11 Awesome Things to Do in Cancun (Other than Partying)
Cancun is a wonderful place. Although it’s known as a Spring Break spot often, there are many other things to do in Cancun and the surrounding area. From beautiful scenery to adrenaline rushes at parks like Xavage, the whole family can find awesome things to do in Cancun. Here are some of our favorite activities.
Things to Do in Cancun
The Cancun Underwater Museum, or MUSA, is an absolute must-see. With over 500 underwater sculptures, this underwater museum offers a truly unique experience. You can snorkel among beautiful pieces of Mexican and international art. Furthermore, the sculptures are created out of material that support local wildlife and encourage the conservation of the reef and its inhabitants.
2. Visit Cozumel
Cozumel is an island a bit to the south of Cancun. It has many different things to do. It’s one of the best spots to snorkel, has some of the best beaches, and an awesome little town. You can find a water park, beach clubs, and much more. It’s just a short drive down to Playa del Carmen, and you can take a ferry over to the island for pretty cheap. We recommend checking out some guided tours if you’re going to visit Cozumel. You can find some options for tours and things to do from Beach Tours Mexico, or check out our post 11 Exciting Things to Do in Cozumel.
3. Chill on the Beach
Cancun has some really incredible beaches. Many of them are packed at certain times of year, while others are a bit more secluded. A chill day on the beach can be a cheap or free thing to do in Cancun to wind down and give your mind and body the break they deserve. We recommend checking out this list of the best beaches in Cancun, and trying to hit a few of them while you’re down in the Yucatan.
A cenote is a small sinkhole in limestone that exposes groundwater. There are tons of amazing cenotes up and down the Riviera Maya, many within short driving distance from Cancun. You can ask some guides or locals to take you to one. Try Cenote Eden or Cenote Azul for our favorites! Keep in mind that some cost money and you should NOT wear sunscreen! The sunscreen can damage the life in these small watering holes. If you’re looking for a guided tour of a few cenotes, check these out here.
5. Go Shopping
You can go shopping anywhere of course, but Cancun offers a pretty awesome opportunity to hit some shops. You can hit Luxury Avenue for boutique shops and high-end stores like Hermes and Rolex, or head over to La Isla for a more open shopping experience with luxury stores and tourist goods as well. If you need a break from the action or the beach, head into town and spend some time shopping. Even if you’re just looking at the windows, it can be fun and provide a great opportunity for people watching!
Visiting Xplor is one of our favorite things to do in Cancun. The theme park is a wonderful place to visit, and at night it completely changes. Using fire (fuego), you can be guided through the park by fire. Go zip-lining, swimming, and eat delicious meals by the light of fire. This is a fun adventure, and definitely a unique experience in the Yucatan. Here’s a tip: You cave 15% on tickets just by booking online. You can buy tickets ahead of time for easy savings on their website.
7. Swim with Dolphins
There are many places up and down the Riviera Maya where you can swim with dolphins. For many people, this is the adventure of a lifetime. Many of these offerings are kid-friendly, and make an excellent family gathering. You can get photos, create amazing memories, and have the opportunity to interact with some of the most intelligent and interesting beings on the planet. This is sure to be a hit, and is one of absolute favorite things to do in Cancun for couples.
There are many activities in the area, and people don’t often think of Cancun as a super kid-friendly city. However, this is simply one of the best things to do in Cancun with kids, and will likely leave a lasting impression. You can get in on the touch tank, where you can interact with animals. You can swim with dolphins as well. You can also participate in a shark feeding! This is a great activity for the young ones, although we find ourselves entertained and interested as adults as well. The hands-on aquarium offers a deeply engaging way to learn about the local wildlife under the sea.
9. Investigate the Maya Ruins
There are tons of Mayan ruins in the area around Cancun. Some are small, with little remnants remaining. By far the most famous and impressive is Chichen Itza. Although it is a drive into the rainforest to see these ruins, it’s well worth the trip. You will be amazed at the structures, complexity, and history of the Mayan people. The tour guides are fantastic, and you’re sure to learn a whole lot about this incredible and advanced civilization. We recommend taking a true guided tour, as getting there and making your way around the ruins can be overwhelming. It’s generally best to buy tickets online for these tours.
Isla Mujeres is a gorgeous island off the coast of Cancun. If you’re looking to get away for a day or for things to do in Cancun on a budget, this is your destination. Ferry tickets are surprisingly cheap, and it only takes 15-20 minutes to get over to the island. There are pristine white-sand beaches, wonderful snorkeling, and a thriving artistic community. We strongly recommend taking a day to go over to Isla Mujeres as it’s a true taste of paradise.
11. Check the Nightlife
Okay, we said we were covering things other than partying in Cancun, so this tip may seem weird. However, there are tons of things to do at night in Cancun that don’t center around partying, drinking, and hitting the clubs. You can see the Xoximilco tour below, one of the best things to do in Cancun at night. Take a river cruise, meet like-minded people, and eat some really amazing Mexican food. This is a great thing to do at night that doesn’t just involve drinking. You will laugh, dance, and enjoy the beauty that Cancun has to offer.
If you’re looking for other things to do in the area, check out post 15 Best Things to Do in Playa del Carmen. For other great places to visit in Mexico, check out our post 13 Best Places to Visit in Mexico this Year.