N, S, E and W from Cancun: fun everywhere
Cancun sits on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Beyond the city’s tourist hotspots, the region is rich in cultural, natural, and historical treasures. From ancient Mayan ruins to pristine beaches, there are endless possibilities for adventure in every direction. Here is a guide on what to find N, S, E and W from Cancun.
Heading north from Cancun is Isla Holbox, a secluded island paradise. Here you can experience the beauty of the Caribbean Sea without the crowds of tourists. Holbox Island is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the region. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. You can also explore the mangroves and see exotic wildlife. Pink flamingos, crocodiles, and whale sharks. To get there, you can take a ferry from Chiquila, a small town about 2 hours northwest of Cancun.
Another fascinating attraction is the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve. This protected area encompasses a large estuary. You can see hundreds of different bird species, including the iconic pink flamingo.
N, S, E and W from Cancun. South: Tulum
The Tulum Archaeological Site is a must-visit attraction. Featuring ancient Mayan ruins perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Further south, travelers can discover the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a vast protected area that spans over 1.3 million acres. It includes tropical forests, wetlands, and barrier reefs. Visitors to the reserve can embark on eco-tours to spot a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, sea turtles, and exotic bird species.
Continuing further south, travelers will reach the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, which serves as a gateway to the lesser-known but equally breathtaking destinations of the Yucatan Peninsula. From here, visitors can explore the Bacalar Lagoon, a stunning body of water known for its striking shades of blue and green.
N, S, E and W from Cancun. East: Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a small island paradise in the Caribbean Sea. Isla Mujeres, which means “Island of Women” in Spanish, has a long history dating back to the time of the Maya civilization. Indeed, according to legend, the island was a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and the moon.
There are many things to do on Isla Mujeres, including snorkeling and scuba diving in the coral reefs, exploring the underwater museum, and visiting the turtle sanctuary. You can also rent a golf cart and tour the island to see the historic lighthouse, the Mayan temple ruins, and the colorful street art.
To the west of Cancun lies the state of Yucatan, which is known for its rich history and cultural heritage. One of the most famous cities in the area is Merida, the state capital. Founded in the 16th century, Merida is known for its beautiful colonial architecture, vibrant culture, and friendly locals. Visitors can explore the city’s many museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks, such as the Paseo de Montejo, which is lined with grand mansions built during the city’s golden age.
Beyond Merida, the region is home to numerous ancient Mayan ruins, such as Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Ek Balam, all of which are easily accessible from Cancun.