Cancun Bucket List : 8 Fun & Unique Activities! [2023]

Looking for the ultimate cancun bucket list? In this blog post, I am going to share with you the TOP 8 things to do in and near Cancun, for first time visitors!

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best things to do in cancun

By the way, I wore these super cute outfits in Cancun, you can click on the images to find out where I bought them !! :

Cancun Bucket List

Visit The Chichén Itzá Pyramid

One of the most exciting things to do in Cancun, is actually near Cancun – and it’s the Chichén Itzá Pyramid day trip!

I actually went on the Chichén Itzá day trip that includes a Chichén Itzá guided tour, a stop in a beautiful cenote, and anoter stop at the beautiful Valladolid city.

I had so much fun on this day trip, and I got a great deal on it through Get Your Guide (which is a super affordable discounted attractions website).

Here are some cool chichen itza photo ideas!

best things to do in cancun

Taking Part in a Traditional Mayan Temazcal Ceremony

Cancun is known for its all-inclusive resorts, beautiful white-sand beaches, and turquoise waters, but there is a lot more to do in the area than play on the beach. 

If you’re looking for a unique and highly immersive cultural experience while in Cancun, taking part in a traditional Mayan temazcal ceremony is a must. 

And the best temazcal ceremony in Tulum to experience a Temazcal ceremony is at Temazcal Cancun, just 25 minutes outside of Cancun city center, or to join a unique temazcal ceremony day trip, which has a Temazcal ritual in cancun

This is the best temazcal ceremony Cancun has to offer

A temazcal ceremony is an ancient sweat lodge ceremony used by Mayans and Aztecs for healing and spiritual purification. 

Many Mexicans take part in these ceremonies, which are led by a shaman. 

Participating in a temazcal can help purge your body of toxins, increase energy levels, and promote feelings of peace and well-being. It’s also a great way to show respect to traditional Mexican culture. 

During the ceremony, participants sit inside a darkened and enclosed dome. In the center of the dome, a pit of hot volcanic rocks, called abuelas, emits heat and steam as the shaman pours a mixture of steeped herbs and plants on the stones. 

The temazcal ceremony lasts for about two hours. It’s divided into four parts, called puertas, with a small break between each part. 

Throughout the Temazcal ceremony in Cancun, the shaman leads participants through a series of songs, chants, and meditation, using drums and other percussion instruments. 

You can get your own tickets on for the mayan ceremony in Cancun!  The day trip they offer includes the authentic Mayan Purification Ceremony, you will also learn a out the Mayan culture and their traditions, and afterwards you will go for a swim in a beautiful cenote!


Credit: Astrid,

best things to do in cancun

Exploring The Underwater Rivers of The Yucatan Peninsula

Exploring the underwater rivers of the Yucatan peninsula, by doing a cenote dive is an unreal bucket list dive experience close to Cancun. Cenotes are sinkholes filled with clear water. 

These structures are formed when underground limestone caverns collapse. The cenotes and underground caves are the perfect location for exciting scuba diving. 

The water in the cenotes is crystal clear, because it is rainwater that is filtered through the ground. 

These cenotes have some interesting geological formations like pillars and stalactites formed over millions of years that divers can see exploring the caverns with underwater lights.  

The adventure starts when you drive through the jungle with a jeep packed with dive gear and jump into this spectacular underwater world through a hole in the jungle floor. 

Diving in the cenotes is a very accessible activity. Many of the cenotes are  classified as cavern dives and special cave diving training is not required to dive here, only standard scuba diving qualifications. 

  • Dos Ojos is a very popular cenote for scuba diving and snorkelling located close to Tulum.
  • Cenote El Pit is a spectacular dive also located in the Dos Ojos national park and is on the bucket list of many travelling scuba divers. This is a deeper dive and therefore an advanced open water dive qualification is required. 

Diving in these cenotes are very popular day trips from Cancun with most local dive operators – Campbell and Alya Stingynomads.

Credit: Campbell,

best things to do in cancun

Go on a Holbox Island Day Trip!

You can do a lot in Cancun, from enjoying the beach to fun day trips. Cancun’s location makes it ideal for exploring the north of Yucatan. 

There are many beautiful places to discover, however the most beautiful island of Yucatan and perhaps all of Mexico is Isla Holbox. 

Isla Holbox is the most paradisiacal island in the Gulf of Mexico. 

You will find miles of sandy beaches, hammocks in the sea, golf carts instead of cars, cozy beach clubs where guacamole is standard on the menu, cheerful reggae, special street art, flamingos, and pelicans walking next to you on the beach, mangroves, and lagoons to explore. swimming, beautiful sunsets and so on. 

There is so much to do in Isla Holbox! I could go on for hours about what you can see and do in Isla Holbox. Put it on your bucket list quickly, because this island in Yucatán is going to become very popular in the coming years. 

Isla Holbox can be reached from Cancun by bus or car. For this, use the busses from ADO to travel to Chiquilá. 

In Chiquilá there is a boat every 30 minutes that takes you to Isla Holbox. 

If you are more comfortable with having everything arranged for you, another option is to go on a Isla Holbox tour, where you will be picked up from your hotel and departed by boat directly to Isla Holbox.

In addition, if you are going to visit Isla Holbox on a day trip, try not to do this during the weekend, because the locals also travel to this island during the weekend. 

During the week it is quieter than on the weekend. All in all, a great destination to discover!

Credit: Alexander,

best things to do in cancun

Go on a Isla Mujeres Day Trip!

Even if you’re visiting Cancun for the first time, taking a day trip to Isla Mujeres is a must! Isla Mujeres is a small island located about 8 miles off the coast of Cancun. 

