Cancun Things to Do

Table of Contents

Things To Do as a Family

1.   Stroll Around El Parque De Las Palapas

Cancun is home to a few beautiful parks, such as the El Parque De Las Palapas in the downtown area. It's right next to the oldest Catholic church in the city and is a great place to stroll around with your little ones. The park has a lively vibe, lined with restaurants, bars, and street food stalls selling delectable Mexican cuisines, from tacos to empanadas and huevos rancheros.

El Parque De Las Palapas has been the central hub of activity in the downtown area of Cancun and can get busy on Sundays when locals would gather around after attending mass at the church.

Aside from food stalls, there are also stalls selling arts and crafts, clothing, and more. It's one of the most family-friendly places in the city and strolling around the park is one of the best things to do as a family.

2.   Swim with the Whale Sharks

If your holiday to Cancun falls between July and September, one of the best things to do with the family is to swim with the whale sharks! While there are whale sharks in the waters of Cancun as early as March, you'll have higher chance of seeing them when you visit during the summer months.

You can easily book a tour for swimming with the whale sharks, as it's one of the most popular activities in Cancun. You can book before you arrive or even when you're already in the city. There's a good chance that the hotel you will be staying at in Cancun will be offering this tour, so you can try to book it through them.

The whale shark tours in Cancun will usually leave from Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy, and you'll be taking a ferry or boat for this activity. This activity is one of the best experiences in Cancun, especially for families with kids.

3.   Take a Day Trip to Isla Mujeres

A day trip to Isla Mujeres is one of the top things to do as a family in Cancun. This beautiful island is only a 15-minute ferry ride from Cancun's famous Hotel Zone. Renowned for its powdery white sands and idyllic beaches, Isla Mujeres would be a great place to spend quality time with your kids.

Isla Mujeres has a laidback atmosphere and stunning Caribbean coastline, loved by both tourists and locals. The island is also home to great restaurants serving delectable food and drinks, which you can enjoy under the swaying palm trees.

Isla Mujeres is an ideal destination for families because it offers numerous activities for kids of all ages. Rent a golf cart and drive around the island where you'll discover a variety of wildlife, ancient Mayan ruins, and colourful murals. You can scuba dive in an underwater museum or go on an exhilarating zipline adventure!

4.   Dinner Cruise in a Galleon Ship

Treat the family to a sumptuous dinner cruise in a traditional galleon ship called the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship. While onboard, witness a pirate show featuring incredible theatrical performances, hilarious entertainment, and fun pirate games guaranteed to delight both adults and kids.

The Jolly Roger ship is a replica of the famous galleon ship called the Santa Maria, which Christopher Columbus sailed on during his first voyage to the Americas in the 15th Century. For your comfort, it features modern luxuries and amenities, including an air conditioning system in the dining rooms, elegantly decorated restrooms, and professional sound and lighting effects.

Before the action-packed pirate show, enjoy a delicious gourmet dinner of international and Mexican dishes. The Jolly Roger Pirate Dinner Cruise is suitable for everyone, especially families with little kids. The ship departs from the pier of Playa Linda along the Hotel Zone area.

5.   Check out the Kid's Club at Villa del Palmar Cancun

Villa del Palmar, a family-friendly resort in Cancun, has a Kid's Club where kids of all ages can enjoy various fun activities. Here, they can play, explore, make new friends, or learn new skills, making for a truly unforgettable family holiday in Cancun.

The Kids Club of Villa del Palmar is equipped with modern playground facilities and security cameras for your kids' safety. Here, your kids can take part in fun hand-making activities that could bring out the inner artist in them. They can also participate in some fun games. Best of all, professional nannies are on-site to watch and attend to your kids, so you can leave them there while you go on with your activities.

The Kid’s Club is available for use for all guests staying at Villa del Palmar. Make the most of your stay by booking a 2-bedroom loft to accommodate everyone in the family. The Kid’s Club is a wonderful opportunity for parents to spend quality time without worrying about their little ones.

