20 Best things to do in Cancun!

I come to Cancun several times each year so people ask me all the time what activities do you recommend?  Finally I decided to make this site and direct people here for getting in on the best activities/excursions/tours that Cancun has to offer.

Why am I down in Cancun all the time? Vacation rental business: www.cancunvacationrentals1.com

Tim Miller
Cancun Expert

Rent a Waver Runner

This is outstanding activity.  If you have never been on a wave runner I highly recommend you give it a try.  It's an absolute blast!  It's like being on a sea rocket, they go so fast and since you're so close to the water it feels like you are going even faster than you actually are.  It's especially fun to jump the waves and get lots of air.  It's fun for any age, except very small children.  You do have to be 16 years old to ride solo.  It's a ton of fun and normally you will see wave runner rentals right on the beach all up and down the beach of Cancun.  The cost is usually about $60 for 1/2 hour, they give you a price break if you want to go longer.  You can be most any age if accompanied by an adult.

Go Parasailing

ok, i'm afraid of heights, unless its in an airplane or helicopter for some reason.  But I have faced the fear and done the parasailing several times.  Gang, its really so cool, you have your best friend up there with you taking in the amazing beauty of Cancun.  If you think Cancun is beautiful from the ground you have no idea until you go vertical, its just gorgeous.  And you're just hanging there with nothing but the ocean breeze and your best friend to share it with.  Highly recommend it.  Normally runs about $60 for 1/2 hour.  Again, parasailing is offered all up and down the beach in Cancun.  

Snorkeling with Mike

If you want to stay away from the corporate feel and enjoy a great day out on the boat with a great guy/captain this is the way to go.  You won't find this tour anywhere else but here.  Sometimes it just comes down to who you know.  This is a chill out, relaxing day and its very casual.  Mike will take you to the most gorgeous underwater beauty in Cancun, these waters are protected by the government.  The tour includes lunch on an island Mike takes you to.  And with Mike, you are in control.  If you want to just stop the boat and go swimming, just let him know.  Sure, there is an agenda but again, its not a corporate type thing.  Mike is as friendly as they come, and quite funny at times, just a great guy.  Tour cost is $65 per person which includes lunch on the island of Isla Mujeres, plus transportation from your hotel and back.  The tour price also includes a golf card rental on Isla Mujeres where you can tour this island for an hour.  It takes about an hour to run the perimeter of the entire island.  Its a very interesting and relaxing ride.  If you have 6 or less people the cost is $390 total as this is the minimum total charge.  Tour runs 5-6 hours.  To schedule call Mike at 011-52-1-998-145-6899  or you can email me at cancun3000@gmail.com

Albatros Catamaran Tour

Catamarans are sail boats comprised of 2 hulls that allow for lots of space in between.  There is nothing like sailing, especially with a group of folks all just there to have a good time and relax.  The tour includes open bar and lunch and it goes for 6-7 hours.  Cost is $70-$105 per person depending on the specifics of the package you want.  All prices include a trip to Isla Mujeres as well.  You can also receive significant discounts by booking well in advance.  You can also have an entire boat to yourself for up to 20 people and the cost for this is about $1,600.  Most of their boats are also equipped with a para-sail feature that allows people to para-sail behind the catamaran.  Pretty cool!  http://www.albatrossailaway.com

Xel-Ha

Xel-Ha offers what is essentially a massive all natural aquarium. You can explore it by walking through parts of it underwater with the help of special underwater suites.  In other areas you can float through the mangroves and water caves on inner tubes.  You can also go snorkeling, swim with the dolphins, or use their sky trek system to pedal your way through the air to check out the views.  Please note that many of the activities here are extra.  The base price of $89 includes continental breakfast, buffet lunch, unlimited non alcoholic drinks and free domestic drinks, snorkeling, water caves, zip lining (not the zip cycle), cliff dives, jungle trail and bike rides.  The Extra cost activities summary as of this writing are zip cycle $35, Sting Rey Encounter $44, Underwater walking - Sea Trek $53, Adrenalina Xel Ha $53, dolphin swim $90.  Please note that dolphin swim is shown in its own category in another activity as most folks will not come to Xel-Ha to swim with dolphins only. 

