The 20 Best Things To Do in Cancun

The best things to do in Cancun

Travelers headed to the lush beauty of Cancun will be amazed at the ample opportunities for vacation fun and relaxation. Everything from ancient history to relaxing beaches is available for eager visitors. Many things on this list require a drive or ferry to get to an exciting new destination. It will be worth it when vistas open up ahead, or glimpses of history are right there while driving.

Whether a first-time visitor to Cancun or a return guest, there are so many things to do that it can be nearly impossible to choose. Not sure where to start? Discover our list of the top 20 things to do in Cancun.

Chichen Itza, MexicoFreepik

1. Chichén Itzá

Location: Carretera No.180 Mérida - Cancun, Chichen Itza, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico 97170
Best time to visit: November to April is the best time to visit to avoid the rainy season.

Explore the Yucatán Peninsula's architectural and cultural heritage with a tour of Chichén Itzá, which is now one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and a World Heritage UNESCO site. Visitors can wander the city's ruins and explore the unique structural marvels that await.

2. Playa Delfines

Location: Punta Nizuc, Blvd. Kukulcan 17, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: June through November is tourist season, but visitors can still enjoy the warm climate during the off-season.

Settle in for a relaxing day of sun and fun when visiting Playa Delfines. Beachgoers can occasionally see dolphins playing together offshore. The beach boasts beautiful white sand, and the waters are crystal blue with gentle waves, making it a family-friendly destination.

3. Isla Contoy

Location: This island is located 30 km north of Isla Mujeres, where the Caribbean Sea joins the Gulf of Mexico.
Best time to visit: For the best weather, visit December through April.

Isla Contoy is a small island north of Isla Mujeres. It is a protected area and has been declared a national park. Visitors will be delighted by the lack of hotels, cars, and activity, making this quaint island a peaceful oasis. With white sand beaches and manta ray sightings, it is the perfect place for a quiet day at the beach.

4. Río Secreto

Location: Carretera Federal Libre Chetumal – Puerto Juárez Km 283.5, Ejido Sur, 77712 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: The area is busiest from December through April, while there are fewer crowds during the hurricane season, which lasts from May through October.

Río Secreto is a seeming wonder of the world with an underground river, visually engaging stalactites, and stalagmites in the Mayan underground. Visitors can explore and float in the crystal-clear water while learning about the formations that abound.

5. Playa Tortugas

Location: This beach is located on Avenida Kukulkan northwest of the Zona Hotelera in Cancun.
Best time to visit: Visit in May or June for the warmest waters and the best opportunity to see turtles.

Playa Tortugas, which translates to Beach of the Turtles, is a sight to behold each year when thousands of Ridley Turtles come onto the beach to lay eggs. Volunteers can help protect and usher the babies into the ocean to continue the cycle of life. It is an experience no one will soon forget.

6. Zona Arqueológica El Rey

Location: Zona hotelera, 77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: December through April is the busiest time, so visiting during the off-season is advised.

The Zona Arqueológica El Rey is an archeological site dating back to 1200 A.D. It is located in Zona Hotelera. The Mayan ruins are believed to have been part of a significant local marine trade route at the time and hold cultural significance.

7. Ruta De Cenotes

Location: Quintana Roo Puerto Morelos - Leona Vicario, 77580 Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: Visit between December and April as the temperatures will be more comfortable and the water will be calm.

A network of underground cenotes, sinkholes, and rivers runs below the forests and cities of Cancun and the Yucatán Peninsula. A popular destination is Ruta De Cenotes, which is surrounded by lush green vegetation. Here, visitors can swim in the pools the ancient Mayans believed were portals to the underworld.

8. Museo Subacuático de Arte

Location: This underwater museum is located in the National Marine Park in the area between Cancun and Isla Mujeres.
Best time to visit: Depending on whether you see the museum by snorkeling, scuba diving, on a glass-bottom boat, or on a jungle tour, the hours will vary. The best time to go is December through April, when the waters will be calmer.

Museo Subacuático de Arte, or the Underwater Museum of Art, also goes by the names MUSA and the Cancun Underwater Museum. Regardless of the name, it is a place to see. Over 455 interesting statues have been strategically placed underwater at the Manchones Reef to create an artificial reef while bolstering the health of the natural reef nearby.

9. Museo Maya de Cancun

Location: Avenida Kukulcan km 16.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: Visit the museum at 9:00 AM when it opens for fewer crowds.

The Museo Maya de Cancun, or the Mayan Museum of Cancun, houses important Mayan artifacts. It often flies under the radar of Cancun attractions but should be on everyone's list. The displays are respectfully curated with cultural honor and respect at the forefront. The sleek exterior of the building is in direct contrast to the rich history that lies within.

Tulum ruins in MexicoUnsplash

10. Ruins of Tulum

Location: Zona Hotelera Tulum, 77765 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: Visit early in the morning or about an hour before closing for the fewest crowds.

Visit the ancient walled city of Tulum, where tourists will find Mayan ruins and well-preserved mural paintings. This site also has watchtowers, a temple, and ornate architectural details, including ceremonial masks dating back to at least 564 A.D.

11. Nichupte Lagoon

Location: Avenida Kukulkán, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: The early morning hours from December through April are the best times to go.

