Cancun is the epitome of a beach town. It has beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, and all-inclusive hotels. Located on the borders of the Caribbean Sea in the Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun is a favorite spot among spring breakers. The town itself has two parts. First is the beachfront strip where most of the hotels are. The second is downtown Cancun which is more of a traditional Mexican town.
For sure, you are already thinking of visiting this popular spot in Mexico. After all, it is a nice place to relax and unwind. It is also a haven for party-goers with its rows of nightclubs and bars in the Hotel Zone. But Cancun is more than its beaches and nightlife.
4 Days in Cancun Mexico (See It All Itinerary in 2023)
In fact, there is an underwater museum, Mayan ruins, and cenotes nearby! Cancun is a great place to immerse yourself while in Mexico. That is why staying here for a couple of days is not a bad idea.
Aside from being 994 miles away from Mexico City, it has its own airport too. You can book a round-trip flight to Cancun International Airport to start your adventure on this side of Mexico.
The good news…
The good news is that there are daily flights to this airport. You can easily pack your stuff to go for a quick getaway to this sunny beach town. If you want to avoid the crowd, come here during the off-season or rainy season. Of course, if you want to rub elbows with other tourists, come here from December to March.
Traveling to Cancun from Cancun Airport
How to get to Cancun from Cancun Airport? Aside from riding public transportation, you can also rent a car. Another option is a private transfer. You will have an English-speaking driver pick you up at the airport. They will then take you to your hotel whether in Cancun Hotel Zone or downtown.
The price for a private transfer is $39 for three people. But if you want to save more, I suggest that you book a round trip instead.
Meanwhile, if you are on a budget, you can opt for a shared shuttle instead. The trip will take longer, sure, but the price is relatively cheaper. Your driver will drop off each passenger at their hotel which is why it is longer.
If you are traveling solo, your best option is to take the Cancun Airport shuttle. Of course, booking a rental car is the ideal choice if you will be spending more time in Cancun. This way you will be able to explore the beach town and the rest of the Riviera Maya too.
Save More with Go City Cancun Pass
Planning on exploring Cancun? Grab a Go City Cancun pass. You can choose the Explorer Pass which lasts for 60 days. Another option is the All-Inclusive Pass which only runs for a few days. These passes let you explore as much of Cancun minus the high price of tickets.
I suggest that you get one if you are going to spend your time here exploring attractions. You will save a lot of money in the process. After all, each tourist attraction comes with an entrance fee. Their costs can easily pile up down the road. But with a Cancun pass, you won’t have to worry too much about the fees.
Your 4-Day Cancun Itinerary
There is no doubt that Cancun is a popular tourist destination in Mexico. It has white-sand beaches and ancient ruins to explore. If this is your first time here, you will need to come up with an itinerary. This way you will not miss anything during your trip.
Not sure where to start? I can help you with that. Below is my idea of a 4-day itinerary for your Cancun trip. You can use it as a guide for your trip here. Let’s get started!
Day 1 – Hotel Zone
Your first day in Cancun may be spent in an inclusive hotel. Luxury hotels line up Cancun’s Zona Hotelera. You can book an all-inclusive stay if you want to relax and unwind here. No matter which inclusive resort you stay in, you’ll have modern amenities at your disposal.
Among these are swimming pools, on-site restaurants, gyms, and spas to name a few. But if you are eager to explore, then you can visit these attractions.
- Museo Maya de Cancun
What better way to start your Cancun trip than learning about Mayan culture? Make your way to Museo Maya de Cancun. One of the highlights of this museum is a 14,000-year-old ancient artifact on display. Aside from that, you can admire contemporary art on display here.
Once done, you can make your way to the San Miguelito Mayan Ruins. This should give you a preview of ancient civilizations in Cancun. Afterward, you can make your way to visit the rest of the ruins nearby.
- El Rey Ruins
Did you know that there is an archaeological site in the Hotel Zone? The El Rey ruins lie in the heart of the Hotel Zone. It’s one of the top things to do on your first day in Cancun! The ruins are accessible by foot, by taxi, or by bike. You can also drive your rental car here too if you like.
This is not as big as that of Chichen Itza. However, it is still a great spot to start your adventure. Don’t worry, you’ll get to explore more ruins soon enough. I suggest that you join a guided tour to know the history of these ruins. The locals will give you more insights into these structures and their role in Cancun’s history.
