By Laura Winfree
October 02, 2014
Best Water Sports in Cancun
Credit: RGB Ventures / SuperStock / Alamy

The alluring beach resorts running the length of Cancun’s Hotel Zone sit along a strip of land bordered by the bright blue Caribbean Sea on one side, and the sparkling waters of Nichupte Lagoon on the other. Water sports enthusiasts love this tropical destination for its ability to provide both large ocean waves, as well as calm, protected shores. The Hotel Zone is lined with marinas, offering group expeditions and rental equipment, whether you desire a high-speed wave-runner or easy water noodles for the kids. Head to the sea for powerful swells, or stick to the lagoon for a leisurely afternoon of swimming and floating. Classic activities such as snorkeling and deep-water diving continue to thrive on Cancun’s well-preserved reefs, while new attractions (SNUBA; stand-up paddleboarding; flyboarding) give adrenaline-seekers new kicks. For those looking to get out and get wet, these top five water sports are the hottest on Cancun’ waters right now.


Almost any time you go to the beach in Cancun, you’ll spot parasailers hovering over the shallow shores of the Caribbean. For the spontaneous visitor, it’s easy to book a parasailing tour by simply approaching one of the vendors on the beach at your resort. If you’re planning your activities in advance, visit the city’s main water tour companies for the best rates and offers.


With the world’s second largest barrier reef located just off the coast of the Hotel Zone, Cancun has spectacular diving opportunities. Choose from a visit to the underwater museum, Aquaworld, or swim alongside the wildlife occupying the vibrant coral reefs. Divers can explore ancient shipwrecks and underground caverns, and photographers will love the clarity of the images they can snap in the crystal-clear Caribbean.


Flyboarding is one of the newest and craziest water sports, and is now offered by several Cancun tour companies. Head to the ocean or lagoon for an experience that blends the best of wakeboarding and jet skiing. Jets of water to propel you into the air, and you steer the foot-platform by tilting your feet. I was intimidated at first, but don’t be shy: the flyboard is pretty is an easy thrill.


The exciting speedboat tour at Aquatours is one of the most popular activities in the Hotel Zone, giving you the opportunity to explore the lush mangrove islands and channels of the breathtaking Nichupte Lagoon on a small, two-person speedboat. The best part? Participants can keep the included snorkel after using it to view the shoals of tropical fish, the barracuda, and even the octopi that inhabit these gentle water.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

The calmer waters of the northern Hotel Zone are ideal for a day of stand-up paddle boarding—also known as SUP. This relaxing water sport has travelers paddling through the water while standing on a long board. Stop by the Las Perlas Marina or the beach clubs on Isla Mujeres for paddle boarding lessons and rentals. For the expert, try the latest in the trend: SUP yoga.