The Nichupte Lagoon connects to the Caribbean Sea and consists of both freshwater and seawater. The rich mangrove trees and diverse wildlife make it an inviting place for everyone to explore. With seven lagoons, it is a paradise to get lost in, at least for a little while.

12. Punta Nizuc

Location: Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: Visit December through April to avoid the hurricane season and unpleasant waters.

Explore abundant marine life and a rich coral reef while diving in Punta Nizuc. It has the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Punta Nizuc consistently pushes forward with conservation efforts to protect the more than 230 species of algae and seagrasses along with almost immeasurable numbers of rich sea life.

Plaza with a fountain in Valladolid, MexicoUnsplash

13. Valladolid, Yucatán

Location: Valladolid is located 170 km east of Mérida, 40 km east of Chichén Itzá, and 150 km west of Cancun.
Best time to visit: Visit during the dry season from November to April to enjoy moderate temperatures.

Many of the small cities near Cancun are a treasure to experience. Valladolid, Yucatán is but one example. It has a rich history dating back to the Spanish settlements and beyond. Explore the churches and museums outside the big cities to learn more about Mexico.

14. Torre Escénica

Location: Avenida Kukulcan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: Visit during the dry season from November through April around sunset for the best views.

The Torre Escénica or Scenic Tower: Cancun Viewpoint is a bit more touristy than other things on this list, but the views from the top are worth it. The tower rotates 360 degrees, is 80 meters high, and offers panoramic views of the Caribbean. It is a fun activity for all ages. Go up any time of day or save this one for a spectacular and colorful sunset.

15. Zipline Adventures

Location: Carretera Chetúmal Puerto Juárez Kilómetro 282, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: Purchasing advanced tickets is recommended as it is busy year-round.

A ziplining adventure is a must-do activity for those ready to fly through the jungle. Strap yourself in and glide on top of the canopy for a vantage point most people don't get to see.

Isla Mujeres, MexicoUnsplash

16. Isla Mujeres

Location: Isla Mujeres is located a few miles off the coast of Cancun in the Caribbean Sea.
Best time to visit: January through April brings warm weather and little to no rain, making it an ideal time to visit.

Isla Mujeres is not only a destination for fun; the journey to get there will make the day even better. Board a ferry, sailing boat, or speedboat based on personal preferences and enjoy the wind, sunshine, and spectacular scenery. Once on Isla Mujeres, visitors can kayak, snorkel with tropical fish, windsurf, or lounge on the pristine beach.

17. Temazcal Ceremony

Location: Carretera Chetúmal Puerto Juárez Kilómetro 282, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: Tickets are only available for 3:00 PM, so it’s best to book them in advance.

While not a destination, the opportunity to experience a traditional Temazcal Ceremony is not to be missed. This ceremony is important to Mexican culture and is only about two hours long. Participants enter a sweat lodge and sit together in a circle surrounding special herbs and hot stones believed to contribute to spiritual health and well-being.

18. Avenida Kukulkan

Location: Avenida Kukulkan is the main street that runs all the way through the Zona Hotelera in Cancun.
Best time to visit: Come to this main street any time of day to people-watch. It will be busier between noon and 10:00 PM.

While not a destination, the Avenida Kukulkan is the perfect place to watch people. Both locals and tourists use this main street for sightseeing, shopping for groceries and supplies, and going about their day. It is a fun place to sit back and rest after a busy day on the go.

19. El Meco Ruins

Location: Carretera Puerto Juárez, López Portillo, 77520 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Best time to visit: Go in the dry season from September to May.

The El Meco ruins were first established around 200 A.D. and abandoned around 600 A.D. They are now home to an abundance of iguanas. Unlike some of the other pyramids, visitors can climb to the top of El Meco to observe the beauty of the surrounding areas.

20. Las Coloradas

Location: 97723 Yucatan, Mexico
Best time to visit: See the lakes around noon for the best color. As the sun begins to set, the color is less visible.

Las Coloradas, also known as the Pink Lakes of Mexico, is home to stunning pink waters. Between the beach, sky, and water, this area perfectly blends pastel colors to delight anyone's visual senses. The lakes are part of the Ria Lagartos UNESCO Biosphere Preserve, which protects the land and the unique diversity of its animal inhabitants.

Airalo eSIM app

Stay Connected With an eSIM From Airalo

No matter where you travel, stay connected with an Airalo eSIM. Airalo gives you access to affordable eSIMs for 200+ countries and regions — including México.

Why Airalo? Here are a few reasons to use an Airalo eSIM when you travel:

  • Connect to a mobile network within minutes of arrival.
  • Choose from flexible local, regional, and global data plans.
  • Eliminate the need to find a local SIM vendor.
  • Say goodbye to expensive roaming charges.
  • Store multiple eSIM data plans on your device.
  • Running out of data? Top up in the Airalo app.

Planning a trip to Cancun? Get a México eSIM to stay connected during your trip.

Ready to try eSIMs and change the way you stay connected?

Download the Airalo app to purchase, manage, and top up your eSIMs anytime, anywhere!

Airalo | Download mobile app
Airalo | Use your Free Credit

Use Your Free Credit.

You can earn USD $3.00 in Airmoney by sharing your referral code with friends.