Tips: 1.  Get to the park early, right when it opens, it opens at 9am and closes at 6pm.  There is so much to do the day will be over before you know if you don't get there right when the park opens.  Its also MUCH less busy at that time.  2. Bring biodegradable sunscreen, otherwise you will pay top dollar for it at the park.  You must have the biodegradable type or you cannot go in the water.  I recommend getting this at amazon.com before you head to Cancun.  www.xelha.com

Chichen Itza: 1 of the 7 wonders of the world

World famous Chichen Itza ruins will fascinate, impress and sometimes even shock you.  It really is amazing to see.  But the KEY to this tour is getting a tour guide.  Most everyone take the big bus for transportation on this tour because its a 2.5 hour drive to get up there.  The bus is very comfortable and has a bathroom on board.  If you go on your own, make sure to hire the best tour guide they have, just ask who that would be.  They are there at the ready, they cost about $60 and worth every penny.  It is the knowledge behind what you are seeing that makes this tour truly fascinating and the tour guide makes all the difference.  Cost is $45 for adults, kids $33 as of this writing.  Included is buffet lunch, transportation and tour guide.  TIPS: It is VERY hot inland.  Take a hat for shade, dress light, bring a towel in a cooler on ice.  2.  If you want to go on your own and rent a car, I suggest heading out early to avoid the heat and bigger crowds.  http://www.cancun-discounts.com/tours/cancun/chichen-itza-tour-button-test.htm

Scuba Diving with Nautilus

If you love your scuba diving or even if its your first time, Nautilus is the place to go, hands down.  This place is amazingly well run.  If you check out their reviews you'll see what I mean. Moreover, Cancun offers some outstanding dives.  You have shipwreck dives, underwater museum dives, and the more standard dives featuring the amazing natural beauty that is Cancun, rated #2 in the world in certain parts around Cancun. Nautilus is located right in the Cancun hotel zone at kilometer 19.5.  Everything you need to know is on their web site at:  http://www.cancunscuba.com/

Deep Sea Fishing with Charter Fishing Cancun

Cancun is well known for its fishing and wide variety of fish species.  People come from all over the world to enjoy this experience.  And Charter Cancun Fishing knows their business well.  Their boats are all good quality and well maintained, same with their equipment.  And their experienced captains know where to go to catch fish.  The pricing is made affordable if you are able to go with several friends/family members.  The cost is $750 for 6 hours for a 42ft. boat and the boat can hold up to 12 fisherman/passengers, although 8 is the recommended number as it is more comfortable and you have more fishing opportunities.  Public charters are also available and run $155 per person for 6 hours.

http://www.charterfishingcancun.com/

Zip lining and ATV action with Selvatica

Selvatica offers zip lining through the forest, plus zip line and let go and fall into a natural cenote, plus ATV action that is excellent.  This activity is so much fun.  It is the outstanding staff that makes Selvatica what it is, which is fantastic!  The staff is bright, happy, witty, and they know what they are doing.  This is a well oiled machine folks, everyone has a great time here.  Unlike Xplor's little 6MPH putt putt machines these ATV's rock!  Push the pedal down and you go flying through the trails of the forest.  And the zip lining is a blast, so much fun cruising through the air through the forest.  My kids were going upside down, just loved it.  And by the way, our family is not the only one that loves it.  Check out the thousands of 5 star reviews on tripadvisor.  Round trip transportation is included in their prices.   surreal, my kids even went upside down. 

https://www.selvatica.com.mx/

Rent a Boat

This idea gets little attention because all the brokers make money when they sell you an activity or tour but not so when you rent a boat.  So if you sit down with a tour guide this activity will never be brought up and yet it could turn out to be the highlight of your stay.  You can rent boats from companies or from individuals.  You can rent boats of all shapes and sizes.  Think about YOU being in control of the day and where you want to go and having it be private, only to your group.  Its great time gang!  Rates start at $65 per hour and when you get into the $200-$300 range you can split the cost between several people if you are part of a larger group.  Now for this price range you can rent some really cool boats.  First link below is renting from companies, second site is renting from individuals.  I will say that the companies may be more but they are in the business so its more organized and smooth typically compared to working with individuals where its more hit and miss regarding the experience of getting out on the water, etc.

