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Xcaret Eco Theme Park

Xcaret Eco Theme Park

Xcaret Eco Theme Park

Xcaret Eco Theme Park (Highway Pto. Juarez – Chetumal Km. 282, Playa del Carmen) – this eco-adventure park is just an hour’s drive from Cancún. Xcaret captures what’s unusual about the Yucatán, with reefs to snorkel, forests to hike, underground rivers to float in and caverns to swim. Stay for the evening performance, which showcases dozens of folkloric dances and colorful costumes from across Mexico.


Puerto Cancún Golf

Puerto Cancún Golf

Puerto Cancún Golf

Puerto Cancún Golf (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 5.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) — designed by Tom Weiskopf, this is an 18 hole, championship golf course in Puerto Cancún that stretches out over 185 acres and has ocean views and two holes that play on the marina.


Playa Pez Volador

Playa Pez Volador

Playa Pez Volador

Playa Pez Volador (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 5.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) — The calm surf and relaxing shallows of Playa Pez Volador make it an aquatic playground for families with young children. Marked by a huge Mexican flag at Km 5.5, the wide beach is popular with locals, as many tourists tend to head to the more active Playa Langosta. Sea grass occasionally washes ashore here, but by early morning it is cleared away by the staff of the neighboring Casa Maya Hotel.

Xel-Ha

Xel-Ha

Xel-Ha

Xel-Ha (Carretera Chetumal-Puerto Juarez Km. 240 Local 1 y 2 Modulo B, Tulum) — The beach will most likely be your favorite spot to lounge and relax. But if you’re ocean-bound in search of tropical underwater wonder, but would rather avoid battling the incoming waves, pay a visit to Xel-Ha, a natural aquarium located near Tulum, south of Cancun. This lagoon attraction is home to hundreds of species of tropical fish and natural fauna, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling and diving; the underwater limestone caves are a big draw. The ecological park is also home to exotic birds, lizards, a turtle park, a shark zone and dolphins. Adults get the run of Xel-Ha for $79, and kids for $40, although tickets pre-bought through the park’s website come at a discount.

Riviera Cancún Golf

Riviera Cancún Golf

Riviera Cancún Golf

Riviera Cancún Golf (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 25, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) — designed by Jack Nicklaus, this 18-hole golf course has ocean views and a Mexican-style clubhouse that’s surrounded by mangroves.

Playa Tortugas

Playa Tortugas

Playa Tortugas

Playa Tortugas (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 1.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) — Playa Tortugas (Turtle Beach) eroded greatly after Hurricane Wilma. There’s now a restored sandbank at the entrance around Km 6.5 on Boulevard Kukulcán. The water is deep and the swimming is excellent, so many people come here to sail, snorkel, kayak, paraglide, and ride Wave Runners. The nicest section of this beach is on the far right, just past the rocks. The sand can get very crowded, especially because this is where people usually grab a drink or snack before catching the ferry to Isla Mujeres. Locals from El Centro will spend their entire weekend here, so if you are looking for isolation, it’s best to head elsewhere. Don’t be fooled by the name—this spot is seldom frequented by tortugas.

Playa Punta Nizuc

Playa Punta Nizuc

Playa Punta Nizuc

Playa Punta Nizuc (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 24, Cancún) –– On the southern tip of the peninsula at Km 24, Playa Punta Nizuc is the most isolated and deserted beach in Cancún. Far from the crowds and party scene, this area has no amenities to speak of other than those available to guests at the nearby Wet ‘n Wild Waterpark (Km 25). The lack of beach-traffic helps keep the white sands clean and the waters sparkling, except when sea grass washes onto the sand. This is a great place to collect seashells or swim, since waves only crash here on stormy days. There’s plenty of street parking on Boulevard Kukulcán, but make sure you bring water, snacks, sunscreen, and an umbrella for shade, since this beach is about as barren as they come. Bordered by jungle to the south, Playa Punta Nizuc can be accessed directly from Boulevard Kukulcán. The nearest hotel with amenities (for guests only) is Club Med Cancun.

Playa Mujeres Golf Club

Playa Mujeres Golf Club

Playa Mujeres Golf Club

Playa Mujeres Golf Club (Playa Mujeres Beach Resort, Prolongación Bonampak, Punta Sam, Cancún) — Designed by Greg Norman, this 18-hole, par-72 course is the newest course in Cancún, and is within the 930-acre Playa Mujeres Resort in Punta Sam. Practice facilities include a driving range, two putting greens, and a short game area. You can also arrange for individual and group instruction.

Playa Linda

Playa Linda

Playa Linda

Playa Linda (Pretty Beach) (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 2.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) –– Playa Linda (Pretty Beach) is where the ocean meets the freshwater of Laguna Nichupté to create the Nichupté Channel. Restaurants and changing rooms are available near the launching dock. There’s lots of boat activity along the channel, and the ferry to Isla Mujeres leaves from the adjoining Embarcadero marina, so the area isn’t safe for swimming, although it’s a great place to people-watch, with a 300-foot rotating scenic tower nearby that offers a 360-degree view.

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres – The island of Isla Mujeres, just 13km (8 miles) offshore, is one of the more fun-filled destinations just outside of Cancún.  For those interested in snorkeling, there’s El Garrafón Natural Park.  At the other end is a village with small shops, restaurants, and hotels, and Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres’ best beach. For those looking for relaxation and time to spare, it’s worth several days.Isla Mujeres – The island of Isla Mujeres, just 13km (8 miles) offshore, is one of the more fun-filled destinations just outside of Cancún.  For those interested in snorkeling, there’s El Garrafón Natural Park.  At the other end is a village with small shops, restaurants, and hotels, and Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres’ best beach. For those looking for relaxation and time to spare, it’s worth several days.
Here are ways to reach Isla Mujeres: 
1.) public ferry from Puerto Juárez, which takes between 15 and 20 minutes;
2.) water taxi (more expensive, but faster), next to the Xcaret Terminal;
3.) daylong pleasure-boat cruises, most of which leave from the Playa Linda pier.
4.) shuttle boat from Playa Linda or Playa Tortuga, an hour-long ride, with irregular service

The inexpensive but fast Puerto Juárez public ferries lie just a few kilometers from downtown Cancún.  From Cancún City, take the Ruta 8 bus on Avenida Tulum to Puerto Juárez.  The air-conditioned Ultramar (www.granpuerto.com.mx) boats cost $7 per person round-trip and take 15 to 20 minutes.  Departures are every half-hour from 5am to 8:30pm and then at 9:30pm, 10:30pm, and 11:30pm.
The slower Caribbean Savage (45-60 min.) costs about $4. It departs every 2 hours, or less frequently, depending on demand. Upon arrival, the ferry docks in downtown Isla Mujeres near all the shops, restaurants, hotels, and Norte beach. You’ll need a taxi to get to El Garrafón park at the other end of the island.  You can stay as long as you like on the island and return by ferry, but be sure to confirm the time of the last returning ferry.
Pleasure-boat cruises to Isla Mujeres are popular among visitors. Modern motor yachts, sailboats (including the “Sea Passion” catamaran), and even old-time sloops — more than 25 boats a day — take swimmers, sun lovers, snorkelers, and shoppers out on the turquoise blue waters.  Some tours include a snorkeling stop at El Garrafón, lunch on the beach, and a short time for shopping in downtown Isla Mujeres.  Most depart at 9:30 or 10am, last about 5 or 6 hours, and include breakfast, lunch, and rental of snorkel gear. Others, particularly sunset and night cruises, go to beaches away from town for pseudo-pirate shows and include a lobster meal or local buffet.  If you want to familiarize yourself with Isla Mujeres, go on a morning cruise, or travel on your own using the public ferry from Puerto Juárez.  Prices for the day cruises go for about $80 per person.  Reservations not required.
An all-inclusive entrance fee of $69 ($50 for kids) to Garrafón Natural Reef Park (www.garrafon.com), includes transportation from Playa Langosta in Cancún; meals; open bar with domestic drinks; access to the reef; and use of snorkel gear, kayaks, inner tubes, life vests, the pool, hammocks, and public facilities and showers (but not towels, so bring your own). There are also nature trails and several restaurants on location.
Other excursions venture to the reefs in glass-bottom boats, so you can have a near-scuba-diving experience and see many tropical fish. However, the reefs are some distance from the shore and are impossible to reach on windy days with choppy seas. They’ve also suffered from heavy tourist traffic, and their condition is far from pristine. Nautibus’s Atlantis Submarine (www.atlantisadventures.com) takes you close to typical aquatic life.  Departures vary, depending on the weather. Prices are $79 for adults, $45 for children ages 4 to 12. The submarine descends to a depth of 30m (98 ft.).  Atlantis Submarine leaves daily at 9am, 11am, and noon; the tour runs about 40 minutes.  The submarine leaves from Cozumel, so you should either take a ferry to get there or buy a package that includes round-trip transportation from your hotel in Cancún ($103 adults, $76 children 4-12).  Reservations are needed.


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