Comprising Cancun, Puerto Morelos (a traditional fishing village), Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras and Akumal (boutique resort communities) and Tulum (free spirit beach village), as well as the islands of Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Holbox, the Mexican Caribbean offers endless attractions for visitors, and even more wonders lie within easy driving distance. In the neighboring state of Yucatan visitors can explore the world-famous archaeological sites of Chichen Itza and Uxmal and the 16th-century cities of Merida, Valladolid and Izamal, nature reserves, cenotes and haciendas. Further afield, natural treasures, ancient Mayan cities and timeless traditions await discovery in central and southern Quintana Roo.

Visitors from all over the world are flocking to the Mexican Caribbean lured by its heavenly beaches but they soon find that it offers an unsurpassed array of attractions and that there really is something for everyone. Here’s a quick guide to the amazing travel adventures available. Discover the possibilities.

Amazing Once in a Lifetime Wildlife Experiences
Swimming with whale sharks (summer season)
Snorkeling with sailfish (spring season)
Snorkeling with sea turtles (all year round)
Swim with dolphins
Swim with nurse sharks
Swim with manatees
Golden ray migration
Watching sea turtles nest
Cave of the Hanging Snakes in Kantemo (Maya Ka’an)

Mayan Majesty
Chichen Itza, UNESCO World Heritage Site, also voted one of World’s New Seven Wonders in a 2007 global online poll
Ek Balam
Uxmal, UNESCO World Heritage Site with an incredible evening light and sound show
Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak & Labna, Mayan sites on the Puuc Route near Uxmal
Chacchoben (central Quintana Roo)
Kohunlich, Dzibanche and Oxtankah in southern Quintana Roo
Calakmul in southern Campeche, UNESCO World Heritage Site
El Rey & El Meco in Cancun
Cancun Maya Museum
San Gervasio on Cozumel

Incredible Nature
Great bird watching year-round in the area’s jungles, wetlands and reserves.
The Yucatan Peninsula is also on one of the world’s great bird migration routes and an estimated 150 million birds fly south from the US and Canada to escape the winter cold.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Contoy island bird sanctuary
Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, home to thousands of flamingos
Punta Laguna community nature reserve near Cobá, a haven for spider and howler monkeys
Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden, second largest of its kind in Mexico
Celestun Biosphere Reserve (longer excursion)
Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Campeche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (longer excursion)
Bacalar Lagoon (known as the Lagoon of Seven Colors)
Ecological tours through the mangroves
Crocodile watching
Night walks in the jungle
Wildlife photography classes (occasional)

