Things to do in Riviera Maya

Discover Things to Do in Cancún: Beyond the Beach

Cancún is so much more than sprawling beaches. These unique experiences paint the city in a new light.

There are countless things to do in Riviera Maya, Cancún, and Tulum, but most people immediately think of sunbathing on white sandy beaches or taking a refreshing dip in the tropical seas. While these are certainly a major part of the appeal, there is so much more to explore in the sparkling city of Cancún — and its neighbors along the Caribbean Sea.

With all the aquatic sports, luxurious spas, and archeological sites at your doorstep, there are a variety of experiences to discover beyond lounging on the beaches of Cancun.

Water Sports and Adventures

Experience the seas from a whole new vantage point with these aquatic things to do in Cancún.

1. Snorkeling at the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA)

You might think of art museums as being dry, quiet places, but prepare for that expectation to be flipped on its head. At the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), the art is under the sea. Submerge yourself in the exhibits and discover a breathtaking display of 450 life-sized sculptures that look like people frozen in time.

Photographer: Jamie Madden

2. Parasailing Over the Caribbean Sea

If you’re a true daredevil and don’t balk at heights, take a parasailing tour over the sea. As you fly hundreds of feet in the air, you'll enjoy some of the best panoramic views in the region. Feel a sense of overwhelming freedom as weightlessness overtakes you, and the sand and sea stretch endlessly before your eyes.

Cultural and Historical Sites

All sorts of historical and cultural wonders await within minutes of downtown Cancún.

3. Visit the Mayan Ruins of El Rey

The Hotel Zone of Cancún may not always have been a tourist attraction, but it has ancient roots as a trade route dating back to the Mayan civilization. Now, rather than serving as a major Mayan trade hub, it’s a peek into the past.

Venture into the Mayan ruins of El Rey and discover the crumbled remains of stone buildings and botanical gardens of indigenous plants.

Photographer: Sebastian Gómez

4. Explore the Museo Maya de Cancún

At the Museo Maya de Cancún, the rich history of the Mayan civilization comes to life. Three exhibition halls abound with the most significant cultural artifacts found among the ruins and detailed information, weaving a story to explore.

The museum is adjacent to the San Miguelito ruins. Venture behind the museum along the shady jungle path, and explore four distinct sites with intact pyramids and crumbled remains of old structures.

Family Fun in Cancún

Fun for the whole family can be found just about anywhere in Cancún, but these destinations take the cake.

5. Interactive Aquarium Cancún

This isn’t your typical aquarium, where glass separates you from marine animals. At the Interactive Aquarium Cancún, you’re encouraged to jump in and interact with them.

Take a swim as dolphins frolic around you, or go for a ride on one. Enjoy an exciting spa while fish nibble at your toes. Or, enter a whole new undersea world, donning a dive helmet that keeps your face completely dry and pumps oxygen for you to breathe as you walk along the aquarium floor.

Photographer: Xad Eugenia Sánchez Ruíz

6. Ventura Park Cancun

Uncover a whole new meaning to tropical fun at Ventura Park Cancun, where five thrilling parks await, each with a different theme. Fun World houses the city’s only roller coaster and a flying chair that swings you right over the Caribbean Sea.

Ventura brings jungle thrills with massive zip lines, bungee swings, and a wobbly bridge obstacle course. Explore the high-tech gaming center at Underworld while navigating precarious laser mazes and high-speed RC races.

At Grand Prix, you can take to the track on go-karts to leave your opponents in your dust. Splash down the aquatic slides at Wet’n Wild World when you need to cool off.

Natural Wonders and Eco-Parks

Appreciate the natural beauty of Riviera Maya at these eco-parks, enormous protected landscapes where nature, fun, and environmental preservation go hand in hand.

7. Xcaret Park

Xcaret Park takes a traditional theme park and twists it around with over 50 natural and cultural attractions. Take a swim in an underground river, or go snorkeling in a natural lagoon.

Watch dolphins leap as you swim with them. If you’re particularly fearless, swim alongside nurse sharks. Interested in the ancient cultures in the area? Participate in a temazcal ceremony led by a shaman.

Photographer: Michelle_Raponi

8. Xel-Há Park

Want the dreamlike beauty of Riviera Maya with all the fun of an aquatic park? Swim in rivers, cenotes, and secret bays at Xel-Há Park in Tulum, where natural attractions and activities are around every corner. Relax the day away in a hammock while enjoying unlimited food and beverages.

Wet slides seamlessly integrate with jungle paths, but for the best sights, climb up the lighthouse attraction for a bird’s-eye view of the park. When you’re done, descend the ginormous slide as you return to the ground.

Relaxation and Wellness

Vacations are meant to be as relaxing as they are fun! After enjoying these relaxation and wellness destinations, you'll leave recharged and ready for adventure.

9. Yoga on Playa Delfines

Playa Delfines is stunning, with sprawling white sands dotted with huts. The relaxing ambiance is elevated by a yoga class right on the beach. Reach for the sky or enjoy soaking in the rays in a soothing child’s pose. When your session ends, you’re left rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

Photographer: Jose Mizrahi

10. Spa Day at NIZUC Resort & Spa

A spa day is delightful regardless of locale, but there’s something special about a spa day at the luxurious NIZUC Resort & Spa. It’s one of the best resorts in Cancún, featuring two exclusive beaches and a kids’ club.

Massages, hydrotherapy, heat and cold therapy, and oxygen therapy all soothe and coax the stress away, leaving behind utter bliss as you relax in style.

Discovery and Adventure in Cancún

Some of the most memorable things to do in Riviera Maya or Cancún are among the most unique. You can’t go wrong when you add these attractions to your itinerary.

Any trip to Cancún would be incomplete without a visit to our show JOYÀ. Join us on a journey through an ethereal jungle in an adventure inspired by the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Revel in wonder as we bring dreams to life, subverting expectations and evoking emotions every step of the way. We’ll make the stage feel as grand and beautiful as this Caribbean destination itself.

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