45 Unique Things To Do In Cancun in 2023 (Tips from a Local)

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Congratulations! You have landed on the most complete guide to all the things to do in Cancun, one of the most popular Mexican beach destinations.

Hi! I am Isabella and I have lived in Cancun for 12 years and counting. Even if now I often travel to other areas of Mexico, Cancun remains my home where I always return to.

Therefore I thought I should share in this post all the amazing things that you can do in sunny Cancun and practical tips to make the most of this amazing Mexican Caribbean destination.

Lined with turquoise water and pristine white sand beaches, Cancun is not short of incredible adventurous activities and world-class resorts.

From basking in the sun all day on the spectacular Cancun beach to getting pampered in one of the Ultra Luxury All-inclusive Resorts, exploring the city, or setting off for an adventure, let’s see what are your options if you decide to spend a few days, or months, in Cancun.

But first, you may want to make sure you know when it’s the best time to visit Cancun to make sure you pick the right time!

And also do not forget to include in your Cancun bucket list, trying one of the spectacular restaurants in Cancun. More on this here below as well.

So without further ado, please find the 45 amazing activities and places to visit in and around Cancun, suggested by an expert. πŸ™‚

Top Things To Do In Cancun Mexico

In this section, I will share all the most incredible tours and activities that you can do in Cancun. This list includes organized tours with a tour guide that take you to discover the most beautiful sites and natural wonders in and around Cancun.

You can choose among many private tours or group tours according to your budget and time.

1. Kayaking in the Nichupte Lagoon

One of the most overlooked spots and one of my favorites is the Nichuptè Lagoon, a huge mirror of sweet water that separates the city from the hotel zone and one of the best places to visit in Cancun.

It has been recently cleaned and it’s home to juvenile fishes that hide in the mangroves, beautiful birds, and if you are lucky you can even spot dolphins and manta rays.

I have found a local company, Conexion Nativa, that organizes kayaking in the lagoon, the best and most ecological way to explore it and you can now book their tour from Airbnb Experience page.

They organize tours at sunrise or sunset, which is the best time of the day to kayak in the lagoon, for the colors of the sky, and the amount of wildlife you can spot.

During the sunset, after the sun goes down you may be able to spot some bioluminescence.

πŸ‘‰ Book your kayak tour now on Airbnb

2. Take some surf lessons

You have heard that right, you can surf from Cancun beach. It’s not the most popular destination for surfing in Mexico but it is well known among surfers as there are quite good swells in many different spots on Cancun beach.

Whether you are a pro or a beginner or you just want to try it, Sabrina And Camila will help you make it happen.

You will get the basics of surfing with some off-the-water theory lessons and then you jump in the water for some practice in this 1h 30-minute lesson.

πŸ‘‰ Book your surf lessons with them on Airbnb

3. Go on a scuba diving adventure

Santiago will take you scuba diving to a beautiful natural reef OR the famous underwater statues MUSA. And the good part is that you don’t need to be experienced or certified due to the very shallow water. This tour has a 5⭐ rating and people are raving about

πŸ‘‰ Book your scuba diving adventure on VIATOR

4. Go Snorkeling on the Barrier reef in Puerto Morelos

This 4-hour tour is one of the fun things to do in Cancun.

An experienced guide will take you from your hotel to Puerto Morelos, the first town of the Riviera Maya only 30 minutes drive from Cancun.

There you will jump on a boat to reach the Marine Reef National Park and snorkel among colorful fishes and coral reefs.

After the snorkeling tour, you will be visiting the local handicraft market and eat in a local restaurant (food not included in the reservation cost)

πŸ‘‰ Book your snorkeling tour on VIATOR

5/6/7. Take a trip to Isla Mujeres (3 options)

Going to Isla Mujeres is definitely one of the things you should do if you love to swim in crystal clear turquoise water and walk on a white sand beach, enjoy the local town vibe and get to Punta Sur by golf cart.

There re different ways to get to Isla Mujeres and here I am going to share them all with you.

