Looking for things to do in Cancun? With this perfect 7-days Cancun itinerary and 23 of the best things to do, you will not fall short of experiences on your Caribbean vacation!
Let’s start with the beautiful beaches.
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It’s no secret that Cancun is a popular beach destination with white sand beaches, crystal-clear Caribbean waters, and plenty of sunshiny weather along with activities for everyone including water sports, snorkeling, and scuba diving excursions. Just be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen for sun protection!
And from Playa del Carmen to Isla Mujeres and Playa del Fines to the Riviera Maya, you’ll find the opportunity to explore ancient Mayan ruins, embark on a jungle tour or enjoy the cultural attractions and archeological sites.
There are also day trips you can take to Isla Mujeres to cool off in the best swimming holes in the Yucatan Peninsula known as Cenotes. Expand your exploration into Chichén Itzá, and explore the Seventh Wonder of the World!
This perfect Cancun itinerary for 7 days, will have you wanting to come back for more!
So if you’re looking for some fun in the sun in Cancun, Mexico, I’ve got you covered with 23 of the best things to do in Cancun that are both eco-friendly and fun along with the perfect 7-day itinerary to help you plan your trip!
23 Amazing Eco Things to Do in Cancun, Mexico
While this list doesn’t cover everything there is to do in Cancun, it’s a good place to help you start planning your Yucatan itinerary. It will also give you ideas if you want to add a couple days more to your plans or save for a future trip back.
1. Visit the Xcaret Eco Park
Xcaret Eco Park is one of my most recommended places to visit in Cancun and an absolute must when traveling to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It’s an eco-travelers fave!
Located right in the heart of the Riviera Maya, Xcaret is an eco-archaeological theme park with so much to do. This park offers a unique experience and unlike most amusement parks, Xcaret has been built using the natural environment and real Maya ruins as its foundation.
The word “Xcaret” actually means small inlet in Mayan. It’s the representation of the natural area that makes up Xcaret Eco Park today.
Among the history, lush jungle, and natural water that surrounds the park, you’ll find abundant activities, educational opportunities, and lots of fun to be had throughout this main attraction.
Be sure to make plenty of time to experience, explore, and enjoy the adventures Xcaret has to offer – from serene jungle trails, caverns, natural wildlife, coral reef aquarium, underground river, butterfly farm, and so much more!
As a ticket holder, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with regional species and tropical environments – Something you want to definitely take advantage of!
2. Scuba Dive in the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
If you’re looking for a unique experience and an underwater adventure, head over to the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
The Great Mesoamerican Reef is the second-largest coral reef system in the world, stretching from Cancun to Honduras. It’s an underwater paradise and home to a wide variety of coral reefs, fish, turtles, and other marine life.
If you enjoy scuba diving, this would be an ideal place to dive in!
3. Kayak and Snorkel through Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Image Credit: Sian Ka’an Village
If you’re not a big fan of scuba diving in the deep ocean, a kayak and snorkel trip along calm waters may be more relaxing and enjoyable for you. Perfect for staying cool in the hot tropical climate.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, also known as, “Where the Sky is Born,” is located near Tulum in the heart of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera in Quintana Roo.
It’s also one of the largest protected areas in Mexico.
Here you can cruise through the mangrove forests, open cenotes, and explore the underwater life as you snorkel along the blue lagoons and relax on the white-sand beaches – A nature lovers paradise!
As you kayak through the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, you’ll also have the opportunity to observe diverse wildlife and spot endangered species such as jaguars and sea turtles.
This hidden gem is a perfect place to visit if you’re a nature lover or eco-adventurer. It’s the best way to experience nature at its finest!
4. Swim with Turtles at Akumal Bay
Swimming with turtles at Akumal Bay is truly a unique experience and if you love sea turtles, this is the perfect way to see them up close!
The crystal-clear turquoise waters make it easy to spot them as they willingly swim up to you. You can get a tour guide if you’d like but you don’t need one. The easiest way is simply to walk out from Akumal beach into the water and swim alongside these gentle beings in their natural habitat.
It’s important to respect the animals and be mindful of their environment when visiting. This is their home you’re trespassing on so let them swim to you and circle around you naturally. Be patient. They will come to you.
The species of sea turtles (green turtle and loggerhead turtle) that nest in the Akumal area are endangered and have vital programs in place to keep them protected.
5. Explore Underground Tunnels in Rio Secreto Nature Reserve
Located in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula in Playa del Carmen, Rio Secreto Natural Reserve boasts an array of underground rivers and caves, some of which have been recently discovered.
