Iguana in the park
River Outlet from Cancun to Ocean

My Personal Summary

We spent a month in Cancun. But being new to researching cities, I found out that Cancun has 2 very different zones. The hotel zone and the downtown/city zone. The hotel zone is where most tourists want to be, along the beautiful strip of beaches.  Being budget-minded, I chose to stay in the city part. I did find ways to enjoy the beaches. It was just a bit of work getting there by public transit.

Cancun is a relatively new Mexican city. So it has grown fast in the last 50 years to keep up with the demand of tourism. As it has been growing, it is keeping up with the times and offers many contemporary activities.

Coral Reef
Outdoor Market

White Powder Sand beaches

With its blindingly white beaches and water so clear you’ll think you’re in a giant swimming pool. And don’t even get me started on those mesmerizing turquoise waters – it’s like they stole the color from a fancy tropical cocktail.

Cancun isn’t just about the beach; it’s also a hub of non-stop partying and epic nightlife in the hotel zone.

Oh, and let’s not forget the ancient Mayan ruins, Chichen Itza, nearby.

I Recommend Visiting Cancun if you like…

  • Sun
  • Beaches
  • Nightlife
  • All-Inclusive Hotels
  • Shopping
  • Food
  • Snorkeling
  • Diving
  • Water Sports
  • Nature
  • Archaeology.

Dining and Cuisine

Every kind of cuisine at any price point is available here in Cancun. Just Google or Tripadvisor your heart’s desire.

Take a food walking tour immediately!

I am a true believer in taking a tour immediately to get acquainted with Cancun. A food walking tour is a great way to get your bearings and you have the full attention of a local expert for great suggestions.

Here are some foodie walking tours I recommend based on ratings and my own research.

Regional Dishes

Cancun is famous for…

  • Ceviche: Fresh seafood, such as fish or shrimp, marinated in lime juice and mixed with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and sometimes avocado, served as a refreshing and tangy appetizer.
  • Sopa de Lima: A traditional Mayan dish, consisting of a lime-infused chicken broth with shredded chicken, tortilla strips, and garnished with avocado and fresh lime wedges.

Popular Local Tacos

  • Tacos de Pescado: Fresh fish (often grouper or snapper) battered and fried, served in soft tortillas with cabbage, salsa, and lime.
  • Tacos de Cochinita Pibil: Slow-roasted and seasoned pork, usually marinated in achiote paste, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked until tender, served with pickled onions and habanero salsa.
  • Tacos de Camarones: Shrimp sautéed with garlic and spices, served with avocado, cabbage, and a variety of salsas.

Unique Foodie Experiences I Recommend

Romantic Sunset Dinner on a Galeon around the lagoon in Cancun with sax music. – I mean, you could have led with “sax music” and I would have been sold. Just remember, your’e paying for the scenery and the vibe.
Pirate Show and Dinner Cruise in Cancun. I can’t help it. Please let me know if you go on this dinner adventure. I just love pirates.

Divert your Sun Exposure with a Cooking Class

The Best Things to Do in Cancun

Many things you can do on your own but there are some activities, I suggest a tour. I haven’t been on a bad tour yet. And they really know how to do it here in Mexico. They take all the stress of planning out of it so you can focus right on what you want to see and do.



The reef off the coast of Cancun, known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, is the second-largest coral reef in the world, showcasing incredible biodiversity and ecological significance. The best way to experience the reef is to take a tour. You can’t just swim to it. This way you will be taken to the best locations.

I recommend the 5-in-1 Cancun Snorkeling Tour: Swim with turtles, reef, Musa, shipwreck, and cenote. This way you can get all of the best water stuff in one package.

Swim with Whale Sharks

Swim with Whale Sharks

Between the 15th of March to the end of September.

Off the coast of Cancun, you can find a large population of whale sharks during their seasonal migration. These gentle giants, the world’s largest fish species, offer a thrilling opportunity for snorkelers and divers to witness their majestic presence in the warm Caribbean waters.

The only way to experience this once-in-a-lifetime activity is by tour. Here’s a link to the top whale shark tours.

There are 100+ Cenotes to see in the area

Visit one of the many nearby Cenotes

Diving in the cenotes offers a surreal and awe-inspiring experience, as you venture into the ancient underwater caves with crystal-clear waters and intricate rock formations.

Cenote diving in Mexico is a unique opportunity to explore the mystic underworld and witness the fascinating stalactites and stalagmites, making it a dream come true for diving enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

Unless you have a car, the best way to tour the cenotes is by taking a tour. Here’s a link to my favorite Cenote tour.

Enjoy one of the many white-sand beaches

Cancun is famous for its white sand beaches. There’s a variety of beaches to visit. I’ll be posting a guide to each beach soon. But for now, you can Google it.

Day trip to Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is a famous archaeological site in Mexico, renowned for its well-preserved Mayan ruins, including the iconic El Castillo pyramid, offering valuable insights into the ancient civilization’s history and architectural achievements. You can visit Chichen Itza by car on your own or tour bus.

A tour is a full-day trip, so don’t make any other plans. There are so many tours to choose from. I recommend this one that includes a nearby Pueblo Mágico, and a Cenote on Tripadvisor.

Speed Boat Adventure

Take a speed boat tour. You can pilot your own speedboat and be led to an amazing underwater museum where you can snorkel.

We took this tour with Jungle Tours.

Day trip to Isla Mujeres by Ferry

A lovely day trip to Isla Mujeres is only a 30-minute ferry trip away. Enjoy a snorkel tour from there or rent a golf cart and see the island. Round Trip Ferry is about $30. Golf Cart rental for the day is around $80.

Ferry Termainal to Isla Mujeres

There are a couple of different Ferry terminals for the ferry. I’m including this Google Maps link so there’s no confusion.

Day Trip to Tulum

You can rent a car or there are regular buses to Tulum. Visit the ruins and experience the laid-back bohemian vibes of the town.

Other Great Ideas

Parasailing, Day Trip to the Island of Holbox

Where to Stay – Accommodations

There are all kinds of options and price points available. I am on a budget and I wanted to be immersed in the city, so I chose a homestay away from the hotel zone. I found a cute little Airbnb for under $40 a night seen here on the left. In many cases, when you book a month, you can save more. I have gotten my rate down to $30/night.
Click here to see my stay on Airbnb in Cancun.

Want to know how I find an apartment in a safe neighborhood? Click here

Downtown Area to Stay

If you are going to choose to stay in the downtown part of Cancun, I recommend you stay in the pink zone shown on the left. This way you’ll be close enough to the action and will easily be able to jump on one of the busses to the beach area.

But you can find any price point you want from dorm rooms to luxury.
Click on these links below to go directly to Cancun.

Other things about Cancun