Cancun has a reputation for being a fun place to visit! Its parties are legendary and millions of travellers flock to its sunnier climes and beautiful beaches to throw their inhibitions out of the window and party till the sun comes up… sleep, eat and do it all again the very next night.
Cancun however is about so much more than that. Fun as partying can be, there’s so much more to see and do in this amazing place on the Yucatan Peninsula. You can party at night, check out some of the world’s most amazing wonders during the day and have one of the most balanced and exciting holidays available anywhere!
The folks at TUI are all about experiences like this. They get the fact that if there’s a good party going on, I’ll be there!
They also get that traveller like us, in addition to joining the party, like to explore a destination, see the sights and make the most of being in a different country by experiencing parts of the destination that go beyond just sitting by the pool, cocktail in hand.
With this in mind, we recently headed off with TUI (and stayed in the fantastic Breathless Riviera Cancun. We’re talking full-on luxury here, 24-hour room service, private breakfast restaurants, champagne bars… etc) to take in all the things Cancun has to offer.
To that end, here are 9 things you can (and should do) in Cancun that have nothing to do with partying:
1.) See the ancient Maya ruins of Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is one of the new wonders of the world and rightly so! This Mayan village is absolutely impressive to see and explore, with the Temple of Kukulcan (El Castillo) standing as a testament to the intelligence, strength and grandeur of the ancient Mayan civilization.
2.) Swim in a Cenote
Cenotes are natural sinkholes, which occur due to the erosion of limestone (which Mexico has a lot of) as limestone is a very soft rock – think of it like chalk. Once the limestone has eroded, it ends up leaving a void which eventually collapses, revealing the freshwater underneath the ground.
Given how hot and humid the weather in Mexico can be (no complaints here – you go to Mexico for the sunshine after all), swimming in a Cenote can be a great way to cool off while taking in a natural wonder.
3.) Explore a Mexican city
This is perhaps one of the best ways to gain an insight into every day Mexican life – not to mention a brilliant opportunity to pick up some great souvenirs along the way. The hotels in Cancun tend to be kinda like living in a bubble (albeit a rather luxurious and VERY fun one) so it’s nice to step out during the day and get to see more of Mexico.
4.) Indulge in Mexican Food
Mexican food is easily one of Mexico’s most successful exports. We’re all crazy about Mexican food and what better place is there to try it than in Mexico itself.
It tastes so different here (and that’s not just the margaritas talking).
The way the food is prepared, along with the ingredients are so different from what you’d get at home and this is the place to ‘lean into’ your inner-foodie (…though to be honest, being on holiday is always my excuse to lean into my inner foodie)!
5.) Explore the beautiful beaches
Seriously, Mexico has some of the best beaches in the world so a beach day when you’re in Cancun is almost mandatory!
6.) See the ancient ruins of Tulum
Tulum is one of the very few ancient cities in Mexico that is located by the seaside (and I’m pretty sure I remember someone saying it’s the only one you can visit in the entire country) so a trip here is pretty much one that you have to do. There’re also the amazing beaches you have to visit here which are best indulged with a cocktail in hand!
7.) Snorkel with turtles
Mexico is a brilliant place to go swimming with turtles. There are so many conservation projects across the country to help boost wild turtle populations and we ventured to Akumal Beach (not too far from Tulum) to do this. It was absolutely incredible to see the turtles, though that’s not all you can see here. We swam through the reef and even saw stingrays here.
8.) Go Island Exploring
Isla Mujeres, which literally translates to “Island of the Women” is an absolutely stunning island to visit in Mexico and in so many parts is like stepping back in time thanks to its untouched natural beauty. It’s the perfect place to rest up after (or indeed to get ready for) a night of fun and revelry.
9.) Swim with whale sharks
Now we didn’t get to do this as we were here too early but Mexico is also really great for swimming with whale sharks. We saw some photos from regular visitors to Cancun and, if the photos and videos are anything to go by, the experience of doing this appears to be just as amazing as it sounds.