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If You Only Have Three Days in and around Cancun

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There is so much to do in and around Cancun. Even if you only have three days, you can still delve into Mexico's ancient past and explore Maya ruins, swim with gentle whale sharks, scuba dive in alluring cenotes, or zip-line over the jungle. A good to way to end any day in the Cancun area is to enjoy a show at Coco Bongo or Cirque du Soleil, before savoring tasty cuisine in one of Riviera Maya's cozy restaurants.
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Carretera Federal & Cancún - Chetumal Km 230 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
While not as large as other ancient Mayan cities in the region, Tulum draws in visitors for its stunning setting of centuries-old temples perched on a cliff by the Caribbean Sea. You’ll pass a large market with souvenirs, a casual Mexican...
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Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Wonderful catamarans that you can rent right off the beach.
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Carretera Chetúmal-Puerto Juárez Kilómetro 282, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Each May since 2007, the area has been reenacting La Travesía Sagrada Maya (Sacred Maya Journey), a ritual which was conducted for more than 1,000 years by the ancient Maya. Tracing the steps of their ancestors, current inhabitants of the area...
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Boulevard Kukulcan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, QROO, Mexico
Cancun has two distinct beach "zones," one on the northern side, one on the eastern side. Those on the northern side tend to be less intensely aquamarine in color but calmer and shallower, better for families traveling with kids. Beaches on the...
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Carretera Federal Chetumal-Puerto Juarez KM 287, Lote 13 Sur, Ejido Sur, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
AllTournative off-track adventures get you up close and personal not only with nature, but with the ancient Maya culture. Several tours are available, which may include a bike ride through jungle paths, exploring ancient archaeological sites;...
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Carretera Chetumal Puerto Juárez Km 240, locales 1 & 2, módulo B, 77780 Q.R., Mexico
Xel-Há is one of the area's most popular attractions. The name identifies both the archaeological site and the ecotourism marine park and the site attracts hundreds of visitors from around the world, throughout the year. Ceremonial centers and...
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Carretera Federal Cancún-Tulum, km 1266.8, Puerto Aventuras, 77734 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Swim in a mystical cenote believed to be the gateway to the Underworld by the ancients. These subterranean rivers, formed by the last Ice Age, are said to be sacred and are guarded by aluxes, or elves whose permission is needed to enter their...
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Boulevard Kukulcan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, QROO, Mexico
A massive stretch of soft white sand calls you to the Caribbean at Cancún’s largest public beach, a quiet spot amid Hotel Zone resorts. The waves can be a bit rougher than elsewhere, so it may not be great for swimming, but the strand...
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Km 2.5, Blvd. Kukulcan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
If you like having fun while checking out the wonders of nature, Xplor is your place to be in Cancun. Here you can paddle through natural underground caves and then zip line above it all. On land, you can drive an ATV over a bridge, under a...
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Cobá, Q.R., Mexico
Cobá holds the ruins of a large pre-Colombian Maya civilization located on the Riviera Maya. Lesser known than Tulum, the name Cobá means turbid (cloudy) waters - probably having to do with the five cenotes (underground rivers) in the region,...
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Playa Xcalacoco Frac 7 Riviera Maya, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
The Viceroy Riviera Maya is a 41- villa resort set on the sugary-white-sand beach along the Riviera Maya. Surrounded by a lush jungle ambiance dotted with dense with ferns, palms and guava trees, it offers a luxurious retreat for guests 16 and...
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Av. Palenque, Mz 4, lotes 3 y 4, Smz 29, 29, 77508 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
From May to September, one of the most exciting activities throughout the area, is swimming with whale sharks. Measuring up to 40 ft. and weighing up to 15 tons, they are drawn to these waters to feed on plankton, providing an opportunity for...
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Boulevard Kukulcan Km. 9.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Look out Las Vegas, Coco Bongo is in town. This wild dance club, in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone, is packed with live shows—everything from faux Queen or Madonna to bar-top conga lines and airborne acrobats. Make sure to bring your dancing...
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5ta Av. s/n esq. Calle 22 Norte Local 1 y 2, Centro, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Yaxché specializes in Maya and Yucatecan cuisine. The décor recalls a Maya palace and the food is award-winning – and delicious. Try the nohuc, lemon seasoned prawns on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes accompanied by grilled vegetables, followed by...
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Latin America
If you are traveling in the area, don't miss out on all of the amazing cenotes that dot the region. I usually rent a car and drive down the highway towards Tulum and stop at small signs that says "cenote." Many are on privately owned property like...
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México 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Tulum, Mexico, is a magical place that has never yet seemed to be to crowded or overrun. It is the smaller sister of Playa Del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. The whole area is made of limestone and lowland jungle with amazing, crystal-clear...
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Av 38 Norte Mz. 4 Lote 3, Zazil-ha, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
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When visiting Playa del Carmen, La Cueva del Chango (Monkey's Cave) is an especially good choice for breakfast. Nestled in a jungle setting with Maya gods peeking through the patio décor, breakfast favorites include fresh papaya, huevos a la...
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Carretera Federal & Cancún - Chetumal Km 230 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A visit to old Mayan Ruins is a must when you are vacationing in Tulum. It's a perfect trip to sneak in some history and activity without too much effort and without loosing sight of ocean and the beach. Being built in 13th century Tulum Ruins...
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Av. Juárez Mza. 217, Ejidal, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Named after the mythical Alux drawn from Maya lore, this unusual restaurant is located inside a naturally formed cave. According to legend, Aluxes are the guardians of property and only appear at night. Born in the moonlight, they seek magical...
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Boulevard Kukulcan Km 10.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
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At this longtime Cancún favorite, seafood - especially lobster - leads the list of specialties. Set on the lagoon, the vistas as well as service are excellent. The menu is varied, albeit pricey, but locals and tourists return regularly.
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Kukulkan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Situated on Cancun's lagoon with indoor or alfresco seating, this is one of the area's classic restaurants. Northern Italian cuisine made with fresh local ingredients is the specialty, along with excellent service.
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Calle Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Spend a few hours browsing Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), a lengthy pedestrian-only path where a slew of bistros, restaurants, and cafes vie for your attention with boutiques overflowing with designer duds, upscale jewelry, Maya carvings, shiny...
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Carretera Federal 307 Cancún-Puerto Morelos, Mza. 01 Lote 1-02, 77580 Puerto Morelos, Benito Juárez, Q.R., Mexico
One of the newest - and most popular - attractions to hit these shores, "Xoximilco Cancun," is a floating fiesta, offering entertainment, colorful anecdotes, history, good food and drink - and three hours of sheer delight. Thanks to the...
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Blvd. Kukulcan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Located off the coast of Cancun, the Cancun Underwater Museum features more than 500 sculptures scattered across the ocean floor, allowing art lovers a unique perspective personal while snorkeling or scuba diving. Since 2010, sculptures have been...
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Carretera Federal Cancun - Playa del Carmen Km 48, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Cirque du Soleil's only resident troupe outside of Las Vegas and Orlando opened in 2014, kicking off yet another stellar attraction for visitors to Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The colorful 70-minute performance - which has been dubbed JOYÀ -...
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For a real change of pace when visiting Cancun and the Riviera Maya, indulge in the ultimate adventure by swimming with whale sharks - the gentle giants of the ocean. Whale sharks are in the area from May - September, although they are most...