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Explore sun-soaked Cancún | © Nolan Marketti/Unsplash
Explore sun-soaked Cancún | © Nolan Marketti/Unsplash
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7 Unusual Things You Can Only Do in Cancún

Picture of Mónica Ramírez López
Updated: 3 June 2017
Thanks to its crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches, not to mention its vibrant nightlife, Cancún is the ideal place to sunbathe by day and party by night. However, there are many other activities that make Mexico‘s best-known beach resort a unique place to visit. For more inspiration, take a look at the following list of unusual things you can only do in this heavenly destination.

Swim with ocean giants

The whale shark, considered the biggest fish on earth, arrives every year on the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Despite their large size – from 12-20 meters (40-65 feet) – they’re docile and only eat plankton and small fish. Visitors can swim amid these majestic beasts in Isla Contoy, located to the north of Cancún. Take a tour with a certified guide who’ll be able to talk you through the experience and help you make the most of your time underwater.

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Explore the Mayan underworld

Located an hour’s drive south of Cancún, the underground river and cave attraction Río Secreto is arguably among the most unique adventures in Latin America. Visitors descend 25 meters (80 feet) below the surface through a system of caverns to reach ‘the secret river’, believed by Mayans to be the underworld where the souls of the dead resided. After donning shoes and a lantern helmet, visitors are escorted by a guide on a tour through the incredible sights that include stalactites and stalagmites along the beautiful river.

Carretera Federal Libre Chetumal – Puerto Juárez Km. 283.5, Ejido Sur. Playa del Carmen, Mexico, +52 800 845 0529

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Become a rock star for the day

As part of their all-inclusive day, the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel allows participants to live the rock star dream for a day. Whether you like to sing or play music, the hotel’s facilities include a studio and a ‘rock specialist’ to coach you with your performance. Perform in front of a big audience, be a superstar DJ on stage, star in your own music video or remaster your favorite song – the choice is yours.

Plaza Forum by The Sea, Blvd. Kukulcan Km. 9.5, Hotel Zone, Cancún, Mexico, +52 998 688 5491

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Scuba dive in a cenote

One of the ultimate must-see tourist attractions when visiting Cancún is The Route of the Cenotes, a set of freshwater wells in the jungle. Thought by the Ancients to have represented the center of communion with the gods, cenotes are an even more impressive sight when viewed on a scuba dive – swim though the caverns between stalactites and stalagmites and get to know the marine life in the crystal-clear water. The best places for this activity are Cenote Dos ojos, Tajma Ha or Chikin Ha.

Federal Highway Cancun-Tulum. Leona Vicario, Puerto Morelos, Mexico

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Party on a jungle lake

Xochimilco lake is a UNESCO World Heritage site close to Cancún that makes for an unconventional place to party, whether with a big group of friends or family. The ‘floating fiesta’ fun begins on land, with a carnival where you can try tasty snacks and play traditional games. Once you’re in the party mood, climb on board the colorful trajinera, a Mexican barge that takes you for a ride across the waters where you can listen and dance to live music performed by mariachis.

Federal Highway 307 Cancun-Puerto Morelos. Quintana Roo, Mexico, +52 800 841 9488

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Walk among crocodiles

Croco Cun Zoo is an outdoor zoo where you can literally walk among crocodiles. Visitors are accompanied at all times by a guide, meaning you can get close enough to the animals to take a picture, or if you’re brave enough, even carry a snake. Since the 1988 hurricane, the zoo has been a place of protection for endangered native species, including parrots, monkeys, peacocks, deer, and more – don’t miss the opportunity to meet the xoloitzcuintle, the iconic Mexican hairless dog.

Carretera Cancun – Tulum Km 31, 77580 Cancún, Mexico, +52 998 850 3719

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Take a temazcal at a Mexican spa

Taking a temazcal is a step back in time to when the Ancients performed this pre-Hispanic ritual for both physical and spiritual healing. Involving medicinal plants and hot volcanic rocks, the process actively encourages you to sweat it all out while the ceremony takes place. Nowadays, you can get away from the noise of the city and take a steam bath in Temazcal Cancún, located some 20 minutes from the Hotel Zone.