My picks for Cancun activities
Here are my picks for the best activities in and near Cancun....
Snorkeling with Mike.
This is a private tour for only your group. The tour last 5-6 hours and it includes lunch on an island Mike takes you to. Mike makes this snorkeling day so much fun. When you go out with Mike, its like going out with family. There is no "corporate feel" at all. Let's say you decide you would like to stop and just go for a swim. No worries, just let Mike know and he will stop the boat, anchor down and let you go swimming for a while in the crystal clear warm waters. And the warm water it is crystal clear, you can see straight down, even from 30 feet.
For the snorkeling portion, its best to let Mike take you to certain spots. One will be the protected waters around Isla Mujeres. The underwater beauty there is rated #2 in the world. Just don't remove anything there please as it is illegal. Another snorkeling place Mike takes you to is very shallow with a soft sandy bottom with many colorful fish. Great for young kids. The trip also includes taking an hour on Isla Mujeres with golf carts to check out the island. Very relaxing and interesting.
If you have 6 or less in your group the cost is $390 for everyone. If you have 7 or more the cost is $65 per person. Transportation is included, it takes about 1/2 hour to get to the dock from the resort. How do you book this special trip?
This tour is an in house service, meaning we offer it only to our guests. We do not take payment for this, you pay they day of the trip directly to Mike, cash only please.
Lastly, Mike's family comes from many generations of fisherman. When Cancun became a tourist destination, Mike's family began offering snorkeling services and has been doing so ever since. But they have not given up the fishing by any means, which brings us to the next option....
Fishing with Mike.
Mike's family comes from many generations of fisherman. That is something they are VERY good at doing. And how Mike catches fish is an experience in and of itself. He grabs some fishing line and a hook, no rod or real, only a glove, and hooks a worm and within minutes of repeating this process he has several half pound fish swimming around in a bucket on the boat. Amazing to watch him in action. Then he let's your get in on the action! Mike puts one of the live fish on a hook, this time with a rod and real and off you go to catching the bigger fish! Nothing like the old world way!
Now mind you this is "regular" fishing, not deep sea fishing. If you are looking for catching the huge sail fish that is further down on my list. But if you want a great fishing experience where you will catch fish and have a great time doing it, this is it. You catch a wide variety of fish, from Baracuda to red snapper and many others. The types of fish you will pull out of the Caribbean are amazingly different from what you see back home. The tour runs about 5-6 hours, just like the snorkeling. And the cost is exactly the same. $390 for a group of 6 or less, or $65 per person for groups of 7 or more. The cost includes lunch on an island he takes you to and it also includes transportation from the hotel to the port and back. This is a private tour to your own family or group.
Want to eat your catch the same night? No worries, Mike will filet them for you at no extra cost. Please just remember to give him a little extra when you leave the tip.
This is an "our guests only" excursion meaning you cannot book it unless you rent a vacation rental from us. To book hover over "Basics" and in the drop down box click on Special Services. You will need your confirmation number from your reservation for the condo.
Swim with the Dolphins
Swimming with the dolphins is such a cool activity. How can you not be amazed by these incredible creatures?! Most places typically go through a series of things with the dolphins and you and your group. For example, shaking hands/fins, going for a ride and holding on, a final kiss at the end, and gentle touching and smiling with the dolphins is encouraged.
There is one thing that is truly amazing that some dolphin swims offer, so do ask about this if you find think you would want to do it. When our family went they offered for the "grand finale" to have 2 dophins push you under your feet so fast that you come out of the water, as if you are standing up floating across the water. It was incredible, my wife did it a few years back. She was able to hold the stand up over the water position for a couple seconds. The dolphins are so talented and smart, they will actually help a great deal in keeping you balanced during this stunt, amazing! One dolphin was under each foot of my wife. We went to the dolphin swim at La Isla mall and it was terrific. http://www.cancun-discounts.com/cancun-aquarium.htm
Also getting very high marks with reviews is Delphinus Dreams in Cancun for swimming with the dolphins: http://www.cancun-discounts.com/dreams-cancun-dolphins.htm
Another point about this activity is that it is so popular that many other attractions offer swim with the dolphins in addition to their other or main attraction. For example, thinking about going to Xel Ha? You can add swim with the dolphins to that excursion. Same with XCaret and many others so keep that in mind. Meanwhile the two dolphin swims noted above are right here in Cancun, just minutes away from the resort.