http://www.boatcancun.com/Rates.htm

https://www.getmyboat.com/boat-rentals/cancun--quintana-roo

Swim with the Dolphins at Delphinus Dreams

Dolphins are very smart, very friendly, and they love people, just amazing creatures.  Delphinus Dreams takes being with the dolphins to a higher level than the competition.  They know what they are doing more so than most other places you can go.  You are likely to have a great time with this activity regardless of which one you choose, but if you are asking for the best place to go for swim with the dolphins this is it.  They give a diverse offering depending on how long and how acquainted you want to get with the dolphins.  Prices start at about $85 and go up to over $200 with their "trainer for a day" program.  The time in the pool for basic programs is 1 hour but actual time spent with the dolphins after instruction is 45 minutes.  Its a time you will never forget. 

https://www.delphinusworld.com/en/swimming-with-dolphins-in-mexico

Fishing with Mike

I'm not into fishing but Mike is a friend of mine so had to give it a try.  I was blown away.  His family comes from many generations of fisherman going back to way before Cancun was even a known destination.  And boy does it show.  I have never seen anything like this before or since.  Mike takes some worms, puts them on hooks, and with no fishing pole at all, only gloves, he brings in several smaller fish, maybe 1/4 pound fish.  After he has a few of those swimming around in a bucket he  breaks out the fishing poles and uses those fish to catch the bigger fish.  And I can assure you he knows exactly what he is doing.  In a short time we had caught a lot of fish, mostly baracuda but other types as well.  Tour cost is $65 per person which includes transportation from your hotel and back plus lunch on an island Mike takes you to.  If you have 6 or less people the total cost is $390 as this is the minimum charge for the Tour runs 5-6 hours. To schedule call Mike at 011-52-1-998-145-6899 or you can email me at cancun3000@gmail.com

Rent an Airplane with Cancun Airplane Tours

This is an awesome tour, and it wont break the bank like the helicopter tours do.  You are looking at $500 for an hour and you can have 4 people go to split the cost.  This is an experience you will never forget.  To be able to view one of the most beautiful places on the planet and take it all in from above is beyond breathtaking.  You have the amazing colors of the Caribbean contrasted against the deeper blue waters of the fresh water bay.  And this is all framed out from above by what is famously known as The Cancun Hotel Zone.  It is beautiful beyond words and there is no way to appreciate the beauty in all its fullness without seeing it from way above.

http://www.cancunairplanetours.com/airplane-hour/

Jungle Tour

This is probably the most popular tour in Cancun.  You get into these small 2 person speed boats and cruise through the mangroves.  The tour is reasonable at about $50 for 90 minutes.  The tour includes a stop to do snorkeling for 45 minutes.  However the best part is cruising through nature.  The snorkeling is ok but if you really want a great snorkeling this is not the tour for that.  You are not going to see much on this tour when you go snorkeling.  It's essentially in an open water area and there is not that much to see.  But we loved the cruising part on the mini speed boats. Our family enjoyed it and its a good tour.

http://www.cancun-discounts.com/cancun-jungle-tour.htm

Exotic Rides

This activity is flat out super cool!  Now its not for everyone because it isn't cheap.  But the idea of being on vacation and deciding to hit the race track in one of these bad boys is fun on steroids.  The least expensive option will run you $550 for 5 laps.  They have many different packages.  You can choose from a variety of the most amazing high performance sports cars on the planet.  The offerings include Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porshe, and others.

http://exoticridescancun.com/index.php#

Wetnwild - Ventura Park

There is a nice little water park in Cancun and it does make the list for taking a day out with the kids.  The cost to get into the park is $50 per person, unless 11 and under then its $42 per person as of this writing.  The cost of admittance includes food and drinks.  Adults can optionally purchase open bar for $8 more which is a great price.  The park is open every day of the year from 10am to 5pm.  Water parks are a lot of fun for kids and its right there in Cancun at kilometer 25.

https://www.venturapark.com/

Rent a Yacht

Yes, you can rent yachts in Cancun, and there are actually a lot of choices.  Pricing runs from $300 per hour to $1,200 per hour depending on the yacht.  Obviously this tour is not for most as it is very expensive.  But if you have the money then this is one heck of a way to enjoy the beauty of Cancun with high class style.

http://www.boatcancun.com/index.htm

Note: After you click on the link scroll down to the yacht section on the site.

Shopping at La Isla

This may not make the list for guys, but gals do love their shopping.  And this one makes the list because going to La Isla is more like an experience then browsing around and shopping.  Within this vast outdoor facility is winding rivers, shops and restaurants galore, interactive aquarium, and you can swim with the dolphins.  There's also a movie theater.

http://www.laislacancun.mx/

Cancun nightlife at Coco Bongos

Cancun is world famous for its night life and Coco Bongos is probably the biggest reason why.  Its not just a nightclub, its an entertainment spectacle.  You can get the general idea by the photos.  Now to get into Coco Bongos or any of these other huge night clubs the cover charges are major, you are looking at $25-$50 for cover charges depending on the club.  And drinks are expensive once you are inside.  That's why the biggest "no brainer" for taking a night to hit the clubs is the VIP tour.  For $80 you get free cover charges, unlimited FREE drinks and you avoid the lines for drinks by having a private VIP table at each club.  The tour runs from 10pm to 3am and each night its different so check with cancun-discounts.com for detailed info regarding which clubs you are buying for that night.  It is generally Coco Bongos and 3 or 4 other clubs as well.

http://www.cancun-discounts.com/tours/cancun/party-hopper-tour-cancun.htm

Frequently asked questions...

Why did Explor not make the list?  Isn't that a very popular excursion?

It is very popular, yes, because it is so well marketed.  Look, if you want Explor but better, go with Selvatica.  The "off road" vehicles Explor braggs about that can even go over water are little put put mobiles.  Selvatica offers real ATV action.  Explor does have the caves you can float through which is interesting.  But unless that is the main reason for going to Xplor, Selvatica is much better.  

Why did Xcaret not make the list?

I just have to come out and say it, we found Xcaret boring.  I did not find it exciting nor very interesting.  There are far more interesting and exciting things to do.  I found the water caves you travel through to be kind of interesting, basically the highlight of the day was that.  They have hammocks on the beach.  And they have that show at night about an old sport the Mayans used to play which ties into the whole Chichen Itza experience.  My brother and I ended up leaving before it was over.  It was kind of interesting in the beginning, but after a while it bored us.  There are much more exciting and interesting things to do in Cancun.

What do you think about those underwater scooters, the Bobs?  At first glance they look super cool, these underwater scooters.  But they are all tethered down so they are not doing much besides looking cool.  You are far more free and can see more by going scuba diving.  And to learn how is not difficult.  My wife and I learned how years ago during our honeymoon, it was like a 30 minute instruction and off we went.  It did not get us certified, but it allowed us to dive and that's all you need.

Why is golf not on the list?

The only golf course in Cancun offers no way to book it.  I think its pretty clear that you now have to be a guest of Iberostar to book their golf course.  If anyone knows of a link to book Iberostar golf without staying at their hotel please let me know and I will post this info along with pictures right away.  Its a great course, very challenging, lots of water, and beautifully kept.  There are other courses, but you are looking at 20 minutes or more drive so it didn't make the top 20.

Why is visiting Isla Mujeres not on the list?

I don't think its worth going there unless you are already doing snorkeling or fishing and the tour includes a stop at Isla Mujeres.   But I would not make a special trip just to go there, its not a big deal going there.  I think its cool that you can get on a golf cart and go around the entire island.  There are some cultural things to see as you ride around the island, our family really enjoyed that.  But beyond that there is very, very little to do except have lunch and visit some shops.