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If you’re thinking about spending your summer vacation in Cancun and are looking for reasons to convince you that it is a good idea, read our list of top reasons why we think a trip to Cancun, recognized worldwide for its incredible white sand beaches, turquoise waters, unparalleled weather, and mystical Mayan ruins, is a great idea! The city is a huge pull for those seeking to enjoy water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, jet-skiing, and fishing, as well as being the perfect destination to get lost in thought on a paradisiacal beach while sipping on a thirst-quenching margarita.
Located in the Yucatan Peninsula adjacent to the idyllic Caribbean Sea, Cancun is one of Mexico’s finest vacation destinations that attracts thousands of tourists each year. The city was once renowned for its robust nightlife and vibrant scene for spring breakers, but over the years it has become a popular choice for those seeking thrilling adventures, unique experiences, and Mexican culture.
And it doesn’t end there. Cancun is one of the most exciting vacation destinations in the world and features some of Mexico’s best kept secrets.
Top Reasons to Visit Cancun
Participate in a Temazcal Ceremony
A Temazcal ceremony is a big part of Mexican heritage. It’s an ancient Mayan ceremony to purify the mind, body, and soul, which takes place in a traditional sweat lodge for meditative and therapeutic benefits. The ceremonies, that last for approximately two hours or more, are very spiritual and enlightening and led by a ‘shaman’ or ‘temazcalero’.
The ceremony takes place in complete darkness as the shaman pours water over hot rocks, begins chanting and using different herbs to summon spirits. As your body begins to sweat and the shamanic chants dance through the darkness, you enter a state of meditation and cleansing.
Not only will you leave the ceremony feeling enlightened and cleansed, it’s an unforgettable experience and a wonderful insight into ancient Mayan civilization and culture that’s totally unique to Mexico.
Swim in Sacred Waters
Cancun and Riviera Maya are famous for being home to cenotes, natural sinkholes and caves that are formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock. Cenotes are incredibly beautiful and mystical with sapphire blue water shaded by exotic flora, wild vines, and enchanting rock formations that are thousands of years old. In Mayan, Cenote or “dzonot” means “sacred well” and the ancient Mayan civilization regarded cenotes as being very sacred. There is evidence they used to perform ceremonies in the cenotes, which were considered to be entrances to the underworld where they could communicate with their gods.
There are three types of cenotes: the open cenote, semi-open cenote, and closed cenote. Each type offers the opportunity for unlimited adventure and exploration. Swimming in a cenote is already a thrilling experience, but there are more activities that you can enjoy such as kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba-diving. They are also a great setting to take gorgeous photos during your summer vacation in Cancun!
Explore Archaeological Sites
Chichen Itza, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest and most impressive archeological site of Mayan civilization and an absolute must-see during your summer vacation in Cancun.
Founded in the 6th century, the magical site attracts thousands of tourists each year to marvel at the well-preserved pyramids and temples that include the Great Ball Court, The Temple of Warriors, and the Sacred Cenote.
The most famous pyramid on the site is called El Castillo (The Castle), also known as Templo de Kukulkan (Temple of Kukulkan). The temple was named after a serpent deity and upholds a special type of magic. Twice a year on the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, the sunlight creates an eerie and fascinating shadow of a snake descending down the pyramid during its pass through to the underworld! It’s a truly breathtaking and unforgettable scene that’ll leave you mesmerized.
The breathtaking site of Chichen Itza offers an intimate and nostalgic glimpse into ancient Mayan civilization and culture that will leave you mesmerized!
Interact with Sea Turtles
The beaches near Cancun are some of the best places in the world to interact and catch sight of the humble sea turtle. Between May and October, you can watch the sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach and from July to December, the endearing babies start to hatch and embark on their journey down to the ocean.
The best place to in Cancun to visit the sea turtles is Tortugranja, a large turtle farm and conservation center located on the beautiful l island of Isla Mujeres. The farm protects sea turtles and helps them thrive in a natural environment. You can feed and interact with a range of species including the green sea turtles, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles.
After finishing your visit at Tortugranja, be sure to explore Isla Mujeres! A quaint yet adventurous island known for its sublime waters, rich Mayan culture, and bohemian-style beach restaurants serving delectable Mexican cuisine with piquant Caribbean influence. Rent a golf cart and explore the 5-mile long island in style, discover the islands unique architecture and art and marvel at the incredible views!
Visit El Parque De Las Palapas
Located in the enchanting Downtown Cancun next to the city’s oldest Catholic Church is El Parque de Las Palapas (The Park of the Palapas). The park offers one of the most cultural Mexican experiences in the area and is a hotspot for activity and exploration!
The park features a main stage where live music is performed each day by talented musicians, as well having numerous bars, restaurants, and street food stalls selling an array of delicious Mexican cuisine such as empanadas, tacos al pastor, and churros. The park also hosts a quaint artisan market each day where you can purchase small treasures, souvenirs, art, clothing, and local craft work.
El Parque De Las Palapas a great place to enjoy an afternoon with the family and embrace authentic Mexican culture
Enjoy Delectable Mexican Cuisine in Cancun
Traveling Mexico and trying the local food goes hand in hand, especially in the Yucatan. Mayan and Spanish influences shaped the mouthwatering cuisine and helped create some of the most staple dishes on the menu, including huevos motulenos, cochinita pibil, and sopa de Lima.
The Yucatan food scene, however, is incredibly unique to other parts of Mexico and features several delicious dishes that challenge gastronomic boundaries! We have listed the top three Yucatecan dishes that you need to try during your summer vacation in Cancun!
Morcilla (Yucatecan Sausage)
This dish is very similar to the popular Morongo dish, which originated from the center of the Mexico. The dish comprises of a special type of sausage that’s prepared by filling pork tripe with fat, spices, coagulated blood and then smoked in a unique fashion.
In the Yucatan however, the dish is prepared with a special touch that gives it an edge on the original dish. It is seasoned delicately with chives and peppermint, and then fried in lard with habanero pepper, onion, and xcactic chili. It’s a deliciously hearty meal that can be enjoyed for brunch or for dinner.
This uniquely Yucatecan dish is one that many are cautious to try! La Higadilla (liver) is prepared with liver, kidney, tongue, heart, and lungs, and then seasoned with pepper, salt, oregano leaves, and garlic. The concoction is boiled and cut into small squares and smothered in a delicious sauce made using orange juice and traditional achiote.
Polcanes are a true Yucatecan gastronomic delight that are often enjoyed as a snack. The filling dish that is prepared using corn tortillas stuffed with white beans and scallions, was named by the Mayans with the words ‘Pol’ meaning ‘head’ and ‘can’ meaning ‘snake’. Formerly, polcanes were oval in shape and cooked by using the heat of burning firewood, but over the years they have become round and the local communities fry them.
To make polcanes, you place beans and scallions in the center of a thick tortilla, which is then closed into a round shape and fried in oil. The polcanes, once fried, are smothered in a chiltomate sauce prepared with onions, tomatoes, a habanero pepper, salt, and pepper. They are then garnished with lettuce or cabbage cut into strips, grated panela or fresh cheese, and lime. And they are delicious!
These are just a few of the several reasons as why you should spend your summer vacation in Cancun. Perhaps to delight in the laid-back ambience on a beautiful beach, explore the Mayan ruins and get a glimpse into ancient history, or dive into the underwater kingdom of the Caribbean Sea and swim with incredible marine life, such as whale sharks and dolphins! Whatever your purpose, Cancun offers it all and is the perfect vacation destination for all of the family!