Mexico’s Cancun is an uber popular vacation spot and the number one destination for American spring breakers. With so many awesome things to do in Cancun, this sunny city on the Yucatan Peninsula really does have something for everyone. Think crazy day parties, tranquil oceans and relaxing beaches, outrageous nightlife and some of the coolest hostels Mexico has to offer. Throw in some historic Mayan sites, excellent walking paths and don’t even get me started on the food!
Let’s dive right in to the best things to do in Cancun.
Bathe on the beautiful beaches
Situated on the Caribbean coast, Yucatan’s beaches are some of the most breathtaking in the world. Think white sands, palm trees and clear water which shimmers a hundred different shades of blue in the sunlight. Perfect venue for a beach party!
Soak up that springtime sunshine
As if you needed any other reason to pick spring break as the ideal time to visit, the climate in Cancun is particularly perfect from February to May. The region is still in its dry season, and temperatures range from around 22C to 30C, depending on the time of day. Better bring your sunblock!
Eat all of the food glorious food!
Pick up some authentic Mexican delicacies for a fraction of the price you’d pay elsewhere… street vendors sell generously sized soft tacos for as little as 20 pesos for three ($1). Try the traditional cochinita pibil filling (“Mayan-style” pork) for the real Yucatan experience. Don’t forget the hot sauce!
Jump into the magical underwater caves
Take a trip to one of Yucatan’s famous cenotes. Cenotes are naturally formed wells in the earth’s surface – climb or jump down into amazing pure waters below and swim amongst fishes as sun shines and water falls from the surface above you… magical!
Take a day trip to nearby cities
The nearby city of Valladolid is home to some stunning architecture including this church that was originally a temple, but after the Spanish arrived in Mexico they knocked it down and used the materials to build a Catholic Church – Jesus Christ!
Enjoy the huge hostel scene
The Cancun hostel scene is expanding, with new hostels opening every season. Whatever you need from your hostel, you’ll find it here, whether that’s a swimming pool, reasonably priced privates, or somewhere with guaranteed party vibes. The drop-dead gorgeous Selina Cancun Downtown is the perfect balance between budget-friendly and luxury – just look at that Instagrammable pool area! And where there are hostels, there are…
Crazy club parties
Cancun is home to several super-clubs guaranteed to show you parties unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Hit Coco Bongo for an unreal open bar cirque-du-soleil style show, where acrobats fly over your head and dance troupes perform on stage while you drink and dance the night away. It has to be experienced to be believed…
Next up, a night at The City is a must for visitors to Cancun. Claiming to be Latin America’s largest nightclub venue, this club giant packs up to six thousand party-goers into three storeys and understandably attracts big names, so keep an eye on the line-up for a chance to see your favourite DJ on a world renowned stage.
Embark on a boozy boat trip
Take an all you can drink booze cruise across to Isla Mujeres for a day trip on this little island just off the Cancun coast, where you can spend the afternoon snorkelling before heading back to shore on the party boat!
Master the idiot-proof public transport
Okay, super boring maaaybe, BUT the public transport system in Cancun is crazy easy, even for the uber generation. This means no need for taxis, making getting around cheaper for travellers on a budget. You catch the same bus (R-1) from anywhere in downtown all the way round the peninsula to whichever beach or club you’re headed to. It’s always 12 pesos (60c) and you’re never waiting for more than two minutes. It. Is. So. Easy!
Learn about the Mayans’ fascinating culture
Book a tour to nearby Mayan historic sites, such as the famous Kulkulcan Temple in Chichen Itza or, further down the east coast, the Tulum ruins, and learn about how the Mayans calculated and conceived the Mayan calendar many years before the very same discoveries were claimed elsewhere.
Indulge in cheap local tipples
Tequila! The rumours are true, the tequila in Mexico tastes better (even with a modest price tag)! In a local bar, a large shot might set you back 50 pesos ($2.60), with a local beer costing just 25 pesos ($1.30). Salud!
Escape to the islands
As gorgeous as it is, Cancun can get a little cray-cray. Escape the riotous parties and head out to one of the nearby islands such as the aforementioned Isla Mujeres for the ultimate relaxation station.
Swim with Whale Sharks
Yup, really! In Cancun you can get up close and personal with these gentle giants on the coastline of the Isla Contoy just a stone’s throw from Cancun mainland. This jaw-dropping experience is not one to miss… dive in!
Unwind in the gorgeous sunsets
I mean, can we just look at the colours?! I’ve never seen a sunset so orange.
Take a hike
Between the stunning coastlines and tropical scenery, much of Cancun’s beauty can be best appreciated by foot! Hiking enthusiasts and coach potatoes alike can find a route to suit them. Our favourite is simply walking along the beach, listening to the gentle sound of breaking waves… preferably at sunset (and with an ice cold beer in hand!)
So there you have it – the best things to do in Cancun. Whether you’re a spring breaker looking for a riotous escape, (it’s CoCo Bongo for you my friend!), or a beach boss desperately seeking the sun and a white sand beach, you’ll find what you’re craving in Cancun!
☕ Cancun not your cup of tea? Check out the best places to visit in Mexico’s Yucatan besides Cancun
💪 Fancy doing it alone? Take a look why solo female travel in Mexico isn’t as crazy as it sounds
🌞 Why not broaden your horizons? Here are the best hostels in Central America