Weekend Getaways in Cancun

Cancun, Mexico is a worldwide favorite when it comes to tourist destinations, so much so that it’s sometimes referred to as the Mexican Caribbean. It is estimated that about four million visitors come to the island each year with an average of 190 flights a day. If you’re headed to Cancun for a weekend getaway you may actually want to plan on a themed vacation so you can tailor your activities to experience the parts of Cancun that you’d appreciate most.

Water Fun

What better place to enjoy the water and water activities than an island, and Cancun is one of the best islands for visitors to explore? The beaches of Cancun are one of its biggest draws with powder soft white sand and miles of space. All of the beaches are public property and open to everyone but some are easier to access than others. If you’re looking for snorkeling fun then the area near the Westin Regina, on the southern tip of the hotel zone, is an excellent spot. Swimming is best done on the Caribbean side of the island. The opposite side, Nichupte Lagoon isn’t the best place to swim as there are crocodiles in the lagoon, although they’re not aggressive. But Nichupte Lagoon is a great place to try your hand at some other water activities such as jet skiing, sailing, kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing, and water-skiing. If you’re determined to have an up close and personal experience with an aquatic resident, and not a crocodile, then the Dolphin Discovery at Isla Mujeres is the place to go with unique experiences for tourists with dolphins, manatees, and sea lions. For those who prefer their aquatic adventures from a further distance there are a huge variety of boat trips that let you see the beautiful natural environment and the diversity of wildlife in this tourist paradise.

Theme Parks

Cancun isn’t known for its theme parks but there are a few that are must see experiences that could make for an unforgettable weekend getaway. Xcaret is an ancient Mayan archaeological site that has been transformed into an eco park. Visitors to Xcaret can immerse themselves in the culture by taking a complete archaeological site tour or explore individual sections. Additional activities include temascal, sharks tour, snuba and snorkeling adventures, paradise river, dolphin experiences, natural pools, the beach, the lagoon, underground rivers, the sea trek and a variety of local flora and fauna to explore.

Another exciting adventure park in Cancun is Xel-Ha is another Mayan archaeological site but this one is focused on the water with a natural aquarium lagoon with a shark fence around that is open for guests of the park. In the Xel-Ha inlet there are hundreds of native species and a turtle preserve which works to maintain local populations. At the park you can create experiences with the creatures of Cancun through snorkeling, scuba diving, and special dolphin excursions.

Another interesting park experience in Cancun is the Atlantis Submarine it’s a great opportunity for those who don’t scuba dive to take a look at the marvels under the sea. The submarine seats 48 people and each seat has a porthole for viewing. You will drop down to 100 feet and explore the Chankanaab reef closely. The tour is guided and completely safe so it’s perfect for all visitors to Cancun.

Archeological Vacation

Cancun is a total plethora of archeological wonders and it’s the perfect vacation hotspot for tourists looking to go on an archeological tour. The list of sites is impressive and includes Coba, Tulum, El Rey, El Meco, Kohunlich, Kinichna, Dzibnache, Oxtankah, Chacchoben, Muyil, and more. Some of the more popular sites are Paseo Kukulkan which is a smaller site but features two main plazas with streets which has important implications. Chichen Itza is the most extensive complex of Mayan ruins and dates back to 600 AD, this is easily the most popular tourist attraction. Coba is one of the largest Mayan cities with the Nohoch Mul which is 138 feet tall. Tulum was the only walled city in close proximity to the ocean that the Mayans built. It was a later site, built between 1200 and 1500, and is a bit of a distance from Cancun proper. Xel-Ha is usually combined with a trip to Tulum and visitors to Xel-Ha can take in the archeological wonders from a different perspective as they snorkel in the natural inlet.

Romantic Vacation

If you’re thinking about heading to Cancun to explore the romantic side of life you’re in luck as the beautiful sun drenched city by the sea. In fact Cancun has become a popular destination wedding site. Many of the restaurants in Cancun are geared toward romantic interludes and the concierge at your hotel can help you get a reservation at the current happening hotspot of your choice. One way to boost the romantic nature of your Cancun vacation is to rent a car and take flights to some destinations, then vow to get up early, this way you beat the crowds and nothing ruins romance like a crowd of tourists. Even some of the biggest tourist attractions have their moments of peaceful romance like the butterfly garden in Xcaret. Another incredibly romantic experience are the horseback rides at The Riviera Maya which lets you explore the jungle, the beach and the Caribbean Sea.

Family Vacations

Cancun obviously inspires images of romantic escapes but it’s also an incredible place to take your family for a vacation of a lifetime. Imagine the wonder the ancient ruins of the Mayan can inspire. The incredible delight your family will experience with an intimate dolphin encounter. The fun you can have playing and exploring Xcaret. The learning experiences a submarine or snorkeling adventure can instill. And the relaxing fun you and your family can have just spending a day on the beach taking in the sun, sand and surf. Cancun is actually a perfect vacation spot for an entire family as there are so many different options for activities and many of them have a built in educational component.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mr.Thomas