Cancún + The Riviera Maya

Things to do in Cancún + The Riviera Maya

From classic must-see sights to insider hot spots and local haunts, there are countless things to do in Cancun The Riviera Maya. How do you decide? Start with our travel guide and get our favorite Cancun The Riviera Maya attractions and activities—shops, museums, parks, nightclubs, coffee shops, tours, and more.

Our international team of editors and writers handpick the best things to do in Cancun The Riviera Maya to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences. Whether a hidden boutique with handcrafted products, a popular local festival, a bakery with a cult following, or a picnic-worthy park, Travel + Leisure guides the way, providing information and inspiration. From beaches and bars to cultural attractions and up-and-coming neighborhoods, our list will help you make the most of your romantic getaway, family vacation, or trip with friends. Below find Travel + Leisure’s top picks for what to do in Cancun The Riviera Maya.

Jaguars, ocelots, and tapirs, as well as hundreds of species of birds and fish, roam these 1.3 million acres of coastal jungle, home to nearly every Yucatán ecosystem and studded with unexcavated ruins.

A mix of guided jungle and water activities are offered at this park in an up-close, jungle environment. Water activities are focused on snorkeling and diving in the cenotes—underground pools and waterways common in the area.

With its passionate guides and open-ocean enclosures, Dolphin Discovery is the best of several companies in Mexico offering swims with dolphins. Under a guide’s tutelage from afar, you’ll hang onto fins for a ride, practice hands-free waterskiing—and collect a kiss.

The bar and restaurant on the ninth floor of the new Hotel Wynston has panoramic views of the harbor, the town center, and the sea. In addition to the usual spirits, the bar stocks an extensive wine list to complement the restaurant's Mediterranean-Asian–fusion menu.

Many cenotes—sinkholes in the subterranean rivers that riddle the Yucatán—are either limited to divers or overrun with crowds, but not this 15-by-130-foot pool, fringed with fan palms on a rocky bluff.

An ecological theme park, Xcaret has a plentiful roster of activities and attractions focused on the surrounding natural environment and Mexico's cultural history.

Tall, blond southern boy Rory Dunaway might not seem the obvious choice to unravel the secrets of Mexican gastronomy, but the new recreational kitchen’s chef de cuisine has a way with a flan pan.

Between the international pier and Punta Langosta, this good-looking bar (with a crowd to match) sits right on the waterfront and is named for the number of ounces in a tequila shot.

Tangle with a snake, feed a peccary, walk through a crocodile den, and be accosted by an affectionate spider monkey at this 150-acre nature reserve, home to reptiles and mammals indigenous to the Yucatán, all rescued from the wild or from illegal owners.

The Blue Parrot dates to 1984, making the club one of Playa del Carmen’s elder statesmen. What started as a casual hotel and bar now includes the 5th Avenue Hotel’s 19 rooms, plus 22 curvy units in the Blue Parrot Suites.

Bargoers here, a short taxi ride from Mexico’s Playa del Carmen, descend by candle-lined stairs into a subterranean lounge, trying to recall the little saying they learned as children to tell stalactites from stalagmites.

Here, you'll find two floors of well-priced T-shirts and Mexican vanilla, Mexican dolls and Xtabentum, a smooth-as-brandy Mayan liqueur that is flavored with anise and honey. If you need a break, grab a bite at the snack bar on the second level.