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Best Things To Do in Cancun

The beaches and nightlife here are key diversions for many Cancún vacationers. But the area also earns praise for cultural activities like Chichén Itzá and the underwater art museum on Isla Mujeres. If there's extra time, consider taking a day trip to nearby Tulum to see some of the best preserved Mayan ruins in all of Mexico.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Cancun

Chichén Itzá is a large Mayan archaeological site and one of the most notable and recognized landmarks on the Yucatán. The site itself was originally a main hub of Mayan civilization and has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The focal point of the ruins is the pyramid-like El Castillo that was once used by Mayans as a temple to the god Kukulkan. 
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Monuments and Memorials Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is a large Mayan archaeological site and one of the most notable and recognized landmarks on the Yucatán. The site itself was originally a main hub of Mayan civilization and has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The focal point of the ruins is the pyramid-like El Castillo that was once used by Mayans as a temple to the god Kukulkan. 
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#2

#2 in Cancun

To escape the frantic beat of Cancún's nightlife and beaches, head to Isla Mujeres (or the Island of Women). There is little to do on this small, 4-mile island just a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, but travelers like it that way.
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Beaches Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Isla Mujeres
To escape the frantic beat of Cancún's nightlife and beaches, head to Isla Mujeres (or the Island of Women). There is little to do on this small, 4-mile island just a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, but travelers like it that way.
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#3

#3 in Cancun

Free
Widely considered a beach spot for locals, Playa Tortugas is known for its relaxed atmosphere and clean sands. The area also boasts several open-air restaurants that make for great evening dining, according to past visitors. The beach also features a pier, where brave visitors can bungee jump. From here, daily ferries also depart for Isla Mujeres
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Playa Tortugas
Widely considered a beach spot for locals, Playa Tortugas is known for its relaxed atmosphere and clean sands. The area also boasts several open-air restaurants that make for great evening dining, according to past visitors. The beach also features a pier, where brave visitors can bungee jump. From here, daily ferries also depart for Isla Mujeres
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#4

#4 in Cancun

While they may not have the awe factor of Chichén Itzá, the El Rey Ruins have convenience on their side. Located in the heart of the Hotel Zone, these ruins are extremely accessible to visitors, and the site's small size makes it easy to see in a short time. Once a center for maritime trade, El Rey dates back to A.D. 1200. 
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
El Rey Ruins
While they may not have the awe factor of Chichén Itzá, the El Rey Ruins have convenience on their side. Located in the heart of the Hotel Zone, these ruins are extremely accessible to visitors, and the site's small size makes it easy to see in a short time. Once a center for maritime trade, El Rey dates back to A.D. 1200. 
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#5

#5 in Cancun

Free
If you're tired of the standard beaches along the Hotel Zone, try heading to Playa Delfines, which is a largely undeveloped ribbon of sand located near El Rey. Likewise, the beach often lacks the heavy crowds found elsewhere throughout the Hotel Zone. Make sure to bring your own drinks and snacks since there won't be opportunities to buy them here. This is also where you'll find the colorful "Cancun" sign featured on many of the city's postcards and brochures. 
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Playa Delfines
If you're tired of the standard beaches along the Hotel Zone, try heading to Playa Delfines, which is a largely undeveloped ribbon of sand located near El Rey. Likewise, the beach often lacks the heavy crowds found elsewhere throughout the Hotel Zone. Make sure to bring your own drinks and snacks since there won't be opportunities to buy them here. This is also where you'll find the colorful "Cancun" sign featured on many of the city's postcards and brochures. 
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#6

#6 in Cancun

Free
Situated in the Hotel Zone about a 5-minute walk from the Kukulcan Plaza shopping mall, Playa Marlin offers a broad stretch of sugar white sand. There's also lifeguards and beach supplies, such as chairs and umbrellas, for rent. 
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Beaches Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Playa Marlin
Situated in the Hotel Zone about a 5-minute walk from the Kukulcan Plaza shopping mall, Playa Marlin offers a broad stretch of sugar white sand. There's also lifeguards and beach supplies, such as chairs and umbrellas, for rent. 
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#7

#7 in Cancun

Free
Even if you don't seek out Avenida Kukulkan, you'll likely cross its path at least once during your Cancun vacation. That's because Avenida Kukulkan is Cancun's main artery, traveling through the Hotel Zone and stretching from downtown Cancun running south toward the airport. The avenue is lined with pathways and several shops and eateries. If you're not strolling along the avenue, you'll likely be riding the bus along it since this is the main route for the buses most frequently used by tourists.
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Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Avenida Kukulkan
Even if you don't seek out Avenida Kukulkan, you'll likely cross its path at least once during your Cancun vacation. That's because Avenida Kukulkan is Cancun's main artery, traveling through the Hotel Zone and stretching from downtown Cancun running south toward the airport. The avenue is lined with pathways and several shops and eateries. If you're not strolling along the avenue, you'll likely be riding the bus along it since this is the main route for the buses most frequently used by tourists.
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#8

#8 in Cancun

Considered the spot for nightlife in Cancún, Coco Bongo isn't your traditional, DJ-controlled nightclub. Instead, thousands of travelers pack the house to witness nonstop performances from acrobats, conga lines, live bands and musician impersonators. A typical night at Coco Bongo involves projected videos, balloons, soap bubbles and confetti. 
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Coco Bongo Cancun
Considered the spot for nightlife in Cancún, Coco Bongo isn't your traditional, DJ-controlled nightclub. Instead, thousands of travelers pack the house to witness nonstop performances from acrobats, conga lines, live bands and musician impersonators. A typical night at Coco Bongo involves projected videos, balloons, soap bubbles and confetti. 
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#9

#9 in Cancun

Operating out of the Hyatt Ziva in the Hotel Zone, Delphinus Punta Cancún allows visitors to swim with dolphins. The facility offers multiple programs, each focused on a different type of interaction with the dolphins. For example, the "Dolphin Ride" program allows visitors to swim with the dolphins, while "The One" allows swimmers to get to know one specific dolphin over the course of 45 minutes. 
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Delphinus Punta Cancún
Operating out of the Hyatt Ziva in the Hotel Zone, Delphinus Punta Cancún allows visitors to swim with dolphins. The facility offers multiple programs, each focused on a different type of interaction with the dolphins. For example, the "Dolphin Ride" program allows visitors to swim with the dolphins, while "The One" allows swimmers to get to know one specific dolphin over the course of 45 minutes. 
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Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

Natural Wonders Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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