Reasons Why You Should Visit Cancún at Least Once in a Lifetime

Chac Mool, the Mayan rain god, is immortalized in stone on the beach in Cancún
Chac Mool, the Mayan rain god, is immortalized in stone on the beach in Cancún | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Jack Guy
3 September 2021

Cancún, the party capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, may bring to mind raucous spring-break parties, but there are plenty of things to do if you want a more relaxed trip. Here are the top reasons to make the trip to Mexico’s most famous beach destination.

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To visit the underwater museum

Snorkel or dive at the Cancún Underwater Museum of Art to see some of the 470 underwater statues. The attraction is designed to give people somewhere else to visit to take some pressure off the overused reef.

The Cancún Underwater Museum of Art is well worth the dive – and you can swim with turtles | © RGB Ventures / SuperStock / Alamy Stock Photo

To tour the ruins at Tulum

Take a day trip down the coast to the town of Tulum, home to some amazing cliffside ruins from the old Mayan port. It’s a unique spot, and there are great photo opportunities.

Journey to Tulum to see the beachside ruins | © Brian Jannsen / Alamy Stock Photo

To swim with whale sharks

The biggest fish in the world are found in the waters off Cancún from May to September each year. Take a tour from Cancún or head to Isla Holbox or Cozumel.

Swim with a whale shark while you’re in Cancún | © James / Alamy Stock Photo

To take the family to Xel-Há park

Sign up for a day trip to Xel-Há water park, home to slides, snorkeling and boat trips. It’s great for kids, but it’s a lot of fun for adults, too. Tickets can be pricy, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You can float in the waters at the Xel-Ha nature park | © Greg Vaughn / Alamy Stock Photo

It’s easy to get there

The Cancún International Airport, the second busiest in Mexico, has great connections to cities across the Americas and Europe. As a result, there are cheap flights galore, and you can tack on a few days in Cancún at no great expense.

To snorkel a giant coral reef

Fans of snorkeling love Cancún because it sits on the Mesoamerican Reef, the second-longest coral reef in the world. You can spot endless varieties of marine life, and the water is warm.

Snorkelers are drawn to the clear, warm waters off Cancún | © Stocktrek Images, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

To dive at Isla Mujeres

There are dive spots all along the coast of Quintana Roo, the state where Cancún is found. However, some of the top spots are on Isla Mujeres. Spend a few days here to dive and relax on the island.

There are top diving spots all along the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula | © Danita Delimont Creative / Alamy Stock Photo

To sample a wide variety of cuisine

Cancún welcomes visitors from around the world, and many have left traces of their food culture here. The most evident is in the restaurants, with eateries from different world cuisines catering to diverse tastes.

To party into the early hours

Cancún is synonymous with good times. There are bars and clubs everywhere, and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to venues for a night out.

Coco Bongo is one of the many hot nightspots in Cancún | © Andrew Woodley / Alamy Stock Photo

To stay in some excellent hotels

From opulent all-inclusive resorts to backpacker hostels, accommodation options in Cancún truly run the gamut. Stay in the Hotel Zone for easy access to the beach and other amenities, or find a hostel in the center of town if you’re on more of a budget.

To kick back on beautiful beaches

Relax at the beach bars and restaurants in Cancún, or head farther south to find quieter stretches of sand at Puerto Morelos, Akumal and Tulum. It’s picture-postcard stuff, with white sand and palm trees everywhere.

Playa Akumal is a slice of Caribbean paradise | © Simon Dannhauer / Alamy Stock Photo

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