- Playa Delfines
Since you are in Cancun, you don’t want to miss going to the beaches. After exploring El Rey, make your way to Playa Delfines. Also referred to as Dolphin Beach, it boasts white sand beaches. Not only that, its crystal clear waters are ideal for swimming. Spend a few hours sunbathing or snorkeling even.
What you’ll love about this place is that it is far from the hotels. Think of Playa Delfines as a small stretch of paradise in this busy beach town. It’s a good place to rent a beach chair and an umbrella, and order a drink to chill with.
You can lay back and listen to live music in the background. This is the only public car park beach that you will find in the area.
- El Meco Archeological Site
If you want to learn more about the city’s history, you can go on a short trip to El Meco. This archaeological site is 20 minutes away from downtown Cancun. El Meco was a ceremonial center that was erected in 450 AD. It was left later in 900 AD.
You can drive here yourself or grab a taxi. Take note that the ruins here are not as well preserved as the others. However, it is still a good place to explore on your first day. This is especially true if you want to know more about the Mayans.
- Playa Tortugas
As the day ends, why not make your way to Playa Tortugas? This amazing beach is just 20 minutes away from the Hotel Zone. It’s a popular destination among tourists during spring break. After all, its pristine white beach and clear blue waters are quite inviting.
Have fun swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling here. There are local restaurants nearby too if you want to grab something to eat.
Tourists love to spend time here for a good reason. It has a laid-back atmosphere to it that is so inviting. You can come here to unwind if you like. Aside from that, you can go and take a walk along the pier. This is a great spot to enjoy the waters and the scenery.
Day 2 – Cancun’s Main Attractions
You can devote your entire second day to exploring the main attractions in Cancun. Here’s what you can do on your second day.
- Chichén Itzá
Spend your second day in Cancun on a day trip to Chichen Itza. this UNESCO World Heritage Site is two and a half hours drive away from the town. You can drive there yourself to see the most preserved Mayan ruins.
This ancient structure was built in 600 AD and was abandoned in 1000 AD. Fortunately, the ruins were later opened to the public. Since then, it has welcomed thousands of visitors annually.
One of the main attractions here is the El Castillo or The Castle. El Castillo stands at 97 feet and is the largest pyramid on site. Another attraction here is the Temple of Kukulkan as well as the Ball Court. It was here where the Mayans played games.
There is an entrance fee here so make sure to bring cash. Although it is possible to explore the ruins yourself, I suggest that you get a tour guide. They will be more than happy to explain to you the history of the ruins.
- Cenote Ik Kil
Exploring Chichen Itza under the sun can be exhausting. Fortunately, there is a cenote nearby where you can cool off. The Ik Kil cenote is just 15 minutes away by car from the Hotel Zone. You can head there on your own or join a cenote tour.
Most cenotes in Mexico are sacred to the Mayans. On a good note, they are now open to travelers where they can swim in freshwater.
One of the best things about this cenote is its emerald waters. Aside from that, the limestone caverns are a sight to behold. Swimming in its natural pool is a great experience.
You can even hang out by the rocks at the entrance if you like. If you are going to visit Chichen Itza, make sure that you bring your swimwear. This way you can cool off at the cenote.
- Mercado 23
Make your way to Mercado 23, one of the local markets that you can visit in Cancun. It lies in the downtown area and is one of the best places to enjoy traditional Mexican cuisine.
In fact, you can enjoy them at a much cheaper price compared to on-site restaurants. It is the perfect place to get to know more about Cancun’s local culture.
Even though this was the first market in town, it remains quite popular today. Among the products that you will see here are street food like tortillas. You can even find grains here and medicinal plants. This market is definitely worth visiting if you want to immerse yourself in local culture.
Day 3 – Isla Mujeres and Underwater Museum
Meanwhile, your third day can be devoted to exploring Cancun’s gorgeous waters. Here are a few to get you started.
- Cancun’s Underwater Museum
Start your day with snorkeling or scuba diving at the underwater museum. The Museo Subacuatico de Arte, or MUSA, lies between Cancun and the famous Isla Mujeres.
Here you will find shipwrecks and beautiful coral reefs. It is also here where you will find life-sized statues submerged in the waters too.
You can view these statues from the water’s surface while snorkeling. Aside from that, you can also see these statues on a glass-bottom boat. There are more than 500 statues here that were submerged to help with the corals.
