Cancun! The capital of the Mexican Riviera. This is the place to be if you want to begin your Mexican adventure! Your new base being Cancun will bring you endless possibilities for yourself, as well as a great destination for family fun. This is a world-renowned vacation resort town, but it is also a great place to explore the natural wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as a prime location for learning about the local indigenous Mayan culture with its ruins and museums! You have a world of resorts to choose from, stretches of beaches to rest at, and list after list of excursions to take in this dynamic and upbeat city.
Things to do in Cancun
A Dive into the Arts
The Cancun Underwater Museum is a series of galleries submerged in the Caribbean Sea at the Cancun National Marine Park. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sculpting arts. Most of the pieces have been curated by British Sculptor Jason DeCaires Taylor, as well as local Mexican sculptors. Opened in November 2010, this museum is a great alternative location for snorkelers and divers to see. You are able to explore the sea floors of Cancun as well as revel at the impressive pieces of art. Its artistic significance is undeniable, but what is most interesting is that the Underwater Museum is also an act of conservation. The main goal of this project is to save the coral reefs nearby, as well as creating interesting habitation for fish and other sea life. So put on your snorkels and take a splash into the arts!
Hop around at the Flea Market
Fitting to do a little shopping? Mercado 28 in the downtown core of Cancun is the perfect place to find a wide array of things at very affordable prices. There are hundreds, and we mean hundreds, of shops from clothing, trinkets and tchatchkis, books, dishes, furniture and even tour bookings! If you also want to bring some Mexican spice back home, Mercado 28 is definitely the place to do your culinary shop. So bring some cash, a camera and don’t forget your haggling skills!
Walk along the Ocean Floor
The Interactive Aquarium in Cancun is one of the impressive collections of sea life in the region. Located at the La Isla Shopping Centre, the Aquarium is a good place to escape the retail havoc and enjoy the serenity and interesting wildlife. A very well maintained aquarium, this is the perfect place to bring your family and take part in activities like petting stingrays as well as touching starfish and even swimming with dolphins in the outdoor area of the Aquarium!
If you and your family want to enjoy some great fun in the sun, visit the Ventura Park Cancun. This amusement park is absolutely massive! From slides, to pools, to fountains, the pool amenities are grand and they make for a lot of fun. If you’re not looking for a soak, there are virtual reality activities, laser tag as well as many restaurants and pampering opportunities. There is a river zipline where you can travel 200 meters above the lazy river attraction.
Things to see in Cancun
Step into the Past
El Meco Archaeological Site is a well preserved Mayan ruin located in the North of Cancun. El Meco, what used to be Yax Kin (First Sun) was built in the Early Classic era for the purpose of fishing and trade. The influence of Chichen Itza facilitated a golden era for this city and became a site of great religious importance as the Isla Mujeres were just off the coast and served as a religious pilgrimage rest stop. There are many structures scattered around the grounds with attractions like three different plazas or the pyramids and temples.
A stretch at the beach
Cancun is famous around the world for its many, many gorgeous beaches. The beautiful white sands and the turquoise waters have people affectionately naming it Mexico’s answer to the French Riviera. Try the Playa Tortugas, where you can lay out in the sun, swim, watch turtles and even bungee jump!
In the city centre, El Parque de las Palapas is the main park in Cancun. It may seem like any other plaza in Mexico, but this park is unparalleled as it is dedicated to preserving the history of Mexico. The Mayan people are the main indigenous people of the region, and this is the place where you can immerse yourself into the culture. You will find many stores, restaurants and activities. You can view artists exhibiting their pieces or get to know the traditions of the Caribbean coast. There is a wide food court where you can try the local Mayan delicacies as well as foods from other parts of Mexico. This is a place where you can spend a relaxing evening and live like a local!
Places to Eat in Cancun
If you aren’t new to vacationing in Mexico, you have probably heard Lorenzillos. This restaurant also houses locations in Los Cabos as well as the Dominican Republic. Operating for 30 years, this is the perfect place to have a delicious quality lobster or seafood dinner, as well as wind down with your family or friends and have a glass of wine while watching the sun set into the Caribbean Sea. If you want a fine dining experience and a taste of the sea, Lorenzillos is the place to go.
For what looks like a treehouse, this is actually a very local Mexican cafe that serves delicious Mexican fare as well as international options. From handmade tortillas to ceviche to barbacoa, Marakame Cafe is a laidback cafe ambience that will ease you into the Mexican experience. If you want a little taste of music, they play live Mexican music in the evenings.
Loncheria El Pocito
If you want an authentic Mayan Yucatan experience, Loncheria El Pocito is the place to do it. Traditional Mayan home-cooking and its hospitable environment makes for an instant connection to the culture and customs of this region. Locheria El Pocito serves delicacies like agua de chaya (tree spinach water) and relleno negro de pavo (turkey stew). The restaurant is built in the typical Yucatan Palapa style, which also keeps the restaurant very cool in the summer.
Is Cancun safe?
Cancun is a tourist city. This means that as the economy is not solely local, crime is a less common occurrence as far as things that you might see in a more industrial or multi-economic community. This being said, it is in good form that you practice safety habits such as watching over your things to avoid any possible pickpocket, or not leaving your bag or drinks unattended. As long as you are not searching for an underworld or pursuing drugs, you will not encounter crime in most Mexican cities.
If you want to know more about safety in Mexico, you can also read our article on: Is Mexico safe?
Are there sharks in Cancun?
Sharks inhabit all oceans and seas, so yes, there are sharks in Cancun. However, it is a very rare occurrence to see a shark and if at any point, may be sighted during abnormally cold winters in Cancun, as the shore would be warmer, and this is an extremely rare anomaly and most of these sharks are harmless to humans.
Is Cancun Expensive?
Cancun is a tourist destination, and would be more expensive than other Mexico cities, including Mexico City (DF). Tourism has a significant economic impact in all products, living expensive and facilities. And as crime and industry has been kept to a stark minimum, Cancun continues to be a popular tourist destination for travellers from all over the world. This being said, Cancun is an affordable tourist destination for people wanting a tropical getaway without paying Bali or Tahiti prices.