You can book these online in advance at one of many brokers (see links above), or you can talk to the tour center at the resort if you would rather book in person.
Albatros Catamaran Tour (public or private)
Sailing on a catamaran on the Caribbean is an experience unlike any other. Catamarans are sail boats comprised of 2 hulls designed to afford people lots of space on top of the boat for relaxing and enjoying the sunshine while cruising the beautiful waters of the Caribbean.
Like most catamaran tours, this tour includes open bar. It starts at 10am and goes for 6.5 to 7 hours all day. The sizes of the catamarans go from about 36ft. to 65ft. long. ALL of the Albatros tours include the spinnaker ride, which is essentially a large parachute type sale that they hook up to the sail structure to take people cruising through the air. You'll see some of photos of this right. All prices also include a buffet lunch and a trip to Isla Mujeres. And finally all packages/prices include snorkeling and the necessary equipment for snorkeling.
The prices range from $70 to $104 per person depending on the specifics of the package you want. And you can get significant discounts by booking online in advance. The further in advance, the more the discount. To learn more their site is: https://www.albatrossailaway.com/
If you would like the boat all to yourself that will run you $1,560 and you can have up to 20 people on board.
When you compare the Albatros packages with other catamaran prices and packages you will see this is the obvious choice.
Selvatica Zip-lining AND/OR ATV experience
This is a fantastic tour! If you are going to go zip-lining or want to get a little wild with some ATV action, this is the place. It should be noted that many excursions/tours have cross over activities. Meaning at abc place you may be able to swim with the dolphins or with xyz place you may be able to also do zip-lining or ride ATV's, very common in Cancun. What I am doing is giving you the best place to experience each of these activities in Cancun. Think about it, if you are going to bother to pay for a tour, and invest your day, don't make the activity you wanted so much an "add on" from another excursion. You want to go to places where the activity YOU WANT is their specialty. No one does zip lining like Selvatica. Their crew is outstanding. They have in excess of 7,000 reviews and they still manage an incredible 4.5+ rating. The selvatica staff is upbeat, happy, funny, and quick witted. I have a hunch they do well here, and to get a job here they are looking for special people and it shows.
We did not do the ATV action when our family went but we did see the vehicles and the roadways through the forest and if our kids were not so young at the time we would have been all over it.
As you zip-line from tree to tree through the forest it is amazing to have the feeling of flying, especially between all the trees and lush vegetation. My oldest son, only 10 at the time, was going up side down on the zips in almost no time. At the end of the zip line tour you get to zip out over the water over a natural cenote. They let you go as many times as you want, until everyone is basically exhausted. As the zip line goes out over the water you just drop off when your ready and splash in. So exhilarating! What a blast!
Selvatica has also added a zip-line roller coaster and bungee jumping from a tree. Crazy!
I will give you their site link below, booking in advance is recommended because this tour is always full. You can book online, advanced bookings will often times save you some money. Choose from several options. Tour typically runs 4-6 hours depending on how much you are doing. Transportation to and from is typically included in their pricing.
Pricing depends on the package, ranges from $99 to $199, kids are typically about 1/2 off. For zip lines you are a child if you are 3-11 years old. For ATV's you are a child if you are 8-15 years old, any younger and you cannot go on the ATV's.
What is the sports car of your dreams? Have you ever dreamed about driving that car on a real race track? If so, Exotic rides in Cancun is the real deal. You get to choose from Ferrari, Porche and other dream cars and then you get to drive them on a real race track. This is NOT a cheap excursion. But then again, you will NEVER forget this experience as long as you live.