6.   Visit the Parque Xel-Ha

Parque Xel-Ha is one of Mexico's most beautiful parks, and visiting this park is one of the top things to do as a family in Cancun. Aside from having the most beautiful natural wonders, the park offers the best cultural experiences to delight your little kids.

Parque Xel-Ha is home to an enchanting marine park with crystal clear waters surrounded by beautiful tropical flora and idyllic landscapes. As you snorkel through the waters, you'll discover diverse species of exotic marine life. Xel-Ha is also home to freshwater rivers, mystical cenotes, and a natural cove.

Aside from snorkelling, you can enjoy many other fun water activities at Parque Xel-Ha. You will also find several restaurants within the park that serve the most delectable Mexican dishes that even the pickiest kids will love.

7.   Experience Fun Adventures at Ventura Park

If you're looking for an amusement park to embark on some fun adventures with your little ones in Cancun, Ventura Park is the best place to be. It's one of the most popular amusement parks in Mexico and the best place to go if you're looking for some thrilling water adventures.

Ventura Park offers something for everyone. It has different themes and worlds, such as the Grand Prix, Dolphinaris, Fun World, AahVentura, and more. You will find different kinds of entertainment in each theme - from waterslides to rides and fun games.

There's also an area in Ventura Park dedicated to little kids, such as rides and playgrounds. After all the adventures, head to one of the restaurants and cafes dotted all over the park. These eateries serve delicious foods, including foods that little kids will love.

8.   Play in the Waters of Langosta Beach

Cancun is home to many family-friendly beaches. One of these is Langosta Beach. If you're looking for fun things to do with the family in Cancun, visit this beautiful beach, which is only 5 km from the Hotel Zone.

Langosta Beach is ideal for families because its waters are low and calm with almost non-existent waves, safe enough for your kids to swim. Your little ones can walk deep into the beach without swimming, so it's great for those kids who cannot swim yet. 

While your kids are playing, look for a quiet spot at the beach, lie down, and relax as you enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. When your kids are hungry after playing in the waters, take them to one of the beachside stalls selling traditional Mexican delicacies. Langosta is a public beach, and there is no entrance fee to pay to get to the beach. It's open all day long, although it can get crowded on weekends.

9.   Marvel at the Wax Figures at Cancun Wax Museum

Take your kids to the Cancun Wax Museum, where they can marvel at the life-sized wax figures of famous personalities, celebrities, and historical figures. There are more than a hundred wax figures in the museum - such a joy to explore with your curious little kids!

The Cancún Wax Museum is located within La Isla Plaza and has more than 20 exhibition rooms, although you can easily explore the place in an hour or two. Some of the famous personalities you will find in the museum include Madonna, Amy Winehouse, and David Beckham.

After spending some time at the wax museum, visit the nearby La Isla Shopping Village. It's an upmarket shopping mall home to hundreds of retail stores, boutiques, and tourist shops. There are also great cafes in the mall, where you can grab snacks and refreshing drinks.

10. Learn History at the Museo Maya de Cancún

Visiting the Museo Maya de Cancún is one of the best things to do as a family, especially if you and your kids are into history. Surrounded by a lush forest, the museum is a welcome respite from the bustling beaches of Cancun. It features engaging exhibitions about Mayan history and art, including significant collections of Mayan artefacts.

Behind the museum, you will find a jungle path that will take you through the forest and into San Miguelito, a once-thriving Mayan community now home to ruins of stone temples, dwellings, and pyramids.

Both the Museo Maya de Cancún and San Miguelito are a great introduction to the ancient Maya civilization and a reminder of the community that once lived there.

Top 10 Places to Visit in Cancun

1.   Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is the best place to visit in Cancun if you want to escape the bustling beaches in the main town. It's a small island about 30-min ferry ride away from Cancun. But despite being small, it has many beautiful sites worth checking out.

Rent a golf cart and make your way to Punta Sur at the southern tip of the island. It's where you will find the ancient temple that honours the Mayan moon goddess. The atmosphere here is very relaxing, and the landscape is absolutely stunning, surrounded by rugged cliffs and idyllic bays.