Visitors can take guided tours of the tunnels and cenotes, which offer amazing views of stalactites and stalagmites, crystal-like cave formations, and swim in the turquoise clear waters.
The guided tours are designed to educate visitors about the geological and ecological significance of the reserve, as well as the rich culture and history of the historic sites.
This is a great place to experience nature at its finest the best thing to do if you’re an eco-adventurer!
6. Go on a Beach Escape to Isla Contoy National Park
Image Credit: Google images
Take a tour of the small island of Isla Contoy commonly known as, “The Island of Birds.”
Spend a day on this beautiful, peaceful, secluded island surrounded by nature, and tropical landscapes, and observe wildlife in their natural habitat – an important nesting place for sea birds and sea turtles.
The trip begins in Isla Mujeres (or Cancun) before setting sail to the beautiful island. Once on shore, unlike the public beaches, you’ll feel like you are on a private island.
Enjoy the day snorkeling, exploring, and relaxing under the sun with over 150 species of birds. It’s a complete paradise!
Isla Contoy officially became a national park in 1998 and is now only accessible by a licensed and approved tour company allowing up to 200 visitors per day to help keep the island preserved. So be sure to book ahead of time so you don’t miss out!
7. Bird Watching in Puerto Morelos
If you love birds, you’ll have to head over to Puerto Morelos where you can explore exotic and tropical birds along the mangroves and lush, tropical jungle. See colorful toucans, yellow-lored parrots, honeycreepers, and many others in their vibrant colors.
They are a sight for sore eyes!
The best time for bird watching is in the morning so give yourself enough time to truly enjoy the experience. If you’re staying in Cancun’s hotel zone or Playa del Carmen, the road trip is about an hour drive so it won’t take up too much time.
Taking a tour with a travel guide is your best bet for this experience. You’ll be guided on a hike through the pristine jungle and learn about the ecosystem of the Riviera Maya while being guided by a naturalist.
Your participation in these tours helps to support eco-tourism projects as well as protect the Mayan culture.
8. Visit Chichen Itza – The Ancient Mayan City
The ancient city of Chichen Itza is one of the most important tourist attractions and the best-preserved Mayan archeological site. It was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998.
The highlight of any visit to Chichen Itza is the famous El Castillo pyramid, a towering structure with a unique design that aligns perfectly with the sun during the spring and fall equinoxes. Visiting Chichen Itza is a fun and educational way to experience Mexico’s rich cultural heritage and learn about the fascinating history of the Mayan civilization.
9. Explore El Rey Ruins
Image Credit: Google images
Exploring El Rey Ruins in Mexico is a fun and unique activity that offers a glimpse into the ancient pre-Columbian Mayan culture. The Ruins are located in the heart of the Hotel Zone in Cancun, making them easily accessible for visitors staying in the area.
The entry fee is only $3 and takes about 30 minutes to walk through and explore. It’s a short walk from the hotel area and would make a nice late-afternoon stroll.
The archaeological site features 47 structures including pyramids, temples, and plazas dating back to approximately 1200-1450 AD when the area was once a large town.
Some structures are more preserved than others and swarm with iguanas that have since been inhabiting this archaeological site. Don’t worry, they won’t bother you as long as you don’t bother them!
And, don’t forget to bring your water. Dehydration will sneak up on you!
10. Relax on Playa Delfines Beach
Play Delfines is among the best of the Cancun beaches. A pristine beach located in the hotel zone of Cancun, Playa Delfines is one of the most beautiful and serene beaches in the area.
The beach is the perfect place to unwind, soak up the sun, and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The beach is relatively uncrowded making it an ideal place to kick back and relax during your Cancun trip.
11. A Night Out at Coco Bongo
After a week of tours and relaxing on the beach, experience a night out at the famous Coco Bongo nightlife hot spot! Enjoy a unique entertainment experience that combines music, dancing, acrobatics, and theatrical performances.
The venue is designed to create a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere that is both energetic and exhilarating. Coco Bongo is particularly famous for its impressive production shows that feature high-energy choreography, stunning visual effects, and live music from renowned artists.
Turn it into a club crawl with the Ultimate Cancun Club Crawl Bongo Tour for an unforgettable nightlife experience.
12. Explore Las Coloradas Pink Lakes
For a unique and awwing adventure, Las Coloradas Pink Lakes is a sight to see. This natural wonder is a small fishing village located on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, known for its stunning pink lakes.
These lakes are actually shallow evaporation ponds used for salt production and are part of a larger salt evaporation facility in the area.
The pink color of the lakes comes from the high concentration of salt in the water, as well as the presence of a type of algae called Dunaliella salina, which produces a reddish-pink pigment in response to the high salt levels. In turn, creating a striking contrast of colors that attracts travelers from all over.
