There are so many places that you can equate to paradise in Mexico, and Cancun is one of the most popular. I just went on my very first trip to Mexico, and Cancun was just lovely. Here are my favorite things to do in Cancun, Mexico.

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Stay at Your Resort
Visit Downtown Cancun
Chichen Itza

Stay at Your Resort

Visiting Cancun, Mexico - Riu Palace Peninsula.

When visiting Cancun, Mexico, you need to make the decision about what kind of traveler you want to be. Do you want to relax, do you want to see history and culture, do you want to shop, or do you want to do a combination of all these things? When you are in Cancun, there is no wrong answer – if you are just looking for a relaxing escape, that is OK.

Staying at your resort is easy, because many of them are all-inclusive and offer plenty to do while you are there. While we were in Cancun, we stayed at the Riu Palace Peninsula, which was all-inclusive – so, free food and drinks the entire time we were there. There were some things that were extra, like massages, but pretty much everything else was included.

There were seven different restaurants, so we could try something new every night, and there were also multiple pools, activities, and our very own beach. While we were there, we did walk down the beach beyond our resort, which was a nice change of pace. But staying at your resort is always a nice option if that is what you are looking for.


Visiting downtown Cancun, Mexico. Market 28 shopping in Cancun.

Make no mistake, Cancun is a tourist city and they know it. The amount of shopping was mindblowing to me – and you can find everything from locally-made items to high-end designers.

There are a number of markets to go to, and your hotel will know the best ones for you – so just ask your concierge.

Visit downtown Cancun

Visiting downtown Cancun, Mexico. Market 28 in Cancun.

Speaking of shopping, we decided we wanted to visit downtown Cancun – and our concierge assumed we wanted to go to one of the shopping markets. We wanted to see downtown Cancun, and shopping was a part of that, but we did not want to go to one of the markets outside downtown. So just keep that in mind.

Visiting downtown Cancun was a great look into the culture of the city outside the resorts. We visited Market 28 while we were down there, which is a market which a bunch of local items, everything from clothing to glassware to food. We also had our first street tacos down there, which were delicious.

Chichen Itza

Visiting Chichen Itza, day trip from Cancun, Mexico.

Chichen Itza is an important thing to visit when visiting Cancun. Chichen Itza was a Mayan city from around 600 to 1200 AD, that is now an archaeological site. Chichen Itza is about 120 miles from Cancun, which means 2-3 hours, which also means it’s usually an entire day trip to get there and return.

Visiting Chichen Itza is such a life changing experience, and even though it takes an entire day, is well-worth the visit.


Visiting Coba, day trip from Cancun, Mexico.

If you do not want to go all the way to Chichen Itza, Coba is also a beautiful and historic ruin you can visit. Coba was inhabited around the same time as Chichen Itza, and was abandoned around the same time as well.

The cool thing about Coba is that it is one of the last Mayan ruins where you can still climb up its ancient pyramid. It’s only 130 steps but is a cool experience.


Visiting Tulum, day trip from Cancun, Mexico.

Tulum is not only a great place to visit from Cancun, but it is a city where you could spend an entire month in itself. Tulum is located just south of Cancun and has its own beautiful beaches, ruins, historical buildings, and overall vibe.

Tulum was one of the last cities built by the Maya and survived well into the Spanish conquest of the area. While you are there, visit the many Mayan ruins and buildings, because there are a lot of them.

Visiting Cancun, Mexico is a must for any traveler – whether you are looking for relaxation, history, culture, or shopping. The beaches are beautiful, the people are friendly, and the past is worth learning. Let us know if you have any other questions about visiting Cancun, Mexico!