They offer many packages, but the lease expensive of those options will run you a cool $550 for 5 laps. If you want to spend much more time on the track, the price per lap goes down substantially. Passenger non driver positions available at about 1/2 off.
Another package they offer allows you to simply cruise Cancun for a few hours or a day. Check out their site for details, I will include their link below.
Now I have not done this "tour". But the idea of taking a Ferrari around that track a few times is exhilarating to just think about. So why not jump in the super car and make it happen?!!
Check out their web site for details. Yes, its right here in Cancun.
Chichen Itza: One of 7 wonders of the World
World Famous Chichen Itza Ruins will fascinate, impress and sometimes shock you. The ancient Mayan culture was not so ancient in many ways. Their culture was brilliant, yet brutal. Experience the amazing accomplishments of this ancient culture by visiting the ruins and hearing the stories and logistics behind the ruins you see. A great tour guide is what makes this trip especially interesting and fun.
1. If you take the public tour, you will have an air conditioned nice bus with a bathroom on board. Remember to dress light, it is very hot inland. A towel in a cooler on ice is a nice idea.
2. If you love your tour guide, great. If you are not thrilled, consider getting your own private guide for your family, they are normally there waiting for their chance and ask the locals for a good one. The cost is about $60 and worth every penny, plus the guide is private to your family at that point. Even though you already paid for a guide, its worth considering letting that go unless the crowd size is not bad for your group and the guide is excellent.
3. Its very nice to not have to think about driving. On the other hand if you rent a car for the day you can opt to leave nice and early. If you get there around 8am or so it is NOT real hot and you have the place much to yourself and your guide.
4. Don't forget biodegradable sunscreen, dress lightly, consider bringing a hat for shade.
5. Its about 2 hours one way, so consider doing a combo tour and team this tour up with IK KIL Cenote which is relatively nearby the ruins. This is an amazing natural wonder to behold plus you get to go swimming in it.
Prices are reasonable, most of the cost is transportation, for the combo of Chitzen Itza and IK Kil cost is around $72 per person, kids 5-11 are $35, under 5 are free. To view the combo with Chichen Itza and Ik Kil here is one link to check out: http://www.cancun-discounts.com/tours/cancun/chichenitzalimotour.htm
Scuba Diving - Nautilus Cancun
So you've never gone scuba diving before? It really does not take the long to learn how, so it is worth considering this tour even if you never have gone before. Just imagine being under water and exploring and NOT have to worry about coming up for air constantly. It's actually quite awesome! And there is a lot to see under the crystal clear waters of Cancun and nearby islands, ship wrecks, reefs and other opportunities. And Nautilus is head and shoulders over their competition. They know what they are doing, don't mess around with anyone else. Just check out their reviews on trip advisor if you have any doubts.
Cancun also added an underwater museum in the last few years just for you scuba divers out there. Enjoy!
Here is all you need to know on their web site:
wonder to behold plus you get to go swimming in it.
Learn how to Surf
Cancun is ideal to learn how to surf because the waves are gentle year round. Check out 360SURF at: https://www.360surfschoolcancun.com/
This company was recommended to me by a wonderful customer of ours. I had been coming to Cancun for 18 years at the time, but had never seen a surfboard. She found this place and the reviews are outstanding. Their family loved it.
They also offer paddle board rentals pictured below right.
Surf lessons include:
Full surf equipment
Instructional beach lesson
1 Main surf instructor
Additional surf instructors based on your group size
The use of 50+ UV protectant
Fluent speakers of both English and Spanish
Safety, comfort and fun are their top priorities
From ages 4-80 years old
Private lessons: approximately 90 minutes: $125
1-2 people non private lesson, approx. 90 minutes: $100 each
4 people or more private group lesson: $75 each
Best time to take a lesson is 7:30-9:30am for the best wave conditions.
