Spend a day touring Mayan architecture at the world-renowned archeological site Chichen Itza, shop the Hotel Zone starting from where the lagoon meets the sea, mingle with a rainbow of colorful fish in the world's second largest reef, take a ferry to Isla Mujeres, or simply spend the day swimming, kayaking, or laying in the tropical sun.
Chichen Itza, which translates to: mouth of the well, is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the most frequently toured Mayan archaeological sites in México.
A true island getaway just north of Cancun, with no paved roads and long stretches of sand strewn with hundreds of seashells.
Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
About two-and-a-half hours south of Cancun, this UNESCO World heritage site contains a small area of Mayan ruins as well as a largely untouched coast and wildlife, including endangered species.
The only walled city near the ocean that the Mayans ever constructed. It was built between 1200 and 1500 AD and is about an hour and a half drive south of Cancun, where you can see a stone Mayan temple, palace, and other structures built between 1200 and 1450 and occupied through the early 1600's.
This crumbling ancient city, which dates to about 100 AD up until the advent of the Spaniards, is set in a muggy rainforest and located 50 km northwest of Tulum. Go for a look at Coba's spectacular archeological site where you can climb the Nohoch Muul temple and admire the stunning landscape.
Xcaret Eco Park
An inspirational eco-archaeological park with everything from Mayan ruins and bat caves to swimming with dolphins and riding inner tubes that gently float through prehistoric caverns. You'll also be treated to a host of Mexico customs and traditions.
Located two hours south of Cancun, Cozumel is best known for its many cruise ships, up to twenty liners per week, as well as its beauty. The island is good for bird-watching, as it's a stopover on migration routes, as well as its gorgeous coral gardens.
Xel-Ha National Park
The largest natural aquarium in the world filled with breathtaking combination of rainforest plants and animals, freshwater cenotes (sinkholes), inlets, underground rivers, caves, and magnificent sea life.
Isla Contoy National Park
A quiet national park about 45 minutes north of Isla Mujeres that has tight restrictions on how many people can visit per day. It's ideal for diving, snorkeling and bird watching, and it's the northernmost point of the world's second-largest barrier reef. From April to October, four species of sea turtles can be found in the waters as well as 150 species of birds.
Isla Mujeres is on the must list of day trips from Cancun. It's here you'll find El Garrafon Natural Park as well the popular Playa Norte, the island's beach. You can get there via public ferry from Puerto Juarez (about 20 minutes), shuttle boat from Playa Linda or Playa Tortuga (about an hour), water taxi (the fastest and more expensive option; next to the Xcaret Terminal) or a day-long pleasure trip, most of which leave from Playa Linda (and offer snorkel stops, lunch on the beach, time for shopping, etc.).
There are also numerous dinner cruises including Captain Hook's Pirate Dinner Cruise &Pirate Show with games and contests in an adventurous atmosphere, including pirate legends, music, and mock sword fights.
Other cruises include the Caribbean Fun Day Cruise, which goes to Isla Mujeres; Tropical Cruiser which heads to Isla Mujeres and El Garrafon Beach; Treasure Island Cruise which includes swimming, snorkeling or shopping; and Sunshine Cruise which takes you to Isla Mujeres through the lagoon, for snorkeling and swimming in the company of giant sea turtles.
It’s easy to arrange deep sea fishing from one of the numerous piers or travel agencies. Often, marinas will assist in putting a group together. You can also ask your hotel concierge for suggestions. Don't forget the possibility of leaving from Isla Mujeres.
Some tour operators to consider:
Magical scenery and great weather have attracted world renowned golf course designers to create some of their masterpiece golf courses in Cancun, offering some of the most competitive golf courses in the world. Villa del Palmar Cancun recommends to our guests the best options nearby.
Located inside Cancun Country Club (15 minutes from the hotel), the only TPC course located outside of the United States, will bring the highest standards of the PGA TOUR to one of the world top resort destinations. Two of the most respected and renowned golf course designers, Tom Fazio and Nick Price were selected to capture their mark at TPC Cancun.
Playa Mujeres Golf Club
Located just 5 minutes from the Hotel, Playa Mujeres Golf Club Greg Norman Signature Course is surrounded by the ecological feat, with carefully crafted water holes, jungles, bunkers and greens, utilizing a rearrangement of the site's native plants, trees and other indigenous foliage.
Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and other watersports
The best part of Cancun, some would argue, is underwater where sunken boats and a glorious sea life are yours to explore. Above water is also pretty awesome with the array of sailboats, jet skis, water-skis and sailboards. Most beachside hotels offer water sport concessions that rent rafts, kayaks and snorkeling equipment. Prices vary and are often negotiable.
An underwater tour of the area's caves and caverns where gorgeously formed cenotes, also known as sinkholes, as well as stalactites hang in unique formations, is one way to see a different side of Cancun (best to book a tour). Some of the more popular include Cenote Las Mojarras, Cenote Siete Bocas, Cenote Boca Del Puma and Cenote Verde Lucero, though Dos Ojos (in Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park), located on the highway between Akumal and Tulum, tends to draw the biggest crowds. It was here that the Imax Journey into Amazing Caves documentary was filmed.
For those who decide to leave the water (if ony for a little bit), there's exploring to be done at El Centro, Cancun's downtown. Here, along Avenida Tulum, Xachilian and Parque de las Palapas, visitors will get their first glimpse into Mexico's urban life. It's like New York City in the sense that there's always something going on, whether it's hearing engaging music pouring out of a restaurant or finding an impromptu mariachi band while strolling the streets (hint: go to the Party Center courtyard near the Cancun Convention Center).
As with any busy downtown area, there's plenty of shopping. The Kukulcan Plaza offers more than 300 shops, restaurants and entertainment, while La Isla Shopping Village is an open-air mall designed to look like a small village. (See Shopping)
La Casa del Arte Popular Mexico
Features works by numerous artisans. If you have kids in tow, check out the toy room which will hopefully keep them engaged asking questions about life in the “old days”.
Ruinas del Rey
Commonly called El Rey, is a mixture of ruins that offer an interesting juxtaposition of Mexico's past and present. Set within the Cancun Hotel Zone, it dates to 200 BC and is thought to have been an astronomy lookout. It's also a good spot to see large iguanas who like to spend hot afternoons basking on the walls and stones.
Archaeological Museum of Cancun
Features about 800 objects belonging to the Maya Culture, found at the archaeological compounds of El Rey, Coba and Tulum.