Welcome to the paradise of Mexican Caribbean, Cancun! This destination is renowned for its spectacular beaches, turquoise waters, and luxurious resorts. However, there's a lot more to Cancun than the glitz and glam you see in travel brochures. If you're looking for off-the-beaten-path experiences that only locals know about, then you're in the right place. Here are 12 insider tips to show you the hidden gems of Cancun that will leave you amazed and enchanted! Get ready to explore the other side of Cancun that you never knew existed.
What You'll Learn
- Visit the ancient Mayan ruins at El Meco
- Go cave diving in the Cenotes Dos Ojos
- Take a scenic bike ride through the Hotel Zone
- Enjoy the sea views and drinks at the rooftop bar of The Cape
- Book a boat tour to the Isla Mujeres for snorkeling and beach time
- Dine at La Habichuela for local Mexican cuisine
- Explore the jungle trails of Xcaret Eco-archaeological Park
- Catch a local Lucha Libre wrestling match
- Try the traditional Yucatecan dish, cochinita pibil, at Los Aguachiles
- Discover the colorful street art in the downtown area
- Watch the beautiful sunset over the lagoon at Las Abuelas
- Swim with whale sharks in the surrounding waters (seasonal)
Visit the ancient Mayan ruins at El Meco
|Name||El Meco Archaeological Site|
|Type||Archaeological site in Mexico|
|Rating / Review count||4.6 / 837|
|Address||Carretera Puerto Juarez, López Portillo, 77520 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico|
|Hours||Monday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM|
Tuesday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Wednesday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Thursday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Friday_good_friday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Saturday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Sunday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Cancun is known for its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and a plethora of tourist attractions. However, there is one attraction that is not so well-known, and that is the ancient Mayan ruins at El Meco.
Located just outside the city limits of Cancun, El Meco is an ancient Mayan archaeological site that dates back to 300 BC. The site is believed to have been a major trading center and served as a vital link between the coastal communities and the interior of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Unlike the more famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum, El Meco is relatively small in size, but it is still worth a visit if you are interested in Mayan history and culture. The site is set amidst a lush tropical landscape and features several well-preserved buildings and pyramids.
One of the standout features of El Meco is its main pyramid, which stands at just over 12 meters tall. The pyramid is thought to have been built as a ceremonial center and features intricate carvings and sculptures that depict various Mayan gods and goddesses.
Another highlight of the site is the ball court, which was an important part of Mayan society and was used for religious and sporting events. The ball game played here was seen as a way to communicate with the gods and was often used in ritual sacrifice.
Visiting El Meco is a great way to learn more about Mayan history and culture, and it is also an opportunity to get away from the crowds and enjoy a more tranquil and peaceful setting. The site is only a short drive from Cancun, and there are several tour operators that offer guided visits.
If you are looking for a unique and enriching experience during your visit to Cancun, be sure to include a visit to the secret Mayan ruins at El Meco on your itinerary. You won't be disappointed!
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Go cave diving in the Cenotes Dos Ojos
Cancun, a dream destination for many, is known for its crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches, and tropical vibes. However, there are a few hidden secrets that Cancun has to offer, and cave diving in the Cenotes Dos Ojos is one of them.
The Cenotes Dos Ojos are a breathtaking natural wonder located just 40 minutes south of Cancun. These cenotes are a combination of two interconnected sinkholes that display sparkling clear water, making it one of the best places in the world for cave diving.
The ancient Mayans considered cenotes to be sacred and they believed that these sinkholes were gateways to the underworld. Thousands of years later, thousands of divers from all around the world still flock to this location to discover the incredible underwater beauty these caves have to offer.
Cave Diving in the Cenotes Dos Ojos is a unique experience that is suitable for experienced divers. The experience is not for the fainthearted, but for those who are courageous enough to explore the depths. You'll find a mystical and otherworldly feel as you explore the caves while being surrounded by gigantic stalagmites and stalactites.
The cave diving experience at Cenotes Dos Ojos will offer a breathtaking swim through the cenote's crystallized water, diving through massive caverns, into sunken depths, and illuminating hidden underwater passages. You'll discover striking rock formations that have taken many years to be formed.
Exploring the Cenotes Dos Ojos requires advanced scuba diving skills, including proper buoyancy control and the ability to navigate small and tight passages. But for experienced divers, this once in a lifetime opportunity is one that should not be missed.
