Cancun travel guide. Welcome to the captivating world of Cancun, the pearl of the east coast of Mexico. Prepare for an exceptional experience in the heart of this seaside town renowned for its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. But Cancún isn’t just about beaches. Explore Mayan heritage by visiting the legendary ruins of Chichén Itzá, Tulum and the remains of Coba.
For nature lovers, Xcaret and Xel-Ha parks offer thrilling adventures, from swimming with dolphins to snorkeling and fascinating cultural shows. Whatever your travel profile, Cancun promises you an unforgettable escape, between relaxation in the sun, cultural immersion and thrills. Explore our guide to fully experience this Mexican adventure.
Must-see places: Cancun travel guide
The Mayan museum in Cancun.
Cancun travel guide in Mexico
Located in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone, the Mayan Museum of Cancun is a true cultural gem. Within its walls, it houses an exceptional collection of more than 400 pieces, revealing the incredible heritage of the Mayan civilization. Among these treasures, you will discover captivating sculptures, exquisite pottery and jewelry of rare splendor.
The museum’s captivating exhibits immerse you in the history, culture and deep beliefs of the Mayans. A feature that sets it apart is the presence of a meticulous model of the legendary city of Chichen Itza, an iconic Mayan archaeological site. This scale representation transports you back in time in an immersive way.
For an even more enriching experience, the museum offers guided tours in English, Spanish, and even Mayan, providing unique perspectives on this fascinating culture. Opening hours vary depending on the days of the week and seasons, so it’s a good idea to check the hours in advance before your visit. Additionally, purchasing entry tickets is simple and affordable.
The Cancun underwater museum
Cancun travel guide
The Cancun Underwater Museum is a unique attraction. Visitors discover sculptures submerged in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
These sculptures, created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, serve as habitat for fish and corals. They are constantly evolving. Visitors can explore the sculptures by snorkeling or underwater, with or without a guide.
Located in Cancun National Park, the Underwater Museum is easily accessible by boat from Punta Nizuc Beach, just a few minutes away. It is a unique experience for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.
Discover the underwater artistic and natural beauty of Cancun at the Underwater Museum. An unforgettable experience for lovers of the Caribbean Sea.
Mayan ruins in Tulum
Cancun travel guide: archaeological treasures
Tulum, a rare pearl on the east coast of Yucatan in Mexico, seduces with its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, but it is above all its historical treasure that captivates visitors. The Tulum archaeological site reveals impressive remains of the pre-Columbian era, with Mayan temples and fortifications that tell a story dating back thousands of years.
Through these majestic ruins, you can absorb the grandeur and wisdom of the Mayan civilization while gazing at the spectacular coastal landscape that surrounds them.
The town of Tulum adds a touch of authenticity with its restaurants, bars and shops that reflect the local culture. To explore the surrounding area and nearby beaches, car rental or taxi are convenient options.
After exploring the ruins, dive into the turquoise waters for snorkeling or kayaking, or simply relax on the sandy beach.
For an immersive experience, opt for an early morning visit to avoid the crowds. Dress lightly, protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen and stay well hydrated with plenty of water. Explore the history and majesty of the Mayan ruins of Tulum, an experience that will transport you back in time during your trip to Mexico.
The archaeological site of Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza, a must-see for any traveler to Mexico, is an exceptional Mayan archaeological site. Nestled in the Yucatan Peninsula, it dazzles with its imposing stone structures, including the famous Kukulcan Pyramid.
As a tourist eager for discovery, you can explore the mysterious temples, ancient palaces and fascinating ball courts. For a total immersion in Mayan history, guided tours are available to illuminate the past of these architectural marvels.
Access to Chichen Itza is easy by car, bus or via excursions like I took from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. A word of advice, make sure you wear light, comfortable clothing to beat the heat, as well as sunscreen and plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Your trip to Chichen Itza will be an unforgettable experience, transporting you through time and space to immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Mayan civilization.
The mercado 28 craft market
Planning a visit to Cancun? Don’t miss Mercado 28, a must-see craft market where you can find local souvenirs and authentic Mexican crafts. There you will find a multitude of items, such as clothing, jewelry, ceramics, masks and sculptures, perfect for bringing a piece of Mexican culture home.
Located in the heart of downtown Cancun, the market is easily accessible by taxi or bus. Price negotiation is common, so be prepared to haggle to get the best deal.