Isla Mujeres is also famous for its sea turtles. It's home to a turtle farm, and if you visit between August and October, you could witness baby turtles hatching. The best way to get to the farm is to take a taxi from the town of Isla Mujeres. And if you're looking to relax and work on your tan, head to Playa del Norte, where you'll find a beautiful, pristine beach.

2.   Chichen Itza

Cancun is also home to fascinating archaeological sites, and the Chichén Itzá is the most popular. As one of the most recognized landmarks in the Yucatan Peninsula, Chichén Itzá is the main hub of the ancient Mayan Civilization. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was selected to be one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

The focal point of the Chichén Itzá ruins is the "El Castillo," a pyramid-like structure once used by the Mayans as a temple dedicated to the god Kukulkan. But because of its popularity, the site is often crowded with tourists. To avoid crowds, visit early in the morning before the tourist buses arrive.

To make the most of your visit, consider hiring a guide who can explain the site's history and significance. It's possible to hire a guide on-site, although it is best to book in advance. Some tour companies offer travel packages to Cancun that include a guided visit to the Chichén Itzá.

3.   El Rey Ruins

Another popular archaeological site worth checking out in Cancun is the El Rey Ruins. While they may not be as popular as the Chichén Itzá ruins, they are definitely among the top places to visit in Cancun. Plus, they are much easier to explore since they are within the Hotel Zone. What's more, the area is not too big, allowing you to explore it in a short time.

El Rey used to be a centre for maritime trade, dating back to 1200 AD. However, the ruins themselves are not the main attraction. Many tourists would come here to witness the hundreds of iguanas that have lived in this ancient Mayan village.

The El Rey Ruins is open from 8 AM to 5 PM. Like Chichen Itza, it is best explored with a local tour guide who will share the history of the ruins and other interesting things about the Mayan Civilization.

4.   Coco Bongo Cancun

Cancun is famous for its vibrant nightlife. If you want to experience a unique nightlife scene in the city, head to Coco Bongo. This place is not like your usual nightclub or beach bar. It's where you can witness incredible performances of acrobats, live bands, conga lines, and impersonators. A typical night in this nightlife spot involves lots of balloons, bubbles, confetti, and projected videos.

Coco Bongo may not offer the conventional nightclub experience many tourists would expect, but it will make your visit to Cancun even more unforgettable. It's where you can witness amazing performances and stage antics you may not find somewhere else.

The club is open from 10:30 PM to 5 AM daily. Be prepared for the long queues, especially during the peak tourist season. There will also be long lines for food and drinks, so it is best to come with a full stomach.

5.   Tulum

Many tourists visiting Mexico are often confused between Cancun and Tulum. Both are in the Yucatán Peninsula and are home to stunning beaches. If you can't decide where to go, consider visiting both places. Tulum is less than two hours drive from Cancun and can make for a perfect day trip.

What makes Tulum popular is the 13th Century Mayan archaeological site within the Tulum National Park that overlooks the glistening sea. The park is only 10 minutes from the downtown area of Tulum, right at the northern end of Tulum Beach.

Compared to the other Mayan ruins, the Tulum ruins are much smaller, so it's much easier to explore. But what makes it stand out is the view surrounding this famous area. It's sitting on a cliff that opens to stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and the beautiful white sand beaches underneath it. Make sure you check out Templo del Viento, the most popular of all the ruins in Tulum.

6.   Xcaret Park

Xcaret is an amusement park that's also home to some Mayan ruins. It's located within the Mayan jungle amidst cenotes and underground rivers and faces the Caribbean Sea. Here, you can discover flora and fauna, swim on the stunning beaches along the Caribbean, and marvel at the archaeological sites.

Located along Riviera Maya, Xcaret Park has more than fifty different attractions waiting for you to explore. Make sure you visit the Pole Mayan ruins, considered the best Mayan ruins in Playa del Carmen. Dating back to about 1400 AD, it was once home to a Mayan village involved in the maritime trade, thanks to its strategic location along the Caribbean Sea.

The other attractions you should check out in Xcaret are the Voladores de Papantla Flyers and the Xcaret Nighttime Show, featuring an elaborate series of cultural performances centred around the Mayan Civilizations.

7.   Playa Tortugas

Playa Tortugas is a popular spot for locals in Cancun, mainly due to its clean beaches and relaxing vibe. The area is in the northern part and is one of the top places to visit in Cancun. It boasts several beachside restaurants offering excellent dining experiences.

Playa Tortugas is also home to a pier where visitors can bungee jump and take ferries to Isla Mujeres. Many tourists would visit Tortugas to enjoy the laidback atmosphere and beautiful beaches. The beaches are also free to visit, and the water is calm on most days, so it's perfect for those tourists with little kids.

Getting to Playa Tortugas is easy as it's in the northern area of Cancun's "7", within the famous Hotel Zone. It can be reached by bus or a rental car. There are umbrella and chair rentals available at the beach.

8.   Cancun Golf Courses

Another reason why many visitors would flock to Cancun is to play golf. It's home to world-class golf resorts offering luxury golf holiday experiences. But given the various options, deciding which golf resort to visit can be daunting.

One of the most popular destinations for golf in Cancun is the 18-hole Playa Mujeres Golf Club, which offers an exciting mix of challenging tee times and scenic landscapes. While it's somewhat expensive to play, especially if you are not a guest at the Dreams or Secrets resorts, the experience is well worth it.

Another popular golf resort worth checking out in Cancun is the El Camaleón Mayakoba, which offers 18 holes on a course winding through natural features, such as mangroves, cenotes, and jungles.

9.   Playa Delfines

If you want to venture out of the Hotel Zone and visit a quieter beach, head to Playa Delfines, a largely undeveloped area close to El Rey. The beach here is not as crowded as the beach along the Hotel Zone, allowing you to enjoy peace and quiet as you frolic in its crystal-clear waters.

There are not too many cafes or beachside restaurants in Playa Delfines, so don't forget to bring drinks and snacks. Also called the "Dolphin's Beach," Playa Delfines is also famous for dolphin sightings.

Visitors to Playa Delfines must be mindful of the heavy currents and riptides. To get here, you can take a bus or taxi. But if you have a rental car, you can take advantage of the free public parking in the area.

10. Avenida Kukulkan

Avenida Kukulkan is the main street in Cancun, stretching from the Hotel Zone towards the downtown area and into the airport. So even if you do not intend to visit this area, you will most likely come across it during your holiday to Cancun.

Avenida Kukulkan is lined with pathways and numerous shops and restaurants. If you love walking, you'll enjoy strolling through this famous avenue, especially during sunset. But it's also possible to ride a bus through it since most local buses would pass this area.

Top 10 Places to Eat Out in Cancun

1.  Señor Frog's Restaurant

Señor Frog is a Mexican-themed chain of restaurants famous for their conga-dancing staff. It's a bar and grill restaurant with branches not only in Mexico but also in South America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Of course, there's also one in Cancun.

As one of the top places to eat out in Cancun, Señor Frog's offers a variety of International and Mexican dishes. They also have a variety of drinks and loads of entertainment. Here, you don't just sit and eat. The staff will ask you to dance and may even shoot tequila straight into your mouth!

2.  La Habichuela

La Habichuela has been serving delicious meals and drinks in Cancun for more than 40 years. It's housed in the home of the owner, Armando Pezzotti. Featuring a delightful ambience, including interesting Mayan sculptures, the restaurant is definitely worth checking out for an excellent dining experience in Cancun.

The restaurant menu features high-quality food made from the finest ingredients. One of the restaurant's signature dishes is the Cocobichuela, a delicious mixture of rice, lobster, and shrimp served with curry sauce and some tropical fruits. Cap off your meal with the delectable Chichen Itza dessert and a cup of Mayan coffee.

3.  Cambalache

Find yourself craving steak on your Cancun holiday? Head to Cambalache, an Argentinean Steakhouse famous for serving delicious cuts of steaks in large portions. Diners praised the restaurant's top-notch service, making it a real crowd-pleaser.

