Bright beach umbrellas dot white expanses of sand, writhing with tanned bodies in peak season and fringed with palms year round. Warm Caribbean waters beckon in this popular paradise. Sliding along the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun has long been a favorite getaway for all sorts of sun enthusiasts.
Sand and water related attractions are part and parcel of Cancun’s lure. Take a spin on a Sea Doo, soar the heights with a parasail, or just people watch from the comfort of your beach chair. Find a change of scenery and sand on the Isla de Mujeres, a 45-minute ferry ride from Cancun. Just don’t get so baked in the sun that you miss some of the region’s other attractions.
Mayan ruins offer a fascinating cultural alternative to the bustle of Cancun’s beaches. Ancient stone temples and pyramids emerge from the mysterious jungles at Chichen Itza. Other archaeological sights, like Tumal and Coba, are also accessible from Cancun.
Catch the ferry from Playa del Carmen to the island of Cozumel for top snorkeling and diving opportunities, or rent kayaks and explore the mangrove swamps and jungle of Tres Rios, 25 miles from Cancun. Swim in an underground river at the ecological park, Xcaret. Snorkel sinkholes and lagoons at Xel-Ha, hailed as the world’s largest natural aquarium, before stopping in at Xpu-Ha for crocodiles and nature trails.