I still remember the first time I went to Cancun, Mexico over 20 years ago.  There was little information, no blogs, just some forum posts on TripAdvisor on things to do in Cancun.  Since then I’ve gone back repeatedly to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and it never ceases to amaze me!  

I’ll have to say Cancun is not necessarily my favorite anymore, but it’s such an easy access point for what the Riviera Maya has to offer!  And there are absolutely endless things to do in Cancun for everyone!

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Where to Stay in Cancun

Cancun’s hotel zone is just 20 minutes from the Cancun Airport.  Along here you will find an endless row of beach hotels, from budget to high end all-inclusive.

sandos all inclusive

Booking.com

Sandos – CHECK PRICES

A super chic boutique-style hotel, Sandos is one of the smaller properties in the Hotel Zone. 

sandos cancun

But don’t let it’s small size fool you, the pool and interior are modern and clean. Perfect for couples and a girl’s trip!  

sandos cancun pool

Fiesta Americana – CHECK PRICES

A beautiful property that incorporates Mexican accents and jungle vibes. 

fiesta americana cancun room view

The Fiesta Americana is super budget-friendly without giving up any luxuries. 

cancun fiesta americana

fiesta americana cancun
fiesta americana cancun

Dreams Costa Mujeres – CHECK PRICES

Dreams Costa Mujeres is in a new development just north of the Hotel Zone. 

dreams costa mujeres cancun

It’s one of the few resorts that offers rooms for families of 5 without needing to book 2 rooms.  All the kids absolutely loved this resort.

dreams costa mujeres cancun

There’s a kids pool with a giant slide and 2 main pools.  And your stay includes kids club, which lets you drop off your kids. 

dreams costa mujeres cancun
 

So if you want to do a tour without your kids in tow, just drop them off!

dreams costa mujeres cancun

Best Time to Go to Cancun

Weather-wise the best time to go to Cancun is during the cooler winter months, from November to April.  It’s not as hot, dryer, and typically will not rain.

sandos resort beach cancun

However, I’ve almost exclusively gone to Cancun during the dreaded hurricane season from May to October. 

And I’ve yet to actually meet a hurricane or much rain. In fact, the most rain I’ve seen in Cancun was in April where the roads were literally flooded.  

sandos cancun

I also enjoy hotter longer days during the summer months. 

Because I have FOMO I try to squeeze in as many activities as possible when I’m in Cancun. 

The longer daylight hours during summer are such an advantage because I can do a tour during the day, and still make it back to the hotel and enjoy the pool for 2 hours before the sun is gone!  

If you can stand the heat and don’t mind a little rain, then I highly recommend traveling to Cancun from June to August.

The Best Things to Do Cancun

Spend the day at Yal Ku Lagoon

Yal Kul Lagoon is an amazing site for snorkeling. 

yal ku

The mixing of the saltwater and freshwater literally creates shimmers in the water and tons of marine life.  This is one of my all-time favorite experiences in Cancun, Mexico!

Yal Ku is quite far from Cancun and it’s easiest to swim and snorkel here as part of a tour –Check Prices. 

yal ku lagoon cancun

Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Chichen Itza

Though you can’t climb to the top of the pyramid at Chichen Itza anymore, this World Heritage Site is still worth a stop.

chichen itza
 

Kept in pristine condition these ruins are nearly 1,000 years old!

chichen itza

This tour includes a visit to Chichen Itza, a gorgeous cenote, and one of the cutest towns in Mexico – Check Prices.

things to do in cancun

Have a Swim at Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil is probably my favorite cenote of all time, probably because we actually witnessed a diving competition here. 

cenote ik kil

This is a deep cenote with a little platform you can dive off of. Ik Kil is rather close to Chichen Itza, so it’s a great idea to visit both in 1 day.

ik kil cenote

This tour includes a visit to Ik Kil, Chichen Itza, and one of the cutest towns in Mexico – Check Prices.

Swim with Sea Turtles at Akumal Bay

Akumal Bay is definitely a hidden gem of a place near Cancun! 

akumal bay things to do in cancun

Recently Secrets has built a resort here but I wouldn’t let that deter you from visiting because swimming with sea turtles here is epic! 

akumal bay things to do in cancun

Akumal Bay is near Yal Ku lagoon and you can combine the visit here and snorkel to your heart’s content.

akumal bay beach
 

It’s also close to Tulum so you can combine the two into a  day tour from Cancun – Check Prices.

akumal bay cancun

 

Visit the Ruins at Tulum

The Tulum ruins are unlike the others in Cancun because they are next to the ocean. 

tulum from cancun

Perched cliffside these ruins are spectacular.

tulum

And don’t forget to take the staircase down to Tulum beach for a swim after exploring all the ruins.

things to do in cancun

Experience Tulum without the crowds with this exclusive early access tour – Check Prices.

