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21 Awesome Things To Do In Cancun, Mexico [2019 Guide]

Written by:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last updated:
July 5, 2019
Travel stories
Heading to the beautiful Caribbean area of Cancun, Mexico? Then keep reading to check out my amazing list of the top things to do in Cancun for everyone...
things to do in Cancun
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Cancun is the man-made beauty of Mexico. Established as a way to create more tourism, I’m amazed that something so unnatural could become so beautiful.

Cancun is the perfect place for all types of travellers, whether you’re a family looking for fun and thrills, a group of friends looking for a party, or a couple seeking a romantic getaway.

Brad and I fall into the couples category, so this is your ultimate guide on the best things to do in Cancun and some of the items are quite relevant to couples!

Whether you’re a solo traveller, a group of friends, or a romantic couple, you can partake in any of these amazing things to do in Cancun.

So, before we delve into the top things to do in Cancun, let’s consider some of the practicalities of visiting beautiful Cancun, Mexico.

When is the best time to visit Cancun

The peak season for Cancun in December to April. The weather is hot and beautiful and there is a great atmosphere in the area.

Bradley and I actually visited in March which was during Spring Break.

It wasn’t as crazy as I imagined in my head of Spring Break, but it certainly did mean there were lots of great drink promotions.

How to get to Cancun, Mexico

It’s easy to get a flight to Cancun from both the US and UK. And both are really cheap.

You can get direct flights to Cancun with Thomas Cook (whom we flew with) and Thomson (who offer good package deals) for as low as $200.

It’s an 11 hour flight and the flight with Thomas cook was excellent.

I’ve flown both economy and premium economy with Thomas cook and both were excellent and comfortable.

That being said, I did enjoy the drinks service, and extra touches offered with premium, so if it’s within your budget, I’d go for an upgrade!

Anyway, from the USA you can get cheap flights to Cancun from the likes of Florida, and Chicago.

Generally it ranges from $50-110.

We always use SkyScanner to check for the best flights.

Every.

Single.

Time.

cancun strip

How long should you stay in Cancun, Mexico

This will depend entirely on what you want to get out of Cancun.

If you’re on a hen or stag night, then I’d recommend a week in order to hit all the clubs, and maybe see some surrounding sights.

If you’re a couple, I’d recommend 10 days; enough to truly immerse yourself in the beauty and beaches, and take advantage of that all inclusive resort that you’re gonna book!

If you’re a family, again 10 days is a good amount as there is lots to do in cancun for families with kids.

You could easily stay 2 weeks, but I actually think 2 weeks is a little too long to spend in one place, but again, it depends on your preferences.

Bradley and I were there for 4 nights in the main hotel zone, and one night in downtown Cancun, but we didn’t sightsee in downtown Cancun.

The 21 best things to do in Cancun

This list is based on all the awesome things Bradley and I did on our trip to Cancun.

And whilst we visited Cancun as part of a larger trip, we actually went to Cancun last and treated it as a holiday.

I.e NO WORK! It was bliissss.

1. Parasail over the sea

Cancun has lots of watersports activities on offer that are perfect for couples who seek a little adrenaline. But my fav has to be parasailing.

The waters in Cancun are bright clue, definitely some of the bluest and clearest waters I’ve seen.

And whilst Playa Del Carmen up the road has some nice beaches, none of them compare to the beaches of Cancun.

Simply take a wander down the street and you’ll have people asking you if you want a parasail, or you can book with a company online (like GetYourGuide).

It’s around $30-40 which is a normal rate for such a touristy area. Plus. I think the stunning views are worth it.

2. Relax by the beaches with a cooler

Speaking of the beautiful beaches in Cancun, one of the most popular things to do is get yourself a cooler from the local store and fill it up with drinks.

Then, pop yourself on the beach, listen to music, watch the sunset, or simply chill.

It’s actually a cool thing to do as a group, but I much prefer it as a couple. Turn it into a little picnic with some food, and you could even buy a little half tent to keep yourself protected from the sun at times.

water in cancun

3. Take a day trip to Isa De Mujeres

Isla de Mujeres is located a short distance (boat ride) from Cancun. Around 15 minutes, and it’s a beautiful island to spend the day, or even half a day at.

