You couldn't exactly call Cancún, on Mexico's legendary Mayan Riviera, undiscovered. In fact, the region is one of the most heavily touristed in Mexico. The Yucatan peninsula is home to dozens of resorts where people come to enjoy year-round sunny weather and incredible beaches in this Caribbean paradise. As a result, Cancún can seem like something of a rowdy party town overrun with foreign visitors.
But that's only part of the story. While Cancún is definitely a great place to party, there's more to this city than just foreign tourists. Dig a little deeper, and you'll find lots to like about this underrated city. Plus, of course, its legendary beaches are never far away. Drop off your unneeded bags at a Cancún luggage storage service and immerse yourself in this unique Mexican city.
8 Best Ways to Experience Cancún in 2024
When it comes to vacation destinations, Cancún hardly needs an introduction. This beach town in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is one of the world’s leading spots for holiday resorts. And there’s nothing wrong with spending your entire vacation relaxing on the beach with a drink in hand – far from it. But if you want to peer a little deeper into what this part of Mexico has to offer, you’re in luck. Book a tour with one of these companies and you’ll get a deeper understanding of Mexico’s past and present. Plus, you’ll have a lot of fun doing it.
Best cooking class – Can Cook in Cancún
Mexican food is known and celebrated around the world for its intense and delicious flavors. And there’s no better way to learn more about Mexican food than by making yourself. Plus, picking up a new skill while on holiday is never a bad idea. These fun cooking classes will help you learn more about the ingredients and techniques used in Mexican food, and you’ll hopefully have a delicious meal at the end of it. Plus, you’ll be able to relive memories of your Mexican trip at home any time you cook. To book a class, contact them at email@example.com or 52 998 147 48 27.
Best fishing tour – Cancún Fishing Tours
Located on the rich waters of the Caribbean Sea, Cancún is a fisherman’s dream. This company will take you to some of the best fishing spots in the area where you can try hooking species you may never have encountered before. Go reef fishing or head out to deeper water for some serious sportfishing. Either way, you’re guaranteed to have an experience you won’t soon forget, and some trophies to make your friends back home jealous. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 52 998 848 3257.
Best historical tour – Cancún LDS Tours
Cancún is known for more than just its beaches. It’s also the best place in the world to see ruins of the ancient Mayan civilization. From the enigmatic pyramid of Chichen Itza to the ruined coastal city of Tulum, the Mayan Riviera is a haven for history and archaeology buffs, and you can explore the relics of the past with Cancún LDS Tours. The knowledgeable guides will explain more about this vanished civilization and bring the ruins to life. Contact them at email@example.com or 1 385-775-0465.
Best water activities – Coconut Divers
With so many fantastic beaches and vibrant reefs off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Cancún is one of the best places in the world to enjoy water sports. Coconut Divers can help you enjoy the world below the waves with specialized snorkeling and diving trips that allow you to get acquainted with the local marine life. Swim with gentle sea turtles, explore vibrant coral reefs, and immerse yourself in the undersea world. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 52 998 883 1484.
Best jungle tour – Pata de peek Travel
How does a boat ride through the jungle sound? With this company, you’ll be able to live out your Apocalypse Now fantasies with a river cruise beneath the hanging vines and swaying trees of the Mexican jungle. It’s a uniquely atmospheric way to explore the more natural side of the area, and you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the incredible biodiversity and ecological richness of the area. Book your jungle adventure by contacting them at email@example.com or 529982421106.
Best boat tour – Nauticos del Caribe
Balacar and its colorful lagoon is one of the most incredible places to visit near Cancún. This company can take you to Balacar by boat, where you can snorkel or dive in a truly unique environment. They also offer other tours of the Yucatán Peninsula, including the chance to go swimming in the cenotes, the underground waterways that nourished the Mayan civilization. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529988926986.
Best sailing excursion – Sailboat Cancún
It’s never a bad idea to get out on the water. Especially when the water in question is as warm, calm, and crystal-clear as the coastal waters of Cancún. This company will take you sailing on a luxurious catamaran so you can really relax in the incredible scenery. They offer private tours where you and your friends will have the boat completely to yourself, making for an unforgettable adventure. But if that’s out of your price range, they also offer group tours so that everyone can get a taste of the nautical life. Contact them at email@example.com or 52 998 130 2471.
