From tranquil white sand beaches to all-night bass-thumping discotheques and everything in-between, Cancun caters to all tastes. Popular any time of the year (but particularly so with the younger crowds during spring break), Cancun is the prime North American beach destination. There are so many things to do here one has to ask oneself whether it’s worth it to put down their Corona and enjoy the many activities or to just wile the hours away with Kenny Chesney playing in the background and do a whole lot of nothing – ah, decisions.
Many come for a day, others for a month, but if you only have one week in Cancun, the proverbial line has been drawn in the sand, so to speak. If you’re trying to decide how to spend it, put down that Corona and read on.
Getting to Cancun
You’ve likely already booked your ticket and hotel, so I’ll leave the burden of that info on your shoulders, but as to getting around and getting settled, here you go: the hotel and resorts of Cancun are all located in a region called Isla de Cancun. Kulkucan Blvd is the name of the street that runs the entire stretch of this hotel zone area, so keep an eye out for it.
Once you step out of the plane, you’ll likely be greeted by all manner of salesmen, most of them promptly advertising time-shares. Ignore them and head to your (hopefully) pre-arranged transportation from the Cancun airport. If you haven’t pre-arranged for transportation, you should be aware that licensed taxis do not have permission to pick you up from the airport, but airport shuttles do. When heading into town, be sure to negotiate prices with your cabbie before jumping in, because Cancun cabbies have a somewhat less-than-stellar reputation amongst tourists.
Regarding your money
To change money or not change money? A dilemma most, if not all travelers face. When heading to Cancun, however, it’s a pretty easy equation. You can forget about changing money at the bank; Cancun has little Casa de Cambios (money changing huts) peppered throughout tourist areas, and any hotel will gladly exchange your dollars for pesos. Having said that, American dollars are accepted nearly everywhere. Your exchange will be a little bit better at a Casa de Cambio, however, if you do choose to change your money.
What to Do
Once you’ve gotten settled into your hotel and living arrangements, it’s on to the fun stuff. Sometime back in the 1970s, the Mexican government decided to make Cancun a tourist destination of choice due to its tropical weather, its nearby coral reef, and its sublime beaches. Enter Cancun of today and you’ve got a party Mecca with just about every outdoor adventure activity there is to do under the sun. Get ready to get your feet wet, because we’re jumping in the deep end.
Nothing beats the Mexican heat like time spent in the tropical blue waters of Cancun. From power boating, jet skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking, swimming, and plain old-fashioned beach-going, you can be sure that there’s a time and a place for whatever you had in mind when heading to the beach.
All that considered, consider spending your first acquaintance with the Cancun sea as the indigenous locals might and head to one of the Xcaret parks. These eco-tourism theme parks are darn-near a modern wonder of the world with so many things to do and all of it based around nature. Explore the mangroves by kayak, snorkel some of the best reefs, shoot down waterslides, go on nature walks, or see a re-enactment of an ancient Mayan tribal ceremony – the Xcaret parks make the most out of the best Cancun day trips.
And as long as you’re getting out there and discovering all that the Mayan Riviera has to offer, you should spend a day or two (at least) exploring the many ancient Mayan ruins in the area. Chichen Itza alone is worth the trip to the Yucatan. Recently nominated as one of the “new” seven wonders of the world, this UNESCO world-heritage site was, during 750-1200 A.D., the political and economic center of the Mayan area. Not only is it striking beautiful, but it also gives invaluable insight into the ways of the ancient Mayans and their astronomical and technological prowess. Other nearby ancient Mayan ruins include the Tulum ruins, which you can visit on a day trip with optional lunch and snorkeling attached), the Coba ruins, and Xel-Ha. Some make Cancun their jumping-off point for a full-fledged Mayan tour and archeology trip. There are many ways to combine this with snorkeling, cave diving, sailing, you name it. You can even make it an 8-day Yucatan Peninsula tour.
Unique Cancun Activities
The list of outdoor activities Cancun has to offer could fill a book (and your week) pretty quickly. Suffice it to say, there’s more than one way to spend a week in Cancun. The best outdoor activities are the ones that pique your interests, however, so read on and get a good sampling of what’s available before, y’know, diving in.
My personal outdoor favorite would have to be the exotic car driving experience. Call this a guy thing, but who wouldn’t want to sit behind a $200,000 automobile and race around a track? Better yet, get a quick lesson and hit the open road. You can have an exotic driving experience taking a Ferrari, Audi, Lamborghini or any number of other exotics from the Cancun speedway to Playa del Carmen and back. Oh, and did I mention that there’s no speed limit on this little strip of Mexican highway? Autobahn, eat your heart out.
Other outdoor activities include zipping through the forest canopy high overhead – always a popular favorite, Cancun parasailing, whale shark diving, and snorkeling at any number of dive sites – including the Cancun Underwater Museum. An ATV tour is a good way to see the sandy countryside of the Yucatan – these tours offer sightseeing with an adrenaline twist.
And last, but certainly not least, is diving with dolphins in Cancun. This dolphin swim adventure is repeatedly voted a must-do experience. Swimming with these beautiful creatures is a spiritual experience and fun for the whole family or great as a couple’s adventure. While you swim in the water with these gentle creatures you’ll come to understand and respect the ocean in a whole new way. And this is what vacation is all about – getting out of your element and seeing the world from a different perspective. Swimming with dolphins could be the culminating event of your week in Cancun. Who knows? Stranger things have happened!
* Source: thingstodo.viator.com