It’s surrounded by beautiful beaches and waters and it makes a good spot for snorkelling.

You can get there yourself via boat and you can go from Cancun hotel zone and Cancun downtown.

For ferries from Cancun Downtown:

“The Gran Puerto Cancun (Ultramar) ferry dock is located in Puerto Juarez, a few minutes from downtown Cancun. The boats leave every half hour from 5:00 am until 9:30 pm and every hour after that.” (Isla-mujeres.net)

If you don’t fancy trying to get there yourself, you can easily organise a tour there, and you can do it in style like this one that heads out on a catamaran for 10 hours and includes all your food and drinks from the on board bar.

It’s incredibly great value!

4. Party your heart out at Coco Bongo

Perhaps one of the most popular things to do in Cancun- it’s a bucket list Cancun adventure and it’s touristy...but come on, you can’t go to Cancun and NOT go to Coco Bongo!

Well we did, and we had a blast. It’s basically 6 tribute shows with dancers, etc and then in between they play a range of music. I will warn you, it’s a little seedy at times, so if you offend easily, then perhaps you should give it a miss…..up to you.

We paid extra for the gold ticket, which gave us a seat to sit on, otherwise you find yourself standing on the bottom floor (great for younger ones, not me haha)

Anyway, the gold ticket gets you premium drinks and waiter service and it’s worth the extra. You can upgrade your seat even further to get a seat near the front, which might be worth doing, depending on how you feel.

Otherwise be one of the first in the door if you want a decent seat for gold membership.

Book your tickets online btw and you get a 5% discount if you sign up for their newsletter, and after you’ve been they will give you a 50% off voucher to come again which makes the whole night very cheap!

You can also combine it with dinner and book a dinner/nightlife experience package, like this one here which is great value!

coco bongo nightclub

5. Visit Ventura Park (not just for kids!)

You’d be mistaken if you think Ventura park is just for kids. It’s an awesome day out for couples, and btw, you can get a drinks package which includes UNLIMITED alcohol all day (for around $10 extra)...I had about 7 marhagraits and it feels like a very grown up day for me haha.

Anyway, you can book your tickets via the website and if you book 3-4 days in advance you can get up to 50% off.

There are a variety of packages available, but Brad and I choose the one that allowed us access to everything, which is known as Ventura Unlimited. This includes:

  • Access to the waterpark and water slides
  • Unlimited food and alcoholic drinks at the many bars on site (you can float down the lazy river to your next bar…..hehe)
  • Access to the mini theme park with little rides
  • Access to the go-kart racing, which is in proper race cars with a track...awesome fun.
  • Access to 3 ziplines which were brilliant and offer great views
  • Access to the bungee jump if you want to scare yourself (I did)
  • Access to a virtual reality room if you want to scare yourself silly with zombies..again I did.
  • Free shuttle there and back

The only other thing you can really add on is a chance to swim with dolphins (rescue dolphins), but more on that later.

And the price…$30. Yeah you heard me, a day of fun, food and drinks for $30 each! Amazing value in Cancun and definitely one of the best things to do in Cancun. Thank me later.

ventura park

6. Candlelit dinner on the beach at sunset

If you’re staying in a nice resort, and by good I mean luxurious, then you can easily organise a romantic, private dinner for two on the beachfront. The sunset skies can be very beautiful and the evening weather is very pleasant so it’s a perfect location to propose (btw if you’re thinking of it).

The strip of beach in Cancun is MASSIVE, so there are actually a lot of quiet spots which is nice.

7. Helicopter ride over Cancun

What’s more romantic than a helicopter ride for two admiring the stunning waters of Cancun. You can get a glass of champagne for your journey and really relax in style. Take in the moment together and make sure you take pictures!

It’s definitely one of the more expensive things to do in Cancun, but if you’re on a honeymoon, I’d say it’s 100% worth it!