Explore the Jungles at Coba Ruins

If you ever want to feel like you are in the Tomb Raider movie, then a visit to Coba is a must! 

things to do in cancun coba

Like Ek Balam, this ruin has fewer tourists than Chichen Itza and you can still climb the pyramid. 

things to do in cancun mayan ruins

Do yourself a favor and rent a bike at Coba because this complex is huge!

things to do in cancun coba

Visit Coba and Tulum in one day with this tour – Check Prices.

things to do in cancun mayan ruins

Swim with Whale Sharks

Swimming with whale sharks has been and still is on my bucket list, and it’s probably the best thing to do in Cancun.  

swim with whale sharks cancun

When can you swim with whale sharks in Cancun?

Whale shark swimming season is from June to September with July and August having the greatest population of whale sharks in the water.  They come up to this area to feed during those months.  

To swim with whale sharks you have to book a tour – Check Prices.

Take a Day trip to Isla De Mujeres

Isla De Mujeres is just a 20-minute ferry ride away from Cancun and one of the best things to do in Cancun. 

cancun things to do isla mujeres

This idyllic island has the softest sand and calmest water on the Cancun facing side.

isla mujeres beach

The first time we visited Isla De Mujeres there was one shack on the beach serving ceviche and 1 hotel in the middle of down.  Now there’s a ton of hotels lining the beach and plenty of “shacks” serving food and drink!

Even though the beach here now has more of a party vibe, it’s still worth a visit.  Definitely have a meal and a pina colada on the beach at Playa Norte.

 

Also, there’s nothing quite as fun as exploring this little island via golf cart!  Yup, you can rent a golf cart and drive around the island on your own. Some stops you’ll want to make along the way:

  • Swim in Playa Norte and Playa Cent
  • Take in the views at Punta Sur
  • Zipline across the water at Garrafon Park
  • Drive along the ocean side and enjoy the views!

isla mujeres golf cart

Don’t worry you can’t really get lost on Isla de Mujeres because it’s TINY!

isla mujeres drive

You can also enjoy this island by boat:

This sailing tour includes a Catamaran sail and golf cart rentals  – Check Prices.

Sailing Tour – Check Prices

Visit Xel Hal

If you want to enjoy everything Cancun has to offer in one place then take a trip to Xel Hal. 

things to do cancun xel hal

This amazing park formed by an inlet has snorkeling, ziplining, caves, beaches, mangroves, cenotes, jungle trails, a floating bridge, and even a conch sanctuary.

xel hal park cancun

xel hal park cancun

We spent a whole day here and didn’t even get to explore the whole park – Check Prices.

Eat All the Tacos Al Pastor

There’s no denying it, Cancun has the BEST tacos al pastor around! 

tacos al pastor

I’ve had them in Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, NOTHING beats the tacos al pastor in Cancun. 

Taco al pastor is a delicious pork taco where the meat roasts on a spinning spit, kind of like gyro meat. 

At the top of the spit is a pineapple which the server will slice some onto the top of your taco. I still dream about these tacos!!  

The best place to get it is either in Cancun City or at the Ta-Ki-To stand near Coco Bongo in the Hotel Zone.

Drive Your Own Speed Boat on a Snorkel Adventure

Ever wanted to captain your own boat? 

things to do cancun speed boat

Well you can in Cancun. Driving around in little speed boats around a lagoon then snorkeling in crystal clear waters makes a perfect day of adventure. 

speed boat tour cancun

I can’t tell you how much fun driving my own boat was!

Party at Coco Bongo

The party scene is vibrant in Cancun!  I love Coco Bongo for the shows they put on.  It’s truly a fun night time experience not to be missed in Cancun.

Trek through Mayan Ruins at Ek Balam

Ek Balam is still a bit under the radar in terms of Mayan ruins and you can still climb to the top here. 

ek balam

Though small the ruins are in great shape and being able to walk on them was a super special experience and one of the best things to do in Cancun.

ek balam climb

These ruins, like most Mayan ruins, are quite a trek from Cancun, I take a day tour:

Both include a refreshing dip at a cenote!

 

Take a Dip in X’Canche Cenote

Just a quick bike ride away from Ek Balam is X’Canche Cenote. 

cenote xanche

So after climbing the ruins, take a quick dip in one of the most beautiful cenotes I’ve ever seen. 

things to do in cancun

There’s a staircase that winds down into this cenote. For those that love adventure, there’s even a rope swing down here that’s a ton of fun!

xanche cenote

Visit this amazing cenote and one of the most Instagrammable pink lagoons in Cancun in one tour – Check Prices.

Visit Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon

Las Coloradas is the inst-famous pink lake created by the salt in the area. 

pink lagoon cancun mexico

Being so insta-famous you can no longer swim in these lakes but will have to take a tour – Check Prices.

Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon

This tour not only includes a trip to Las Coloradas but also Cenote Hubiku, Rio Lagartos, and the town of Temozon.

 

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