As you venture through the Cenotes Dos Ojos, you'll feel like you've discovered an underwater world that was meant to stay a hidden secret forever. The beauty of the caves and their unique features make it an unparalleled experience for any diver, making it an unforgettable adventure.
In conclusion, visiting Cancun can be an excellent adventure. While many people look forward to the beaches and resorts, exploring the Cenotes Dos Ojos through cave diving offers an entirely different adventure. Although it's a challenging dive, the experience is truly worth it, and for those who are brave enough to attempt it, it will be an encounter that they will never forget.
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Take a scenic bike ride through the Hotel Zone
Cancun is a haven for beach lovers from around the world, but if you're looking for something different and adventurous to do on your next trip to this Mexican paradise, consider taking a scenic bike ride through the Hotel Zone.
The Hotel Zone refers to the long, narrow strip of land that separates the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Nichupte Lagoon on the other. It's a beautiful area full of some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in Cancun, but there's much more to explore beyond the walls of your hotel.
Renting a bike is a great way to experience the Hotel Zone in a different light. You will see many hidden gems - beautiful parks, enchanting trails, and the best beaches tucked away from the crowds.
One popular scenic route winds down the entire length of Boulevard Kukulcan, the main road in the Hotel Zone. From the start, you'll be greeted by panoramic views of the beautiful turquoise water, which will accompany you the whole way. You'll also see unique sculptures and beautiful gardens along the way, so don't forget to bring your camera.
Another beautiful route is the Nichupté Lagoon trail. The trail is perfect for those who want to explore nature and adventure opportunities. You'll get to see mangroves that line the lagoon, and there’s even a beautiful secluded beach, known as Playa Delfines, where you can rest for a while.
If you're looking to escape the crowds and see a different side of Cancun, a scenic bike ride through the Hotel Zone is an excellent way to do it. It's a fantastic opportunity to get some exercise, take in breathtaking views, and experience the beauty of this gorgeous region in a way that most tourists never get to. So why wait? Rent a bike, grab a map, and hit the road!
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Enjoy the sea views and drinks at the rooftop bar of The Cape
If you're looking for a truly secret and special spot in Cancun, then The Cape is the place to be. This luxury resort and spa is located on the south end of the Baja Peninsula and features breathtaking sea views and a rooftop bar that is absolutely unforgettable.
The rooftop bar at The Cape is known as The Rooftop at Thompson and is situated atop the hotel's fifth floor. Once you make your way up there, you'll be greeted by a stunning view of the Sea of Cortez that is practically unmatched. This is the perfect spot to grab a drink and take in the view while enjoying some of the local cuisine.
The atmosphere at The Rooftop is one of modern elegance and sophistication. The bar design and decor are sleek, minimalist, and modern, with an emphasis on clean lines, natural materials, minimalist furniture, and modern lighting. The vibe is relaxed and casual, but with a sense of sophistication and refinement that makes it clear you're in a special place.
The bar serves up a selection of wine, beer, and craft cocktails. Some of the signature drinks include the fisherman's sour, the Cape martini, and a selection of margaritas that are all made with fresh, local ingredients. You can also indulge in some small plates, such as ceviche, shrimp tacos, and guacamole.
Besides the breathtaking view of the sea, The Rooftop is also known for its innovative drinks menu and exceptional service. The bartenders are knowledgeable and passionate, always willing to help you discover new flavors and concoctions that you won't find anywhere else.
In addition to The Rooftop, The Cape also has several other dining options that are worth a visit. These include Manta, which features Latin American cuisine with an Asian twist, and The Ledge, the hotel's casual all-day dining restaurant.
Whether you are looking for a romantic spot for a date night or just want to enjoy a beautiful sunset with friends, The Cape's Rooftop Bar is the perfect spot in Cancun. With exceptional drinks, stunning views, and an atmosphere that is both elegant and laid back, you're sure to have an unforgettable experience.
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Book a boat tour to the Isla Mujeres for snorkeling and beach time
If you're looking for a secret Cancun experience that's off the beaten path, consider booking a boat tour to the Isla Mujeres. This beautiful island, situated off the coast of Cancun, is the perfect place to escape the crowds and enjoy some snorkeling and beach time.
One of the great things about the Isla Mujeres is that it's only about 8 miles away from Cancun, so it's a quick and easy trip by boat. You can choose from a variety of different tours, but most will take you on a leisurely cruise across the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, giving you stunning views of the coastline and nearby islands.