8. Go Snorkelling

Cancun is a snorkel dream. The waters are clear and there are lots of hot spots to check for unique fish and sea life. There will be dozens of companies offering snorkelling opportunities.

But I always believe you get the best price online when it comes to these touristy resorts, because sometimes they just price stuff so high you want to scream at them for thinking you’re so stupid….mini rant there.

Anyway, check out this one.

selfie in cancun

9. Hit up a day beach party

Yes, if you like to party with your partner, then you can party on the beach during the day, right through to the night. When it comes to clubs in Cancun, the popular option to take is to pay one set amount (typically between $30-40) and you get unlimited drinks the whole night.

It always works out cheaper than just buying drinks, and even if they are ever so slightly watered down, at least it’s unlimited so you can just drink more.

10. Surf or try bodyboarding

I never thought you could surf in Cancun...and whilst you can’t catch any “real” waves, you can still rent a surfboard and surf mini waves. So basically if you’re a beginner, there is probably enough here to get you up on the board.

But, what the little waves are great for is bodyboarding! Rent a bodyboard for the day with your partner and have fun surfing the waves!

11. Day trip to Chichen Itza

Ah Chichen Itza, the most famous Mayan ruins in all of Mexico, and perhaps the world? It’s a day trip away from Cancun and there are lots of tours running there.

It’s actually a great idea to combine a tour to Chicehen Itza alongside a stop at Valladolid to check out some of the awesome cenotes available (more on that in a little bit).

But anyway, head early and you might have the place to yourself for a little bit, it opens from 8 am to 5 pm.

There is more than the most famous temple you see here, but they are less impressive, and what is kind of annoying is the miles and miles of people selling the same junk but at a stupidly high price.

The reason they quote such high prices is because some poor soul has actually bought the crap thinking it’s a good price...that ruins it for the rest of us haha

The entrance fee doubled at the beginning of 2019 so its now around $24 instead of $12.

chichen itza

12. Visit the Tulum Ruins

If you want an awesome day trip from Cancun with your loved one, then I’d make a trip to Tulum. Don’t bother with a taxi or anything, just get an ADO bus from downtown Cancun. It’s cheap and very comfortable. When in Tulum, I suggest renting a bike for the day and using that to cycle to the ruins and any cenotes you might want to see in the near area.

The Tulum Ruins are beautiful and located near the sea which provides a little swimming spot too! Just be wary of the weather, we got caught in a 1 hour downpour and had to hide in a tree for an hour.

You can hop on a tour if you don’t fancy going there yourself.

13. Romance at the Lobster Dinner Cruise

The Lobster dinner cruise is quite well known amongst couples who want to experience a little zest on a romantic trip to Cancun. It’s certainly one of the most lavish things to do in Cancun but if you’re out for an anniversary then I think it’s a great choice.

There are other options than lobster, and vegetarian options. And the wine is on the house, so keep that flowing!

You can book it here.

14. Discover Cenotes

A cenote is a sinkhole that basically means the land has fallen away and what’s left is a beautiful pool of water to swim in (that also has weird black fish, not a fan).

There are thousands of cenotes in the Yucatan state and they are all waiting to be discovered.

As mentioned before, Vallavloid has access to the best cenotes and the ones you may have seen on Instagram before, but Cancun also has some, as does Tulum.

You wouldn’t have to look hard to find one, and why not as a local if they known one that’s not too popular with locals!

If you don’t have a car, then an organised tour or getting buses/renting a moped is the best way to see the cenotes.

cenotes in cancun

15. Discover the secret Isla Contoy

The island of Isla Contoy is no longer a secret, but it is restricted to 200 people per day, which means it’s a little bit exclusive. If you want a chance to discover it’s beauty, then you can take an organised tour and guide.

Why not combine it with a tour of the other island I mentioned like this one and you can see both in one day!

16. Sunset at the end of the strip

Sunsets in Cancun are beautiful and what’s more romantic than enjoying a beautiful sunset with your loved one. Simply walk along the strip and you’ll find many spots, but from the Hardrock cafe in the main area, you will see an area of land like loop round into the water and it’s got lots of weird blocks that you can walk on (and fish by).

