Cancun is a boisterous party destination and a city that loves to have fun, day and night. Beach parties are a thing here - electric events that run through the night and spill over into the next day. And, when the sun rises and visitors have sneaked in a couple of hours of sleep, they either drag themselves to the stunning natural sites, like Xcaret or Xel-Ha Park, or they explore the historic Mayan ruins. However, sometimes you may just want to veer off the popular path and look for some less-touristy experiences. If this is you, keep reading because, below, we’ve put together a list of the best non-touristy things to do in Cancun, Mexico.
1. Watch local sports in the Olympic Stadium Andrés Quintana Roo
Opened in the year 2007, the Estadio Olimpico Andres Quintana Roo has, since then, been the venue of dozens, nay, hundreds of sports matches, most of which are football related. This is actually the home ground of Ascenso MX’s Atlante FC, a popular Mexican football club. If you enjoy football, or soccer, as the Americans call it, head to this 20,000-seat stadium on match day and feel the excitement that Mexicans derive from the sport.
Olympic Stadium Andrés Quintana Roo
Address: Av. Mayapan Mz. 4, 21, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Website: Olympic Stadium Andrés Quintana Roo
Opening hours: Dependent on event
Yes, a boat party in Cancun can be non-touristy. When you’re done treading the tourist path and have had your fill of all the sites and wonders that draw visitors, blow off some steam on a boat, with drinks and music, on the stunning ocean. Perhaps what happens on a boat party in Cancun stays on that boat, so let loose and have fun, which you definitely will after a few rounds of Bazooka shots. And, since there’s an open bar, you might need a designated driver to bring you back to your hotel room.
Rockstar Boat Party Cancun (Adults only)
Duration: 4 hours
3. Enjoy a quiet afternoon at Kabah Park
We admit that a boat party might be a little too wild for some, so here’s an alternative - relax amidst nature. Cancun is replete with natural sites, like Xel Ha and Xcaret, but these are popular among tourists. For a more non-touristy experience, visit the less-known Kabah Park.
Don’t let this park’s relative obscurity fool you because this belies the destination’s beauty - a beauty marked by tranquility. There’s a trail that weaves through Kabah, stretching for 1.8 km (1.2 miles) and perfect for a jog or leisurely stroll. The park also boasts a zoo, home to several spider monkeys and some resident crocodiles. After paying the animals a visit, head over to the museum within Kabah Park, because no tour in Cancun is ever really complete without a history lesson.
Address: Av. Nichupté 13, Sin Nombre, 77534 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Website: Kabah Park
Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)
4. Admire Mexican art at the Garden of Art
Known locally as the Jardin del Arte, the Garden of Art is Cancun’s way of telling visitors that it’s more than just drinks and parties: the city is also awash with art and culture, some of which is found in this garden. The Garden of Art enjoys an opportune position, alongside the Nichupte Lagoon within the city’s nerve center - the Hotel Zone. When there’s no exhibition, this makes for an excellent picnic site or simply a brief hideout from all the animation that is Cancun. And, when there is an exhibition, you’ll get to learn loads about the culture of Mexico.
Jardin del Arte
Address: 5, 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Website: Jardin del Arte
Opening hours: 24hrs
Perhaps you’re the kind of person who likes to stir up some adrenaline. If so, here’s a non-touristy activity for you: ziplining. Picture a cable that’s tightly wound over the Mexican jungle, stretching for 3 km (2 miles). This is the first site where brave adventurers get to zipline over the jungle, possibly the best way to catch an amazing view or maybe just an opportunity to glide over the jungle’s canopy. The second site is at a cenote, where a zipline plunges you into the cool water - your reward at the end of this action-packed adventure.
Cancun Extreme Zipline Canopy Tour
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
6. Visit La Destileria’s tequila museum
Mexico and tequila are like peanut butter and jelly, they go well together. And, when you’re in this vibrant country, getting a tequila fix is almost a given. So, when in Cancun, try out La Destileria, a tequila museum, where you’ll get to not only learn about the origin and distillation of this iconic drink, you’ll also get a chance to taste various iterations of it. After your little tequila lesson, you can head to the restaurant section for a meal to dilute all the tequila in your system.
Address: Blvd. Kukulcan, La Isla, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Website: La Destileria
Opening hours: 1pm - 12am (daily)
The fascinating whale sharks are a common sight off the Yucatan Coast, more so during the summer months. What you may not know is that these massive marine animals come to the Yucatan Coast just for a meal, a massive bounty of tuna eggs. Whale sharks, though common today in the Mexican coast, were once elusive. Science aside, you can actually swim with these creatures on a snorkeling tour. The adventure takes you off Cancun’s coast to the Isla Mujeres, where a professional guide will give you basic instructions before releasing you into the water. As you have your tete-a-tete with the whale shark, a pod of dolphins or a bale of turtles might pass by.
Cancun Swim with Whale Sharks Small-Group Snorkeling Tour
Duration: 7 hours
8. Dine at Senor Frogs
Senor Frogs has, over the decades, built its reputation around a festive dining atmosphere. A restaurant with its tentacles around the US, South America, and the Caribbean, this joint is synonymous with authentic Mexican cuisine and a buoyant party scene. Cancun boasts its own Senor Frog’s, one where not only great food is served, but various parties throughout the week, including their decadent Foam Party, or the more chic Glow Party. If you are only here for a meal, then that too is fine.
Address: Blvd. Kukulcan, Punta Cancun, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Website: Senor Frogs
Opening hours: 10am - 2am (daily)
Mainly targeted at couples, this sunset cruise starts at Playa Tortugas, from where you’ll sail across the Caribbean Sea to the Isla Mujeres. But the destination doesn’t matter, it’s the journey that takes the cake - a journey in which an enchanting coastline view is set against a canvas of twilight, at dusk. It’s a journey peppered with canapes and free-flowing drinks, amidst languid music in the background. It’s a journey that’s later illuminated by the bluish hue of the moonlight.
Private Romantic Sailing Sunset Experience
Duration: 4 hours
Finally, rather than simply staring at the local art, here’s a chance to be a part of it. This non-touristy activity involves actually rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty, as you learn about Cancun’s street-art culture. This workshop involves a stroll through the streets predominated by colorful murals, to inspire your artistic side. Then, once you’re revved up, you’ll head to the studio and will get down to business, learning the ins and outs of street art and, by the end of the day, you may have a masterpiece in your hands.
Private Tulum Family and Kids City Art Tour
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
A less touristy side of Cancun
Step away from Cancun’s boisterous party scene, albeit just for a while, and explore the shadows where a less touristy side of the city lies. The list above has some over-the-top and some laidback activities, all of which are meant to offer a diverse range of experiences. Go ahead and start planning your next trip, today.
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