to do in Cancun.
The best time to visit Chichen Itza is on the spring and autumn equinox when the serpent on the pyramid appears to slither across the ground. This city, however, is open all year. This attraction is not recommended for seniors or children as it spreads across approximately five square acres.
2. Ride the Ferry to Isla Mujeres
Riding the ferry costing $5.50 allows visitors to travel an hour northeast to Isla Mujeres. The ferry leaves five times a day from downtown Cancun. Once you are on the island, rent a moped for approximately $25 from several available vendors so that you can explore the beautiful island on your own. Visit Tortugranja Turtle Farm for $3 to learn how the Mexican government is protecting the sea turtle. Visit the Hacienda Mundaca costing $1.08 to get in. The pirate Mundaca built this facility for his love which left him for another man. Among favorite things to do in Cancun is watching the sunset at Playa Norte, as the turquoise water laps gently at your feet. There are many bars and restaurants here that offer you lounge chairs or swings for the price of your meal. Meals cost about $10.75.
The ferry will take you from Cancun to Isla Mujeres in about 35 minutes. This activity is best for those who can drive. The best time to explore Isla Mujeres is from December to April although you can do it all year.
3. Soak at Playa Tortugas
While many resorts in Cancun offer private beaches, many people prefer the relaxing atmosphere at Playa Tortugas making it one of the favorite things to do in Cancun. There is no entrance fee to visit this beach which is located within minutes of most of the resorts. This beach is a great place to people watch or lay down your towel and take a siesta in the afternoon sun. This beach is popular with snorkelers who often use it as the starting point to explore the Great Mesoamerican Reef. Local residents often intermingle with tourists from around the world to enjoy swimming fun or a quick game of beach volleyball. Visitors looking for a more active beach adventure find bungee jumping. Everyone can enjoy great snacks and meals at the beachfront restaurants.
The best time to visit Playa Tortugas is from December to April although it is open all the time. It is easily accessible making it a great activity for everyone.
4. Explore El Rey Ruins
The El Rey Ruins are a series of platforms and bases originally supporting large buildings during the Mayan culture. Visitors need to pay about $2.75 to access the site which is one of the top things to do in Cancun. It is easy to imagine the great trade routes that caused El Rey to first be built, as you wander through the site. This small area has a large number of iguanas that call the ruins home. The ruins also contain a number of indigenous trees and plants.
This area is very small in size allowing everyone to enjoy exploring it. The best time to visit the El Rey Ruins is from December to April. It is open all year. Visitors are warned that the summer’s heat can be brutal, so make sure to bring water and wear a wide-brim hat if visiting from June to August.
5. Swim with the Dolphins
The Dolphin Discovery Center at Isla Mujeres is a wonderful place to swim with dolphins in their natural habitat. After traveling about one hour northeast, visitors arrive at the discovery center. Packages begin at $109 for a 20 minute swim with dolphins in the Caribbean Sea. The center also offers an infinity pool where guests can play while listening to the sea lap nearby. Of course, while you are participating in things to do in Cancun, you will get hungry. Therefore, you should stop and eat at the international buffet. Your fee also includes a bike tour of the area.
The best time to participate in this program is from December to April. The Dolphin Discovery Center prohibits women who are more than five months pregnant from participating in the program. Those not physically fit enough to ride a bike may not want to participate in this activity. Participants must be over the age of 8 to swim alone.
6. Ride a Dolphin at the Interactive Aquarium
Visitors have been flocking to the Interactive Aquarium making it one of the top things to do in Cancun. This facility contains 15 tanks of fish holding more than 27,800 gallons of water. During the experience, visitors can touch stingrays, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. While basic admission is $14, visitors can pay additional money to swim with dolphins. The couple’s swim is $339.15. Visitors can also hitch a ride on the back of a dolphin for $92.65. Each evening, the dolphins put on a special performance.
Visiting the Interactive Aquarium and watching the show is a great activity for everyone. It is not recommended that pregnant women or those with certain health conditions interact with the dolphins. The aquarium is open every day of the year.
7. Cook at the Ritz Carlton
Visitors to Cancun can take a cooking class right in the heart of the hotel district at the Ritz Carlton for $158. During this class, participants will learn to prepare three to five Mexican dishes and how to present them properly. Guests can then eat the food that they have prepared. After dinner, learn about tequila at a tasting event for an additional $88. Among the favorite things to do in Cancun is seeing the plants growing used to make the tequila along with the equipment needed to make Mexico’s national drink.
Participants in this experience need to be over 18. They should also be able to stand for two to three hours during the food preparation.
A vacation to Cancun is the chance to visit the city that has been called the Caribbean paradise of Mexico. Visitors find a variety of activities to do, including exploring Mayan history and architecture, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling and cooking. Alternatively, guests can choose to lay on the sandy shores and recharge their batteries while enjoying this beautiful paradise. When you visit Cancun, make sure to try some of the things to do in Cancun on this list.