15 Best Things To Do in Cancun, Mexico

Cancun City in Mexico is well-known for its exotic beaches, diverse culture, traditional markets and thrilling amusement parks. However, apart from the Chichen Itza, people are not aware of numerous historically important sites this city has. A long time ago, the Mayan Civilization had chiefly lived in and around this city. As a result, one can find some excavated archaeological sites here. When planning your trip to Mexico, do leave at least two days’ time to explore and get amazed by the intricate details, sturdy buildings and strange beauty of these ruins. Given below are some best places in Cancun that deserve to be visited.

Let's explore these 15 best things to do in Cancun:

1. Chichen Itza, the famous Mayan Site

Chichen Itza, Cancun - ImageImage Source: wikipedia.org

One of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’, Chichen Itza is the most famous Mayan archaeological site across the world! Known for the El Castillo pyramid, visitors will be left staring in awe at the power of the human mind that constructed the marvellous structure entirely out of manpower and primitive tools. Interestingly, an observatory, the Temple of Warriors and a cenote where human sacrifices were conducted are also present here. You can even hire a private archaeologist who can inform you everything about this phenomenal site.

2. Tulum for Tourists

Cancun AttractionsImage Source: wikipedia.org

Set on a cliff top by the Caribbean Sea, this greenish-brown city structure is only two hours south of Cancun. Although, individuals are not allowed to climb the structures Tulum’s Zacil-Ha Cenote has a zip line and swimming hole which is too good to be missed! Owing to its popularity, a number of eateries are also present here to satisfy your hunger. After the Chichen Itza, Tulum is the most recognized historical site in Cancun.

3. Play at the Coba Mayan Ruins and discover more about the Mayans

Coba Mayan Ruins - ImageImage Source: wikipedia.org

Coba Mayan Ruins are not as heavily excavated as Tulum or Chichen Itza, and this is a good thing for tourists! Coba’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it has the largest network of stone causeways called Sacbes meaning ‘white roads’. One can climb the pyramid of Nohoch Mul and even venture into the 16 pathways (there are total 50 discovered so far). Stone carved monuments called stelae depict women, suggesting the reign of female rulers. You can also visit the two ball courts used for playing traditional Mayan games.

4. Ek Balam for Mayan Education

Situated in the Yucatan peninsula, Ek Balam is a relatively secluded place to learn about the Mayan sculptures, temples and plazas. Stretched across a vast area of greenery, this site has left historians surprised. Go there, and you will be forced to wonder how could man build such magnificent structures back then? Which equipment did he use and how did he procure them? You can book a guide who will not only show you around but may also be able to answer those questions

5. Museo Maya de Cancun for musing kids

Museo Maya de Cancun or The Museum Casa Maya is an ecological park that exhibits the ancient Mayan life at its best. This replica is built to showcase the natural and social traditions of that era. It has numerous spider monkeys, crocodiles and turtles. The museum, housed in one of the original Mayan structures, is located at Kabah and Nichupte avenues. Through a vibrant display of historical events and overall development of the city, this place succeeds in providing a thorough understanding of the Mayan life to people of all ages.

6. El Rey Ruins to enjoy the culture of the Mayans

Culture of the Mayans, Cancun - ImageImage Source: wikimedia.org

Located in the Hotel Zone of Cancun, El Rey Ruins date back to the 3rd – 2nd century BC. The ruins were originally named “Kin Ich Ahau Bonil’, meaning "King of the Solar Countenance’. Their distinctive feature is that unlike the rest of the Mayan ruins that have only one main plaza and street, El Rey has two plazas and two streets. They are said to have been ancient spaces for Mayans’ astronomical practices, and historians believe the pyramid here must have been a royal burial ground as it is decorated with paintings.

7. A visit to Scorpion’s Temple to witness the preservation

Locals call it the Templo del Alacran, or YamilLu’um, it stands on the highest point in Cancun at the Park Royal Cancun Resort. Present within the city limits, the temple is on an elevated platform. Broken stairways and its presence in an urban environment might not give one the feeling they get at Coba or Tulum but, Mexicans deserve credit for preserving what little was left of the temple.

8. Mayan village of Hunuku

When you visit Ek Balam, you can also stop by and interact with locals of the Hunuku village. It is a present-day Mayan village and helps one to connect the present to the past. Enjoy a delightful traditional meal with its residents and do swim in the Suytun Cenote.

9. Wax Museum Cancun for Children and Family

History is not only limited to ancient ruins; in Cancun recent past can be viewed in the form of wax statues at the Cancun Wax Museum. Featuring stars from various fields including sports, politics, Hollywood and even the fictional world, you are sure to relish this visit! You can take selfies with Albert Einstein, Spider-Man, The Beatles, Elvis or Queen Elizabeth II and many more.