This is a great spot from the sunset, and it’s the area below!

sunset in cancun

17. Try a water assault course

Next to “The Outback” restaurant, well near there, there is a water assault course on the “other side” which basically means, not the sea side of Cancun hotel zone, the lake side of Cancun.

We’ve done some of these before and they're so much fun and great for couples looking for water fun!

Although it does say you shouldn’t swim in the lake due to a risk of crocodiles, so I’m not entirely sure how they keep them away...but..yano.

sunshine in waterpark

18. Jet Ski Fun

If you’re staying in an all-inclusive resort then a lot of the time they will include jet ski rental in your price. Otherwise you can rent jet skis on the beach.

Either get one to share, or separate ones and race each other in the water. One of the great fun things to do in Cancun.

Prices are around $40-50, but you may find a better deal when booking other activities too.

19. Dine on the beach [Hard Rock Cafe + Chillies]

There are lots of places to dine on the beach front, but I will point out two of my favourites. The hard rock cafe is very expensive, (compared to normal hard rock prices), but it’s the hard rock cafe, so it’s a must, especially if they’ve got live music happening!

Another choice is Chilies, which is excellently priced, the cocktails are amazing (2-4-1 most days) and the food portions are huge!

They don’t rip you off just because you’re right on the beach front with amazing views...which is nice!

This is one of the great things to do in Cancun at night when the atmosphere is rising but you don’t want to party hard.

blue seas in cancun

20. Shop for gifts

This is a difficult one. Out of everywhere I have ever went in my life, Cancun is the biggest rip off for souvenirs. I wear travel bands from each country I visited, and they average at around $1.

In Cancun they wanted $8 for a mass produced, not even good quality travel band. I laughed my heart out at that price- crazy.

I have a tip, head to the massive supermarket that’s on the main strip (where CoCo bongo etc are) and you can get souvenirs in there for a normal price.

You can get t-shirts, shot glasses (for $1), fridge magnets, tequila, really whatever you want, and you won’t get ripped off by the silly “souvenir dedicated” shops on the main street, or the so called “flea markets”.

The supermarket by the way, also does cheap alcohol, cheap food (like 4 different cuisines inside) an amazing bakery and a great coffee shop! It’s a good place to stop.

21. Get a private photo shoot

This is pretty romantic. If you want to take your romantic break to the next level, then you can arrange a private photographer to take a range of romantic photos of you and your loved one. Perfect for creating lifelong memories! Check out this option here.

So that’s my list of things to do in Cancun..there should be enough there to keep you busy! If you have any free time, then simply relax in your hotel...which I’m discussing next...

The most romantic hotel stays in Cancun

Cancun is BURSTING with amazing hotels and resorts. Some of the best I’ve seen worldwide. So you will literally be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a romantic in hotel for you and your partner.

Most of the hotels offer rooms based on an all-inclusive basis, and I actually think this is the best value, simply because it’s a steal.

You get all  your food and drinks (sometimes there are 5 on-site restaurants for variety) for your whole trip, and you get extra perks like jet ski rental, or even massages.

Even if you’re not a big fan of all inclusive, it will almost be better value to do it all-inclusive and still dine out elsewhere on the nights you choose.

Anyway, here our my top 5 resorts in Cancun worthy of a romantic escape…

1.Aloft Hotel

I’ve stayed in a few Aloft hotels around the world deliver on style, functionality and service every time. So I have to recommend them. This property has great reviews, and it’s in a great location. You’ll love the modern, quirky design, the fantastic pool, gym and rooftop garden with views.  

Check the best prices here.

2. Emporio Cancun

With stunning sea views, beach access and beautiful rooms, this 4 star resort in Cancun is perfect for couples looking to relax. It truly oozes class and highly recommended for its service.

Check the best prices here.

3. Hard Rock Hotel Cancun

This is an all-inclusive beauty. Now, some people are often mistaken that a Hard Rock Hotel might be a little chessy, but you’d be surprised at just how luxurious these hotels are-- and this one is no different.

