Cancun Area Attractions



Cancun, on the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, sizzles as Mexico’s top tourist destination drawing more than two million visitors a year, making it difficult to fathom that a half century ago, Cancun was only a blueprint. Launched in 1974 as a “planned resort” built from scratch, Cancun has 200-plus days of yearly sunshine accompanied by temperatures averaging 80F (25C) that can seem much warmer. Below is a list of some suggested things to do in the Cancun Area.


Wednesdays bring the classic struggle between man and bull (toro) to the downtown Plaza de Toros Cancun. Also on the agenda on occasion are dances and cockfights.
Downtown Cancun


For golfers, Cancun yields a treasure-trove of opportunities to tee-up. Among the possibilities are Hilton Park Golf Club’s 18-hole (par 72) Robert Trent Jones course at the Hilton Cancun Beach and Golf Resort, which incorporates one of Cancun’s ruins – Ruinas Del Ray – within its challenge. Pok Ta Pok Club de Golf in the Hotel Zone, also by Robert Trent Jones, is an 18-hole (par 73) course with a practice tee and putting green. Melia Cancun Golf Club at the Melia Hotel in the Hotel Zone is an 18 hole, par 54 course.
Hilton Park Golf Club, Boulevard Kukulcán. (9) 881-8016
Pok Ta Pok Club de Golf, Hotel Zone. (011) 52-98-83-1230
Melia Cancun Golf Club, Melia Hotel, Hotel Zone. (011) 52-98-85-1114

Kayaking and Windsurfing

Cancun’s waters are ideal for kayak and windsurfing enjoyment. For calmer waters, the Nichupté Lagoon, or the northern end of Cancun Island provide protection. Jet skiing, parasailing and regular sailing are also popular.


By night, Cancun wakes up to the beat of discos, cantinas, bars and nightclubs. The Ballet Folklorico with lavish costumes and traditional dances performs in various locations. Laser-lighted dance clubs cover everything from rock and reggae to salsa, typically opening at around 10 p.m. and pulsating until dawn.

Shopping Malls

Mall aficionados won’t suffer withdrawal pangs with many shopping malls offering a wide variety of shops, restaurants, movie theaters and boutiques.

Chichen Itza and Tulum

The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum, among Mexico’s most photographed attractions, mesmerize as silent temples to one of the world’s oldest, most mysterious cultures. Chichen Itza, among Mexico’s largest ruins, dates to 600 AD, and is anchored by the dramatic Kulkulkan pyramid.



Cozumel – diving capital of Mexico – is an island some 20 minutes from Puerto Morelos to the ferry crossing at Playa del Carmen where there are frequent shuttles back and forth between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.

Day Cruises

Providing for expanded adventure, day cruises to Cozumel and elsewhere from the docks at Playa del Carmen near Cancun are plentiful. A Caribbean Funday cruise goes to Isla Mujeres, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tropical Cruiser sails to Isla Mujeres and El Garrafon Beach..

Diving and Fishing

Waters surrounding Cancun are legendary for clarity and submerged diversity, with snorkeling right off the beach or scuba dive/snorkeling over the "Mayan Reef" on Mexico's Caribbean..

Folkloric Ballet

Since 1985, El Mexicano has billed itself as the first and only restaurant with a Folkloric Ballet and Mariachis Show every night. The 320-seat restaurant, with decor bringing to mind all those houses of the feudal lords, is open from 4 p.m. to midnight daily offering views of live performances from nine levels.

Isla Mujeres

This charming isle about six miles from Cancun has three excellent beaches, the most popular being Playa de los Cocos in the north end, with calm waters and assorted water sports. Secluded Playa Lancheros, at the southern end, has live turtle pens and a separate swimming area. Playa Garrafon, a national underwater park, is ideal for snorkeling. Banderas, Cuervones and Manchones are reefs for experienced divers.

Ruinas del Rey

This small archaeological site is notable for the unusual architecture of its two main plazas bounded by two streets. The majority of Mayan cities had one plaza and few streets. This site may have been a royal burial ground.
Paseo Kukulcán Km 17.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

This reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site with more than a million acres, divides almost equally among wetlands, tropical forest and marine systems. Friends of Sian Ka’an is a non-profit organization operating biologist-escorted tours from Cancun that help the biosphere concept support itself via low-impact tourism.

Tres Rios

About 25 miles from Cancun, Tres Rios stretches inland from a pristine white sand beach, encompassing subtropical jungle and mangroves, covering 370 acres and offering a prime selection of pools where the area's underground rivers come to the surface. Only in Tres Rios are these “cenotes” at ground level, found in the shallow rivers heading to the sea. Visitors can walk or bicycle through the jungle, canoe down the river, kayak in the sea, ride horseback along the beach, snorkel in the river or on the park's outstanding section of the Great Mayan Reef. Also awaiting are hammocks and space to build sandcastles.



This 250-acre ecological theme park along the coastline, Xcaret features an underground river for swimming and a Dolphinarium where visitors can swim with the dolphins.


Billed as the world’s largest natural aquarium, Xel-Ha is a collage of inlets, lagoons, sinkholes and caves where visitors can snorkel, swim, sunbathe, take a stroll or discover other charms of what was once a playground for the ancients.

Xpu-Ha Eco-Park

This 90-plus acre private park has only 3 percent of its land developed for access roads, baths and showers, two snack bars, and a seaside restaurant, La Palapa. Ranked among the most diverse environments in North America, Xpu-Ha is a sanctuary for rare birds and for protected species such as crocodiles, sea turtles, native deer and snakes. Walks along nature trails are led by expert guides, providing insights on vegetation, fauna and geological features. Sunbathing areas, space for soccer and volleyball, and rental shops for snorkel or scuba are also provided.