A number of facilities offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins right in Cancun. For land adventures, the best idea is to book a self-drive Jeep tour. It’s good to hire an experienced guide who can lead you through the twisting jungle paths and show you the most interesting underground caves and lakes, and guide you through the impressive Mayan ruins. Jungle reserves in Cancun have an incredible variety of wildlife, including tropical birds, monkeys, jaguars, and reptiles. Surprisingly, one of the best places to find tropical birds is in the Cancun airport, owing to its fairy-tale location carved into the island jungle.
Cancun was built up as a tourist site intentionally because of its ideal seaside beaches. The soft white sands are made of ground up coral that doesn’t get hot like most sand does and the water is a crystal clear turquoise. Advanced swimmers should take the opportunity to swim on the open sea but calmer waters can be found on the beaches facing Isla Mujeres. Locals hawk souvenirs along the beaches, including sarongs, jewellery, and sea shells. You can haggle with them for the best prices. Playa Delfines is the most popular beach with gay travellers.
Garrafon, Xplor, Xcaret and Xel-Ha are large ecological parks that offer activities such as zip lining, rafting and tours of underground rivers. Most of the eco parks and some tour operators also specialize in dolphin-swimming programs.
The Xcaret Ecopark, a trip down the Riviera Maya coast, has an incredible variety of local flora and fauna, with a jaguar island, butterfly pavilion, orchid greenhouse, breeding farm and natural areas. There’s also opportunities to snorkel in underground rivers or go swimming with dolphins. Xcaret also sits on a major Mayan archaeological site that is still being excavated and is a wonder to explore. Stay the night and enjoy nightly performances of Mayan culture and Mexican music and enjoy a Temascal or spa service in the morning.
More than thirty resorts in Cancun offer full spa packages combining ancient Mayan healing rituals with modern stress-reduction techniques. Many are located along Blvd Kukulcan, at the peninsula beaches of the Zona Hotelera district. After a traditional Temazcal steam bath, a luxurious full-body massage on the beach, and a natural body wrap made from local plants and flowers, you’ll understand why Cancun is considered one of the world’s top spa destinations.
Cancun is a great base from which to start an exploration of Mexico’s southeast coast, and one of the main reasons to visit the Mayan Riviera, is to see the stunning ruins of the ancient Mayan civilization that once dominated the region. The massive, thousand-year-old Chichen Itza, (“at the mouth of the well of Itza,“), is a World Heritage Site, and one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.” Located about two hours west of Cancun, the second most visited archeological site in Mexico, it has dozens of enormous stone temples, houses, and pyramids, including the 24-meter high Kukulkan Pyramid. Lost in the jungle until the 1920s, it merits a full day's exploration.
Coba, another large ancient Mayan city, is located about two hours west of Playa. and contains several large temple pyramids. The tallest among the Nohoch Mul group of structures is 42 meters (138 ft) in height - tallest on the Yucatán peninsula.
On your way back to Cancun, visit the ruins at Tulum, the only major Mayan archaeological site to overlook the Caribbean Sea. More than 60 sites have been unearthed here, including city walls, paved roads, homes, and seaside businesses. This walled city is believed to have been an important ceremonial site for the Mayan people, and a major port for Cobá. "El Castillo," atop a 40-foot cliff, is thought to have served as a lighthouse.