πŸ‘‰ Join a catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres

Keep in mind that the majority of the catamaran tour is packed with many people, and they cater party lovers whose priority is dancing and drinking on the boat and are less focused on exploring. Just so you know.

πŸ‘‰ Book a private sailing trip to Isla Mujeres

A private sailing trip is only for you and your travel partner, is more intimate and you can have a peaceful sailing trip to Isla Mujeres with some snorkeling stops and all the space of the sailing boat for yourself.

It can be pricey if you are only 2 or 3 people but worth it.

Read also how to go to Isla Mujeres on your own

You can get to Isla Mujeres by ferry and get around the island at your own pace.

The only difference is that you won’t be able to do snorkeling along the way but you have a lot of time for yourself on the island and maybe join a snorkeling trip from the island.

Isla Mujeres aerial view

8. Rent a private yacht all for yourself

Did you know you can charter a spacious yacht from Cancun for a daytime cruise?

You can decide where to go and what you see depending on the duration of your rental, meaning you’ll optimize your time on the water.

Enjoy the lounge on deck as the music plays and admire the beautiful scenery around you. You can stop to snorkel as well if time allows.

Complimentary ice, water, and soft drinks are available on the boat.

πŸ‘‰ Book your private yacht now

Clouds reflecting in the Lagoon Nichupte' while two people are kayaking
NIchupte’ lagoon

➒ Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens I am covered. I have been using Β Safety Wing and I find it quite fair, covering a lot for its pricing level. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you are undecided yet you can read my post on the best travel insurance for Mexico for more clarity.

9. Jungle Tour Adventure: Speed Boat Tour and Snorkeling (Shared Speed Boat)

This short 2-hour tour will take you on small speed boat tours zipping around the Lagoon Nichupte.

You will stop by Punta Nizuc coral reef for some snorkeling. You can choose from several departure times to suit your schedule.

Snorkel gear and bottled water are included together with an English-speaking guide.

πŸ‘‰ Book your jungle tour adventure here

10. Whale Sharks Tour from Cancun

You cannot miss this life-changing experience to swim with whale sharks, the gentle giant of the sea. They are huge but completely harmless and you can swim close to them without touching them or disturbing their environment.

The boat whale sharks tours are well organized to let you swim with them three times, as you will need to take turns with the other travelers.

It’s indeed an incredible tour, and if you had to choose among all those listed here I wouldn’t miss this one for the world.

But keep in mind that it’s only available from June through the end of August.

πŸ‘‰ Book your whale sharks tour here

11. Take a trip to Chichen-itza

Although it’s now packed with vendors which in my opinion spoil the magic of this sacred place, Chichen-Itza deserves at least one visit in a lifetime.

I went about 3 times. After all, it’s still one of the world’s seven wonders and a UNESCO world heritage site.

There are tours from Cancun that will take you there with a certified guide and will stop in some cenotes. Although to be really honest, I think you should go on a tour only if you don’t have any other options.

The best way to visit Chichen-Itza is early morning when the big groups haven’t arrived yet.

In one of my articles, I wrote about other ways to get from Cancun to Chichen Iza, if you want to check it out.

However, if you don’t have enough time you can join an organized tour, which has the advantage of a certified guide to offer some great information, and you don’t have to think about the logistics because everything is already organized for you.

Besides, organized tours to Chichen Itza usually include other interesting stops at a cenote and the pretty colonial town of Valladolid.

β–Ί Best tours to Chichen Itza from Cancun that you can join. Click on the tour below to read more!

12. Take a trip to Valladolid

Valladolid is the nearest colonial city that will connect you with the local culture to understand what Mexico is about. Unfortunately, although so beautiful, Cancun won’t show you exactly what Mexico is.

If you stay in Cancun and you don’t explore around it’s like you haven’t been to Mexico, except for its beaches and all-inclusive hotels, but that could be anywhere.

To get to Valladolid you can either hop on the ADO public bus or join a tour to Chichen-Itza which always include a visit to Valladolid.

However, keep in mind that you will have very little time to walk around. I personally would prefer to get to Valladolid on my own and stay for a couple of nights.