Underwater world
Dive or snorkel the world’s second longest reef, the Mesoamerican Reef
Wall dives in Cozumel
Drift diving in Cozumel
Night diving
Dive trips to Banco Chinchorro (coral atoll accessible from Mahahual and Xcalak in southern Quintana Roo)
BOB (Breathing Observation Bubble) underwater tours
Cancun Underwater Sculpture Museum
Atlantis Submarine in Cozumel
Cancun Aquarium
Xcaret Aquarium
Underwater trek (Snuba)
Cave and cenote diving
Snorkeling in cenotes
Swim or float along underground rivers
Underwater photography classes
Parks for the Whole Family
Xcaret (Eco-archaeological Park)
Xel-Ha Natural Aquarium
Garrafon Reef Eco Park (Zip lining over the Caribbean)
Crococun Park
Adventure Parks & Trips
Xplor Park
Xenotes, Oasis Maya (four different cenotes in one day)
Jungle zip lining and canopy tours
Hidden Worlds (Snorkeling, cenotes, zip lining, cave diving)
Aktun Chen (nature park with cenotes, caves, zip lining)
Jungle multi-sport safaris
Island Hopping
Isla Mujeres
16th-century Colonial Cities
Convent Route
Yucatan’s Henequen Haciendas
Learn about the history of henequen cultivation in the Yucatan by visiting an old hacienda or estate. Used to make ropes and sacks, this native plant fuelled an economic boom in the late 19th century and was known as “green gold.”
Hacienda Sotuta
Hacienda Teya
Hacienda Yaxcopoil and many more
Meeting the Maya
Maya Ka’an – small group trips to Mayan communities in central Quintana Roo and Sian Ka’an (including Tihosuco, Señor, Chunhuhub and Noh-Bec)
Punta Laguna
Mayan Temascal experience (traditional sweat lodge)
Pueblo Maya in Xcaret
Momentos Sagrados Mayas, community theater showcasing Mayan traditions and village life in X’ocen near Valladolid every Sunday at 4 p.m., January to March.
Water Sports
Windsurfing (lessons available)
Kite surfing
Paddle boarding
Fly boarding
Water skiing
Jet surf
Paddle board yoga
Wave runners/Jet skis
Speed boats
Tiny speed boats through the mangroves
Luxury yacht/catamaran cruises
Big game/Bill fishing
Large pelagic tarpon fishing
Flats/fly fishing
Surf fishing
Spear fishing
Catch & release dock fishing for children
Sports & Activities
Spa relaxation
14 Golf Courses
Helicopter ride along the Mexican Caribbean coast
ATV Jungle Tours
Jeep Safaris
Go Karts
Exotic luxury cars to drive such as Ferraris
Segway scooters
Ultralight flights
Parachute jumps
Horseback riding
Camel riding on the beach
Watching baseball (Mexican League), basketball (Triple AAA level) and soccer (Mexican Second Division) in Cancun
Sports events such as boxing, Mexican lucha libre, triathlons, marathons, cycling races
Winter quail and duck hunting in Yucatan
Dining, starting with Mexican cuisine which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Xoximilco Park (Mexican evening of great food, live Mexican music and a ride on a traditional trajinera or Mexican “gondola”)
Xcaret Park’s famous evening show
Coco Bongo, Latin America’s hottest nightclub
Pirate’s Night Parties on a pirate ship
Lobster dinner cruises on a Spanish galleon
Salsa classes
Karaoke evenings
Romantic dinners on the beach
Beach bars
Live music, Mexican and world music
Cirque du Soleil (coming this November)
Cancun Planetarium
Concerts by world-class musicians   (Occasionally)
Designer brands
Mexican Handicrafts
Local art
Mexican Traditions
Mexican cooking schools in Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Merida and Valladolid
Learning Spanish
Learning Maya
Charrería, traditional Mexican rodeo events
Events during the Year
Many events during the year attract visitors or make a vacation even more enjoyable.
Merida Festival, January (month-long cultural festival starting on January 6, anniversary of the founding of the city)
Dia de Reyes, Mexican Tradition, January 6
Momentos Sagrados Mayas, community theater showcasing Mayan traditions and village life in X’ocen near Valladolid every Sunday at 4 p.m., January to March
Mexican Caribbean bill fishing season begins, March
Cancun & Riviera Maya Food & Wine Festival, March
Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza, March 21
Mexican Caribbean fishing tournaments, April – August in different locations
Isla Mujeres Regatta (late April)
Copa del Rey Polo Tournament, El Rey Polo Club, Puerto Morelos (late April-May)
Mexican Independence, September 15
Merida Autumn Cultural Festival, September – October
Day of the Dead, Mexican tradition, World Heritage, November 1 & 2. Day of the Dead is called Hanal Pixan in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Xcaret Festival of Life & Death, Oct 31, Nov 1 & 2
OHL Classic PGA Golf Tournament at Mayakoba, November
Riviera Maya Jazz Festival (late November, Playa del Carmen)
Further Afield
Trips to destinations in the Maya World
Seeing more of Mexico – flights to Mexico City, Puebla, Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Palenque and Leon, jumping off point for Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende.
Departure point for Cuba
Conservation projects
Sea turtle conservation
Reef health monitoring
Jaguar census
Bird counts
Flamingo ringing
Community projects
Teaching English
Ask at the tour desk in your resort for more information. See for videos of many lesser known attractions in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan.