Cancún’s sightseeing adventures are amazing. From discovering the incredible Chichén Itzá Mayan ruins – perfect for history buffs, to exploring the natural and blissful cenotes, there is no shortage of breathtaking beauty here. The little ones will also love visiting the Interactive Aquarium. So, pack your itinerary full of sightseeing opportunities by uncovering archaeological finds and savouring the diverse landscapes of this dreamy destination.
Cenotes are incredible natural features found all over the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, which make for an unforgettable day spent swimming and exploring nature. These mesmerising places were once considered sacred wells by the Mayans and you will see exactly why when you venture out to see them for yourself.
Formed from underwater caves, cenotes can be described as sinkholes filled with water. The blue, shimmering pools make them particularly alluring to travellers, with many choosing to take a picnic and enjoy a spectacular day out in the wild at these sites. A number of cenotes offer steps down to the water, making it easy to go for a swim.
There are usually one or two vendors at cenotes, but it is best to pack a bag with any gear you might need, including lunch and water. Often, visitors bring their own snorkelling equipment and dive down into the crystal clear waters to explore this fascinating geographical marvel. Cenotes are certainly impressive sights not to be missed by adventure lovers on a holiday in Cancún.
Chichén Itzá was an ancient Mayan city and now stands as an archaeological site – a complex of impressive ruins, including some of the iconic temples that we know and love in Mexico. As one of the largest Mayan cities and civilisations in the country, there is a spectacular range of architectural design to discover, as well as plenty to see. You can even hire an expert guide if you’re looking to really immerse yourself in the history of this site.
Many visitors come to Chichén Itzá to explore El Castillo, a large temple featuring steps all the way to the top; resembling a towering pyramid rising up into the sunny skies. Another fascinating site is the Great Ballcourt, where sportsmen once played and risked their lives in a game of honour.
Nature lovers will enjoy a trip here to admire the Sacred Cenote, which offers remarkable scenery of the luscious greenery and deep, glistening waters while also claiming a rich, historic background.
Downtown Cancún is the place to go if you want a taste of local living. Many tourists stay in resorts around the Hotel Zone when booking holidays to Cancún, but you should take the time to explore the downtown zone and discover its origins.
This bustling area is easily accessible – simply use the shuttle bus service or grab a taxi. Even better, many hotels here have their own services travelling over to downtown Cancún; making this location really convenient to get to.
Once you arrive, spend the afternoon exploring the many tacos stands at Mercado 28, tasting delicious food as you go. So, ensure you try scrumptious, authentic dishes from various vendors during your day trip. Then, stroll through the main square, Parque de las Palapas in the daytime, or venture to the enclosed playground, designed for the little ones to enjoy. Alternatively, head there on an evening and listen to soft, live jazz music performances.
El Rey ruins is a captivating archaeological site featuring many stone structures. If you’re in the Hotel Zone and want a break from sunbathing on the beach, this is an ideal place to visit. Reachable by foot or on public transport, you can discover Mayan history situated just a short distance away from your resort. Plus, the ruins are not as large as others located in the Cancún area; making it quick and easy to get around.
Costing only a small fee to enter, this is a great spot for an interesting day out. Wander through El Rey while admiring where the pyramid and temple once belonged. Examine the fascinating remains of the palace, alongside the columns, before watching iguanas scuttling about on the rocks, (which is a particular highlight for children).
Our top tip when venturing here? Make sure you bring lots of water with you to stay hydrated in the warm, Mexican sunshine.
The Interactive Aquarium Cancún is the only one of its kind and provides a fun day out for holidaymakers of all ages. Come and admire the vast array of marine life that is housed here and interact with them to make your visit to this sizzling destination a truly memorable one.
Conveniently located in the Hotel Zone, the Interactive Aquarium Cancún is a superb way to escape the sun and splash about. There is plenty to see if you’re interested in tanks filled with Globe Fish, Red Ear Turtle and Piranha Red Belly.
The exhibitions include everything from tidal pools to deep-sea depths, featuring tiger sharks and sea lions as well. You can spot all kinds of aquatic mammals, too, including bottlenose dolphins. Why not join these playful animals and experience a foot push to jump out of the water like Superman, before diving right in and swimming alongside them?
Isla Contoy is a small yet exquisite island, located in the popular Mexican state of Quintana Roo. At this sublime Mexican National Park, visitors can enjoy the stunning natural beauty, lush forests and crystal-clear water, thanks to the experienced tour guide who will show you around.
This little slice of paradise is a protected site, with only 200 visitors being allowed to venture there per day; making this an exciting spot to see during your getaway. It boasts a whole array of wildlife, including many kinds of tropical birds and four species of sea turtle, which is why it is particularly special for animal and nature enthusiasts.
Situated at the point of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, Isla Contoy is the perfect place to embark on a snorkelling or scuba diving excursion; letting you experience the mesmerising marine life hidden beneath the surface. So, to escape the crowded tourist spots in Cancún and uncover a real sightseeing gem, ensure you visit this incredible island.
Nichupté Lagoon can only be described as a phenomenal natural paradise, nestled in the east coast of Cancún, where locals and holidaymakers alike come to experience a little slice of nature in this thriving Mexican city. Uncover large stretches of grass to stroll amongst, on a warm sunny day and admire one of the seven mesmerising lakes located here, creating beautiful vistas everywhere you turn.
If you want to discover some more unforgettable sights with the whole family, then try your hand at kayaking, canoeing or sea fishing. These provide great ways to relax, kick back and appreciate the sublime surrounding scenery.
Visitors can also board one of the many speedboats dotted across the lake, which will take you on the thrilling Aquaworld Jungle Tour. Glide amongst the gorgeous mango groves and spot spectacular wildlife (including crocodiles and white turtles), as you sail above the glistening blue waters, making memories that will last a lifetime.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can see wildlife and their beautiful natural habitats situated in this stunning part of Tulum, accessible from Cancún. If you fancy a change from exploring this incredible city and the glorious sandy beaches sprinkled along the coastline, then this sightseeing spot is a great place to start.
There are various tours on offer to explore this magnificent site, where you can uncover winding rivers and lush, wooded areas. Opt for the Sian Ka’an Nature Encounter trip to glimpse crocodiles, tropical and migratory birds, as well as native orchids. Plus, there is a whole host of breathtaking flora and fauna to admire, too.
Alternatively, choose the Sian Ka’an Reef Snorkel and Mayan Canal excursion to discover the waterways, once used by the ancient Mayans. Dive beneath the surface to glide by turtles swimming amongst the coral reef and see dolphins diving all around you, alongside up to 500 species of fish.
Tulum is a remarkable historical site in Mexico, standing as one of the last cities inhabited by the Mayans; making it a key sightseeing trip for anyone in the area. Due to its smaller size, it can be perceived as more relaxing than the likes of Chichén Itzá, while still housing incredible stone structures along this stunning stretch of coastline.
Its location also makes it a truly breathtaking sight to behold, where you can spot the rolling Caribbean waves and gaze at the abundance of natural beauty. Tulum National Park is a great place to start, which comprises interesting ruins and gorgeous cenotes (natural sinkholes).
Don’t forget to visit The Temple of the Descending God, which can only be found at a handful of other Maya sites in Mexico. Ensure you take the time to admire the grand Temple of the Frescoes during your excursion, too, and peruse this two-storey building.
Xcaret is an incredible and adventurous eco-archaeological park, which you should definitely visit on your holiday to Cancún. Here, you will find fun and stimulating activities that the whole family can enjoy, as well as captivating natural features – all located in one place. Travellers of all ages and interests can easily spend a full day (or longer) at this thrilling site, discovering elements of Mexico’s rich history while enjoying new and exciting discoveries.
Embarking on an underwater river experience is the highlight of many people’s trip; you can choose from three to explore, where you can spot beautiful manatees in their natural habitat, alongside pink flamingos. Sail down these aqua-blue waters, gliding past mangroves and wildlife along the way.
Alternatively, venture to the Mayan Village. Little ones will love uncovering what it was like in pre-Hispanic times, witnessing traditional dance performances, as well as learning about how houses were once built and how the food was made.