If you do that, here are my top posts on Valladolid.

β–Ί The 11 best things to do in Valladolid

β–Ί The top 9 cenotes near Valladolid

β–Ί The best restaurants in Valladolid

If you need to go from the Airport, directly to Valladolid here is a great company for comfortable private transportation.

13. Visit the spectacular cenotes near Cancun

If you have never swum in a cenote, you should at least once visit one of the spectacular Cancun Cenotes, only 30 minutes drive from Cancun.

And you have already been there I am sure you want to visit more cenotes.

Each one has its own charm and offers a great way to spend one day in nature, swimming, jumping, or just relaxing on the rim surrounded by the soothing Jungle.

If you don’t know what’s a cenote, check out my complete guide on the Cancun Cenotes where I also give you a brief synopsis of their history.

The best way to enjoy the cenotes near Cancun is by renting a car and driving because public transportation won’t go there.

πŸ‘‰ Cenotes adventure tour in Puerto Morelos with Diego from Airbnb Experience
πŸ‘‰Rio Secreto Underground River Tour with Crystal Caves

Cave cenote
Cave Cenote from Canva

14. Go see the jaw-dropping pink lakes of Las Coloradas and see the Flamingos in Rio Lagartos

Located at about 3-hour drive from Cancun, these spectacular lakes are indeed pink. It’s not a photoshop trick, although some of the Instagram photos are a little too saturated, they do serve the purpose.

You cannot swim in the lakes of course. They are part of a salt factory that’s been there for ages. They have now turned it into a money-making tourist attraction after all the success they saw on Instagram.

You can easily get there on your own by car but you can also join a tour and combine a boat tour in the famous Rio Lagarto reserve to watch the graceful pink flamingo and then continue your trip to the pink lakes.

The boat tour is what makes the trip worth it, in my opinion. Click on the link below to find out more.

β–Ί Book Las Coloradas and Rio Lagartos tour here

Las Coloradas
Las Coloradas from Canva

15. Visit Isla Holbox

Holbox is a spectacular island only a couple of hours from Cancun. Actually, Cancun Holbox by car is about 2 hrs and 30 minutes but if you go by bus you would need about 3h.30 minutes.

I know, it’s a lot of time to go in one day, and if you ask me, I am telling you it’s not worth it. You should spend at least a couple of nights enjoying it fully.

However, if you have a limited time, the best way to go is by an organized tour where you will be going on a boat tour to do some site spotting on the nearby island (Isla de los Pajaros) on your way to Holbox.

It’s the best way to make the most of your time there.

Holbox is a spectacular island with white sand deserted beaches and turquoise water, where there are no cars and people move around by bike or golf cart.

It’s much less developed and chaotic than Isla Mujeres and with more authentic vibes.

Here below is the link to the tour. Click on it to learn more.

β–ΊBoat Tour to Holbox Paradise Island from Cancun

Holbox beach
Isla Holbox – Photo from Canva

16. Take a day trip to Tulum

You cannot miss the Tulum archaeological site and the boho-chic hotel zone of Tulum if you are in the Yucatan peninsula. It’s a must.

The Mayan ruins are a unique sight and the view of the Mayan temple with the turquoise waters as a backdrop is a postcard-worthy picture.

And then you can take a dip in the beautiful sea and spend the rest of the day on the spectacular beach.

I recommend Cinco Tulum where for a moderate cost, you can have a great meal and use the beach facilities. Read my post on how to get from Cancun to Tulum if you wish to go on your own.

Otherwise, you can book a tour where they take you to the ruins with a certified guide and make other stops in the meantime. It’s a great way to optimize time and see more in one day and with a certified guide included.

Organized tour options to Tulum from Cancun are available and combine a visit to the Tulum ruins with other fun sites, such as cenotes, and beaches.

Here are the top-rated tours from Cancun to Tulum

17. Spend a day in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is the notorious party town of the Riviera Maya, but besides the party, you can stroll along the famous 5 Avenida for some shopping and nice restaurants, and relax at the beach for a nice swim in the tranquil azure sea.