10. El Meco and the coastal delight

Tourist attractions in CancunImage Source: wikimedia.org

El Meco is the highest archaeological structure in the northern peninsula. One of its kind sites, it enables the tourists to know about the ancient coastal Mayan city and how was life in around a coastal area during the 3rd century BC. This was a harbor-like point and quite an important reference for coastal navigation. El Meco has 14 structures and well-maintained central temple.

11. Isla Mujeres and the culture of the Mayans

Isla Mujeres, Spanish for ‘Women Island’ is only five miles away from the Cancun Hotel Zone. A religious centre dedicated to the Mayan Goddess of Fertility, Ixchel, it still is highly popular amongst tourists who are intrigued by the Mayan culture. One can still visit the temple which was also used as a lighthouse to guide the Mayan ships ashore. s

12. Underwater Excursion for the excited

The Mayan sculptures and buildings are a cause of mystery already, just think what secrets submerged in water could this ancient civilization be hiding! On your visit to Tulum, dive into the sea to explore an underwater cave where stalactites and stalagmites can be seen. The snorkeling experience would also offer an opportunity to swim alongside sea turtles and tropical fish.

13. Kat yok Planetario De Cancun

A Water Museum, observatory, auditorium and a few archaeological sites are what this planetarium has to offer. Travel into the future through the astronomical and scientific projections that often happen here. This is a good place to visit along with family or people who share the same interests as yours!

14. San Miguelito Archeological site

Located on Cancun Mayan Museum’s site, San Miguelito is another place where you can deepen your knowledge and understanding of this community. An archive is portraying Mayan artifacts, it is the only site that has evidence of dunes constructed by the community to protect itself. Surprisingly, San Miguelito is an adopted name as the authentic Mayan name is unknown to modern man.

15. Xelha, the history session

With cenotes, a nearby ecological park and ruins of the Mayan civilization, Xelha was used as a port. Tour guides can skillfully take you round this site, often narrating moving stories and legends of the humans sacrificed by the Mayans.

By visiting these unique and marvelous ruins, museums and temple structures, you will be exposed to the Mayan beliefs of the cosmos, the existence of a higher power and life cycles. Do visit the sites recommended by us if surveying lost civilizations pique your interest!

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cancun, Mexico

Must see places in Cancun ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of Cancun tourist attractions & points of interest.

  1. # 1 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 5258 times in trip plans
    Isla Mujeres

    Tags: Outdoors, Island, Water Sport, Picnic Spot

    Address: Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Literally translated “the island of women”, Isla Mujeres is actually named after the several statues of the goddess Ixchel found here. What makes this island important to visit is that it ...Read more

  2. # 2 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 2282 times in trip plans
    Xplor Park

    Tags: Park, Adventure

    Address: Carretera Federal 307 Km.282, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    With 14 zip-lines and activities that include swimming and rafting in the river while you admire stalagmites and stalactites in the caves, the Xplor Park is an underground adventure park designed to s...Read more

  3. # 3 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 5657 times in trip plans

    Tags: Outdoors, Park, Picnic Spot

    Address: Carretera Chetúmal-Puerto Juárez Kilómetro 282, Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

    Timings: 08:30 am - 10:30 pm Details

    The Xcaret area has an interesting past. It is believed to be what was formerly known as the ancient port of Polé. The Maya would come to this area to purify themselves before visiting Cozumel ...Read more

  4. # 4 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 3831 times in trip plans
    Chichen Itza

    Tags: Outdoors, Historical Site

    Address: Yucatan, Mexico

    Timings: 08:00 am - 04:30 pm Details

    Mexico’s historical legacy is rich and varied and the Mayans have left a stunning mark on the country with their beautiful stone structures. To travel to Cancun and to not see one of these magni...Read more

  5. # 5 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 3524 times in trip plans
    Xel - Ha Park

    Tags: Outdoors, Theme Park, Food And Drinks, Leisure

    Address: Carretera Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km 240, locales 1 & 2, Modulo B, 77780 QROO, Mexico

    Timings: 08:30 am - 05:30 pm Details

    Xel Ha Park is the ideal tourist attraction near Cancun for those of you travelling with a family. Not to be mistaken with a historic site of the same name Xelha which lies within the same premises, t...Read more

  6. # 6 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 4126 times in trip plans