It’s important to note that while the lakes are safe to visit, they are not suitable for swimming or other water activities, as the high salt content can be harmful to the skin and eyes. Despite the swimming limitations, touring the facilities will be a lot of fun.
Don’t forget to charge your camera and have it ready because you’re going to want to capture some pretty amazing Instagrammable shots!
14. Xplor Fuego Nighttime Adventure
If you’re an eco-adventurer and thrill seeker, this experience is for you. The Xplor Fuego adventure park is super exciting and the perfect experience for thrill-seekers.
Visitors can explore the park at night when the park is transformed into a magical wonderland of fire, torches, and stars. The adventures at Xplor Fuego include ziplining through the jungle, swimming in an underground river, driving an amphibious vehicle through the jungle, and exploring ancient caves.
One of the most popular attractions at Xplor Fuego is the zip-line circuit, which allows visitors to fly through the jungle on a series of ziplines, including one that plunges into the waters of a cenote.
So if you’re ready for an adrenaline rush that combines adventure, nature, and excitement, be sure to add Xplor Fuego to your Cancun travel itinerary!
15. Fly High Above Xel-Ha Waterpark
What better way to cool off than a visit to Xel-Ha Waterpark – a popular waterpark located on the Riviera Maya, that offers water activities such as snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and exploring underground rivers.
If you want more of an adventurous experience, the park also offers a zip line circuit that allows visitors to soar high above the park, taking in stunning views of the surrounding jungle and the park surroundings.
16. Bike Around Tulum, an Ancient Wall Town
Biking around the vibrant and ancient wall town of Tulum located on the Riviera Maya is a great way to explore the ancient Mayan ruins, and pristine beaches while observing the sights, and sounds at your own pace.
Bike ride through the narrow streets of the town where you’ll find colorful buildings and local markets where you can find some of the best-tasting fresh exotic fruit around!
If you want to cruise on over to the beach and go for a swim, there are plenty of public access beaches or you can access it through the beachfront hotels. While some may just let you walk through, others may charge a small fee or require a day pass.
A bike ride around Tulum is a great way to stay active and explore the area at your leisure. Be sure to check out the delicious vegan food Tulum offers. You can’t leave without trying the delicious local vegan flavors!
Make a bike reservation:
17. Swim in the Cenotes’ Swimming Holes
You can’t leave Mexico without swimming in the cenotes – the earth’s naturally created swimming holes and the Yucatan Peninsula’s most unique and natural wonders.
Cenotes are formed when the ceiling of a cave collapses and creates a natural sinkhole – Typically from limestone rock.
These pools are often surrounded by lush vegetation and unique rock formations, that create a serene and picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy. You can spend hours exploring the different cenotes, each with its own unique characteristics and features.
Cenotes are amazing for swimming, snorkeling, and exploring underwater caves making it an experience you’ll never forget.
18. Ethically Swim and Snorkel Alongside Whale Sharks in Isla Mujeres
Swimming with sharks may not be something that has crossed your mind, but not to worry, these gentle giants are harmless!
Don’t let their size fool you either. Whale sharks are among the largest fish in the world and are harmless to humans, making it safe to get up close and personal with them in their natural habitat.
You can catch their annual migration from June 1st through September 15th where they can be found in large numbers around Isla Mujeres.
This is a sight you don’t want to miss!
Isla Mujeres in the Riviera Maya is one of the few places in the world where you can swim and snorkel alongside these majestic sea animals. Just take an hour boat ride out so you can get in the water with these beautiful beings.
Because of the jump in tourists visiting the whale sharks, it’s important that you adhere to strict regulations when swimming with these magnificent creatures.
19. Take a Jungle Tour and Snorkel at Punta Nizuc Reef
Cruise through the lush jungle and mangroves on a day trip to Punta Nizuc Reef – well-known for its coral reef and vibrant marine life. It’s a great way to enjoy a snorkeling tour adventure!
The Punta Nizuc Reef is located just off the coast of the Cancun hotel zone and is considered one of the best snorkeling spots in the area, with crystal-clear waters and a quiet, secluded beach.
The reef is home to a variety of species, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional stingray or nurse shark.
20. Scuba or Snorkel at Cancun’s Underwater Museum of Art
The Cancun Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA) is an incredible underwater museum located off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Nizuc in Mexico. It’s a unique art project that features over 500 life-size sculptures and showcases the beauty of the underwater world on several levels while providing a platform for artists to display their work.
The art sculptures are designed as artificial reefs to support the local ecosystem and encourage the growth of coral and other marine life.
MUSA has become a popular spot for both diving enthusiasts and art lovers, and it has also become an important research site for marine biologists and environmental scientists who are studying the impact of the artificial reef on the local ecosystem.
Visitors can view the sculptures either by snorkeling, diving, or guided tours from Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Puerto Morelos, or Playa del Carmen. If you want to go to the deeper levels of the museum, it would require going by dive boat.
21. Relax and Explore the Beauty of Nature on Holbox Island
A day trip to Holbox Island is a perfect way to enjoy a relaxing and nature-infused vacation. The island boasts stunning natural beauty, with miles of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean sea, and lush tropical greenery.
You can explore the island by renting a bike, scooter, or golf cart and discover hidden gems such as the Yalahau Lagoon, where you can swim in the freshwater spring and spot beautiful exotic and tropical birds.
Another must-see is Punta Mosquito, a secluded beach where you can relax and unwind amidst the tranquility of nature. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a boat tour to see the famous whale sharks or swim with sea turtles. After a day exploring, head to the town square for some delicious vegan cuisine and enjoy a cocktail by the beach or poolside.
22. Vegan and Vegetarian Walking Food Tour
Go on a walking food tour in Playa del Carmen – the most vegan-friendly city in Mexico. Also, only a 45-minute drive from Tulum where the food scene is also popular and street vendors can be found along the main road.
Vegan food truck Liefs is also a popular stop in Tulum.
It’s no secret that Playa del Carmen is a hotspot for vegan food and what better way to experience it than on a tour guided by a local culinary expert? It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and enjoy food tasting like no other.
Learn about all the vegan options and enjoy savoring the flavors from tropical fruit dishes to amazing vegan tacos as you discover delicious non-meat dishes and the many flavors along the Gulf of Mexico.
23. Experience a yoga or wellness retreat
Mexico is a hotspot for retreats. It’s a perfect place to transform your typical vacation into a rejuvenating and transformative getaway.
Whether it’s a yoga, meditation, wellness, or detox retreat, there are plenty of options to choose from that offer affordable prices. The serene and picturesque surroundings of Cancun provide the perfect backdrop too.
From early morning yoga classes on the beach to guided meditations, there are numerous ways to unwind and recharge your senses as a vacationer in Cancun but the ultimate best is a wellness-focused retreat for recharging the mind, body, and soul.
Like this all-inclusive 5-star meditation retreat offering full vegan meals, this yoga Ayahuasca retreat in the Yucatan, or this long weekend yoga retreat in Malinalco – All offer unforgettable experiences to give you the reset your mind and body needs.
Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or simply seeking a break from the stresses of everyday life, a yoga or wellness retreat in Cancun can provide a truly rejuvenating experience that leaves you feeling refreshed and revitalized.
Cancun Itinerary 7 Days
Now that you have a list with plenty of options to choose from for your Cancun vacation, it’s time to break down your favorites. Use this 7-day Cancun itinerary as a guide to help you plan your stay. If your trip is less or more days, feel free to adjust it accordingly.
Day 1 Cancun Itinerary - Resort and Beach Day
The first day you arrive from Cancun airport, you'll want to get checked in and settle into your hotel. Hopefully, your flight gets in early so you have the entire day ahead to enjoy.
Chances are you're staying in Cancun's hotel zone which is full of all-inclusive resorts that sit alongside the Caribbean sea so you'll have full access to Cancun's white-powdered beaches.
If you're staying at an all-inclusive resort, grab a buffet lunch, take advantage of the delicious food available, and hydrate with some fresh fruit, smoothies, and juices to recharge your energy after your flight.
Explore the hotel grounds, go for a swim in the hotel pool, grab a cocktail from the open bar, walk along the beach, and afterward, spend some time exploring Cancun. There is a lot to see in this tropical paradise!
Be sure to head over to the CANCUN sign at nearby Playa Delfines and snap a selfie or group pic. It has a perfect, beautiful ocean backdrop!
Next, get yourself ready for day two!
Day 2 Cancun Itinerary - Ancient Ruins Chichen Itza
Now that you've had a chance to settle in and unwind, let the adventures begin!
Day 2 of your 7-day Cancun itinerary calls for a day trip to Chichen Itza to visit the archaeological site and nearby Ik Kill cenote for a unique swimming experience. A Chichen Itza and cenote tour is available for a guided experience.
You'll want to get started early so you can beat the crowds and make the most of the day.
Be sure to bring a backpack with water, snacks, sunscreen, and a hat to brave the sun! You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes for walking. You'll be doing a lot of it.