You can easily get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun on your own by bus, but if you feel more comfortable you can check out taxi rates. They should be around 1000 MXN one way. (about 50 USD)

18. Visit Isla Contoy

Contoy island overview
Contoy Island photo from Canva

Isla Contoy is definitely one of the unique things to do in Cancun. Boat Tours live from one of the Cancun marinas and will take you to this spectacular uninhabited island to learn about the local fauna, and enjoy the immaculate white sand beaches and pristine water.

Isla Contoy is a natural park and protected area and only supervised and regulated eco-tourism is allowed. Only a few tour operators have permission to bring a maximum of 200 daily visitors.

It is home to four species of sea turtles that find a safe haven for nesting on the beaches of the island, the loggerhead turtle, the Green turtle, the Hawksbill turtle, and the leatherback turtle.

The reserve is also a sanctuary to approximately 152 tropical marine birds, among which frigates, brown pelicans, and cormorants.

Here are some suggested tours to Contoy Island

19. Rent a car and drive around the Yucatan Peninsula

Driving around the Yucatan Peninsula is super safe and easy. It will give you the freedom to check out gorgeous hidden spots off the beaten path and also move at your own pace, change the itinerary, and spend more time where you feel like it.

You don’t even have to book your stay in advance. Just go with the flow, which is my favorite way to travel. Check out my 15 days itinerary around the Yucatan Peninsula to have an idea of a possible road trip.

To rent a car I recommend DiscoverCars which is a car rental platform where you can compare prices from different car rental companies and find the most convenient for you.

You can also purchase very affordable full-coverage insurance for your own peace of mind. Make sure you read the fine print at the time of booking, though, to avoid surprises.

Car rental

Discover Cars Mexico Review

Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.


Things To Do in Cancun with Kids

20. Priority Access: Xplor Adventure Park with pick up and drop off

If you are feeling adventurous this full-day tour will take you to Xplor another man-made park from the Xcaret group.

Even in this case, there is nothing ecological about this park but it is indeed a beautiful subterranean river.

In your full-day package you will be able to paddle through atmospheric caves filled with stalactites; glide over the jungle canopy on a high-velocity zip line; and drive an amphibious vehicle on exciting off-road trails.

Enjoy a rich international buffet and sip your drinks from the open bar.

This is an inclusive tour and everything is covered.

You need to book in advance in order to include your return transfer from your hotel.

β–Ί Book your full-day Xplore park

21. Spend a day in the Xel-Ha tourist park

Xel-ha is another park from the Xcaret group, the ones that are not eco-friendly in my opinion.

I include this because I know they are very popular, so if you want to buy the ticket at least I get a commission. Let’s be honest πŸ™‚

But if you decide to skip these kinds of parks and decide to rent a car and explore Mexico on your own, you will make me happier

However, if you have kids and you are not feeling that adventurous, this park will certainly amuse them and you have all the comfort and facilities at hand, to relax and enjoy the place too

22. Spend a full day in the popular park Xcaret

I can’t believe I am including Xcaret in this post, but unfortunately, Xcaret, the so-called ecological park, is one of the most visited places in the Riviera Maya from Cancun but there is nothing ecological about it.

I would rather rent a car and go on an adventure on my own than be included in a zoo-like area squeezed with a mass of people and support dolphin exploitation.

If you decide to go to Xcaret please at least don’t do the swim with the dolphin activity. I beg you! These beautiful intelligent animals should be swimming free in the ocean on their own and not entertaining people and kissing kids. Come on!!!

Anyway if you really want to go to Xcaret here is where you can book. But please don’t throw your money and swim with the dolphins!!

You can rent a car and travel around on your own or join organized tours and have an experienced guide take you around.

Besides beautiful beaches, you can explore local markets, visit archeological sites, do exciting water-sport activities and enjoy the nightlife.

23. Swim with the sea turtles in Akumal

Akumal turtle
Photo Β© Canva

A great place where to take your kids is Akumal beach because you can swim with turtles right from the shore. The beauty of it is that they are not kept in captivity.

