Ranked as having the 2nd best beach in Mexico and the 5th best city to visit in the entire country, Cancun continues to thrill all of those that witness its innate beauty. Boasting a wide range of accommodations, including AirBnB, boutique and economy hotels, and all-inclusive resorts, this Mexican destination has something to offer all of its guests. In addition, it is home to a vibrant nightlife, miles of beautiful white sand beaches, and crystal clear turquoise waters. Simply put, Cancun offers an exciting assortment of fun things to do in Cancun and places to explore.
Where is Cancun, you ask? Located on the northeastern edge of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, this world-class luxury destination is situated in the most ideal of spots. With globally recognized beaches, underwater excursions, boat tours, ancient archeological sites, and picturesque towns all situated nearby, it’s no wonder that this impressive city generates nearly one-third of Mexico’s entire tourism revenue. Its endless list of attractions is what continues to draw in visitors from near and far. Not to mention, it offers photo takers some of the best views in the world.
As you begin to plan your vacation to this remarkable Mexican gem, consider bringing a waterproof camera. While it’s hard to capture the region’s natural beauty on film, you won’t want to leave without evidence of the awe inspiring attractions and activities that you experienced during your stay. With such a large variety of things to do and places to see, how will you know where the most stunning views are? That’s easy. Below is a list of the top 10 most instagrammable spots in Cancun.
It makes sense – Instagram has provided its users with a plethora of filters to add that special touch to the final shot. However, when visiting a place with such natural allure as Cancun or the Riviera Maya, the best filter is no filter. Whether the sunlight brightens the already crystal blue waters of the Caribbean or shines down on the magnificent Mayan ruins, one thing is for certain: it acts as nature’s greatest effect. This can especially be seen when visiting the region’s pristine beaches, some of the top attractions in Cancun. Get your camera ready – you won’t want to miss out on these impeccable tropical views.
1. Playa Delfines
The best beach in Cancun’s Zona Hotelería (Hotel Zone) is undoubtedly Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach), also known as El Mirador (The Lookout). Located at Kilometer 20, this public beach is the only one in the zone that isn’t home to any hotels or restaurants. In addition, this breathtaking beach is easily accessible via car or bus. As a clean, well-maintained site with restrooms, a playground, and palapas for shade, this location has become one of the region’s most popular destinations. Take advantage of its natural beauty, tranquil surroundings, and be sure to capture a shot (or two) of this regional favorite.
2. Playa del Norte (Isla Mujeres)
Known as Playa del Norte (North Beach), this trendy locale with cozy beach clubs and stunning calm, shallow waters, is said to be the most beautiful beach in all of Eastern Mexico. Located on the north side of Isla Mujeres, a thriving island just a short ferry ride from Cancun, this destination has become a hot spot for travelers and day-trippers from the mainland. Take a picture in the warm, crystal waters of its north shore or perched on a beach hammock under the tropical palms. Either way, you are sure to be absolutely mesmerized by this Mexican paradise.
3. Puerto Morelos
Situated between Cancun and Playa del Carmen to the south, the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Morelos boasts one of the finest and largest stretches of pristine, publicly accessible beaches in the Riviera Maya. Small boats dot the shoreline, adding the perfect touch to this picture-perfect view. With extremely calm currents, few hotels, and smooth, sandy beaches, this destination is the perfect get-a-way from the excitement of highly populated tourist areas. Kick back, relax, and listen to the music played by musicians that stroll the land.
4. Isla Contoy
Isla Contoy’s location is quite unique. Situated at the confluence of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 18 miles (30 kilometers) north of Isla Mujeres, this remote island has been protected by the Mexican government since 1961, and declared a National Park since February of 1998. To arrive to the island you’ll need to check for a Cancun boat charter or other excursion.
Due to its secluded and protected waters, it has transformed into one of Mexico’s most attractive beaches, housing more than a hundred and fifty migrating and resident bird species. The most numerous and easy to spot are the Frigate, Brown Pelican, and Double-Crested Cormorant. The island also acts as an important nesting place for Caribbean Sea Turtles.
Equipped with a visitor center, pier, museum, souvenir store, resting area with benches and palapas, and even a grill for barbecues, this hidden treasure is slowly but surely becoming one of the most sought after destinations in the Riviera Maya. With a 60 foot (20 meter) high watchtower and two walking-paths, along which visitors are able to learn about the local flora and fauna, visitors are sure to get some great shots of this truly dazzling destination.