Best city tour – City Art Tours
Between incredible beaches and atmospheric Mayan ruins, the town of Cancún itself tends to get overshadowed by its surroundings. Not too surprising when you consider what the Yucatán Peninsula has to offer holidaymakers. But the city of Cancún is not without its own unique charm, and if you want to experience a more modern side of Mexico, Cancún is a great place to do it. City Art Tours takes a unique approach to contemporary Mexican culture by exploring Cancún through its street art. A knowledgeable guide will take you to see some of the best murals and graffiti in the city, but you’ll do more than just admire the artwork. You also get to meet some of the city’s top urban artists and learn more about their work and their life. It’s a fascinating way to explore the culture of the city, and you’ll come away with a new appreciation of street art in all its forms. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529982122972.
A weekend in Cancun
A weekend in Cancún will let you experience some of the best of what the town has to offer. A couple of days isn't going to exhaust everything there is to do, but it will give you a sense of what Cancún has to offer. Drop off your bags at a Cancún suitcase storage to make things easier.
- Cancún isn’t known as a family destination, but if you're traveling with kids, check out Parque de las Palapas. Located in the center of the city, the park offers a big playground and miniature electric cars you can rent for the kids. Plus, the palapas are stalls selling jewelry and crafts, along with delicious Mexican street food.
- Get above it all at Torre Escenica. This brightly-colored tower is the highest point in low-lying Cancún, and has a rotating capsule that you climb onto at ground-level before it takes you to the top of the tower. It's a fun ride and offers incredible views of the gorgeous Yucatán coastline.
- Okay, the stunning Mayan city of Chichen Itza isn't in Cancún. But it's close enough to the city that you can't visit this part of Mexico without seeing this wonder of the world for yourself. One of the most famous ancient ruins in the Americas, if not the world, this historic city is a fascinating place to explore and get a glimpse into the vanished culture of the Maya.
Cancún's warm weather makes you want to travel light. Make things easier on yourself by dropping off your unneeded belongings in a Cancún luggage locker. Bring only the essentials, and you'll have a much better time exploring this famous city. With your possessions safely looked after, you can concentrate on having fun.
Off the beaten path in Cancun
For all the foreign visitors Cancún gets, many of its best spots are relatively undiscovered. Step away from the resorts and the souvenir stalls, and you'll find plenty here that isn't overrun by crowds.
- Playa Delfines is a blue flag beach that's relatively unknown to tourists. Most of Cancún's resorts have their own beaches, so this public beach is mostly used by locals. There's a roped-off swimming area and a beach bar, and the palapas are free to use when you need a break from the sun.
- A 20-minute ferry ride from Cancún brings you to Isla Mujeres. This undeveloped island can be explored on foot, by bike, or on a golf cart. Full of stunning beaches and calm water that practically begs for you to swim in it, this beautiful island is a paradise not far from the city.
- The Yucatan Peninsula is famous for its cenotes, or underground caves that were the main water source for the Mayan civilization. There are hundreds of these cenotes outside the city, and many of them make for great places to swim on a hot day. Regular tours take you to some of the most accessible ones so you can enjoy this unique experience.
What to do alone in Cancun
Cancún is undoubtedly a party and vacation town, and it can seem a strange place for solo travel. However, that's part of its strength. You won't find it hard to meet other people, and in a town that depends on foreign tourism, you don't need to worry about the language barrier. Drop off your bags at a Cancún luggage locker and enjoy your solo trip.
- Cancún's Museo Maya is one of the best of its kind in the world. Home to some of the most impressive artifacts of the Mayan civilization, the museum is a great companion to a visit to Chichen Itza. Learn more about a fascinating lost civilization at this intriguing museum.
- If you're looking to mingle with the crowds, don't miss Coco Bongo. Combining a huge nightclub with an impressive live show, Coco Bongo brings a little bit of Las Vegas to the Mayan Riviera. This place can get very crowded, but that's part of the fun. It's the perfect place to meet others and enjoy the hedonistic nightlife of Cancún.
- Explore Mexico's vibrant aquatic life on a snorkeling tour. Even if you've never tried this sport before, knowledgeable guides will help you get used to the strange feeling of breathing with your face in the water. It's a perfect way to see some of Cancún's ocean life, including sea turtles, stingrays, and an infinite variety of colorful fish.
The best souvenirs in Cancun
Cancún fully embraces tourism, and so you won't struggle to find souvenir stores wherever you go. If you want to do some serious shopping, though, head to La Isla shopping village. This artificial island is home to a huge mall where you can find both Mexican brands and familiar international names. However, if you're after something with more of a local flair, visit Mercado Ki Huic for local handicrafts. But be prepared to haggle if you don't want to end up paying too much. You could also bring home a bottle of Xtabentun, a liquor invented by the Mayans and offered to their sacrificial victims.