One of Mexico’s most popular touristic destinations, Cancun is often matched with images of big all-inclusive resorts, loud spring break crowds and hordes of tourists. But, while you can sometimes find a lot of those, if you want to get off the beaten path there are also some pretty unusual things to do in Cancun. These are our top picks.
Cancun Underwater Museum
Featuring over 450 sculptures, the MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte) is one of the largest underwater art attractions in the world. The statues are located off the coast between Cancun and Isla Mujeres. Artist Jason deCaires Taylor created the statues as a mean to divert visitors’ attention away from the nearby natural reefs. The sculptures rest at a depth of between 13 to 30 feet; so the best way to visit the museum is by scuba diving or even snorkeling.
Bird Watching at Isla Contoy
Located some 19 miles north of Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy is one of the most important bird nesting sites in Mexico. Declared as a national park in 1998, the island is home to some 150 bird species. Official tours to the island leave both from Cancun and Isla Mujeres. However, visits to the park are limited to help support its pristine ecosystem, so it’s best if you make the necessary arrangements in advance.
Head Out to Valladolid
If you really want to get away from the hustle of Cancun, then a road trip to Valladolid is what you need. Located 100 miles west of Cancun, this charming colonial town is also close to the ruins of Chichen Itza. If you end up in Valladolid, don’t miss visiting the Casa de Los Venados, an impressive private collection of Mexican folk art.
Tequila Herradura Sensory Museum
Housed in the Hacienda San José del Refugio, this museum aims to educate visitors in the art of tequila making. Using traditional tools and techniques, they produce some of the finest tequila. During the one and a half hour tour, you will learn about the history of Tequila, how is it made, and the proper way to drink it.
Experience Xoximilco Cancun
If you’d like to experience the festive side of Mexican culture, you should visit Xoximilco Cancun. The construction of this picturesque town is inspired by the Xoximilco in Mexico City. The biggest feature of the place are its trajineras — boats that were once used to transport vegetables, fruits and flowers.
Chill Out in Puerto Morelos
This laid-back fishing village is located just 20 miles south of Cancun. In Puerto Morelos you will find some of the most pristine beaches in the region, which make it an ideal place for scuba diving and snorkeling. Deep sea fishing is also popular here. Additionally, its proximity to the jungle makes it a popular destination for mountain biking and trekking.
As you can see, there is more to Cancun than what you can see on its famed Hotel Zone. And if you are looking for a place to stay, check out Hipmunk’s great guide of hotels in Cancun.
This post is part of the #HipmunkCityLove series.