They are free to roam in the ocean and they just come close to the shore because that area is rich in plankton and other marine creatures that they feast on.

Check out my post on how to visit Akumal for more information.

Akumal beach
Playa Akumal – photo from Canva

Free Things To Do In Cancun Mexico

24- 31 Go where the locals hang out

Cancun is not only the Hotel Zone, where the luxury Cancun all-inclusive hotels are. There is also a town where local people live (including me).

There is nothing appealing about Downtown Cancun, to be honest, however, there are a couple of interesting places that you might want to check out and mingle with locals.

Mercado 28

a little touristy now, but you can find some Mexican souvenirs

Mercado 23

where locals go grocery shopping, an interesting place


That’s a nice promenade along the Nichupte lagoon on the downtown side. Locals use to go there early morning and in the evening to exercise. It’s beautiful at sunrise and full moon.

Hotel Zone Road
Hotel Zone Photo Β© Canva

Plaza las Americas

It’s a mall where locals go shopping, movies, and coffee. It’s located right in front of the Malecon at walking distance from each other.

Parque las Palapas

One of the few walkable plazas where you can see local life going by with families with kids hanging out and a few restaurants in the surroundings.

Avenida Nader

One of the newly refurbished areas where locals hang out at night, with lots of new lovely restaurants of all tastes and pockets

Puerto Cancun

Puerto Cancun is the new high-end mall where you can enjoy world-class stores and upscale restaurants besides a beautiful view of the harbor.

Plaza La Isla

Plaza La Isla has been there forever and it’s one of the largest open-air malls in Cancun. It’s located in the Hotel zone facing the lagoon.

It includes some of the most upscale restaurants in Cancun such as Elephanta and the Thai Restaurants. It’s also the best place where to watch the sunset over Cancun Skyline.

32. Explore Cancun beaches

One of the highlights of Cancun is the endless white sand beach washed by turquoise crystal water, one of the most amazing picture-worthy beaches in Mexico.

Although it’s actually one unique beach 18 km long, only interrupted at one point by km 8, by Crystal Palace hotel (former Hyatt), there are many different beaches each one with its own features and name as I write in my article on the best beaches in Cancun.

Although the entire coast is occupied by huge hotels, the beach is totally public and you can hang out anywhere you want as long as you are not using the hotel’s facilities.

There are a few spots along the Zona Hotelera road where you have access to the beach. My favorites are Playa Caracol and Playa Delfines.

Playa delfines
Playa Delfines

33. Check out the Mayan ruins in Cancun

Get a glimpse of the Mayan culture by visiting the brand-new archeology museum and the tiny archaeological sites in Cancun, El Rey, and El Meco.

Of course, they are not Chichen-Itza, but still, they will give you an idea of the Mayan civilization and its history. It’s all located a few miles from your hotel in Cancun.

It’s not exactly a free thing to do in Cancun because you have to pay a small entry fee but you don’t need to join a tour to see them.


Things to do in Cancun at night

Cancun is one of the top Mexican destinations for its vibrant nightlife, which is what makes it one of the prime spots for spring-breakers and party lovers.

However, there are many things to do in Cancun at night that go beyond the clubs and loud music. Here I will share the top activities and events that you can participate in from Cancun in the evening and night.

34. Assist the Cirque du Soleil show

The show draws on the heritage and history of Mexico to weave the story, presented in an intimate dinner theatre in the jungle of the Riviera Maya.

Here is where you can purchase your tickets but mind that the transportation is not included, so you may want to check with the reception of your hotel to book a return taxi for you.

β–ΊBook your Cirque du Soleil tickets here

35. Enjoy the shows at Coco Bongo

The Coco Bongo has become a landmark in Cancun for night entertainment.

Even if you are not into partying and loud music like me, you will still appreciate the spectacular shows from local artists who will perform during the night mimicking the most popular singers, such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Queen, and many more.

You won’t be late if you don’t want to, as the show usually wraps up around midnight to one am.

