Hipmunk City Love: Off the Beaten Path Treasures of Cancun

Photo by freetobe_mel via Trover.com

Setting sail for a cruise to Cancun or headed to a hotel resort by the beach? The tropical beaches of Cancun may play host to some amazing resorts and beaches, but the best hidden treasures can be reached only by taking a step off the beaten path. When in Cancun, venture outside the resort or hotel for an excursion to some of these amazing sites along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Dive into the Exhibitions at Cancun’s Underwater Museum

Cancun is home to one of the most interesting museums in the world, featuring submerged exhibitions. Take a look at the statuary hidden below the surface while snorkeling or diving at Cancun’s Underwater Museum, also known as MUSA. Don’t forget to bring an underwater camera for spectacular shots of sculptures from beneath the ocean’s surface. Featuring more than 470 statues, this museum is one of the most unique attractions in Cancun.

Explore “Sacred Wells” or Underwater Caverns at Dos Ojos

Dive deep into the underground caverns named cenotes, or “sacred wells,” at Dos Ojos. These cenotes offer more than 300 miles of passageways for anyone who is open water–certified to take a dive. This majestic dive ventures deep into the caverns for observation of local ecosystems in warm, crystal-clear waters. For certified divers, an excursion to Dos Ojos is an underwater oasis.

Splash around the Sinkhole with a Swim at Ik Kil

Many people flock to see Ik Kil Cenote — a large well and natural wonder just outside Cancun. Step off the everyday trail to visit this special spot, making sure to arrive in the morning to beat the crowds of tourists and their buses. Cool off from the hot day with a swim in this sinkhole for awe-inspiring scenes of local birds and warm waters refilled by nearby rivers.

Enjoy Pristine Beaches and Birdwatching at Isla Contoy

Escape into scenes of solitude in the untouched paradise of Isla Contoy. This national park hosts a wildlife reserve that’s perfect for birdwatching along the beaches. Spot red crabs, iguanas and even sea turtles along the shoreline, and take a long walk along these pristine beaches for a relaxing excursion into serene natural surroundings. Snorkeling is also a popular option for marine life viewing off the sands of Isla Contoy.

Set Off with an Excursion to Mayan Ruins at Coba and Chichen Itza

Not far from Cancun are some of the oldest ruins along the Yucatán Peninsula. The pre-Columbian ruins at the old city of Coba hold Teotihuacan architecture with the original “white roads,” the ball courts and the tallest Mayan pyramid found on the peninsula. A day trip to Chichen Itza is even more impressive, culminating in the Kukulkan Pyramid or “the Castle,” named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. A walk through the old cities and ruins offers a unique glimpse into early Mayan history.

Some of the best hidden treasures can be easily reached from most Cancun hotels. Plan ahead by securing a diver’s certification or day trip reservations to some of these amazing locales for the best “off the beaten path” wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula.


I'm an author @The Oracle's Library and natural ginger who loves to explore local history and culture. Follow for tips, guides, and advice for more adventurous travel.

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