Cancun is rightly renowned for its powdery white beaches and shimmering blue waters, but there’s so much more to this place than sand and surf. From ancient Mayan ruins to luxurious spas, there are plenty of things to do in and around Cancun that are unforgettable. So the next time you head down to the Yucatan in Mexico, make your trip an incredible experience with one of these six magical activities.
Visit the Mayan Ruins
Within a couple hours drive of Cancun are some of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. From world famous Chichen Itza to the spectacular coastal location of Tulum, there’s no shortage of Mayan ruins to behold in this part of Mexico. The level of tourist infrastructure varies from site to site, but if you want to get the most out of your experience, try to arrive early in the morning or during the late afternoon when you won’t be competing with droves of other tourists for that perfect picture.
Go to the Spa
Cancun has some of the best spas in the world. With over thirty spa resorts to choose from, you have plenty of options for some well-earned rest and relaxation. Be sure to try a temazcal sweat lodge, used by ancient Mesoamericans for ceremonial purposes and for healing the sick. Other spas offer stunning ocean views with full body massages. Be sure to look around for the best deals, and for the type of spa experience that suits you.
Shop at the Markets
Many locals make their living by selling goods to tourists. While you’ll find people plying their wares all over Cancun, it’s at the city’s markets that you’ll get some of the best deals. Be sure to head to the downtown market for some great bargains on souvenirs. It is also a great place to get some good Mexican food. Don’t be shy about haggling for the best price, though–the locals fully expect you to do so.
Play a Round of Golf
The Yucatan Peninsula is home to some of the most stunning golf courses in the world. Many of the courses here are world-class, and the landscaping is varied and spectacular. You can take your pick of rich native vegetation, stunning coastal views, or teeing off in the shadow of an ancient Mayan pyramid. The scenery is so impressive in places, that golfing can seem secondary to enjoying the views.
Head over to Isla Mujeres
Cancun is often packed with tourists, and can sometimes be frustrating for those looking to experience a more authentic local culture. Luckily, Isla Mujeres is only a short ferry ride away and noticeably more laid back than the resort-driven mainland. From sleepy beaches to ramshackle eateries, Isla Mujeres is a great place to relax and experience the ‘real’ Mexico. Mind you, ATMs are few and far between and English will only get you so far, but then that is part of the charm of this small island.
Rent a Jeep
One of the best ways to see the stunning nature of the Yucatan is by hiring a jeep. Most tours include an experienced guide, and this is a great way to literally get off the beaten track and see a side of the Yucatan that most tourists miss. Even better, many tours include extras such as cave diving and visits to Mayan ruins to make the adventure all the more exciting.