β–Ί Book your VIP entrance at Coco Bongo here

36. Enjoy the night show at Xcaret

The popular theme park of Xcaret includes an entertaining and captivating night show at sunset with Pre-Hispanic Dances, and a Horse Exhibition, where history and folklore are represented by more than 300 artists on the stage of the Gran Tlachco.

This ticket includes day and night access to X-Caret for a full day of entertainment. So make sure you bring the necessary change of clothes

β–ΊBook your Xcaret Night show tickets here

37. Captain Hook: Pirate Show and Dinner Cruise in Cancun

Pirate ship dinner

This is a fun night boat trip for party lovers. You will enjoy a gourmet dinner and an evening of pirate tales, dancing, and entertainment, then see a live-action battle at sea.

This 3-hour dinner cruise includes access to an open bar, with air-conditioned indoor seating as well as an open-air dance floor and deck.

β–Ί Book your Captain Hook Pirate Show and Dinner Cruise tickets here

38. Amazing Romantic Dinner on a Galeon around the lagoon in Cancun with sax music

If you are not into parties, but you prefer a more intimate night out but original, why not book a romantic dinner cruise in an old galleon.

You will glide across the Nichupte Lagoon on a Spanish-style galleon accompanied by the timeless rhythms of live sax as you enjoy your choice of beef, vegetarian, lobster, or surf β€˜n’ turf while the sun is setting.

You can choose between deluxe and simple dinner options to suit your budget and transportation from your hotel, which is optional.

β–ΊBook your romantic dinner on a Galeon here

39. Cancun Authentic Taco tour

If you want to enjoy authentic Mexican food, you will enjoy this taco tour organized by Anastasiya. She will take you on a culinary journey through the best taco places in Cancun while sharing her knowledge about Mexican history and culture.

β–ΊBook your taco tour on Airbnb

40. Original Mixology and Mezcal Tasting with Ceviche Dinner

And we couldn’t conclude our list of the amazing things to do in Cancun with another culinary tour. We are in Mexico after all, one of the most beloved cuisines in the world.

With this tour, Axel will take you around the best local food spots in Cancun.

As he says, Mexico is not only tacos!

You will start your tour at a unique beachfront local’s restaurant, where you will enjoy an original Mixology drink. Then you will enjoy a ceviche dinner, sharing the best author seafood recipes with you.

After dinner, you are going to move on to a very special local’s bar in Downtown, where you will learn how to identify an authentic original Mezcal from the label to the mouth and the Mezcal-making process.

This tour is full of culinary surprises to keep you entertained all night.

Make sure you book your taxi ahead of time to go back to your hotel.

β–ΊBook your Original Mixology and Mezcal Tasting with Ceviche Dinner tour on Airbnb


Things to do in Cancun Hotel Zone

Some of the things to do in Cancun I mentioned above are located in the Hotel Zone. Here below I wil list them again for your convenience plus new awesome things to do

41. Check out some of the beautiful white sand beaches of Cancun.

Among all the amazing Cancun beaches, my favorite ones are playa Chac Mool and Playa Kukulkan. Although it seems that Cancun beaches have only access through the Cancun luxury beach hotels, you can find some beach access along the Avenida Kukulcan.

Read my post on the Cancun beaches ( linked above) to learn how to access the top Cancun beaches.

Cancun beach- Where to stay in cancun
Cancun beach

42. Walk around Plaza La Isla

… and watch the sunset while having a delicious meal in one of the upscale Cancun Restaurants.

43. Go snorkeling by the hotel Club Med

At the very end of Cancun Beach at about km21 it’s where the beach is interrupted and turns into a 90-degree angle towards Cancun airport.

That’s where Club Med is. You can’t get into the hotel if you are not a guest. But if you walk down Playa Delfines and walk along the beach you can get there and snorkel from the shore.

Turquize Hyatt Cancun all inclusive
Hyatt Ziva Cancun

44. Spend a day in one of the Cancun Beach Clubs

Some of the spectacular all-inclusive hotels in Cancun offer a day pass for you to enjoy their installation and restaurants. It’s worth the splurge for sure.

45. Visit the Mayan Museum and archeological site nearby

If you want to learn some Mayan history, this new museum will be a great way to spend a couple of hours in Cancun, especially if it rains or, if outside it’s too hot.