Golfing - very nearby - Iberostar Cancun
Golf fans, we have you covered! Less than a mile up the strip is Iberostar golf course. As you can see by the photos to the right its a pretty nice course.
Cost depends on the time of day and time of year. There are several sites out there where you can book the course, however these sites tend to change their links frequently so I do not want to put one here to avoid a link that does not work in time. You can always search google for something like: iberostar golf book now.
A couple of aerial shots of the course are right and lower right for you....
Xel Ha is pretty cool. Its another way to experience the beauty that is Cancun and the Riviera Maya. You can do the Sea trek underwater walk where you walk along the bottom of the sea inlet and experience all the live underwater beauty. You wear a special underwater helmet that is connected to oxygen above via a hose. Or similarly you can "snuba". With snuba you are again connected to oxygen from above but without the helmet and you swim instead to explore your surroundings. The nice thing about snuba and Sea Trek is that no scuba diving experience is necessary. After about 10 minutes of some basic safety instruction you are good to go.
Within the park are also cliffs where you are allowed to jump off into the water. There is a swim with the dolphins attraction. There is a zip lining attraction. You can also just chill out and relax on an inner tube as you slowly go through the amazing mangroves. Jump off the inner tube any time and do some snorkeling in any area you like along the way. Or explore the natural water caves the same way. You can also casually explore your surroundings from above with their unique zip cycle system.
As you can imagine from the above description, there is a vast amount of activities covered on this tour. It should be duly noted that only the basics are covered in the base price of the tour, which is about $89 usually. Most of the activities talked about above are extra. As of this writing the basics are: getting on an inner tube and going through the man groves, snorkeling, water caves, cliff dives, zip lines (not the zip cycle), jungle trails, kids world, and bike rides. Extra cost activities summary is Zip cycle $35, Snorkel $44, Sting Rey Encounter $44, Sea Trek $53, Adrenalina Xel Ha $53, dolphin swim $90.
1. Get to the park when it opens. This way you will avoid the big afternoon crowd and get so much more out of your day. This park is huge, you will get twice as much out of your day by getting there when the park opens.
2. Bring biodegradable sun screen, you can get it on amazon.com. Otherwise you will be forced to by their very high priced biodegradable sun screen. Book online from many different sites, or their own home page is: http://www.xelha.com/
BOB Breathing Observation Bubble
To me, it almost looks like something out of a James Bond movie. These underwater motorized scooters are like mini one person subs. They hold only you, and you control the action. For safety, you are harnessed to the surface. Explore the underwater world of Cancun like never before.
1. Go out on a very calm day, it is much easier to get into these vehicles that way. You are essentially one with the unit once you are in.
2. Remember to pop your ears when you are descending. After that you will be quite comfortable.
Price is reasonable, about $85 and you go for about an hour.
Rent an airplane with Cancun Airplane Tours
Cancun is one of the most beautiful areas on earth, hand crafted by God Almighty (my opinion). You can see it everywhere you look. But that is nothing compared to seeing it all from the air. There is just no comparison. The contrast between the Caribbean colors and the natural water bay is breathtaking. And then there is the strip of land dividing the two bodies of water that is the famed Cancun hotel zone. This is not that expensive either, you are looking at $500 for an hour for up to 4 people. So if you can get 4 to go you are looking at $125 per person for an hour of flight time. I like helicopters too, but the price is right about 4 times higher.
Rent a wave runner
I think everyone remembers the very first time they hit the gas after saddling a wave runner. These powerful machines are like little personal water rockets. If you have never tried it, please don't hesitate because it is an absolute blast! Normally you have to be 16 to drive on your own. Cost is around $70 per 1/2 hour and around $110 if you want a full hour. Generally you can rent one right out on the beach, often times they are set up right out there to take payment and get you set with your life jacket and shove you off.
Another timeless activity. What's even nicer is that most times you can go up these days with your best friend right by your side. Nothing like sailing along the skyline of Cancun and seeing the beauty of Cancun for miles around. Ask the boat driver to slow down a few times during your flight to let you almost touch your feet back to the water and then bring you back up again.
