Isla Mujeres#2 in Best Things To Do in Cancun
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- 3.5Food Scene
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.
Despite the island's sleepy reputation, it hosts a few sites worth checking out. Recent visitors suggested renting a golf cart and driving to Punta Sur, located on the island's southern tip. Home to an ancient temple honoring the Mayan moon goddess, the landscape is surrounded by steep cliffs and spectacular bay views – in fact, this is where the rising sun first greets Mexico. This area is also where you'll find Garrafon Reef Park, which offers a variety of activities against the scenic backdrop of Punta Sur, including a swimming pool, a zip line, kayaking and snorkeling.
Isla Mujeres also remains popular for its sea turtles, and you can glimpse the creatures at the local tortugranja, or turtle farm. Visit between August and October, and you just might get to witness the baby turtles hatching. You can reach the farm by taxi from Isla Mujeres' downtown. If you're just looking to relax on the sand, head to Playa del Norte, regarded among travelers as a beautiful, pristine beach.
You can reach Isla Mujeres by ferry from several different terminals in the Hotel Zone, including Playa Tortugas and Playa Caracol, as well as Cancun center. Several of the city's top guided tours also make stops on the island. You can learn more about the ferry service in our Getting Around Cancún section.
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#1 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.
Unfortunately, because of its fame, Chichén Itzá is crawling with tourists trying to snap a picture of one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Nevertheless, the spectacular ruins are well worth it, even for the jaded traveler. You can avoid crowds by visiting the site in the early morning before the throngs of tour buses arrive. Recent visitors also advised bringing water and bug repellent and wearing appropriate footwear and a hat.
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