Nearby there are some cute ancient Mayan ruins as well that you can check out.

You can also read my post on the 3 Mayan Ruins in Cancun for more detailed info.


What should I avoid in Cancun?

🚫 Don’t stay in your hotel the entire Vacation

One of the things you should avoid in Cancun is being scared to get out of your hotel. Especially if you are staying in one of the spectacular all-inclusive hotels in the hotel zone you may be tempted to stay in and get yourself pampered. Who can blame you?

But I assure you that if you go out and check out some of the places I have mentioned here above in this post you will be ecstatic.

Cancun is surrounded by incredible historical sites and natural wonders that are worth checking out

However, there are a few things you should avoid in order to stay safe and have a smooth vacation, which I will talk about in the next section.

I read in a popular magazine that renting a car should be among the things that you should not do in Cancun. I think their writer has never been here or if he/she has, she had a bad experience.

Renting a car is one of the best ways to enjoy Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula and in my opinion the safest way.

Cancun playa Delfines - sun shades by the water

🚫 Don’t go to the theme parks

Another thing the Fodors writers suggest you should do is visiting those parks, but those are not the real Mexico. I am sure they get commissions for promoting them. I do too, but still, I believe there are more authentic and natural places that you will enjoy more

🚫 Don’t swim when the red flag is out

This should be for the next section but I include it here among the thing you should not do in Cancun.

Although the incredible turquoise water is inviting, there are rip tides in that will pull you out and won’t let you back in.

It’s dangerous. So follow the beach guards’ instructions. They know better!

🚫 Don’t eat in your hotel all the time

Although you have booked and paid for an all-inclusive hotel, Cancun is full of amazing restaurants that you should experience.

🚫 Don’t let the timeshare guys convince you of their deal

It’s never for your advantage but a mouse trap! You don’t need a timeshare when you can travel the world with no ties, right? Also getting out of it once you are in, is a nightmare.

Punta Cancun aerial view
Cancun aerial view

Is Cancun Safe?

Cancun is a relatively safe destination and although some episodes of crime came out in the news, we can say that for tourists it’s safe to travel. There are a few things that you should be mindful of, though, and I will list them here below.

βœ” don’t drink tap water –

It’s not safe to drink water in Mexico and that is why in your hotel room you will always find a bottle or two for your use.

βœ” don’t leave your bag unattended

βœ” use the safe of your hotel room

βœ” don’t leave your drink out of sight

βœ” bring your documents with you or a copy, especially the immigration card

βœ” don’t lose the immigration card

βœ” don’t flaunt your wealth. Leave your jewelry at home, you don’t need it here anyway.

Read more about safety in Cancun on my dedicated post!

Book your transfer from Cancun Airport to your hotel!!

Cancun airport transportation is a reputable company that I would use if I didn’t have friends coming for me when I fly to Cancun.

Things to do in Cancun: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cancun popular for?

Cancun is mainly popular for its spectacular white sand stretch of beach, the magnificent highrise all-inclusive hotels, and all the many watersports you can do from here, from scuba diving, paddleboarding, snorkeling, boat tours, and much more.

What should I be careful of in Cancun?

Just be aware of your surroundings and walk on the beach or in dark places at night alone. Be careful of the water currents and don’t swim if there is a yellow or red flag. Read my post on safety in Cancun for more details.

Is 3 days enough time in Cancun?

Yes, 3 days is enough to check out the main attractions in Cancun but if you stay longer, trust me, you won’t get bored. There are so many things to do in Cancun that you will always be entertained if you want.

Can you walk around Cancun safely?

Yes, you can walk around pretty safely in the most central part of Cancun, in the hotel zone especially but also central downtown during the day. However, I would be more careful during the night and stay in the most touristy and crowded areas only.

Do I need pesos in Cancun?

Yes, it’s much better to travel with pesos because if you use USD or Euro although they are accepted, the exchange rates would be really really bad for you. Make sure you exchange your currency in the local casa de Cambio or banks.