After your shopping, treat yourself to local dishes and refreshing drinks at the market’s restaurants and food stalls. Choose comfortable clothing and walking shoes, as the market is large, and it can be difficult to navigate your way between the stalls. Keep an eye on your personal belongings as the market can be busy. Finally, check the opening hours, which vary depending on the days of the week and the seasons, to best plan your visit. Take full advantage of this immersive experience in Mexican culture at Mercado 28.
The Xcaret water park
Cancun travel guide
Cancun’s Xcaret Water Park is a family-friendly entertainment venue that offers a variety of water attractions, shows and cultural activities. Visitors can swim in underground rivers, explore caves, admire wild animals in the jungle and enjoy water slides.
Shows include traditional Mexican and Mayan dances, historical battle re-enactments and musical performances. Visitors can also visit an aquarium and a butterfly park.
Take note: Visitors should wear appropriate swimwear and sunscreen, as well as carry enough water to stay hydrated in the hot Cancun sun.
Ventura Park in Cancún is an outdoor adventure park offering a variety of activities for the whole family. Visitors can zipline, scale a rock climbing wall, skydive, navigate an obstacle course and much more. There is also a swimming area with slides and water games for children.
The park’s attractions offer spectacular views of the surrounding jungle and the Caribbean Sea. Visitors can choose to purchase a ticket for a specific activity or a pass for all attractions.
The park also offers guided tours for those who want to learn more about the local flora and fauna. Meals are available on site, as well as rental equipment such as lockers and towels.
The park is located about a 20 minute drive from the Cancun hotel zone and it is recommended to book in advance to avoid the long lines which are horrible.
It’s a small island off the coast of Cancun that offers white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, as well as snorkeling sites and souvenir shops.
Very popular activity to do in Isla Mujeres: catamaran, open bar and optional lunch
Take to the Caribbean Sea for a catamaran excursion to Isla Mujeres, where you can snorkel and relax on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Enjoy a buffet lunch and sip your favorite drink at the open bar.
The most popular are Playa Delfines, Playa Tortugas, Playa Chac Mool and Playa Forum. Visitors can enjoy many activities there such as swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing and paddle boarding.
It is important to respect the safety flags to avoid the risk of drowning. Visitors can enjoy the food and drinks offered by the many beach bars and restaurants. It is recommended to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the intense Cancun sun.
Cancun travel guide – Coco Bongo
Coco Bongo is a legendary nightclub and institution in Cancun, known for its dazzling music and dance shows. Shows include live performances by famous singers, dancers, acrobats and impersonators, as well as impressive special effects and light shows.
The nightclub can accommodate thousands of people, so it is advisable to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long queues.
Visitors can travel to Coco Bongo by taxi or car, and parking is available nearby. Shows may include strobe effects and flashing lights, so it is important to consider personal preferences and medical conditions before visiting Coco Bongo.
Where to swim in Cancun?
This beach is located at the southern tip of the hotel zone. Some beaches made me think of the beaches of Malta
Playa Delfines is a popular public beach located on the southern end of Cancun’s hotel zone. 22 km from Cancun International Airport.
You can get to Playa Delfines by bus. Lines R1 or R2 run through the Cancun hotel zone.
There are food and drink vendors on the beach. It is recommended to bring your own snacks and drinks to save money.
Playa Delfines is also a great place to observe dolphins, turtles and rays in their natural habitat.
Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the intense Cancun sun.
You will find what you need and much more: toilets, showers, changing rooms.
Playa Tortugas is a popular beach located on the east coast of Cancun’s hotel zone. It is approximately 23 km from Cancun International Airport.
You can get to Playa Tortugas by bus, with lines R1 or R2.
The beach is known for its calm, shallow waters, ideal for swimming and water activities.
There are several restaurants and bars on the beach, as well as food and drink vendors.
Playa Tortugas is also a popular starting point for boat trips. Boats depart to surrounding islands, such as Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy.
Sun loungers, umbrellas, showers, changing rooms, as well as excellent restaurants and bars that offer local and international cuisine.
Playa Tortugas is also known for its stunning views of Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is located about 7 km from Cancun.
Playa Chac Mool
Playa Chac Mool is a public beach located in the hotel zone of Cancun. It is located approximately 24 km from Cancún International Airport.
You can get to Playa Chac Mool by taxi or public bus. Lines R1 or R2 run through the Cancun hotel zone.
