Cancun is probably best known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. The area has been a popular vacation destination for many years, and it's easy to see why just by looking at the perfect white sand and crystal clear, warm water. There is far more to the area for tourists to see besides the beach and the nightclubs. The famous Chichen Itza ruins are just a short drive away, and a visit to these culturally significant ruins is a must do for your Cancun vacation.

01Chichen Itza

Cancun

Visit the largest Mayan ruins in the world and one of the most important historical sites of the Mayan people at Chichen Itza. This was the original center of the Mayan Civilization, and the focal point of the city was the pyramid-shaped El Castillo. This was a temple to the God, Kukuklan. Chichen Itza is a UNESCO world heritage site and was recently named one of the seven new wonders of the world. Just be warned that it is very popular and the site is likely to be crowded. The ruins are 2.5 hours drive away from Cancun, and guided tours are available.

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02Isla Mujeres

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Escape the busy crowds of Cancun and head to the peaceful Isla Mujeres or Island of Women. You can reach the island by using one of the ferry boats, and the trip will take you just over 20 minutes. There isn't much to do on the four-mile-long island, but it is still a popular day trip. Head to Punta Sur and visit a Mayan temple that was dedicated to the moon goddess. You may want to visit one of the local turtle farms to spend time with these interesting creatures and find out more about them.

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03Playa Tortugas

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A popular beach for locals with a relaxed atmosphere and white powder sand. There are a few restaurants near the beach offering excellent local cuisine and views of the ocean. The beach is free to use which is a bonus in Cancun. The water is shallow with very small waves making this an ideal beach for those with small children.

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04El Rey Ruins

ruins in Cancun

The El Rey Ruins may not have the wow factor of Chichen Itza, but they are very conveniently located for most visitors. These Ruins are located right in the Hotel Zone of Cancun. El Rey Ruins are very small, so you can see everything in a short space of time but still gain some understanding of the Mayan Culture in the area.

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05Playa Delfines

playa delfines, Cancun

Those wanting to escape from the beaches of the Hotel Zone should head to this undeveloped and peaceful beach just outside of the city. You will need to bring your own drinks and snacks for the days as there are very few vendors and no facilities near the beach. The beach is known for having riptides, and rough sections of water so only go out for a paddle if you are a strong swimmer.

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06Coco Bongo

coco bongo Cancun

Coco Bongo is the most famous nightlife hotspot in Cancun, yet it is not a standard club with a DJ controlled dance floor. At Coco Bongo, you can expect to witness a non-stop sequence of performances by acrobats, musicians, and even congo lines. A typical night will include balloons, projected videos, bubbles, and confetti. There are traditional nightclubs in the area for those that want to dance the night away.

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07Delphinus Punta Cancún

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Swim with the dolphins at this interaction experience operated out of the Hotel Hyatt Ziva in the Hotel Zone. Many different programs are offered such as the Ride with the Dolphin which allows visitors to swim with dolphins and even go for short surf holding on to a dolphins fin.

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08Playa Marlin

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Playa Marlin is a lovely public beach in the hotel zone that is perfect for guests not staying at a beachside resort with private beach access. The beach offers many facilities such as lifeguards and public restrooms. There are vendors offering chairs and umbrellas as well as places selling snacks and cooldrinks.

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09Avenida Kukulcan

beaches in Cancun

Avenida Kukulcan is the main avenue running through Cancun. There are many hotels, shops, and restaurants along the street catering to locals and tourists. Stroll along the avenue and take in all the interesting shops along the way. Watch out for crocodiles in the creeks just off the street.

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10Museo Maya de Cancun

hotels in Cancun

Learn about the history of the great Mayan culture and its impact on modern-day Cancun and Mexico in general. The museum contains artifacts from the Mayan civilizations and explains in detail the reasons for the different temples and other buildings in Chichen Itza and other Mayan sites. If you don't have time to go to any of the ruins, then this museum will give you a taste of the Mayan Culture.

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