Cancun holidays

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. If you’re on a family holiday to Cancun, there’s plenty of fun things for kids too, including the popular Interactive Aquariums, the Wet n Wild water park and the Xcaret Eco Park. So if you want to venture through the jungle like Indiana Jones one day, explore the marine life with the whole family the next, or wrap it all up with a party on the beach - holidays to Cancun are for you. Want to discover more about Cancun?

Beaches

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.

Nightlife

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.

Cultural hotspots

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. 

Shopping

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

Punta Cancun

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.

Downtown Cancun 

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. 

Playa Mujeres 

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. 

Isla Mujeres

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

Map of Cancun

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28-36 ℃

With an average temperature of 28°C throughout the year, you can expect hot, clear, sunny days and warm, balmy evenings.

View live forecast

Ten Hours

It takes around 10 hours and 25 minutes to fly to Cancun International Airport (CUN) from the UK.

Cancun is best for...

Beach lovers: Cancun has a choice of beaches, each with idyllic white sand backed with palm trees, and offering a choice of top water sports. You’ll even find some secluded bays if you want to escape the crowds; check out Punta Bete, between Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen.

Families: Family holidays to Cancun are quite magical, with interactive aquariums and paddle-friendly beaches.  Spot flamingos, touch a manta ray or turtle, and swim in natural shallow lagoons at Xcaret. You can even climb a mini Mayan ruin together at Children’s world, aka Mundo de Niños

Golfers: Cancun’s numerous golf courses each enjoy breathtaking locations, where you can play all day and relax on the waterfront in the evenings. There are courses to suit all levels, whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned pro, and some of the best backdrops in the world.

Fast facts for Cancun

Language: The language spoken throughout the region is Spanish.

Currency: The currency used is the peso.  

Local time: Cancun is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Cancun International Airport. Transfers to your hotel in Cancun take 20–30 minutes.

Flight time from UK: The flight time to Cancun is 10.5 hours.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found on the visit Mexico website.

Visa / Health: Before you travel, it’s worth visiting The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Cancun.

Holiday destinations related to Cancun:

Getting around Cancun

By bus: Buses are the cheapest way to get around in Cancun, running regularly all over the city and covering the main strip until late at night. Tickets can be bought from the kiosks and cost around 10.50 pesos. You can use RutaDirecta to plan out your route. Some services in ‘hotel zone’ also run 24 hours a day. Many services also connect Cancun to other resorts along the Riviera Maya, such as ADO buses.

By taxi: Taxis are readily available. They’re always on hand at the airport and in the ‘hotel zone.’ Taxis generally don’t have a meter, and will operate on fixed fares, so it’s a good idea to check the price before you go, and many people haggle. However, it’s worth noting that Cancun is divided up into zones and fares vary between each. If you’re unsure, most hotels have rates posted outside or, alternatively, you can ask the driver to see his official rates card.

Events in Cancun

Spring break: Cancun’s Inception Music Festival is the world’s biggest Spring Break event, taking place around April. For 30 days and nights, the city comes alive with some of the best DJs from electronic dance music. You’ll find parties on the beaches by day and Cancun’s vibrant clubs hosting Festival Nights, once the sun goes down. 

Dia de Muertos: The Day of the Dead is a spectacular traditional Mayan festival celebrated throughout Latin America between 31 October and 2 November. The original meaning of the festival is to welcome home the souls of those lost to you, and to celebrate the sheer joy of being alive! Take your Cancun holidays to coincide with this fiesta and you’ll see locals dressed up in costumes, trick-or-treating, and chowing down at the food festival.

Carnaval: Usually taking place sometime between February and March, Carnaval is a vibrant 3-day event with fiestas, parades, partying locals, delicious food, colourful costumes and masks to mark the occasion. While you can join the festivities all over Mexico, Cancun hosts a pretty huge party to celebrate. The energy of the city is ramped up during these months, with energetic dancers, street parties and Caribbean music concerts. 

 

Cancun safety and security

Do I need a passport?
You’ll need a passport for your holiday to Cancun. Although your passport will need to be valid for the entire length of your stay, it doesn’t need to be valid for any specific period of time beyond this.

For more information on Cancun passport information and details of entry requirements to the country, head to The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re travelling to Mexico as a tourist, there’s no need to apply for a visa. You will have to fill out an immigration form, which you’ll be given during your outbound flight. You must have this form with you when you enter and leave Mexico.

If you lose your immigration form, don’t worry as you can get a replacement at the immigration office located in any of Mexico’s international airports. However, it will cost you 500 Mexican pesos to get a replacement, so it’s best to ensure you keep your form safe during your trip.

Should I get travel health insurance?

We always recommend taking out comprehensive health and travel insurance before you set off on holiday. This will ensure you’re covered in case you need emergency medical treatment while you’re abroad. It’s a good idea to check your policy thoroughly before you head off to make sure you’re aware of what is and what isn’t included. You should also check you’ll be covered for any activities you’re planning for your trip, such as watersports.

Any other tips?

  • It’s a good idea to carry a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport and your immigration form with you at all times, as Mexican police are allowed to ask you for these.
  • At hotels and resorts in Cancun, you can normally flush toilet paper down the toilet. However, be aware that in most places in Mexico, toilet paper goes in the bin next to the toilet.
  • The official currency in Mexico is Mexican pesos. It is possible to pay with US dollars in most resorts, shops and restaurants in Cancun, but it’s likely that you won’t get a very good exchange rate.
  • For more information and Mexico travel advice, head to The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Cancun weather

Temperature: 28-36 (°C) 

When’s the best time to go?

Known as the ‘Mexican Caribbean’, the coastal city of Cancun is the place to find luxurious all Inclusive resorts and some of the world’s most beautiful white sandy beaches. It’s also the gateway to the Mayan world, so follow our Cancun travel advice to book your trip to this stunning destination today. The weather in Cancun is hot and sunny all year round, with the sea a perfect temperature for swimming.

The most popular time of year to visit Cancun is from December to April, when the weather is near-perfect, with temperatures ranging from 28°C to 32°C during the day and, rarely dropping below 21°C at night. From June to August, humidity is high and the hottest temperatures of around 34°C can be experienced, so you’ll need to pack your sun cream and a hat.

If you prefer cooler temperatures, why not visit between September to November? It’s a little less hot and humid but it’s worth noting that this is hurricane season, with stormy weather and rain likely. Although hurricanes rarely make landfall here, they do happen occasionally, so make sure you have travel insurance in place and keep an eye on the weather forecast before your trip.

What should I pack?

Chances are you’ll be spending a lot of time on Cancun’s beaches or lazing around the pool at your all-inclusive resort, so don’t forget your swimwear and sunglasses. Sun cream is also a must, as well as a hat and a light layer to protect yourself from the scorching sun in peak season. Make sure you pack plenty of light, cool clothes as well as a light jacket or waterproof layer for rain showers or cooler evenings. Remember to check the weather forecast before you jet off, too.

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