Cancun Attraction & Fun
Need to Know
Cancun Attraction & Fun Guide
Tanning and lounging by the beach and pool may be fun , but when we go to Cancun for a full week, we start to look for other daytime fun. Snorkeling in Cancun is always poplar, as is parasailing. We've listed some of the more popular Cancun Attraction and Spring Break daytime activities below.
Daytime at the Larger Resorts
Spring Break is about getting away from books, class assignments, and the cold winter weather of the past several months. Cancun beaches are just the prescription with their white coral sands and warm Caribbean blue waters.
But beware of the rough waters often found on ocean-side resorts. This Cancun attraction can be dangerous. Perhaps to make up for this, most hotels also have massive pool areas near the ocean with chairs, palabras, and loungers about- just know that early-risers get the best seats!
Swim-up bars within the hotel pools are another common Cancun attraction, especially among newer and bigger resorts. Better hotels also have activity areas with beach volleyball nets set up and ready for pick-up games. Don’t be surprised if, while sitting at the pool, the “activity director” stops by and asks you to get into an afternoon game.
While hotels and mega-resorts face the most sought-after beaches, you’ll be glad to know that the actual beach is public property and can be accessed easily through either marked public entrances or by simply walking through the hotel lobby.
A note about going All-Inclusive
If you’ve decided to go all-inclusive with one of the major Spring Break tour companies or resorts, your selection of Cancun attractions and activities for the daytime are likely planned out for you. Everyday features a new party at a new location. You should go, because you already paid for it.
That’s well and good (and very economical as free drinks tend to abound here), but if you’re looking to scratch below the surface, or escape the party scene even for just a day, there are plenty more Cancun attraction and daytime activities to explore.
Explore Other Cancun Beaches
If you are a true beach bum, we recommend you explore some of the other well-known beaches along the Cancun coast. Playa Tortuga (Turtle Beach) is a coveted bay-side beach with smooth waters and lots of activities nearby, including Fat Tuesday’s Club and a wind-surfing school.
Nearby you’ll also find a favorite Cancun attraction- Playa Langosta (Lobster Beach). It has outdoor showers, a small shopping area, and several nearby restaurants.
Other popular Cancun beaches include Playa Linda (Pretty Beach) and Playa Las Perlas (Beach of the Pearls). All of these beaches are bay-side, again for the calmer waters.
Motorized Water Sports
Along all of these beaches, and several others located on the open ocean side of the island, there are plenty of Cancun attraction choices to keep you busy and cool when you’re not looking for that Caribbean tan. Jet ski rentals, rafts, and other motorized water sports are offered by several vendors. (These are the kinds of things never covered by all-inclusive plans). Lest we forget, there’s lots of parasailing in Cancun too. Prices can vary greatly and are usually negotiable, especially if you have a small group of friends willing to join in.
Some beaches also have volleyball nets that remain quite-active during the Spring Break season, with pick-up games formed on the spot. This sport is a favorite Cancun attraction.
If you do decide to take your chances by venturing into the waters on the open-ocean side of Cancun, make sure you know the flag scheme used to denote water conditions. The following flags can be found at lifeguard stations and hotel lobbies for the ocean-front beaches:
· White Excellent conditions (rare)
· Green Normal conditions
· Yellow Use caution, conditions subject to change
· Red/Black Unsafe, very rough current and/or undertow
Below the Water- Scuba & Snorkeling in Cancun
With all the talk about what’s above the ocean, it would be inexcusable to forget that Cancun is also a world-class destination for its reefs and life below the ocean. Even if you’ve never put on a mask and fins before, the abundance of life below Cancun’s waters should not be missed, and most hotels and tour operators will go to extra mile to help you see it. This Cancun attraction should not be missed!
To that end, larger hotel resorts offer introductory scuba courses to teach you the basics of scuba (commonly called a resort course). These 4 hour classes are a good basic introduction to the techniques of scuba diving and often include a shallow reef dive at the end of the course. If you’ve got the time and money, you can also become fully certified in scuba diving by undertaking a 4 days course at the major dive operators mentioned below. Snorkeling in Cancun can be done without any prep course- just remember to clear your snorkel before breathing in!
For those who are either already scuba certified or who seek only to snorkel across the top of the water, Cancun has several well-established dive shops. We especially like Manta Divers Scuba Center. Whether you are a beginning diver or a cenote-exploring expert, this outfit does a professional job. They have 2 easy to find locations right in the Hotel Zone.
Some of the more popular Cancuun attraction dive spots include El Garrafón and the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks, both of which are located near the Isle of Mujeres. Most trips leave either in the morning or after lunch. Night-diving and cave diving are also available. Check out the respective web sites for more particular details.
You don’t need to get wet to see all the sea-life Cancun has to offer, however. Another Cancun attraction is AquaWorld's “Subsee Explorer-” an updated glass-bottom boat with large picture windows which allow you to sit in air-conditioned comfort as you listen to a narrated tour of coral gardens while looking out onto the varied sea-life living in the reef. Reservations are recommended.
