With its white sandy beaches and diverse tourist infrastructure, Cancun is one of the hotspots for tourists in Mexico. The city and the Yucatán peninsula are shaped by a unique natural landscape, paradisiacal beaches and countless opportunities to get to know the Mayan culture.
Most of the hotels are located in the Zona Hotelera, which is separated from the city by a lagoon. On the lively beaches and in cozy bars, visitors will find the perfect mix of relaxation and exciting activities. Water sports enthusiasts will get their money’s worth here as well as family vacationers looking for relaxation.
Below we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Cancun. Since the popular hotel resorts are mainly located in Cancun on the Yucatán Peninsula, we have of course also included the most interesting excursion destinations along the Riviera Maya.
1. In the heart of Cancun: The Laguna Nichupté
The Nichupté Lagoon is one of the main attractions in Cancun. It is located in the middle of the urban area and comprises a lagoon system of three thousand hectares. There are dreamy beaches here and a unique jungle landscape can be admired on long walks. Glass-bottom boats, with which you can explore the underwater landscape of the swamps, are popular.
Mangroves, countless species of fish and the occasional crocodile or leopard can be observed – an unforgettable experience for children and adults. One of the largest coral reefs in the world is located here and is ideal for diving. In addition to motor boats, many guests are kayak in the branched lagoon system with the crystal clear water.
2. Heavenly view from the Torre Escenica
To be able to admire Cancun and its surroundings from above, a trip to the Torre Escenica is worthwhile. In a rotating cabin, visitors travel 80 meters above the ground, where they can enjoy a 360-degree view. From here you can admire the Nichupté lagoon and the beaches of the Zona Hotelera.
The turquoise seascape is a picturesque picture. The view is spectacular both day and night. At night, it is the lights of the hotels and the city that create a romantic atmosphere. It is therefore advisable to buy an inexpensive combination ticket for one day and one night drive.
3. Underwater art in the Museo Subacuátio de Arte
Art can also be admired in the water. Snorkeling or diving, visitors to the Museo Subacuátio de Arte move between life-size figures. The artist Jason de Caires Taylor is responsible for the extensive sculpture park, which is located at Punta Nizuc. The 400 figures are only a few meters below sea level.
If you don’t want to or can’t dive, book one of the many boat trips with snorkeling tours. Here the snorkeling equipment is usually already included and even beginners can easily explore the great underwater artificial landscape. The museum is located on Isla de las Mujeres, which is not far from Cancun.
4. Relax on the Isla de las Mujeres
From the Centro de Convenciones you can reach the popular Isla de las Mujeres, where there are some worthwhile sights. It is only ten kilometers away from Cancun and is popular because of its quiet atmosphere. The Caribbean-like main town occupies the north, the rest of the island consists of a nature reserve and picturesque beaches. Since the new building was limited by the administration, things are comparatively relaxed on the island.
Mayan ruins await those interested in history at the southern end. In the Garrafón National Park, also in the south of the Isla de las Mujeres, snorkelers get their money’s worth. Even beginners can explore a coral reef in the deep blue and clear water. And if you have even more desire for marine animals, it is best to pay a visit to the turtle breeding station. Young animals are raised here and later released into the wild. Children in particular are enthusiastic visitors.
5. Caribbean dream on Isla Holbox
Another island invites you to go on an unforgettable day trip off Cancun. Isla Holbox offers, despite the numerous day visitors, still Caribbean flair in its purest form. On the island, which is primarily inhabited by fishermen, there are not only beautiful beaches but also a bird rearing station that is well worth seeing.
Not only different water birds can be observed here, dolphins are regular guests. Since the beaches are very shallow, they are particularly popular with families. If you want, you can also stay in one of the hotels here. Most of the place Holbox consists of colorful wooden houses that create a unique atmosphere.
6. Mayan ruins in El Rey
Various smaller Mayan ruins are located on Boulevard Kukulkán in the Zona Hotelera. They are popular attractions in Cancun. The largest archaeological site is in El Rey. It is named after a royal tomb that was discovered here in the 1970s. The Maya built the pyramid with the three temples between the 13th and 16th centuries.
In the middle of the bustling hotel district, you can take a leisurely stroll between the foundations of the temple and get an impression of the ritual sites of the time. If you want, you can book a guided tour, which is definitely worth it. Not far from this archeology park is the Maya Museum, where those interested can find out more about the pre-Hispanic times.
7. Magic triangle – to Tulum and Chichen Itza
If the Maya Museum Cancún on Boulevard Kukulkán does not provide enough impressions, you will definitely be enthusiastic about the two most popular sights of the entire Riviera Maya. A day full of unforgettable impressions awaits you when you set off from Cancun to the ruins of Tulum.
The old Maya site is located directly on the turquoise blue sea and is a real magnet for visitors. To form the magic triangle, continue from here inland and in Chichén Itzá you will reach the most important and best preserved Mayan ruins on the Yucatán. One of the highlights here is the famous Kukulcán pyramid!
8. Day trip to Cozumel Island
The island of Cozumel can also be reached for a day trip from Cancun. Here it is romantic sandy beaches and spectacular coral reefs that attract visitors. The extensive beaches are very quiet, especially on the west side, and are therefore also suitable for families with small children.
The forests near the beach are delightful and can be easily explored in the Punta Sur eco-reserve. In the Chankanaab National Park, visitors admire the variety of fish in the lagoon of the same name. There are also various Mayan ruins to visit here, for example in the very well-preserved San Gervasio Archaeological Park.
9. Stroll through Playa del Carmen
One of the most popular sights for Cancun visitors is the nearby town of Playa del Carmen. The tourist center is the picturesque city center of the coastal community. Here you can enjoy a relaxed yet very colorful atmosphere. But it never gets boring: there is usually live music at lunchtime, and hip bars and discos open in the evening.
In addition to the center, the Quinta Avenida in particular attracts visitors. It runs parallel to the beach and is lined with small shops, bistros, bars and restaurants. The pedestrian zone is well attended during the day and at night, perfect for a leisurely stroll. The wide beaches in the north of the city are ideal for sunbathing and swimming during the day.
10. Molecular cuisine at Restaurante Benazuza
If you are looking for a unique culinary experience, the Restaurante Benazuza is recommended. It is located in the middle of the Zona Hotelera and welcomes its guests in an upscale ambience. And the food on offer is just as sophisticated and sophisticated as the interior is.
The trademark of the Benazuza is the combination of traditional Mexican dishes with technical gastro innovations. A tasting menu is recommended so that you can try as many delicacies as possible. The plates are also visually a pleasure, they are arranged in an original way with many colors. The restaurant calls its style techno-emotional and it does it justice.