Once you arrive on the Isla Mujeres, you'll be able to snorkel in some of the clearest waters in the world, seeing all sorts of colorful fish and marine life. You can also swim with dolphins or visit the Turtle Farm, where you can learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect these endangered creatures.
Of course, no trip to the Isla Mujeres would be complete without some time spent relaxing on the beach. The island boasts several pristine beaches with powdery white sand and crystal-clear water. You can soak up the sun, read a book, or try your hand at some water sports like paddleboarding or kayaking.
When you're ready for some refreshments, head to one of the many beachside restaurants and bars for some fresh seafood and a cold drink. You'll be able to sample some of Mexico's famous ceviche, made with locally caught fish, or try some tasty Mexican tacos.
All in all, a boat tour to the Isla Mujeres is a fantastic way to escape the crowds of Cancun and experience some of the natural beauty that the region has to offer. Book your trip today and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!
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Dine at La Habichuela for local Mexican cuisine
|Name||Restaurante La Habichuela|
|Type||Bar & grill|
|Website||Go to website|
|Rating / Review count||4.5 / 1,621|
|Address||C. 10 Margaritas 25-20, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico|
|Phone||+52 998 884 3158|
|Hours||Monday - opens at 12:30 and closes at 11 PM|
Tuesday - opens at 12:30 and closes at 11 PM
Wednesday - opens at 12:30 and closes at 11 PM
Thursday - opens at 12:30 and closes at 11 PM
Friday_good_friday - opens at 12:30 and closes at 11 PM
Saturday - opens at 12:30 and closes at 11 PM
Sunday - opens at 12:30 and closes at 11 PM
Cancun is a popular tourist destination known for its sunny beaches, exciting nightlife, and beautiful archaeological sites. However, it also offers many secret attractions that most visitors never get to experience. One such attraction is the charming restaurant La Habichuela, widely considered one of the best places to dine in Cancun.
Situated in the heart of the city, La Habichuela has been a local favorite for more than 40 years. The restaurant's decor features traditional Mexican themes, and its warm ambiance and friendly staff create a welcoming atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.
But the real draw of La Habichuela is its delicious food, which offers an authentic taste of Mexican cuisine. The menu features a wide range of regional specialties, including seafood dishes such as spicy shrimp, octopus in garlic sauce, and red snapper in green mole. Other popular menu items include grilled meats like Arrachera steak and Cochinita Pibil, a slow-roasted pork dish that is a staple of Yucatan cuisine.
For those with a sweet tooth, La Habichuela offers a variety of desserts, including flan, tres leches cake, and traditional Mexican sweet breads. Additionally, the restaurant has an extensive wine list that features both Mexican and international wines to pair with your meal.
In addition to its delicious food and welcoming atmosphere, La Habichuela offers a unique dining experience. The restaurant has several cozy dining areas, including a tropical courtyard surrounded by lush, green foliage, and a romantic candlelit room perfect for a romantic dinner for two.
If you are looking for a truly authentic dining experience in Cancun, La Habichuela should be at the top of your list. Whether you are a local or a visitor, the restaurant provides an ideal setting to enjoy Mexico's warm hospitality, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. So the next time you find yourself in Cancun, don't miss out on the opportunity to dine at this secret gem.
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Explore the jungle trails of Xcaret Eco-archaeological Park
Cancun is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and all-inclusive resorts. However, there is a secret gem hidden in the heart of the city that offers an entirely different experience. Xcaret Eco-archaeological Park is a natural wonderland that combines the beauty of nature with history and culture.
Located just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Cancun, Xcaret is a sprawling jungle paradise that spans over 200 acres. The park offers a range of activities and attractions, from snorkeling with sea turtles to exploring ancient Mayan ruins. But for those seeking a true adventure, the jungle trails of Xcaret are not to be missed.
The trails wind through dense jungle foliage, allowing visitors to see rare and exotic wildlife up close. You might catch a glimpse of a tapir or an agouti darting through the underbrush, or a colorful bird perched high up in the trees. The foliage is alive with the sounds of howler monkeys and other primates, creating a truly immersive experience.
As you trek deeper into the jungle, you'll come across hidden ruins and archaeological sites that date back thousands of years. The Mayans once inhabited the area, and you can still see evidence of their temples and structures scattered throughout the park. It's an opportunity to connect with history and explore a lost world that few visitors to Cancun ever get to see.
The jungle trails of Xcaret are not just for seasoned hikers or adventurers. The paths are well-groomed and easy to navigate, with markers indicating key points of interest. The park also offers guided tours for those who want to learn more about the flora, fauna, and history of the area.