The beaches of Cancun aren’t the only thing we love about this place- there are also plenty of daytrips worth doing. Perhaps the closest is the Isle of Mujeres (Island of Women). Located just north of Cancun Island, in the calm waters of the Bay, this island does a great job of making you forget the commercialization of Cancun.
Sand and brick streets still are flanked by some classic Caribbean-style clapboard houses painted in bright colors at this Cancun attraction. The island is capped at one end by El Garrafon National Park and at the other by a little village of shops, restaurants, and even a few hotels.
Spring Break is a time to party and get away from all the learning in the classroom, but El Garrafón is worth a look. In addition to excellent snorkeling, there is also a theme park inside this Cancun attraction with kayaks, nature trails, and restaurants; and by theme we mean “ecologocial,” no thrill rides or rollercoasters here, Mouseketeers. Admission is currently $25 (US) per person, but you can also buy the ever-present “all-inclusive” package for $50 (US), which includes dining at any of the restaurants, domestic drinks, and the use of snorkel gear and the lockers.
Getting to Isla Mujeres
There are many different ways to get to Isla Mujeres. The cheapest is the public ferry, used mainly by locals, which leaves from Puerto Juárez near Cancun City. Departures are on the half hour from 6 AM to 11 PM and cost about $4 (US) for the fast ferry (the slow ferry is even cheaper, but it’s, well, slow).
From the island and hotel zone, you can take a shuttle ferry from the Xcaret Terminal across from Plaza Caracol, Playa Tortugas/Fat Tuesday or at El Embarcadaro/Playa Linda close to La Boom disco. The current cost is $15 (US) round trip and departure times are 9 AM, 11 AM, or 1 PM. All return to Cancun at 5 PM.
Finally, you can also make a day of the tour by taking a pleasure-boat trip (i.e. catamaran) around the island. Most of these all-day trips include food, drinks, snorkeling, and a little time to explore the shops along the north-end of the island. Costs of this Cancun attraction vary- so check with several vendors and don’t be afraid to bargain for a better price.
Xcaret- An Eco-Archeological Park
Once you get to the island, you’ll undoubtedly come across advertisements for the Cancun attraction Xcaret- a “nature park” that’s been developed especially for those who want a little Mayan history along with the natural beauty of the Mexican Riveria- all a little “Disney-fied” for a nice theme-park look. (Just check out their website.) It’s about an hour’s drive south of the Cancun, and visitors should plan a full day to explore the park (and get their money’s worth).
Admission is currently $49 (U.S.) for the day and covers just the basics- entrance, snorkel gear, lounge chairs (if available- they go fast), changing facilities, etc. No outside food or drinks here- so bring extra cash. There are also add-ons, like swimming with the dolphins ($80 (U.S.) extra) or horseback riding ($49 (U.S.) extra. Visit their site for their complete Cancun attraction list.
The coolest part of the park, we feel, is swimming in the lagoon and snorkeling through the limestone tunnels. You’ll also find real Mayan ruins (though better examples exist elsewhere), a butterfly pavilion, and lots of other items showcasing the bio-diversity of the region. Those who aren’t so much for swimming will have lots to see and do here.
Everyone's an Expert
Be aware that there are many tour companies in the area that sell Xcaret tours for about $75 (U.S.). This price includes transportation, admission, and a guide. Often they also include the “night package” which includes dinner and a folklore performance. Our personal opinion, if this sounds like a good day trip to you, is to avoid the tour and book the ticket direct. Use the money you save to buy drinks and lunch once you’re in the park.
There are other nature and eco-parks around Cancun to tempt you as well. These include the Cancun attraction Xel-Ha, with dolphin swims and a very nice cove full of lots to see for snorkelers and divers. For those wanting a little less commercialism in their eco-adventures there’s the Cancun attraction Tres Rios, with lots of natural areas, horseback riding, and off-road biking along jungle trails. There are other Cancun attraction sites to see ruins as well, including Tulum and Ruinas Del Ray (which is considerably less impressive than Tulum and is surrounded by the Hilton’s golf course).
If you’re feeling a little flabby from all the food and drinks, you may want to put a little physical activity into your schedule. One "physical" Cancun attraction is a well-kept jogging track that runs along the main road through the hotel zone. For those who’d prefer some wheels, you can also rent in-line skates from a couple different spots along the strip.
There’s also golf to play on the island- on the north end try The Golf Club at Pok-Ta-Pok where greens fees run $120 (U.S.) for 18 holes- club rental and shoe rental are available, for an extra cost. The Hilton Cancun, towards the southern end of the island, also has a championship 18-hole course which runs $121 for 18 holes or $88 (U.S.) for nine holes. A discount applies for those who are guests of the hotel. Like any good Cancun attraction, they will rent you clubs and shoes for an extra price.
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