Cancun is much more than just a stop on your Caribbean cruise. Prepare to take full advantage of one of the most vibrant and exotic cities in Mexico. Don’t be fooled by its reputation as a tourist hotspot: it is popular precisely because of everything it has to offer.
The city is located on the northwest coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, a few kilometers north of the tip of the Riviera Maya.
Diving and art go hand-in-hand
Cancun is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico and home to the world’s second largest coral reef. This makes Cancun a favorite spot in Mexico for scuba divers: warm, calm and clear water paired with an amazing variety of marine life.
And if all you don’t have enough with this underwater paradise, Cancun it is one of the few places in the world where there’s more: you can visit a real art exhibition without ever leaving the water. Artist John deCaires Taylor has installed more than 400 sculptures on the ocean floor at depths ranging from 3 to 6 meters. Titled “The Silent Evolution”, the exhibition take a journey through the evolution of the Mayan people.
Paradise, just 20 minutes away by boat
Isla Mujeres is just minutes away from Cancun’s underwater museum, a 20 minute boat ride being all that separates this magical island from the mainland coast.
The island’s legend is as seductive as the island itself: legend has it that Spanish conquerors found numerous sculptures of women when they arrived, perhaps because the Mayans dedicated the island to the goddess of fertility.
While affordable accommodation is available on Isla Mujeres, most visitors choose to simply plan a day trip to visit the island.
The island’s most important beach is Playa Norte, whose shore is littered with crushed coral and the water is barely chest-deep. There are round-trip options available from Cancun to Isla Mujeres for just $12.
A plan for the whole family
Tourists can enjoy more than just snorkeling and the beach in Cancun. The Xcaret eco-archaeological park is the perfect place for spending a day with the family.
The park is crossed by narrow paths, underwater caves and rivers and features dolphin shows and cultural entertainment.
Everyone who visits Xcaret will always remember its lush forest, clear water and colorful show of Mexican music and culture.
Almost all hotels make it possible to make reservations to visit the park, located an hour from Cancun. Admission is $89 and food and drinks are available inside.
Remnants of the past
One of Mexico’s greatest monuments is Chichén Itzá, built in the Yucatan Peninsula over 1,000 years ago and a can’t-miss opportunity for visitors to glimpse the wonder of Mexico’s ancient culture.
Nearby is the mystical Ik kil complex, one of the country’s most famous cenotes. Cenotes, pits caused by sinkholes, were sacred to the Mayans, who used them for both ritual and relaxation.
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While the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is world famous, few know about the equally impressive Great Mayan Barrier Reef, or as it is also known, the Mesoamerican Reef System.