As Spring Break approaches thousands of travelers will be heading to Cancun. But there’s much more to the sun-drenched, party-hearty Mexican-Caribbean mecca than beaches and bongs of beer. Thankfully, CJ Travel Editor has you covered with the top tips for things to do in Cancun. “To sample the real soul of the city you have to venture beyond the sand,” she says. Start your exploration with our ideas ofor seven fun things do in Cancun. (And then let us know what else you find).
Find Your Isle It’s hard to believe that just 25 minutes by boat from the bustle of Cancun is the blissful tranquility of Isla Mujeres. Hop the ferry from El Embarcadero or Puerto Juarez to the five-mile-long paradise, then rent yourself a golf cart for independent discovery of breezy beaches, Mayan ruins and the freshest fish tacos ever.
Meet The Maya Find out more about the Yucatan Peninsula’s first inhabitants at the Museo de Maya on Boulevard Kulkulan, where for just five dollars you can discover the ancient Mayan civilization that thrived throughout Mexico until the 16th-century arrival of Spanish conquistadors. Browse the second-floor exhibition halls, then descend to the San Miguelito archaeological site, where you can wander through the scenic settlement ruins.
Snap A Selfie We know you’re going to take at least a dozen selfies during your trip, so make sure you add capturing one in front of the Cancun sign at Playa Delfines to your vacay shot list. (And make sure you keep your fingers away from the lens, too.)
Get Wet As much as we love Caribbean waters we also recognize that they’re not the only place to go for a refreshing dip. Swimming, snorkeling or simply floating in crystalline cenotes (freshwater-filled sink holes in the limestone bedrock) is a classic Mexican experience no visitor should leave without having. The entire Riviera Maya is studded with cenotes, and Cenote Azul, just thirty minutes’ drive from the Hotel Zone, is a great place to start.
Savor The Flavor Pounding shots may give you a buzz but it won’t give you an appreciation for the finer nuances of Mexico’s famous agave-based liquor. Know what will? A tour of the Tequila Herradura Sensory Museum – where you’ll earn the history of the spirit and how it is made – combined with the hour-long tequila tasting at the nearby J. W. Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa. Salud!
Get Sweaty If you’re two days into your vacay and you still can’t seem to shake the stress, try sweating it out in a temazcal, a traditional sweat lodge and purification ritual pioneered by the ancient Mayans. You can take the treatment at several resorts in the Hotel Zone but we’re partial to the simple and authentic set-up at Spa Xbalamqué in the city center.
Meet & Greet Storm clouds messing with your beach plans? Be entertained indoors at La Isla shopping center, where the city’s first wax museum has a “population” of more than 100 life-size figures, including celebrities such as Madonna, politicians, super heroes, and Mexico’s own Frida Kahlo.