Cambalache is owned by the same company behind Puerto Madero, another famous restaurant in Cancun. Both restaurants have a reputation for serving excellent quality dishes. You'll find Cambalache in Plaza La Isla, home to several eateries and where people would go for late-night snacks in Cancun.

4.  Harry's Prime Steakhouse

Another restaurant to visit if you're craving steak is Harry's Prime Steakhouse and Raw bar. Its speciality dishes include USDA prime steak and Kobe beef, all cooked to perfection. Of course, you will also find delectable appetizers on their menu and other meat-based dishes, such as ribs.

If you're not into steaks, you can order a selection of seafood, sandwiches, hamburgers, and more. Aside from its top-notch service, diners love the restaurant's homey ambience reminiscent of the Great Gatsby movie.

5.  Porfirio's

If you want to indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine, head to Porfirio's. Definitely one of the top places to eat out in Cancun, the restaurant serves delectable Mexican specialities, such as enchiladas, tortilla soup, and more. Its menu also includes a hundred varieties of tequilas and mezcals served from a cart that goes from one table to another.

Porfirio is located within the Hotel Zone, along the Nichupte Lagoon. It offers indoor and outdoor settings with a lively ambience accompanied by traditional performances featuring local dancers and mariachi bands.

6.  Cenacolo Zona Hotelera

Located along the famous Avenida Kukulkan, Cenacolo Zona Hotelera is an upscale Italian restaurant housed in a European building and opens to the majestic views of Nichupte Lagoon. The restaurant's famous specialities include a variety of seafood dishes and handmade pasta, freshly made every day.

As one of the best places to eat out in Cancun, Cenacolo is famous for its excellent service, cosy ambience, and interiors featuring chic and modern decor. Its menu also features a wine list of more than a hundred varieties of wine. Take note - this is a fine dining restaurant, and guests are expected to dress up.

7.  El Oasis Mariscos

Mariscos is the Spanish word for seafood, which means that El Oasis is a restaurant specializing in seafood dishes. This restaurant is right across the street from Costco and serves authentic Mexican delicacies along with refreshing and creative cocktails. Known for its excellent service, El Oasis is a great place to dine out in Cancun.

Its interiors feature cool artwork and twinkling lights. You can also choose to dine outdoors and enjoy the open-air ambience. Aside from the delectable seafood and refreshing drinks, El Oasis also serves mouthwatering desserts, such as baked plantain with ice cream.

8.  Ilios Greek Estiatorio

There are several Greek restaurants in Cancun, but the Ilios Greek Estiatorio stands out due to its beautiful interiors. Located along the Nichupte Lagoon in the Hotel Zone, Ilios features a contemporary concept, with a menu featuring authentic Greek and Mediterranean flavours.

Your dinner at Ilios will be accompanied by DJ performances, dancers, hookahs, and other entertainment, and diners will be attended to by friendly and attentive staff. Some dishes to try are lamb skewers, baked octopus, spinach pies, eggplant chips, and other Greek favourites.

9.  Peter's Restaurante

Peter's is a quaint, European-style restaurant in the downtown area of Cancun. This family-run restaurant is well-loved by both tourists and locals. Run by Peter along with his wife Claudia and son Eder, the restaurant serves different kinds of meals, including beef, fish, shrimp, veal, pasta, and desserts.

If you're looking for a budget-friendly restaurant in the Hotel Zone area, come to Peter's. Foods here are cheaper compared to the other restaurants in this area. Yet, you are guaranteed good quality meals, which you can enjoy in the restaurant's cosy dining room.

10.  Puerto Madero

Arguably, one of the best places to eat out in Cancun, Puerto Madero is an upscale restaurant named after a port district in Buenos Aires. The restaurant's stylish decor exudes an industrial feel reminiscent of that Argentinian district.

Puerto Madero serves premium steaks cooked to perfection and a variety of fresh seafood. Their menu also features delectable salads and pasta dishes. The restaurant ambience is great, and the service is excellent.

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