It’s an iconic 5 star hotel with stunning swimming pools, views, restaurants and gym.

Oh and you can get a hot tub in your room- imagine that with a glass of champagne. Definitely one of the best things to do in Cancun.

Check the best prices here.

4. Royal Solaris Cancun

Another all inclusive resort in Cancun that’s perfect for couples. 5 restaurants and 2 bars means you’ll never get bored of dining.

There’s a fabulous swimming pool and you can windsurf. Match that with stunning rooms, an on-site gym and much more, then you’ve got a memorable hotel stay.

Check the best prices here.

5. Hyatt Zilara Cancun- Adults only

Had to throw in one adult only hotel here. If you simply just want it to be you and your partner with no children around, then an adults only hotel is probably the way to go. Oh, and it’s all inclusive!

It’s got breathtaking views, stunning sunset views, swimming pools, beautiful surroundings, amazing rooms and so much more. It’s truly an AMAZING hotel!

Check the best prices here.

None of these hotels take your fancy? Don’t worry you can check all hotels in Cancun here, and with Booking. Com you get the best rate guaranteed.

cancun mexico

Getting around Cancun

When it comes to getting around Cancun you have a view options.

Car: It’s super cheap to rent a car in Mexico, sometimes as low as $1 a day and in the USA a lot of the time you’re insurance on your credit card will cover you (but research and find out). Otherwise you need a credit card to rent a car and they will hold around $600.

It’s so worth it if you’re planning to makeshift your own Cancun excursions to Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Playa del carmen to Tulum!

Bus: You can get the bus up and down the strip in Cancun for around 30 cent. Simply hop on and hop off where you need, and the same bus will take you into downtown Cancun if you fancy experiencing something a little bit more authentic when it comes to Mexico.

Taxi: If money isn’t an object you can rely on taxis. I’m not sure how much taxis are on the ground, but a taxi to the airport is around $40 which is the height of nonsense for the quick journey, but it’s up to you!

Walk: The strip of the whole of downtown Cancun is long, but you can do some walks without assistance. We walked for about 30 minutes to go to a restaurant and the weather was so nice and the atmosphere was great. So if you don’t mind walking, then this is a great way to get around.

ventur park cancun

Things to do in Cancun on a budget

Okay, so not everyone has lots of money to spend on a holiday to Cancun, and we weren’t flashing the cash. We stayed in the Selina Hotel Zone which was the cheapest option on the hotel zone (they did have a great swimming pool!).

We ate in most days, and kept a tight budget, so I have some little tips if you want to save some of your dollas.

  1. Use the OXO shops: beer, snacks and food like tacos etc are all very cheap, so you can easily make picnics to bring with you to the beach etc.
  2. Book Ventura Park online 3 days in advance, you get a 50% discount, but if you leave it late, just go on live chat and they will give you the 50% off anyway.
  3. From the airport, get the airport bus to Downtown Cancun and get the local bus to the Hotel Zone, they leave every 3 mins and it's about 30 pence. Far cheaper than a rip off taxi btw.
  4. Don’t buy souvenirs in the “souvenir shops” or “flea markets”, buy from the main supermarket in the strip.

Where to after Cancun

If Cancun is a stop on a larger trip in Mexico, then you’ve got some great options. You can head to Playa Del Carmen and check out the many beaches and great nightlife up there, or head further to Tulum for more of the same (all still beautiful!).

Or if you’re really adventurous and what to see another side of Mexico..what I call the real mexico, then head to Palenque. You’ll notice everything is 75% less than in the Yucatan peninsula, which is just a tourist haven.

Cancun is great, but remember it’s not real Mexico! Mexico is an amazing country with amazing food and people. So when possible, I’d try and go local, see local and meet local on your adventure.

So there you have it, my guide on the best things to do in Cancun. There are lots of great options here to create a wonderful Cancun date night for you, and your partner.

Whether you’re celebrating a romantic anniversary, or simply treating yourself, Cancun is the perfect spot for couples.

If you’ve been to Cancun, Mexico and have something to add to my list of the best things to do in Cancun, simply pop it below!

Happy travelling

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