There are food and drink vendors on the beach. You will find parasols and deck chairs for rent.
Playa Chac Mool is also a popular place for snorkeling.
Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and sunglasses.
Playa Forum, also known as Playa Gaviota Azul. It is a public beach located in the hotel zone of Cancun. It is located approximately 24 km from Cancun International Airport.
You can get to Playa Forum by taxi or public bus. For buses, lines R1 or R2 run through the Cancun hotel zone.
The beach is popular for its crystal clear waters and white sand.
There are umbrellas and deck chairs for rent on the beach.
The best things to do in Cancun
Where to stay in Cancun?
The best areas to stay in Cancun, Mexico?
Discover Cancun, its neighborhoods and its best places. Here are some suggestions for your hotel reservation:
- Zona Hotelera : Magnificent beaches, vibrant nightlife and luxurious shopping centers characterize this area. Famous seaside resorts, elegant restaurants and trendy clubs await you.
- El Centro (Downtown) : Opt for an authentic experience. Local markets, affordable restaurants, and historic sites like Plaza de las Palapas await you there.
- Puerto Juarez : Located to the north, it is quiet and less touristy. Guests can take the ferry to Isla Mujeres and enjoy fresh seafood at beachfront restaurants.
- Aldea Zama (Tulum) : Close to Cancun, this peaceful enclave offers a bohemian atmosphere, artisan shops and charming lodging options, just steps from Tulum’s beaches.
- Playa del Carmen : Laid-back nearby town with white-sand beaches, eclectic shops, and international restaurants. Explore Quinta Avenida, a bustling pedestrian street.
Getting around Cancun?
To fully enjoy your stay in Cancun, it is essential to know how to get around the city. Here are the different means of transport at your disposal:
- Public Buses : Cancun has a well-organized and economical public bus network. Buses are a convenient option for getting to different parts of the city.
- Walking : Downtown Cancun is relatively compact, making it a great place to stroll and explore on foot.
- Hotel Shuttles : If you’re staying in a hotel in Cancun, many properties offer free shuttles to local attractions and beaches.
- Car rental : For greater freedom of movement and to explore the surrounding areas of Cancun, consider renting a car. Many rental agencies are available at the airport and in town.
- Taxi : Taxis are plentiful in Cancun and are a convenient way to get around town. Make sure the driver uses a meter or negotiate the fare before leaving.
- Bike : Renting a bike is a great option for exploring Cancun at a more leisurely pace. There are cycle paths in some parts of the city.
- Scooter : Scooter rental is also an option, but make sure you know the local driving rules and wear a helmet.
- Uber : Uber is available in Cancun and can be a convenient alternative to traditional taxis.
- Shared Taxis : You can also use shared taxis (colectivos) for shared rides to popular destinations in and around Cancun.
Each transportation option offers its benefits, so choose the one that best suits your needs and your Cancun itinerary.
Cancun travel guide: practical information.
Have you decided to go to Cancun? Here is some practical information to ensure your trip goes off without a hitch.
- Language: Although Spanish is official, many tourism workers in Cancun speak English. However, learning a few words in Spanish can make interactions easier.
- Local currency: The Mexican peso is common, but US dollars are accepted in many places. Have pesos for small expenses.
- Currency exchange: Use ATMs to avoid unfavorable exchange rates. They are widely available in Cancun.
- Precautions against mosquitoes: Use repellents and light clothing to avoid bites.
- Archaeological Tours: Explore the rich historical heritage by visiting nearby Mayan sites like Chichen Itza and Tulum.
- Public Transportation: Affordable buses take you to beaches, shopping centers and tourist attractions.
- Safety: Cancun is generally safe, but take usual precautions.
- Electricity: Mexico uses type A and B sockets (127 V, 60 Hz). Bring an adapter if necessary.
Homosexuality in Cancún:
- Cancun is a welcoming and diverse tourist destination, where LGBTQ+ travelers can feel comfortable and safe.
- There is a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene in Cancun’s hotel zone, with popular gay bars and clubs such as Karamba, 11:11 Club, and Club YeYe.
- There are also gay-friendly beaches like Playa Delfines, where it’s common to see same-sex couples strolling hand in hand.
- Mexico legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, meaning same-sex couples can get married in Cancun.
In summary, Cancun is a welcoming and diverse tourist destination for all travelers, including those from the LGBTQ+ community.
MTT wishes you the most wonderful stay and enjoy!