Cancun Guide: Top Things to Do - Beaches & Ruins

Gerson Repreza, Unsplash
September 18
Written by Carlos Rivera

Discover the best things to do in Cancun, from exploring top attractions to relaxing on beautiful beaches. Plan your dream vacation in Cancun now!

Welcome, intrepid traveller, to your one-stop Cancun guide for everything to satisfy your wanderlust. Riddle me this - where else can you submerge yourself in crystal-clear turquoise waters and explore spellbinding Mayan civilizations, all in the same day? Yes, that's right - only in Cancun. Rated as one of the most enthralling places to visit in Cancun, this Mexican paradise has something for everyone.

Dive right into the heart of this vibrant city with our handpicked selection of captivating adventures and things to do in Cancun. From adrenaline-pumping water sports to feasting on authentic Mexican cuisine, there's never a dull moment. You might be forgiven for wondering, 'ascertaining what to see in Cancun is a serious business, where should I start?' Don't fret, we've got you covered.

Let's embark on this journey together, exploring places that hold a myriad of untold stories, adventure, and surreal beauty. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

1. Cancun Beaches

Natural Spaces and Parks
a sandy beach next to a body of water
Cancun Beaches / Enrique Bancalari, Unsplash

Discover the stunning Cancun beaches!

If you are thinking of a Caribbean vacation, don't miss the opportunity to visit the beaches of Cancun. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, white sand, and gentle tropical breeze, these beaches will captivate you from the moment you arrive.

Relax under the warm sun as you take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. Take a stroll along the shoreline and immerse yourself in the serenity of this natural paradise. Whether you're looking for water sports adventure or simply unwinding on the beach, Cancun has everything you need for an unforgettable vacation.

2. Isla Mujeres

History and Cultural Heritage$$$
person drinking coconut fruit
Isla Mujeres / Alex Azabache, Unsplash

Discover Isla Mujeres, a paradise in the Mexican Caribbean. Located off the coast of Cancun, this beautiful island is known for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. With a relaxed atmosphere and Caribbean charm, Isla Mujeres offers its visitors a wide variety of activities and attractions to enjoy an unforgettable vacation.

Explore its stunning beaches. From the famous Playa Norte to the tranquil Playa Garrafón, Isla Mujeres boasts a great number of paradise beaches where you can relax, sunbathe, and swim in turquoise waters. You can also go snorkeling or diving and discover the incredible underwater world of the nearby reefs.

Visit the historic downtown of Isla Mujeres. Wander through the colorful streets of this charming town and discover its craft shops, art galleries, and restaurants serving delicious Mexican cuisine. You can also visit the Temple of the Goddess Ixchel, an ancient Mayan structure dedicated to the goddess of fertility and the moon.

3. Chichen Itza

Historical Monuments and Architecture
gray temple
Chichen Itza / Christina Abken, Unsplash

Chichen Itza is a must-visit tourist attraction in Cancun. This archaeological site, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an impressive display of the grandeur and knowledge of the Mayan civilization.

With its majestic pyramids, such as El Castillo and El Caracol, and its beautiful ball courts and sacred cenotes, Chichen Itza transports you to another time when the Mayan culture was at its peak.

You can't miss a visit to Chichen Itza during your stay in Cancun. It's an unforgettable experience that will immerse you in the history and beauty of the ancient Mayan civilization!

4. Tulum Ruins

Historical Monuments and Architecture
green leafed plant
Tulum Ruins / Max Böhme, Unsplash

The Tulum Ruins are one of the main tourist attractions in Cancun. Located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, these Mayan ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Mayan civilization and its incredible architecture.

Situated on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the Tulum Ruins provide a breathtaking backdrop. Visitors can explore the various temples and palaces that were built centuries ago, and marvel at the intricate details and panoramic ocean views.

In addition to its historical and archaeological value, the Tulum Ruins also offer opportunities for relaxation on the nearby beautiful beaches or exploring the numerous cenotes in the area. If you're looking for things to do in Cancun, a visit to the Tulum Ruins is a must.

5. Coco Bongo Nightclub

Entertainment and Pop Culture$$$

Discover Coco Bongo Nightclub, one of the hottest party spots in Cancun.

Located in the heart of the city, Coco Bongo offers an unparalleled experience of music, dance, and entertainment. With its stunning live performances, dazzling lights, and vibrant atmosphere, Coco Bongo transports you to a world of fun and excitement.

Enjoy the best shows featuring famous artists, professional dancers, and acrobats on a stage full of energy. Dance the night away and live a magical experience at Coco Bongo!

6. Xcaret Park

Entertainment and Pop Culture$$$
a pink bird standing on top of a tree branch
Xcaret Park / Dmitry Spravko, Unsplash

Xcaret Park is one of the most popular and exciting places to visit in Cancun. It offers a unique combination of entertainment, adventure, and culture.

At Xcaret Park, you can enjoy a wide variety of water activities, such as diving in beautiful cenotes and swimming in crystal-clear waters alongside colorful tropical fish. You can also explore underground caves and discover impressive rock formations.

But that's not all, Xcaret Park is also a true cultural treasure. Here, you can learn about the history and legacy of the ancient Mayan civilization through interactive exhibits and theatrical shows. Additionally, you can indulge in delicious Mexican cuisine, shop for traditional handicrafts, and witness breathtaking folk dances.

7. El Meco Archaeological Site

Historical Monuments and Architecture$$$

The El Meco Archaeological Site is a must-visit for those traveling to Cancun. Located just a few kilometers from the hotel zone, this ancient Maya site features impressive ruins and a rich history that will captivate archaeology enthusiasts.

El Meco was once an important port city, playing a crucial role in the maritime trade of the region. Its imposing structures and strategic location make it a unique archaeological gem.

Explore the ruins of El Meco and admire the majestic buildings, such as the main pyramid and the ceremonial temple. Learn about Mayan culture and take in panoramic views of the Caribbean from the top of the pyramid.

8. Cancun Cenotes

Natural Spaces and Parks$$$
woman in red shorts standing on rock formation near body of water during daytime
Cancun Cenotes / The Free Birds, Unsplash

Discover the fascinating cenotes of Cancun, one of the main tourist attractions in the Riviera Maya. These natural freshwater sinkholes were formed thousands of years ago and offer a unique underground spectacle.

Diving into the crystal clear waters of the cenotes is like stepping into a magical world. Explore their impressive rock formations and admire the aquatic life that inhabits them.

The cenotes of Cancun are a paradise for scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Don't miss the opportunity to dive into these crystal clear waters and explore their fascinating marine flora and fauna.

9. Interactive Aquarium Cancun

Entertainment and Pop Culture$$$
yellow and white fish underwater photography
Interactive Aquarium Cancun / Renate Helgerud, Unsplash

Discover the Interactive Aquarium Cancun

If you are looking for things to do in Cancun, you cannot miss the Interactive Aquarium. This impressive place offers visitors a close encounter with marine life in a safe and carefully designed environment.

Interact with marine life

At the Interactive Aquarium Cancun, you can observe and learn about a wide variety of marine species. From majestic sharks to playful dolphins, you can come face to face with some of the most fascinating creatures of the ocean.

Learn and have fun

Here, you can not only enjoy the show that the animals offer, but also participate in educational programs and interactive activities. Learn about the importance of conserving the marine environment while having fun at this incredible aquarium.

10. Playa Delfines

Natural Spaces and Parks$$$

Playa Delfines in Cancun is a must-visit for lovers of paradise beaches. Known for its white sand and turquoise blue sea, this beach will leave you breathless. Enjoy a relaxing day in the sun, swimming in its crystal-clear waters, and taking unforgettable photos.

Cancun, in the Riviera Maya, is famous for its stunning beaches, and Playa Delfines is one of the best. If you're looking for a peaceful place to enjoy the sea and sun, this beach is perfect for you.

In addition to its natural beauty, Playa Delfines also offers services such as palapas, umbrellas, and bathrooms. You can also find street vendors offering delicious and refreshing local food and drinks.

11. Maya Museum of Cancun

Museums and Art Galleries

The Maya Museum of Cancun is a must-visit tourist attraction for history and culture enthusiasts. Located in the hotel zone of Cancun, this museum houses an impressive collection of Mayan artifacts that reveal the greatness of this ancient civilization.

Get up close to incredible archaeological pieces, from stone-carved monuments to everyday objects used by the Mayans in their daily lives. Through interactive and audiovisual exhibits, you can learn about Mayan cosmology, architecture, writing system, and much more.

Immerse yourself in the history of the Mayan civilization as you explore themed rooms dedicated to different aspects of their culture and legacy. The Maya Museum of Cancun offers an educational and exciting experience that will connect you with the past.

12. Xoximilco Cancun

Entertainment and Pop Culture

Discover the best of Mexican culture and tradition with Xoximilco Cancun, a unique experience that combines music, food, and fun.

Embark on an authentic trajinera and navigate through the canals while enjoying traditional Mexican music and dances.

Taste delicious Mexican dishes and sample tequila, mezcal, and other traditional drinks while experiencing a magical night full of joy and tradition.

13. El Rey Ruins

Historical Monuments and Architecture

El Rey Ruins is one of the must-see tourist attractions in Cancun. These ancient Mayan ruins will transport you to the past, revealing the secrets of this fascinating civilization.

Located in the Cancun Archaeological Zone, the El Rey Ruins stand out for their impressive architecture. Stroll among the well-preserved structures and discover the temples, plazas, and sculptures that await you at this historic site.

In addition to its historical value, the El Rey Ruins also offer stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds it while immersing yourself in the history and culture of the ancient Mayan civilization.

14. Scorpion Temple

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Scorpion Temple is an impressive archaeological structure located in Cancun. It is one of the hidden treasures of the city and a must-visit for history and Maya culture enthusiasts.

Built centuries ago by the ancient Mayans, this temple showcases the incredible architectural skills and knowledge of this civilization. Its unique shape and intricate decoration are truly awe-inspiring.

If you are visiting Cancun, you can't miss the opportunity to explore the Scorpion Temple. Immerse yourself in history and uncover the secrets that this ancient place has to offer.