Along the way, you'll also encounter refreshing cenotes - natural sinkholes filled with crystal clear water. Take a dip in the cool, refreshing water and experience a moment of true relaxation amidst the tranquility of the jungle. Cenotes were once considered sacred by the Mayans, and they continue to hold a special place in the hearts of the people who call this area home.
In conclusion, if you're looking to break away from the typical Cancun vacation and explore a hidden jungle oasis, Xcaret Eco-archaeological Park is an ideal destination. Its jungle trails offer an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature and history, combining adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration into one incredible experience that you won't soon forget.
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Catch a local Lucha Libre wrestling match
If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path activity to do in Cancun, attending a Lucha Libre wrestling match is an exciting and unique experience that many travelers overlook. This traditional form of Mexican wrestling is a high-energy, action-packed event that will have you cheering for the good guys and booing the bad guys in no time. Plus, it's a great way to mingle with the locals and immerse yourself in the culture.
The first step in catching a local Lucha Libre match is to find out when and where they are taking place. You can ask your hotel concierge or check online for schedules. Matches are typically held in small venues like gyms or arenas, so don't expect a Hollywood-style production. This is grassroots wrestling at its finest.
Once you arrive at the venue, be prepared for a rowdy and exciting atmosphere. The audience is just as much a part of the show as the wrestlers and they are known to throw popcorn and cheer loudly throughout the match. The wrestlers themselves are usually masked and costumed, with elaborate personas and signature moves. Watching them perform acrobatic stunts and choreographed maneuvers is an impressive feat that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
One of the most iconic aspects of Lucha Libre wrestling is the use of masks. These colorful, ornate masks not only serve to identify the wrestlers but also act as symbols of their strength and power. You may be able to purchase a mask at the match, which makes for a great souvenir to take home and remember your experience by.
Overall, attending a Lucha Libre wrestling match in Cancun is an unforgettable experience that will inject some adrenaline into your vacation. It's a fun and lively event that will allow you to connect with the local culture in a unique way. So grab some popcorn, pick a side, and get ready for some action-packed entertainment like you've never seen before.
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Try the traditional Yucatecan dish, cochinita pibil, at Los Aguachiles
Cancun is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Mexico, attracting millions of visitors every year with its pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural history. However, there are still some secret gems hidden throughout the city that only a few lucky travelers know about - one of which is the traditional Yucatecan dish, cochinita pibil, at Los Aguachiles.
Located in the heart of Cancun's downtown area, Los Aguachiles is a cozy little restaurant that offers a unique and authentic dining experience. While the menu features a range of mouthwatering seafood dishes, the real star of the show is their delicious cochinita pibil.
Cochinita pibil is a traditional slow-cooked pork dish that originated in the Yucatan region of Mexico. The meat is marinated in a mixture of achiote paste, citrus juices, and spices, then wrapped in banana leaves and roasted until it is tender and flavorful. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth experience that is truly unforgettable.
At Los Aguachiles, the cochinita pibil is served with freshly made tortillas, pickled onions, and plenty of cilantro for a burst of flavor. The dish is perfect for sharing with friends or family, and pairs beautifully with a cold beer or a refreshing margarita.
In addition to its delicious cuisine, Los Aguachiles also boasts a charming atmosphere that is perfect for a romantic date night or a casual dinner with friends. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable given the quality of the food.
If you're on the hunt for a hidden gem in Cancun, look no further than Los Aguachiles. With its mouthwatering cochinita pibil and friendly ambiance, it is sure to become one of your new favorite spots in the city.
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Discover the colorful street art in the downtown area
Cancun is a world-renowned destination that draws visitors from all over the globe. While most people come to enjoy the beautiful beaches and luxurious resorts, there's much more to this Mexican paradise than meets the eye. One of the most fascinating aspects of Cancun is the street art that decorates the downtown area. If you're looking for a unique and colorful experience, then you won't want to miss out on this cultural gem.
Cancun is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture that is reflected in various art forms. The city is home to many talented street artists who have transformed blank walls into beautiful murals. There are murals featuring everything from traditional Mayan motifs to depictions of modern-day life, and each one has its unique story.
One of the best ways to experience the street art scene in Cancun is to take a walking tour led by a knowledgeable local guide. These tours will take you through the bustling streets of downtown Cancun, where you can see some of the city's most impressive murals up close.
