Cancun holidays offer all the R&R you want from a beach holiday with an unrivalled clubbing scene. A small city on the Caribbean Sea, in the east of Mexico, it's a hub of fiestas, beach parties and swanky bars, but during the day you’ll find plenty of coconut-white beaches to soak up that tropical sunshine.
You’re also in a great location for booking a day trip to explore the Mayan Ruins. Set within the Quintana Roo region, Cancun has some of the richest ancient sites nearby, from El Rey to Tulum.
Cancun is a vibrant seaside resort surrounded by the beautiful crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. Once a small fishing town along the northern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the area has now bloomed into a thriving holiday destination. A 22-kilometre stretch of white beaches weave around the Cancun coastline. Soak up the Caribbean sun on the shore, snorkel in the clear shallow waters, or take a trip out to sea on a glass-bottom boat.
After absorbing the local beach life and ancient history, why not try out some of Cancun’s nighttime entertainment. From beach parties to street carnivals and traditional fiestas, Cancun is packed with party-goers and spectacular shows. Expect acrobats, world-famous DJs, and extravagant entertainment at popular clubs and bars. One of our favourite place to visit in Cancun is Coco Bongo. The lively nights stretch into the morning. Head to Senor Frog for pre-drinks before 10pm.
There are so many things to do in Cancun, but if you only go on one trip out, make it Chichen Itza. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. You can wander among the ruins or take a guided tour to learn more about the people who built them. The resorts regularly run day trips down to Tulum too; it's brimming with Mayan history and romance, set amidst a backdrop of breathtaking scenery.
While Mexico is famed for its rich history and ancient ruins, downtown Cancun is very much a 21st-century city, bursting with sleek shopping malls. So, if you fancy flexing your bargain-hunting muscles you’ll find plenty of places to go. Mercado 28 is a great spot for unusual crafts, leather goods and souvenirs, all for sale in a vibrant market.
Places to go
The hotel zone, in Punta Cancun, is perched on a spectacular island, separate from the mainland, and connected by two bridges at the North and South. Here you’ll find luxurious hotels and plenty of places to go snorkelling (head south), or spend lazy days on the white sand beaches. It’s less developed than mainland Cancun, so it’s easier to find a quiet spot for yourself. While the South of Punta Cancun can offer a welcomed slice of tranquillity, a vibrant nightlife can be found in the North, with clubs like Coco Bongo, where Spring Breakers come to party. There are also plenty of day trips leaving the hotel zone, so you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.
Only a taxi ride away from Punta, head to downtown Cancun for a huge variety of food, upscale shopping, historic buildings and a small set of ancient ruins. Known as the gateway to the Mayan world, you’ll find plenty of day trips on offer too, as well as the best Mexican restaurants, bars and clubs. While neither Punta nor downtown Cancun will disappoint when it comes to scenery and beaches, the mainland is busier, louder and more energetic. The nightlife is also famous for a reason.
Just north of lively Cancun, the Playa Mujeres peninsula is a tranquil destination full of charm. Close enough to all the action, but also blissfully remote; you can kick back on quiet white sand beaches one day and take a day trip to Mayan ruins the next. There's also nothing quite like Playa Mujeres holidays for exploring Mexico’s rich marine life. It’s a hotspot for reef snorkelling, diving and swimming with whale sharks. For even more tranquillity, hop aboard the ferry to Isla Mujeres, a man-made floating island.
A trip to Isla Mujeres Mexico is one of the most popular things to do in Cancun. It's a 15-minute ferry ride away and has peaceful nature reserves where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. For something a little different, consider a trip to Musa, an underwater art museum where you can swim among the sculptures.
Playa Del Carmen
South of Cancun, you'll find a good mix of nightlife and cultural sites in Playa del Carmen. Now one of the trendiest spots in Mexico’s Riviera Maya strip thanks to backpackers, you’ll find spotless beaches and a more authentically Mexican vibe. Take a stroll down the cool Quinta Avenida, aka 5th Avenue, where you’ll find plenty of quirky boutiques, craft stalls and art galleries, including the Frida Kahlo Museum.
Unsure of the best time of the year to visit? Check the weather in Cancun to see which month is right for you.
More Travel Guides
We also have travel guides available for destinations in Mexico, including Playacar | Playa del Carmen | Playa Mujeres | Puerto Vallarta | Riviera Maya