Day 3 Cancun Itinerary - Xcaret
Time for a day at the eco-park in Quintana Roo. You're going to love Xcaret! It's an all-around fun place to visit with a lot of activities and entertainment. There are several parks to choose from within Xcaret.
It's the Disney World of Mexico!
Combination tickets are available if you want to park-hop.
Since you're already in the area of Playa del Carmen, plan on sticking around for the Vegan Walking Food Tour for delicious Mexican food and drinks to end the day before heading back to the resort.
Day 4 Cancun Itinerary - Isla Mujeres
Today is a day a beach day and some fun in the sun - Enjoy water activities, relax, and explore the beauty of Isla Mujeres.
Days 2 and 3 were pretty busy so taking today to do something more relaxing will make your Cancun vacation more enjoyable and less stressful.
Go on an Isla Mujeres catamaran tour, snorkel, or scuba dive. Plan on spending the day exploring Isla Mujeres and taking the beauty all in.
Day 5 Cancun Itinerary - Resort and Beach Day
A 7-day trip to Cancun requires rest time to recover from all the fun so take day 5 of your Cancun vacation to relax and soak in the sunshine and vitamin D.
Make today all about indulging in resort amenities - from food to water activities to simply just chillin' by the pool, playing beach volleyball, or lounging beachside.
Make today all about indulging in resort amenities -
kick off the day with morning yoga
meditate on the beach
go for a spa treatment
float in the pool
relax on the beach
Whatever you choose to do, relax and recharge. Perhaps even head into downtown Cancun for a little shopping in the afternoon, or maybe even check out Playa Tortugas nearby for a stroll on the beach.
Remember, this is a vacation, not a stress-cation!
Day 6 Cancun Itinerary - Day Trip From Cancun
Tired of relaxing? Go on a jungle adventure tour and explore the Yucatan! You can't leave Mexico without experiencing a jungle adventure day trip that checks off all the fun stuff -
snorkeling in the cenotes
exploring Tulum ruins
This eco experience tops it off for a perfect Cancun trip!
Since 7 days in Cancun are almost up, you may want to start packing things up to make the best of your last day in paradise.
Day 7 Cancun Itinerary - Cancun
That's it. This is the last day of your 7-day Cancun itinerary. So today, it's all about winding down, packing it up (if you haven't already), and getting your travel bags ready to go home.
Go for a walk on the beach, relax by the hotel pool, and fuel up with some fresh fruit and juices to stay hydrated.
Pack Up and Go Home
If you are taking a shuttle or getting a transfer to Cancun International Airport or any other airport, be sure to arrange for it ahead of time so you don't have to wait too long.
If you're renting a car, you'll want to give yourself plenty of time to turn it in and make your way to the gate.
If you prefer to have a fully guided 7-day itinerary packaged into one tour, the Yucatan 7-Day Eco-Adventure tour is your best bet. It includes 7 days of action-packed sight-seeing experiences including the Sian Ka’an Reserve and Xcaret.
Getting Around Cancun
When you visit Cancun, there are many ways to get around. Renting a bike or scooter is a great way to explore at your own pace and stay active at the same time. If your all-inclusive resort doesn’t provide them, you can easily rent them through a rental company.
Car rental cars are another option and are usually safe in Cancun.
The Cancun Hotel Zone is easily accessible by walking and is designed with sidewalk access.
Public transit in the Cancun area is very difficult unless you stay in the hotel zone where you can board a bus or taxi from R 1 to R 2 for about 10 Mexican pesos. The local bus system can also take you to Boulevard Kukulcaan (inside the town), and Avenida Tulum.
Travel Tip: Be sure to have the correct Mexican Peso for your trip. Drivers don’t usually have change for big bills.
Rent a Car
You can rent a car for a part of your trip if not all of it, to make it easier to get around on your own time. The advantage of having your own rental car is that you can come and go as you please, take your time, and explore as much as you want.
Car rentals are usually safe in Cancun.
When is the Best Time to Visit Cancun
The best time to plan your trip to Cancun is from December through April. This is when you can expect crisp air with warm temps but not too hot. Typically between 75 and 90 degrees with a chance of some rain and an occasional cold front. Still, a perfect time for visiting Cancun.
Is Cancun Safe?
Cancun is one of the safest vacation cities to visit in Mexico. As with any city, there is always going to be crime but if you stay within the resort area like Cancun’s hotel zone, it’s extremely safe. Most resorts even have their own armed security and since tourism plays an important part in Cancun’s economic growth, they do whatever it takes to protect travelers and keep them safe.
If you intend to venture outside of the hotel zone, double-check with the concierge to make sure it’s a safe place to visit.