Taking a day trip to Isla Mujeres will give you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful beaches and all the fun things you can do in Isla Mujeres. 

You can snorkel, swim with dolphins, explore the island, or just lay on the white sandy beaches – totally up to you!

From Cancun, it’s easy to get to Isla Mujeres by taking a local ferry from Puerto Juarez that leaves every half hour between 5 am-9.30 pm. 

It takes 15 minutes to reach the island and a return ticket costs around $22 USD. 

Once you’re on the island, it’s best to rent a scooter or a golf cart to be able to explore the whole island.

Make sure to drive all the way down to the southernmost point of the island to visit Punta Sur, a dramatic stretch of coastal cliffs with stunning ocean views. 

Playa Norte on the northern side is another unmissable sight on Isla Mujeres. In fact, it’s often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico! 

If you’re feeling hungry, you’ll find plenty of amazing restaurants and cafes in Centro, the main town on Isla Mujeres, right next to Playa Norte.


Credit: Krisztina,

best things to do in cancun

The Underwater Museum of MUSA.

If you’re a first time visitor to Cancun and are looking for something fun and adventurous to do, and something to add to your Cancun Bucket List, look no further than the renowned underwater museum of MUSA. 

Accessible via glass-bottomed boat, snorkeling or scuba diving, the MUSA offers over 500 life-size sculptures; each of which are designed to be ecosystem-friendly and are constructed out of materials that prompt coral growth, effectively providing habitat opportunity to much of the local marine life. 

The MUSA originated as an interactive method of raising awareness (and funds!) for underwater conservancy, and in serving its noble mission has also managed to become one of the most eccentric Cancun must-sees in the area! 

If you wish to witness the MUSA for yourself, book via any one of the local travel agencies. 

Cost will be dependent on how you opt to view the museum, and should include access to the Cancun National Marine Park as well as whatever equipment may be needed. 

For the most intimate experience, it’s recommended to go diving amidst the art, which will provide an up-close-and-personal view at how the sea is beginning to reclaim these magnificent structures. 

Just ensure to pack a waterproof camera, as it’s guaranteed you’ll want to document this unique alcove along the Mexican coast.

Credit: Natasha,

Cancun Bucket List

Go on a Whale Shark Tour

During your first time visit in Cancun, you should absolutely book a whale shark tour. This should definitely be part of your Cancun Bucket List! 

Mexico is one of the few places on the globe where you can swim with  the largest fish in the world. 

Some of the biggest whale sharks have length of 18 meters so this will definitely be a once in a lifetime experience. 

The majority of tour operators will arrive next to the doors of your hotel and transport you to the harbour. 

You might worry a little about swimming with such giants, but once you jump into the water, you will love it. 

Watching them feeding plankton while taking some underwater pictures will stay in your memories forever. 

Just keep in mind that whale shark season starts in June and ends in September so it is a seasonal attraction. 

Over 100 whale sharks come to this area during summer and look for plankton. They are very gentle and don’t do any harm to humans. 

If you decide to swim with them, avoid using sunscreen, because all chemicals will stay in the water for a very long time. 

The Cancun whale shark tour is like no other attraction. The whole trip is very well organized, only two people from one boat can jump into the water at the same time. 

It gives you a great opportunity to swim next to this giant fish and enjoy this tour to the fullest.

Credit: Paulina,

best things to do in cancun

Eat Delicious Japanese Tacos

If you are looking for one of a kind experience in Cancun, you shouldn’t miss the Japanese tacos. 

Located on 77509, Av Coba 59, Oishi tacos is a Japanese style mexican restaurant, serving a pretty unique mix of japanese delicacies on mexican tacos. 

The owner Tsubasa, an original japanese chef who is also the waiter and the cashier, makes everything from scratch, focusing on fresh ingredients and quality food. 

From Teriyaki to Tonkotsu Pork, Karaage Chicken and Sakana Tacos to Ramen and a variety of beers, you won’t be disappointed. 

Prices are very affordable too. Please keep in mind that this place is cash only.  It is opened everyday from 5 PM to 1 AM.

Credit: Selene,

Cancun Bucket List, food!

FAQS on Cancun Bucket List

Free things to do in Cancun:

There are lots of free things to do in Cancun! You can see · 1. Playa Delfines · 2. La Isla Shopping Village · 3. Avenida Kukulkan · 4. Playa Tortugas · 5. Playa Langosta.

Cancun hacks

  • Stay downtown rather than on the beach
  • Always pay in Mexican pesos to avoid taking a hit on the terrible exchange rates
  • Take Mayab buses rather than ADO
  • Save your immigration form from the airport, you will get a fine if you lose it!
  •  Bring bug spray
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle

What is Cancun Mexico most known for?

Cancun is known for its gorgeous beaches, great weather, and amazingly clear and clean waters. it also has excellent air and land connectivity, and a range of interesting tours and activities for all types of travellers.

How many days is enough for Cancun?

I think at least two to three days in enough for Cancun. You can visit the most important sites, enjoy the food, visit Mayan ruins, go on a boat trip or a hike and relax at the beach!

What should I be careful of in Cancun?

You should be careful of scammers, pickpockets, and price gougers which often take advantage of tourists. I would also keep an eye on rouge policeman looking for a quick bribe. My friend had drugs planted on her by a policeman O_O

And that’s it for today! The ultimate Cancun Bucket List and all the TOP 8 best things to do in Cancun for first time visitors!

I hope this bucket list things to do in Cancun has inspired you and given you ideas to explore and really enjoy Cancun!