Cancun in the Yucatan Peninsula, bordering the Caribbean sea is a popular getaway. Not only its pristine beaches, fringed by the luxury resorts, its mystic jungle-clad Mayan ruins, crystal coves, and scuba diving spots at Isla Mujeres are equally popular. Millions of tourists from far and wide flock to this 13-mile long L-shaped island to soak up the sun, catch some waves, and dig into Mayan history. There are plenty of things to do in Cancun.
Cancun is extremely biodiverse and rich in culture, history, and heritage. If on one hand the mystical ruins of the Mayan pyramids take you back thousands of years before then on the other hand the modern luxurious resorts by the beach show off Cancun’s urbanized lifestyle. This paradise was built specifically for luxury travelers. But Cancun is not restricted to the beaches, shallow waters, and resorts. Tourists mainly gather around the jungles and Mayan ruins of Tulum. The underwater Art Museum is another must-visit attraction. So, when you book a flight to Mexico, consider a trip to Cancun for a more authentic vacation.
Best Time to Be in Cancun
Cancun has a tropical climate, with two distinct seasons- wet and dry. Summers here are hot, oppressive, overcast, and wet, and winters are comfortable, muggy, and mostly clear. Tourists prefer to book a flight to Cancun between December and March, when the weather is ideal for sightseeing.
Things To Do in Cancun
Cancun has a number of prime attractions, which are connected by a causeway to the mainland. Although the beaches and nightlife here are the key diversions, tourists mainly flock here to explore the well-preserved historical Mayan ruins. To ensure you get the very best of your vacation in this tropical paradise here we have rounded up some of the best things to do in Cancun.
Visit The Isla Mujeres
This four-mile long island just a 30-minute boat ride from Cancun is a perfect place to escape the frenetic nightlife and chaotic crowd of the beaches. There are a few sites here which are worth checking out. One of its attractions is an ancient temple, dedicated to the Mayan moon goddess. The temple is surrounded by steep cliffs, from where you can enjoy the spectacular views of the bay. The Garrafon Natural Reef Park is also located here, which offers a variety of activities like swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling.
Additionally, you can also visit tortugranja or turtle farms to meet the majestic sea turtles. The months between August and October are the perfect time to get a glimpse of the baby turtles hatching. Playa del Norte is another must–visit attraction, known for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters.
Dig History in Chichen Itza
This Mayan archeological site is one of Mexico’s most recognized landmarks and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. As per the historic evidence, it was the main hub of Mayan civilization. This large pre-Columbian city was built by the Mayan people of the Terminal Classic Period. There are many Chac-Mool statues and important structures including the 30-meter-tall El Castillo, which is one of the country’s most important Mayan pyramids.
Being one of the popular tourist sites, it remains packed with tourists. The best time to avoid the crowd is early in the morning. The sunrise view over the top of the temple is worth the effort. It is divided into two parts- Chichen Itza and Old Chichen, where you can find a total of twenty six Mayan ruins. Apart from El Castillo, other attractions here include El Caracol or observatory, the Mayan Bell Game, and the Temple of the Warriors.
Explore The El Rey Mayan Ruins
This archeological site, just a few minutes away from Punta Nizuc, houses several interesting Mayan ruins. During the excavation, a mask was found here, which is believed to be dedicated to the Sun god. It has some ruins of 47 ancient structures and a few tombs built by the Mayan from AD 900 onwards. There are several resorts in Cancun that offer guided tours to the Mayan ruins of El Rey. It was also once a center of maritime trade that dates back to AD 1200.
Between 200 and 1200 AD, the inhabitants of the site were mainly fishermen and some also worked in salt extraction. Archaeologists have also found a few remains of mural paintings, and drawings that date back to the post classical period. They also found a burial site of a person of high rank, with a copper ax, ornaments of shell and bone, and a bracelet. However, not just the ancient ruins, El Rey is also visited by the tourists for hundreds of iguanas that are in large numbers making El Rey their home.
Visit The Maya Museum
Stopping by the Maya Museum is one of the top things to do in Cancun. This attraction is certainly worth a visit as it gives insight into the region’s history. It is one of the largest museums that houses artifacts that explain the ancient roots of the region. The highlight here includes 350 pieces of artifacts, spread across the three halls. It includes 14,000 year old skeletal remains found in Tulum and the remains of a 10,000 year old ‘woman of the palms’. One of the display areas features temporary exhibits of Mayan theme.
The other artifacts include permanent collections of ancient jewelry, pottery, sculptures etc. The San Miguelito archaeological site is located nearby, where one can get to see several structures and buildings. These buildings were used for rituals and celebrations. These buildings have flat roofs and columns that are similar to the buildings built in Quintana Roo between the 13th and 14th century.
Stroll Around The Beaches
There are several things to do in Cancun. But people mainly visit this beautiful Mexican city for the pristine beaches and the luxury resorts. Most of the city’s posh resorts provide access to the ‘playas’ or the beaches. The white soft sands, crystal-clear sparkling blue waters, and plenty of sunshine make the Cancun beaches Mexico’s top tourist attractions.
There are long stretches of beaches, where one can laze around, soak in the sun, or swim in the gentle waters. Although it can be overwhelming to choose one perfect beach, there are plenty of them. Among them Tortugas, Juventud, de las Perlas, Linda, Chac-Mool, Langosta, and Caracol are must-visit beaches. You will also find some of the best luxury resorts near these beaches.
Whether you are with your kid or looking for things to do in Cancun for adults, there’s always a lot to check out in this Mexican city. Each top tourist place in Cancun shows how diverse the city is and that breaks the stereotype of Cancun being only a beach destination. You may come here for the beaches, but you are going to get stunned by the history of a rich civilization in the ruins.
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