Written by Jenni Schluntz Originally posted on jennilala.com
For those of you that have had the chance to travel to Cancun, I hope we can agree on one thing; the amazing water! And I don't mean the drinking water...I mean the gorgeous Caribbean Sea. It never gets old to me. Ask anyone that knows me well and they will agree that I am a SUCKER for some warm, cerulean water and sand in between my toes. While there are many places I can indulge in this type of water, Cancun is at the top of my list. All the beaches are straight out of beer commercial, not to mention you could probably get one of those beers at any of the local bars. Soft, white sand, mesmerizing waters and beer...aren't we off to a great start?
This area of Mexico caters to all travelers. Cancun is excellent for the solo traveler, newly married couple, family style or the adventure seeker. Recently, Business Insider shared a little bit of why so many people love to travel here! Top mentions were the "historic Mayan ruins in Riviera Maya, beautiful diving locations in Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, fine dining and the Underwater Museum in Cancun, and much more..." I can agree to all of those topics as well, since some of them made the list!
If this is your first time or perhaps your gearing up for your next trip and are looking for some new ideas, I have compiled a list of things to do in or around the Cancun area.
Keep reading to get some travel inspiration!
ENJOY THE SUN
If this one wasn't obvious, then I'm not sure why you have interest in visiting Cancun! Depending on where you are staying this could prove to be easier said than done. Resort style vacationing will be easy with beach access directly from the resort. Since I like to adventure, there are a couple of beaches that I have fallen in love with in this part of Mexico.
Top Beaches in Cancun
No matter what beach you decide on, one thing is for sure- the sun will be strong! So enjoy it safely with some SPF and a cute sun hat.
SNORKELING AT XPU-HA
On my first trip to Cancun, I stayed near the little town of Xph-Ha. There was a beach club that I would hang out at on most days. While I was there I made some friends who had ventured all the way from Canada! Together, we decided to get in the water and enjoy the views from down under. Needless to say, there was a lot going on! One of my new mates saw a couple sting rays, while I indulged on the magnificent site of tropical fish. There are plenty of places to snorkel in Mexico, but keep this one in mind!
VISIT ISLA MUJERAS
Visiting Isla Mujeres is a perfect day trip! Getting over there is an easy ferry ride too. One particular trip was very easy since the resort I was staying at was located next to a ferry terminal. It was not the fanciest means of transportation, but I was there in about 35 mins with insane views of the water! If I recall correctly, the fare was inexpensive as well. In my book, that is a double win!
While visiting Isla Mujeres, I enjoyed the shopping the local markets and vendors. Many of them carry the same or similar items, so my advice is to circle the shops once and then come back around to haggle/purchase from the best priced vendor.
There are also plenty of places to lounge at the various beaches throughout the island. Bring a towel and some snacks if you plan to laze at one of the non-beach club areas. On one trip my friends and I walked around until we could find a beach club that wouldn't charge by the chair or hour (which they do exist!) We were able to find a beach club that let us hang out as long as we purchased food and drinks. This was an easy decision for us because that was exactly our game plan.
The entire island is very walk-able, but there are taxis and transportation for hire from one side of the island to the other.
TRAVEL SOUTH TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN
Whenever I go to Cancun, I love to make a stop in Playa Del Carmen. This is such a fun area to explore and is a gateway to the Isla Cozumel. More on that destination in another post.
One of the most popular things to do is walk 5th Avenue. There will be a variety of shops and foods to try! If I'm on the hunt for souvenirs, this is usually where I pick them up. There is a store on the corner of Calle Quinta Avenida and Av Benito Juarez that I like to buy from. They have a little bit of everything and quite a bit of liquor to choose from as well!
While venturing in Playa Del Carmen, be sure to stop and take a pic at the Portal Maya. This is huge sculpture in their town square area. a must see against the sea background.
Right behind that is an excellent public beach that is nothing but white sand and that blue water I love so much!
