Cancun, located on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, along the Caribbean Sea, welcomes more than 4.8 million visitors each year. It's easy to see why this resort city is so popular. Cancun combines warm, sunny weather; a variety of sandy beaches; and a good selection of Mayan ruins to explore. But once your Cancun airport transportation drops you off, where do you begin? If you're headed to Cancun this season, be sure to include these five top attractions in your itinerary:
Five Cancun attractions you don't want to miss
1. Cancun Underwater Museum. This unique museum features many unique sculptures, most of which have been sunken into the water. The art forms depict the region's interaction with the sea as well as provide protection for the coral reefs located there. Visitors can view the exhibits by diving, snorkeling or taking a glass-bottom boat tour.
2. Mayan Ruins at Tulum. Located just a 90-minute drive from the resort area, along the Caribbean coast, are the well-preserved remains of the Mayan walled city that once stood at Tulum. Visitors can explore the compact site and climb to the top of the step pyramid to see the sweeping view of the Caribbean coastline.
3. Xcaret Park. Xcaret Park, located just outside the resort area in the Rivera Maya area, is a 200-acre ecological theme park that gives visitors a chance to view a butterfly sanctuary, a rain forest, an orchid grove, a bat cave and the Mayan ruins of the former town of Xcaret.
4. Isla Mujeres. For a chance to get away from the tourist crowds in the Cancun resort area, head to the Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women), located just offshore from Cancun, a short boat ride away. On this long, narrow island, you'll find a good selection of seafood restaurants (featuring fish and seafood harvested that same day), excellent diving and snorkeling, and dramatic views from the island's west coast beaches of the Cancun skyline.
5. Dolphin Dream Encounter. Hosted by the Dream Resort Cancun, the Dolphin Dream Encounter is an interactive adventure that offers three different dolphin swims as well as a chance to get close to a variety of marine life, such as starfish and colorful tropical fish, in the more than 27,800 gallon swimming aquarium.
Sure, Cancun has a lot of beaches, shopping malls and swimming pools to enjoy, but don't leave the area without checking out at least a few of Cancun's unique attractions like the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Xcaret Park.