Cancun, Mexico is known for its beaches, its numerous resorts, and its nightlife. It’s composed of 2 areas: the more authentic Cancun downtown area called El Centro and the Hotel Zone located along a stretch of beaches filled with resorts, spas, nightclubs, shopping centers, and restaurants. Aside from the obvious draw of the beaches and its turquoise clear waters, there are lots of other tourist attractions in Cancun. Here are 6 activities you must do on your next vacation to Cancun.
1. Swim or Dive in Cenotes
Cenotes are sinkholes where erosion has eaten away the limestone, exposing the fresh groundwater beneath. Some cenotes are quite deep, such as Dos Ojos near Tulum, which can be 400 feet deep in some parts so they can be spectacular places for cave diving. Otherwise, cenotes are great places to go for a swim to cool down, do cannonball dives from rock ledges, take pictures of the beautiful caves, or see fish and other wildlife that call these cenotes their homes.
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2. Chichen Itza
This is one of the most notable large archaeological sites located in Yucatan. It was the center of civilization for the Mayan people and has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The master piece of this carefully preserved history is the pyramid shaped El Castillo which was once used as a temple of worship by the Mayans. Visit the site early in the morning and you will pretty much have the site to yourself before thousands of people start pouring in from tour buses.
The site is accessible by a two-and-a-half-hour bus or private car drive from Cancun. Private tours enables you to choose your own time of departure and how long you will spend at the site. You will however need to hire a tour guide at the site for around $60. The site is usually open from 8 AM to 5 PM.
3. Catamaran Cruise Tour
With as little as $60 you can set aside a day for sightseeing, snorkeling, salsa dancing, and shopping on a Catamaran cruise ship from Cancun. The cruise offers an open bar and you will get to enjoy local meals which are freshly prepared and served aboard. You will get to explore the beach town of Isla Mujeres. El Meco reef is also another part that you will get a chance to visit.
Its warm waters are a delight to snorkel in as you get to see its vibrant marine and coral life. Staying on board is also an option where you might get a chance to learn how to salsa dance or just relax on the deck. The best part is the way back where you party all the way and drinks are served nonstop.
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4. Playa Tortugas
This is another area in Cancun where you will get to enjoy sandy beaches in a relaxing atmosphere. Its clean sands make it a favorite beach spot for the locals. It has a variety of open air restaurants that serves as a great dinner destination. You will also get a chance to raft in the relaxing calm water for hours on end. This is a public beach so there is no entrance fee allowing you to save a little money for shopping or having a nice meal. Playa Tortugas is located about 6.5km along a stretch of the hotel zone. You will definitely enjoy the experience.
5. El Rey Ruins
Another spectacular ruin that the Mayan left behind are the El Rey ruins. This site is in Cancun’s hotel zone which makes it a convenient destination as it is closer to town as compared to Chichen Itza. It has a total of forty-seven structures with two platforms and temples believed to be the religious ceremonial centers and market places of the Mayans. Built around 900 A.D., the site is named after a skull made in honor of the Mayan sun god was found in the area. The site is not as big as Chichen Itza but you will get a chance take photos of the local iguanas who reside in the ruins. Adults pay 37 pesos to enter and children enter for free.
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6. Delphinus Dreams Cancun
This is a must visit site if you ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins. It is in the Dreams Cancun hotel in the hotel zone. There are a variety of programs aimed at providing different interactions with the dolphins. The ”Trainer for a Day” teaches visitors to care for the dolphins whereas the ”The One ” program allows users to bond with just one dolphin for an hour. The staff are also friendly and add a great deal of a wonderful experience to the tour. The facility also hosts nearby dolphin centers that you can visit by appointment.