Deep Sea Fishing with Charter Fishing Cancun
The Cancun area is known world wide for its fishing and wide variety of fish species. That's why people come from all over the world to sports fish here in the Cancun area. And Charter Fishing Cancun knows their business well. Their equipment is always in good shape as are their boats. Their captains have years of experience and love fishing. Private charter packages with a 42ft boat will run about $750 for 6 hours and the boat can have up to 12 passengers, although 8 would be more comfortable and give you more chances to fish. 4, 8 and 10 hour charters are also available. Public charters are also available and run $155 per person for 6 hours.
Rent a boat
A lot of people come to Cancun and don't know you can rent a boat for a day or by the hour. That's because many of the big name tours are well entrenched in the tourist culture and therefore they tend to dominate peoples attention. But this simple idea of renting a boat for a day may just be the highlight of your stay. You can rent boats of all shapes and sizes. Prices start around $65 per hour. When you get into the $200-$300 per hour range there are some amazingly nice boats out there for rent. Many of the groups staying at the big penthouses have 8 or 10 in their group. That makes this opportunity all the better because you can split the cost between the group. And most of the good size boats will hold 8-10 people.
I show 2 web site below for you. The first one has some good rates for what you are getting, but the prices start at about $150 per hour for 6 hours. On the second site below you are renting boats from individual owners. It's kind of nice from the perspective that you can see the exact boat you are renting and the price range on this site is vast.
Yacht Charter from Yacht Life
This company charters yachts all over the world. Their selection in Cancun is abundant.
Yacht sizes range from as little as 28 feet all the way up to 100ft. Prices start at $1,600 per day and go all the way up to $10,500 per day. Most yacht charters tend to be in the $2,000-$4,000 per day range. Of course these prices include the yacht captain and for the bigger yachts, more staff may be needed.
Frequently Asked Questions about tours
I see that Explor is not on your list. I hear a lot about that tour, why did it not make your list?
Because their main attractions are ATV's, zip lines and swim with the dolphins. And the places on my list are the best at these particular activities. It does sometimes help to go with companies that specialize in an activity. For example Delphenus Dreams offers the best swim with the dolphins experience in my opinion. That's what they specialize in. For zip lining and ATV's no one does it better than Selvatica. At Xplor, those ATV's you see in the photos only go 6mph believe it or not. Is it great for young children, absolutely. But if you want some serious ATV riding go with Selvatica.
Why did Xcaret not make the list? My brother, his wide and I went. I'll tell you what we did like. What we did like was the parrot when you first walked in, really cool to get some photos with the parrot. The lazy river through the caves was interesting and pretty cool. But beyond that we were not impressed. The show at night was boring to us at least.
What about the jungle tour, that tour is everywhere, how could it not make the list?
It is a very popular tour. You get into these little speed boats which are kind of fun and then you go through the mangroves which is cool. Then they take you snorkeling and back through the mangroves and you get some open time out in the bay or the ocean. But here is my take on it. The snorkeling was lame, there was very little to see where they take you. Plus the waters were too deep for good snorkeling where they take you. The boats are ok, kind of cool in that they are unique. But you are basically following the leader everywhere you go. Why do that when for the same price you can rent a boat, have your whole family on board and go wherever you want?
What do you think about the water park in Cancun?
Its a nice park. But there are so many unique things to Cancun which is mostly why it didn't make the list. Wetnwild is very close by to the resort, just a few miles South on Kulkulcan, closer towards the airport. The other reason is that there are so many water parks even in the states that are so much bigger and better than this park. Lastly this park seams to struggle to gain an identity. Now you rent it under the Venture Parks name and I find their web site confusing to use. At one point a few years back all drinks were included in this all inclusive type system they have. Now its difficult to find information. But the park itself is nice and if you have young children this is a great way to spend the day because the kids will really have fun.