Wet n’ Wild
Get swept up in a tidal wave of fun with massive water slides, exhilarating water chutes, a wave pool, lazy river, dolphin shows and more. Cancun’s only water park offers all-inclusive admission, which includes food and drinks for children and adults.
Cancun’s best nightclub has one speed: Absolutely mind blowing. Come dressed to impress, ready to dance and rub elbows with Beetlejuice while Spiderman and acrobats perform high above the crowd and a Michael Jackson impersonator lip synchs his way through MJ’s all-time classics.
A 30-minute boat ride brings you to what feels like another world, with immaculate beaches, laid back ambience and a charming downtown area with quaint shops and restaurants. Hook up with one of several local tour providers, who include drinks and lunch, or explore at your own pace by renting a golf cart.
Cozumel was a sleepy island paradise until 1961, when Jacques Cousteau anointed its offshore reefs to be among the world’s best scuba diving spots. For trained divers and less experienced snorkelers, few places offer the chance to swim among so many different exotic species of marine life, including sea turtles, crabs, sand sharks, eels, rays, schools of colorful fish and barracudas.
One look at the vast stone structures that were somehow built with primitive tools and manpower alone explains why this mythical site is one of Mexico’s most stunning Mayan archaeological ruins. In addition to learning about Mayan culture, you can tour a cenote (limestone sinkhole) where actual human sacrifices occurred.
Playa del Carmen
This beachfront town has a distinctively European feel. Catch some sun at trendy beach clubs during the day, then hit the clubs for cocktails and dancing deep into the night. Avenida 5, Playa’s pedestrian-only cobblestoned avenue is lined with lively bars, restaurants, beach clubs and shops. The more tranquil northern end of town is where you’ll find chic cafés and stylish boutiques.
A little closer to Cancun and somewhat smaller than Chichen Itza, this Mayan archaeological site is known as much for its breathtaking oceanfront views as its ruins. The main pyramid is perched on a dramatic cliff overlooking a pristine beach. Once you’ve toured the ruins, be sure to visit the eclectic downtown area, where you’ll find plenty of relaxed, open-air restaurants and cafés.
Sian Ka’an Ecological Reserve
This UNESCO World Heritage Site spans over a million acres of diverse landscapes and habitats. In addition to exotic flora and animals, it is home to nearly two dozen archaeological sites dating back nearly 2,500 years. It’s best to start at the Centro Ecologico, where you can plan activities like kayaking expeditions, canal and sunset tours and guided fishing trips.
Ruta de los Cenotes
The waters of the Yucatan Peninsula are world-famous for their network of cenotes, which are limestone sinkholes plunging into underwater passageways, tunnels and rivers and flooded caves and pools. Book a scuba diving tour with an experienced guide who will lead you on an exhilarating excursion past massive stalactites, stalagmites, and underwater rock formations dappled with glittering sunlight.
The name of this intimate beachfront town literally means “place of the turtles.” Swim or snorkel the waters just off Akumal Beach and you will find yourself among gentle sea turtles making a meal of the sea grass just below the surface. From late April through October, female turtles swarm the beach most evenings to lay their eggs in the sand. When they hatch from June to November, the baby turtles commence a parade back into the ocean.
Cancún Maya Museum
If you can’t make it to one of Cancun’s archaeological sites, this world-class museum offers a fascinating glimpse at Mayan culture and traditions with exhibits that include human skulls, tools, jewelry and other artifacts found at various sites throughout the region. Best of all, it’s located right in the heart of the Hotel Zone.
Underwater Museum of Art
Easily Cancun’s most unique museum and quite possibly one of the most unique in the world. Consisting of hundreds of submerged sculptures created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, it’s not just a museum but also a living reef, as coral has begun to grow on the statues. Several local vendors offer snorkeling and scuba tours of the museum’s three locations, which are off the shores of Punta Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc.
When you think of the perfect Caribbean beach, with 14 miles of immaculate sand untouched by hotels, restaurants or any development at all, Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach) is it. Along its beautiful shoreline you will find chairs and umbrellas for rent, a playground and shady palapas for relief from the sun.
El Rey Archaeological Area
No other area in Cancun depicts the city’s unique character like the “Zona Arqueológica El Rey.” Here sleek, modern resorts give way to ancient Mayan ruins. Explore a civilization that thrived from AD 1250 through 1521 and learn about the daily activities of the Mayan people.
La Isla Shopping Village
If you’re ready to treat an overdose of sun, sand and surf with a little retail therapy, head to the largest, most popular mall in the Hotel Zone. With an open-air setting featuring several bridges and a river winding among the shops, La Isla Shopping Village has something for visitors of all ages.
Óleo Cancún Playa
Boulevard Kukulcan Km 19.5 Zona Hotelera, Cancún, ZIP 77500 Quintana.