One of the most famous pieces of street art in Cancun is located in the famous Parque de las Palapas. The iconic mural depicts a young Mayan girl with painted-on bird wings, surrounded by vibrant colors and intricate designs. This piece is a favorite among visitors, and you'll likely see several people taking pictures with it.
Another must-see mural in Cancun is located on a building in Plaza de la Reforma. This mural depicts a giant jaguar, a powerful symbol in Mayan culture. The artist uses a combination of bold colors and intricate details to create a stunning work of art that is sure to impress anyone who sees it.
Overall, Cancun's street art scene is a testament to the vibrant and diverse culture that the city has to offer. Whether you're an art lover or just looking for a unique experience, exploring the colorful murals of Cancun's downtown area is an unforgettable adventure. So why not ditch the resort for a few hours and venture into the heart of Cancun's cultural scene? You never know what amazing artwork you might discover!
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Watch the beautiful sunset over the lagoon at Las Abuelas
Cancun is famous for stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and an exciting party scene. But did you know there's a secret spot where you can watch the most beautiful sunset in the town?
Head to Las Abuelas, a hidden gem tucked away in a peaceful corner of the lagoon. From there, you can witness the magical moment when the sun descends into the water, painting the sky in the most vibrant hues of pink, orange, and purple.
Not many visitors know about this spot, so you'll get to enjoy a peaceful and romantic atmosphere, away from the crowds of the main beach areas. As the sun starts to go down, grab a seat on the pier and settle in for the show. You'll feel the gentle breeze blowing as the sky changes colors, and the sounds of the lagoon will transport you to a state of pure relaxation.
Las Abuelas is also an ideal spot for a romantic picnic. Bring along some snacks and drinks and share an intimate moment as the sun dips below the horizon. The views from Las Abuelas are truly breathtaking, and it's a perfect opportunity to take some stunning photos to remember your stay in Cancun.
But be sure to arrive early, as this spot is quite sought after - especially during high season. Las Abuelas is a well-kept secret, but the word is getting out, so make sure to add it to your Cancun itinerary before it becomes too popular.
In conclusion, if you're looking for a peaceful and romantic spot to watch the sunset in Cancun, Las Abuelas is the perfect choice. So grab your camera, your loved one, and settle in for a stunning display of nature's beauty.
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Swim with whale sharks in the surrounding waters (seasonal.
Cancun is a magnificent destination for those who love the sun, sand, and sea. And while there are plenty of things to do in this picturesque city, one of the best-kept secrets is swimming with the gentle giants of the sea – the whale shark.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world and can grow up to 40 feet long. These peaceful creatures can be found in the surrounding waters of Cancun from May to September, which is their mating season. During this time, they migrate to the warm waters of Mexico's Caribbean coast to feed on plankton and krill.
Swimming with the whale sharks is an unforgettable experience. It's a chance to get up close and personal with these gentle giants and observe them in their natural habitat. The waters surrounding Cancun are home to a vast population of whale sharks, making it one of the best places in the world to see them.
The tour begins with a briefing by an expert guide who will give you all the necessary information about these magnificent creatures. After the briefing, you will board a boat and head out to sea on the lookout for the whale sharks. Once they are spotted, you will be able to get in the water and swim alongside them. You will be given a life jacket and snorkeling equipment, and expert guides will be with you at all times to ensure your safety.
Swimming with the whale sharks is an activity that is strictly regulated in Cancun to ensure the safety of the animals and the visitors. It is important to choose a reputable tour operator that follows the rules and regulations set by the Mexican government.
In conclusion, swimming with the whale sharks is a unique experience that you shouldn't miss when visiting Cancun. It's an opportunity to witness the majesty of these incredible creatures and create memories that will last a lifetime. So next time you're in Cancun, be sure to add this activity to your itinerary and make the most of your time in this beautiful city.
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Frequently asked questions
Some of the lesser-known beaches in Cancun that are worth a visit include Playa Delfines, Playa Norte, Playa Langosta, and Playa Ballenas.
Some of the lesser-known cenotes in the area include Cenote Azul, Cenote Kin Ha, Cenote Dos Ojos, and Cenote Cristal.
Some of the less crowded and less touristy attractions in Cancun include the Mayan ruins of El Meco, the Crococun Zoo, the Jungle Tour Adventure, and the Cinepolis VIP movie theater.
Some hidden gems for food in Cancun are Tacos Rigo, El Cejas Tacos, La Parilla de la Selva, and Taqueria Coapa. These are all local, off-the-beaten-path eateries that serve up delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine.