The Best Airbnbs and Vacation Rentals in Cancún, Mexico

Cancún is famous for its turquoise waters and white-sand Caribbean beaches
Cancún is famous for its turquoise waters and white-sand Caribbean beaches | © Daniel Slim / Getty Images
Photo of Alex Robinson
8 April 2021

Cancún has far more to offer than spring break parties and all-inclusive hotels. Scratch below the surface and explore the city beyond the hotel zone by booking an apartment stay with Culture Trip.

Although it wouldn’t be a trip to Mexico without a few margaritas, in Cancún – located at the northeastern tip of the cenote-scattered Yucatán Peninsula – it’s worth wandering away from the bar-lined seafront. Discover ancient displays at the Museo Maya de Cancún; El Meco’s iguana-dotted Mayan ruins; and a multitude of local ceviche spots and taco joints.

Paradise Beachfront & Nightlife Heart

Courtesy of Paradise Beachfront & Nightlife Heart / Expedia | Courtesy of Paradise Beachfront & Nightlife Heart / Expedia
Cancún locations don’t get much better than this. These three apartments-with-a-view sit right over the beach at the northern end of the hotel zone. The Coco Bongo, one of the city’s busiest clubs, is outside the front door and the surrounding streets are packed with bars, burrito stalls and restaurants. The apartments have ample space – especially in the two-bedroom Panoramic Studio with its wraparound balcony offering 270 degree ocean views, sleeping seven.
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City Suites Cancún Aeropuerto Riviera

Hotel, Apartment
Courtesy of City Suites Cancún Aeropuerto Riviera / Expedia
These simple suites sit next to Highway 307, just over a kilometre from the beach, but only a ten-minute drive from Cancún International Airport. Rooms are simple but contemporary – with wood laminate floors and warm neutral tones; they sit over a large swimming pool with ample sun-lounging space. Stays come with complimentary breakfast and a free airport shuttle. The Xoximilco Mexican theme park (offering night cruises and kitschy themed cultural shows) is on your doorstep.
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Bahari Cancún - Adults Only

Courtesy of Bahari Cancún / Expedia
Sitting on a quiet suburban street, Bahari Cancún offers a tranquil retreat; its rooftop terrace overlooks a forest reserve and a kingfisher-filled lagoon. This no-frills base feels a world away from Cancún’s hectic party scene – yet you can reach it in less than 20 minutes by cab. There’s an outdoor pool and the fluffy white sands of Puerto Juarez beach (where boats leave for Isla Mujeres) are a ten-minute walk away.
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Apartamento de Lujo en Cancún

Courtesy of Apartamento de Lujo en Cancún / Expedia
These Puerto Juarez apartments (some of which are big enough for families) are only a 15-minute cab hop from Cancún’s hurly-burly, yet they’re quiet enough that only the music of the waves and calling gulls will disturb your sleep. While the beach isn’t as long as on Cancún’s hotel strip, the sand is still powdery and pearl-white, plus the apartment has access to a big, freeform infinity pool and children’s paddling area.
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  • Tulipanes Cancún

    Tulipanes Cancun
    Courtesy of Tulipanes Cancún / Expedia
    A taste of colonial era Cancún? The Spanish never settled here, but these mock hacienda, terracotta-roofed villas (clustered around a jewel-blue pool) are as close as it gets. Interiors are decorated in whitewash and umber floor tiles, walls are adorned with colourful art, fountains tinkle in the butterfly-filled gardens… but the beach is a 20-minute drive away.
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    Departamentos Villas Capdeviel

    Courtesy of Departamentos Villas Capdeviel / Expedia
    While you’ll hear more English than Spanish in the beachside hotel zone, these clean, pared-back apartments sit in the heart of the very Mexican Cancún city. This is where the locals live. Genuine Yucatec eateries sit on the doorstep – including Tacos Rigo (which serves generous quesadillas) and Café con Gracia (with handmade cakes and great huevos rancheros). The airport and the beach are a 20-minute cab or 40-minute bus ride away.
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    Extended Suites Cancún Cumbres

    Courtesy of Extended Suites Cancún Cumbres / Expedia
    These economical, contemporary studios feature queen-size beds and kitchenettes within Extended Suites Cancún Cumbres, an aparthotel in Cancún’s southern suburbs off the main state thoroughfare, Highway 307. It’s an ideal stay for those on a budget, who want to be close to the airport. Digital nomads will appreciate the in-room workstations, whilst downstairs there is a small pool and sundeck for lazy afternoons. Stock up on groceries at the large supermarket across the street; there’s also a string of US chain restaurants, cafes and take-aways if you don’t want to cook. Downtown Cancún is less than a 20-minute drive away.
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    Cozy loft apartment near the ferry to Isla Mujeres

    Map View

    A thoroughly contemporary loft-style apartment, this concrete space with a striking hanging staircase is ahead of the competition when it comes to luxury Airbnbs in Cancún. Its palette of stone gray and warm, grained wood is offset by vivid splashes of color in the velvety soft furnishings, potted plants and tropical wall art, and it’s full of high-end touches, such as a king-size bed and smart TV. Windows frame views of swaying palms, and there’s a refreshing communal plunge pool with a pink flamingo floaty. Also, it’s conveniently located minutes from the ferry to Isla Mujeres, so you can take a day trip to its tranquil waters with ease.

    Ruby studio in Downtown Cancún

    Map View

    Offering a light, bright and contemporary take on traditional Mexican decor, this studio is like staying in a delightful boutique hotel, for a fraction of the price. Its huge private terrace is almost the same size as the room, and the spacious shared rooftop features a collection of potted plants and bright-blue sun loungers surrounding a concrete plunge pool plucked straight from the boho beach hangouts of Tulum. Park up with some Dos Equis and guacamole after a long day of market hunting – the studio is just a short walk to the famous Market 28.

    Explore more places to stay in Cancun

    Molly Codyre contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on April 8, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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