I fell in love with Cancun for many reasons: the incredible history I learned about the Mayan culture through getting to visit Chichen Itza, the beautiful blue beaches and the greens of the jungle, and the amazing locals and people we met during our stay. Andrew and I went to celebrate my completion of my Bachelor’s Degree at twenty years old! With endless relaxing on the beach and an all-inclusive hotel, Cancun was the perfect reward for all my hard-work. Here is my guide to what to see and do in this fun city:
Read more: Packing & Fashion Guide: Cancun, Mexico
Things to Do:
Take a Tour of Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is labeled as one of the new seven wonders of the world and the ancient city definitely left my jaw dropped. Complete with an tour with an archaeologist, we were able to learn about the intense ball games the Mayans played along with their beliefs in sacrifice and alignment with the universe. The most interesting to me was the most famous site in the city, the Temple of Kukulcan. Built over a thousand years ago before any technology, the Mayans built the temple to be perfectly aligned with the stars and planets so that it acts as a giant calendar. In addition, as the sun sets, a snake is seen “crawling” down the pyramid. Simply incredible.
Shop my Cancun favorites:
Swim in a Cenote
A cenote is a natural sinkhole that results from the collapsing limestone bedrock, which as a result, leaves the ground water exposed. After our long day of touring Chichen Itza, the tour we took also stopped at a cenote and Andrew and I took the opportunity to jump in and swim with the fishes. The water isn’t too cold and I was not going to leave the country without saying I got to swim in a cenote. They are not hard to find or visit in Cancun and other surrounding areas in Mexico. However, my advice is one of the easiest and best ways to see many different aspects of Mexico such as cenotes and Chichen Itza is by booking a tour.
Xcaret is an eco-archaeological park in Cancun that is full of activities including swimming in the different rivers, enjoying a meal by the beach, and being up close to many different species of animals and insects. My favorite part of the park was the Butterfly Pavilion, which is home to countless amounts of the beautiful creatures that fly right by you. At the end of the night there is an amazing performance the park puts on about Mexican and Mayan history that you cannot miss! It will take a full day to really see all of Xcaret so be prepared to walk and bring layers of clothes.
Take a Tour of the Underwater Museum
Although Andrew and I did not have the best experience doing this (read about it here), we still suggest going out and seeing the museum if the water conditions are right. The concept of the Underwater Museum is to conserve the coral reefs by leading tourist to this museum that holds artificial reefs and hundreds of sculptures for them to dive down and see. It was fascinating to see the fishes swimming past the different sculptures and figures covered in algae.
Relax by the Beach
One of the many benefits of staying at an all-inclusive resort was our ocean-side room and unlimited drinks by the beach. For all my leisure travelers, laying by the beach will be your go-to. The Caribbean Sea also has the clearest waters I’ve ever been in, which makes snorkeling an amazing experience.
However, if you are more of ambitious traveler, I would suggest taking a day trip one of the many incredible beaches and islands outside of the hotel-zone in Cancun. Some destinations to consider are: Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, and Tulum.
Explore the ancient ruins of Tulum
Although technically Tulum is a small and beautiful city of its own, I have to include the stunning ancient ruins of Tulum in this guide. For a small fee of around 65 pesos or 5 US Dollars, you have access to incredible views of the Caribbean and of the seaside ruins that date back to the 13th-15th century! After you are done exploring, head down the steps and take a dip in the crystal blue water below.
Whether you are looking for some serious savings or something new to see, check out these amazing deals!
- Save 10%! Viator Exclusive: Coba Ruins Early Access Tour with an Archaeologist and Cenote Swim from Cancun
- Save 10%! CoCo Bongo Cancun Nightclub with Optional VIP Pass
- Save 10%! Cancun Combo Tour: Tulum Ruins Early Access Tour Plus Rio Secreto Nature Reserve
I had an amazing time exploring the history and culture of a part of the world that I had labeled as a party city. I look forward to returning back to the Caribbean Sea and hopefully getting to explore more of the mysterious green jungles and see more of the vibrancy that Cancun and Mexico have to offer.
Have you been to any of these places in your time in Cancun or is there anything that I missed? Let me know in the comments below.
Read more: Packing & Fashion Guide: Cancun
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