This is a picture of me drinking straight from the coconut at one of the many beach bars that are littered in this area.
HIT THE CLUB IN DOWNTOWN CANCUN
My first thought of Cancun + Night Club is a Girls Gone Wild Spring Break video. Not so much in my case, but SUPER FUN none the less! Be prepared to spend some serious cash when clubbing at some of the more popular night clubs in Cancun, such as Mandala or Coco Bongos. There are areas where you can purchase tickets for a deal, so be sure to keep an eye out for those to ensure you can get in!
One key spot that is free and fun to get in is the Senor Frog's in Cancun! This is located at the end of the "club zone" in this area. One thing that is for sure, the party is still going until the sun comes up!
Your best bet to getting to this area if you are not staying in the Cancun hotel zone is by taxi or Uber.
STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING
Many of the resorts offer this and other non-motorized water sports as a perk. In the event that stand up paddle boarding is not available at the resort, it should be easy to locate beach vendors that have paddle boards for rent.
This is an excellent way to experience the Caribbean sea! Depending on the water and the waves, SUP-ing can also be a fun way to get a work out in too! Closer to shore you can spot reefs in certain areas just teeming with local fish and other sea creatures.
Here is a shot of me enjoying the sun and sea!
EXCURSION TO TULUM
This excursion is about an hour south of Cancun, but so worth the trek! Tulum is full of life and is the gateway to some of the most noteworthy and beautiful ancient Mayan ruins. In the city of Tulum, right before the entrance to the National Park, there are local vendors and various cultural experiences.
There is a cost to get into the National Park to explore the ruins. Many tourists pay for an excursion guide that will take you through the park. Additionally, from the town to the actual entrance of the park, there is a decent walk. For those that are impaired and cannot walk for a longer period of time, I would recommend taking the little train to the entrance (for a fee).
Exploring the ruins is a must see while in the Cancun area. After seeing the site, make your way down the stairs to the beach located right under the cliffs. This is one my favorite beaches in the entire world!
One other tip is to try and make your trip early in the day, as the heat tends to get hotter as the day goes on.
ENJOY THE LOCAL FOOD
This one is a must do. I know many people are hesitant to try local food, but that is part of the magic that Mexico has to offer! My suggestion is to trust yourself in choosing a dish that you would normally enjoy while back in the comforts of your home town.
For the more adventurous, try the daily special. I swear there will always be a daily special anywhere local that you find!
DISCOVER A CENOTE
There is something magical about a cenote! By definition (Dictionary.com), a cenote is "a deep natural well or sinkhole, especially in Central America, formed by the collapse of surface limestone that exposes ground water underneath, and sometimes used by the ancient Mayans for sacrificial offerings."
I had the opportunity to kayak through this cenote near Xpu-Ha and experienced the beauty of the crystal clear water and natural wild life inside! There were many fish, some turtles and the coolest family of manatees I have ever seen! To be so close to these animals was such an awesome experience!
There are many cenotes in the area to explore. Here are some suggestions:
Here is picture of my friend Michelle and I right before we crashed our kayak into the trees ahead. (Amateur move, we know)
VISIT CHICHEN ITZA
I think the picture speaks for itself, but hey what do I know? I am a lover of history and Chichen Itza is a sight for those that have an appreciation of that.
According to Chichenitza.com, "Chichen Itza which means “at the mouth of the well of Itza “, is the 2nd most visited archaeological site of Mexico today. The Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen-Itza which known as “El Castillo” (the castle), is one of the new seven wonders of the world elected in 07.07.2007. It is exactly 24 m. high considering the upper platform. Apart from the Kukulkan Pyramid, in Chichen Itza there many other archaeological sites to visit, all carrying traces from Mayan Culture in many ways."
PLANNING YOUR TRIP
Now that you have some ideas for your next vacation in Cancun, my hope is that you have expanded your bucket list!
What are your top things to do while in Cancun? Share below!
What are your top things to do while in Cancun? Share below!
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