    Tags: Beach, Walking Area, Food And Drinks, Nature

    Address: Carretera Federal No. 307 Km 128, 77710 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Located at a distance of around one and a half hours from Cancun, Tulum is one destination that leaves its visitors spell bound with its spectacular coastline and bright sun. A visit to Tulum from Can...Read more

  7. # 7 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 2982 times in trip plans
    El Rey Ruins

    Tags: Ancient Ruin, Historical Site

    Address: Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    The El Rey ruins are a group of lovely old Mayan buildings existing at what used to be a fishing village in Cancun. These gorgeous relics of a magnificent era gone by are certainly worth a trip to mak...Read more

  8. # 8 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 3419 times in trip plans
    Cancun Underwater Museum

    Tags: Art And Culture, Museum, Sculpture

    Address: Blvd. Kukulcan Km. 15.3, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, QROO, Mexico

    Timings: 07:00 am - 08:00 pm Details

    The Cancun Underwater Museum refers to the beautiful and eerie sculptures made by the artist Jason deCaires Taylor. Today, sculptures by other artists have also been added to the mix of underwate art....Read more

  9. # 9 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 636 times in trip plans
    Isla Contoy

    Tags: Outdoors, Beach, Island, Walking Area

    Address: Isla Contoy 77500, Mexico

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Cancun is surrounded by natural beauty that makes up for an unparalleled travel experience. While you are in Cancun, you can make a guided tour to Isla Contoy. This island houses a number of species o...Read more

  10. # 10 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 1712 times in trip plans
    Sistema Dos Ojos

    Tags: Cave, Water Body, Adventure, Water Sport

    Address: Tulum 77780, Mexico

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Dos Ojos is a snorkel and dive site on the Caribbean coast, located just north of Tulum. This site was discovered in 1987 and has been a popular tourist destination since then. Dos Ojos has one of the...Read more

  11. # 11 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 2214 times in trip plans
    Ik Kil

    Tags: Outdoors, Water Body, View Point, River

    Address: Carretera Costera del Golfo, 97751 Chichén Itzá, Yuc., Mexico

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Located about 190 Kilometers (120 miles) north and west of the world famous resort town of Cancun, the Ik Kil is a cenot that offers amazing experiences to those who visit it. cenotes are considered t...Read more

  12. # 12 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 1997 times in trip plans
    Museo Maya De Cancun

    Tags: Museum, History Museum, Cave

    Address: Blvd. Kukulkan km 16.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, QROO, Mexico

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:30 pm Details

    Opened in 2012, this massive museum has three giant exhibition halls of more than 4400 square feet each. Inside this museum, the central attractions consist of 14000 year old skeletal that remains rec...Read more

  13. # 13 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 2161 times in trip plans
    Avenida Kukulkan

    Tags: Dine In, Shopping Center

    Address: Avenida Kukulkan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Benito Juarez, Quintana Roo, Mexico

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Clean and lovely, this road is Cancun’s number one destination for those looking to spend a day shopping and dining. Pretty much every restaurant is a culinary delight and every store is a curio...Read more

  14. # 14 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 2669 times in trip plans
    Playa Delfines

    Tags: Beach, Walking Area, Picnic Spot

    Address: Playa Delfines, Blvd Kukulcán Km 17 Zona Hotelera Cancun 77710, Mexico

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Playa Delfines is a beautiful beach in Cancun. If you are looking for a place that is slightly off the beaten track, do visit this. It isn’t as popular as the other beaches and certainly isn&rsq...Read more

  15. # 15 of 320 Things To Do in Cancun | Added 1397 times in trip plans
    Parroquia De Cristo Resucitado

    Tags: Church, Religious Site

    Address: Avenida Kukulkan Kilómetro3.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Benito Juárez, Q.R., Mexico

    Timings: 06:00 am - 11:59 pm Details

    Cancun’s nightlife and natural beauty might astonish you to a certain extent but those who are looking for some quiet spiritual corners should visit the Parraquia de Cristo Resucitado church. Re...Read more

Activities And Tours

Explore these activities and tours for awesome experiences in Cancun:

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  • I am from Vietnam and want to travel to Cancun, Mexico. Do I need a Visa to enter Mexico?

    Answer Report Abuse
    • Yes, a Mexico tourist visa is required for the citizens of Vietnam. However, if you have a valid United States visa, or have permanent resident status in Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, or Schengen countries, you may not require a visa. 

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  • is there a beautifully-landscaped square near the waterfront in downtown Cancun?

    Answer Report Abuse
    • As far as I know, Parque Las Palapas located in Downtown is one of the main parks. The square in which this park is established has turned into a bustling area as it has rides for kids, places to eat, and shops where you can buy souvenirs. 

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