Despite its legendary party reputation, Cancun really is a place of stark contrasts. On any given day, you can head deep into the heart of a wild jungle exploring ancient ruins, then find yourself in a concrete jungle inside what has to be one of the wildest bars in Mexico, the Coco Bongo.
In the spirit of research, I ventured into this famous downtown nightclub, and soon found myself jammed in the middle of 2,000 wild, screaming, heavy-drinking party-goers. Did I mention these people were drinking… a lot?
Just to make things even more surreal, films played on the walls, acrobats swung from the ceiling, and I’m sure I saw Spiderman climbing a chandelier. Okay, I admit it was pretty cool.
This is the crazy side of Cancun you hear so much about, but there really is so much more. The nearby Mayan Riviera not only offers a low-key vibe with amazing beaches and turquoise water, it’s also the gateway to some pretty impressive cultural attractions.
The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, which date back to 445 BC, are nothing less than amazing.
The 75-foot-high Kuculcan Temple draws huge crowds every year, when it accurately predicts the spring and fall equinoxes in a spectacle of light and shadow. Nearby is the well-preserved ball court where Mayans used to play their sport of the day.
Another historical site worth visiting is Tulum, located about 80 miles south of Cancun — an ancient city that sits on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean.
Other cool things to do in Cancun:
- Visit Xcaret Park. Swim through natural underground rivers and caves in this unique eco-park. You can check out the wildlife on a jungle tour, or enjoy a million-dollar view from the 80-metre-high rotating tower.
- Take a ferry to Cozumel. Near Playa del Carmen, this island is considered one of the top five diving destinations in the world. For the less adventurous, the beaches and snorkelling are great too. The island features restaurants, bars, shops and a world-class golf course.