Can you drink the water in Cancun?

You can’t drink tap water in Cancun, although it’s not lethal, you don’t want to end up with any stomach bugs or diarrhea during a vacation. So don’t risk it.

Can you brush your teeth in Cancun and Mexico?

Yes, you can brush your teeth with tap water but since many hotels provide purified water bottles, you may want to use them to be on the safe side.

Things To Do In Cancun: Final thoughts

YAY! You made it! Thank you for reading this huge post about the things to do in Cancun. I hope this long list of experiences and tips has helped you decide what to do when you are visiting Cancun and it didn’t overwhelm you.

Or maybe you decided to extend your time here so that you can do more activities. I am going to leave you with more articles on this spectacular destination in case you need restaurant or hotel tips or other practical travel tips on Mexico.

Happy vacation!

✨ Mexico Travel Planning Guide ✨

πŸ‘‰ Do I need travel insurance to travel to Mexico?

I would do it if I were you. You never know what can happen and know that no matter what, you will be covered with any expenses will give you peace of mind, and make your travel worry-free. You can check out SafetyWing which I have used and find it affordable and comprehensive and also Travel Insurance Master which is great because you can insert all your information and what kind of insurance you need and their system will pull out the best insurance for your need.

🚰 Can I drink tap water in Mexico?

No, you can’t! Maybe in some areas or in some homes where they have installed water filters but to be on the safe side, I would say, never drink tap water in Mexico. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up where you find available potable water sources. Most of the hotels have those.

πŸš— Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

The short answer is: depending on where you are. Although in general if you stick to the main roads and don’t drive at night you should probably be safe. In lesser tourist areas you should probably check the local news to stay up to date. Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula is easy everywhere, even at night, although I would still avoid it. I usually use Discover Cars because the site offers the options to compare prices among different car rentals and you can add their own full coverage.

Read more on my guide on Renting a car in Mexico.

πŸ“± Will my phone work in Mexico?

It will probably work, especially if you have a European or US phone, but your roaming rates may be to the stars (check with your SIM provider). Even if have an affordable international rate, you will be much better off by buying a Mexican SIM Card. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and it will keep you connected with your friends, family, and, more important, google Maps so you will never get lost!

πŸ€• Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?

The short answer is, yes it is. However, there are parts of Mexico that are indeed troubled and you should avoid for now, and others that are super safe and easy to travel around.

Regardless of where you are you should always use some common sense rules such as, never flaunting expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keeping a low profile.

Read more on my detailed guide on safety in Mexico. If you are traveling to a specific destination I have got you covered as well:

πŸ’‰ Do I need any vaccine to travel to Mexico?

No, there is no vaccine requirement (of any kind) to travel to Mexico

πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ Do I need a visa to travel to Mexico?

If you are coming from the US or Europe you don’t need a VISA to enter Mexico. Once you get in you need to fill out a form that you need to keep with you until you leave. If you don’t have it you will pay a fine.

Although the tourist visa for US and European travelers used to be 6 months long which you could easily renew by leaving the country for a couple of days and going back, nowadays they have been stricter. You may be asked how you would sustain your living and other similar questions. Sometimes they even ask you to show your credit cards.

It seems odd but they can do that. If you intend to stay longer than a usual couple of weeks’ vacation time, just be honest and explain your plans. If you are not from the US, check this site to see if you need a visa

πŸ’Έ Where do I find the best travel deals for Mexico? πŸ’Έ

A trip to Mexico can be expensive if you love to travel with all the comforts (like I do). There are a few tricks that will help you find the best deals. Here are my tips:

πŸ‘‰ DON’T travel in the high season, which is Holy week, Christmas and winter in general, and August.
πŸ‘‰ Book months in advance to find early booking discounts
πŸ‘‰ Use aggregators such as Discover Cars to find price comparisons and VRBO for vacation rentals!
πŸ‘‰ Look for packages flights+hotels on Expedia or Skyscanner as usually, that’s where the best deals are.
πŸ‘‰ Check on Booking.com or Hotels.com for hotel deals

Happy travels!!

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