5. MUSA Underwater Museum
The MUSA Underwater Museum situated in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Nizuc, is a true underwater spectacle. In 2009, the monumental underwater museum was formed as an effort to help increase marine biomass on a grand scale. Consisting of over 500 permanent life-sized and monumental sculptures, this site is one of the largest and most ambitious underwater artificial art attractions in the world.
Aiming to demonstrate the interaction between art and environmental science (while forming part of a complex reef structure), the MUSA Underwater Museum is truly one-of-kind. Covering an area of 4,520 square feet (420 square meters) and weighing over 440,000 pounds (200 tons), there is plenty of underwater landscape to capture for those who prepared by bringing along a waterproof camera. This is a sight you do not want to miss. Photos taken here will make you Insta-famous!
Regarded as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, Xel-Há provides one of the most unique and spectacular experiences right in the heart of the Riviera Maya. With opportunities to snorkel, observe hundreds of diverse, colorful fish and marine life, this all-inclusive park is yet another must-see attraction. Located 70 miles (114 kilometers) south of Cancun, you can easily arrive to this destination via car or bus. Enjoy numerous water activities, ecological attractions, restaurants, and the best scenery imaginable for picture taking and relaxation. With nearby cenotes, lagoons, and caves, this heavenly ode to Mexican culture and wildlife is every traveler’s dream.
7. Cenote Dos Ojos
Known as Cenote Dos Ojos (Two Eyes Cenote), natural water-filled sinkhole is one of the most extravagant sites in all of the Yucatan Peninsula. One of the largest underwater cave systems, with two sinkholes (eyes) measuring a depth of up to 230 feet (70 meters) connected by a 1,312 foot (400 meter) passageway, this natural wonder is sure to leave you speechless. With stunning natural light, the visibility through the water is unparalleled, making it a popular snorkel and dive site. Although well known, it still remains less busy as other cenotes in the region, making for a more peaceful and up-close experience. Whether you take a camera down into its waters or remain above the surface, the shots here will be truly one-of-a-kind.
8. Chichen Itza
Located 121 miles (196 kilometers) to the southwest of Cancun is the infamous Mayan site of Chichen Itza. Meaning “at the mouth of the well of Itza”, Chichen Itza is the 2nd most visited archeological site in all of Mexico. Its tallest structure, the Kukulkan Pyramid (known famously as “El Castillo”), measures a whopping 80 feet (24 meters). Named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, this impressive stone pyramid is only one of many awe-inspiring structures present at the site. Get out your camera, explore, and capture (as best you can) the truly heat-stopping views of this ancient Mayan ceremonial metropolis.
One the most sensational views and prominent remaining Mayan sites is that of nearby Tulum. Situated just 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of Cancun, this well-preserved Mayan seaport, with its medium sized white stone structures set against the backdrop of the turquoise Caribbean waters, is the prime site for capturing the unique beauty of the ancient Mayan civilization.
It’s largest structure, known as “El Castillo” (The Castle), is perched on the edge of a 40-foot (12- meter) limestone cliff, overlooking the Caribbean coast. Talk about breathtaking views! In addition, being the only Mayan site located directly on the coast, visitors are able to work their way down the 40-foot (12- meter) cliff and enjoy some of the area’s most pristine beaches. This is truly a two-in-one opportunity that you don’t want to miss.
10. Plaza Bonita
Located next to Market 28 in the center of the city, Cancun’s Plaza Bonita was created as a small, Mexican village full of traditional stores selling lovely arts and crafts. Comprised of well-decorated squares, gardens, and kiosks, this local treasure is a great space for those looking to take a break from the sun, and walk the streets of a city so often overlooked due to its proximity to globally recognized beaches and water activities.
Here, visitors will find numerous shops selling items such as bags, shoes, computers, jewellery, toys, souvenirs, and of course, food! If you wish to capture the local Mexican culture at its best, enter the town’s streets and make your way to Plaza Bonita, where you will find both local art and community. After all, some of the most rewarding visits are centered around people– not places.
Now that you are equipped with the top 10 most instagrammable spots in Cancun, it’s time to purchase your plane tickets, pack your camera, and prepare for the experience of a lifetime. Whether you decide to partake in reef snorkeling in Cancun, or to make your way the nearby natural wonders and Mayan ruins, one thing is for certain – you’ll want to take your camera along wherever you go.