On the other hand, if you want to see them up close, you can go diving. The area is full of tropical fish and sea turtles too! In addition, you can make your way to Nizuc Reef. It is just close to MUSA. There are boat trips that can take you to these dive spots.
- Isla Mujeres
After snorkeling to see MUSA, it is time to make your way to Isla Mujeres. This small island is just 20 minutes by ferry if you are traveling from Cancun. The great thing about this little island is that it has a lot to offer tourists. Among these are white sand beaches, colorful reefs, and clear blue waters.
Since this island is small, there are no cars available here. You can go from one place to the next by riding a golf cart. Tourists often come here to enjoy its pristine beach.
You can find a good spot to sunbathe here or go for a dip in the cool waters. Aside from that, you can also go diving here. The marine life here is thriving making it appealing to divers.
In addition, there are hotels and restaurants on this beautiful island. You can explore them during your free time to try their local dishes. Make your way to Punta Sur which lies on the southernmost tip of Isla Mujeres.
There is an eco-park here beside the Ixchel Ruins. Spend some time on the cliffside to watch the waves. For sure you are going to have a great time here. If you have time, feel free to visit Isla Contoy too.
Day 4 – Playa del Carmen and Surfing Lessons
It’s your last day in Cancun! It’s going to be tough to leave this place I’m sure of it. That said, you can still make it a memorable one with this itinerary.
- Go Surfing
Have you tried surfing before? If not, Cancun is a great place to learn this water sport. This is also the easiest way for you to enjoy the blue waters of this beach town. In addition, you will see what the beach culture is like here.
The good news is that there is no shortage of surfing shops and schools here. For example, there is the Good Vibes Surf. This shop is inside the Ocean Dream Hotel that lies in Chac Mool Beach. You don’t have to worry about your surfing equipment. It will be provided by the school.
However, there is an extra cost to consider. The lessons will begin on the beach. Afterward, your instructor will take you into the waters to test your skills.
Playa del Carmen
You don’t really have to spend your last day in Cancun alone. In fact, why not explore another beach town? Playa del Carmen is another popular beach town that you can visit. It is a vibrant town with a good mixture of restaurants, bars, and shopping malls.
Aside from that, the beaches here are just gorgeous. Take a swim or sunbathe on its powdery white sand. Feel free to go swimming or snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. There is no doubt that you will find some of the best beaches here. A day trip here will not be enough.
You can also check out the nightlife in Playa del Carmen. Take your pick from trendy nightclubs to beach bars. You will not run out of options here.
More Attractions to Add to Your Itinerary
As you can see, there are tons of things to do in Cancun in just four days. The best way to truly appreciate Cancun’s beauty is to spend a long time here. In fact, if you can pull off adding a day or two to your trip, that would be great! After all, there are other attractions and activities to do here. Among these are:
- Tulum Beach
Can’t get enough of the waters? You can make your way to Tulum Beach. Known for its beautiful white sand and turquoise waters, it is like stepping into paradise.
Feel free to spend your day in the waters here. You can even go sunbathing here if you like.
What’s great about the Cancun region is that there are plenty of places for you to go diving. Colorful reefs aside, there are shipwrecks here too that you can explore.
Aside from the beach, you should also go and visit the cenotes in Tulum. You should add Gran Cenote, Cenote Cristal, and Casa Cenote to your list.
- Xcaret Park
Are you looking for a theme park to bring your kids to? Xcaret Park is what you are looking for. This is one of the more popular adventure parks in the area. Don’t forget to bring money because there is an entrance fee here.
Once you are in, you can go zip-lining, see the Tulum ruins, or go swimming with the dolphins. Aside from that, you can also explore the underground caverns here. This is a great spot for families because of the activities here.
From water slides to underground caves, there is something for everyone.
- Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
- Meanwhile, this biosphere reserve is a must-see. Exploring Sian Ka’an is a great way to immerse yourself in the flora and fauna known here. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site with good reason. It covers a large swath of land and is home to various animals.
Take advantage of the trails here to see these animals up close. If you want, you can join a tour to see the highlights of this reserve. This is the perfect place for those who love the outdoors.
- Cenote Dos Ojos
Cenote Dos Ojos lies on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen. If you view it from above, it will look like there are two eyes. After all, there are two large openings here that resemble eyes. There are interconnected caverns here that you can explore with a guide. This is the perfect spot for swimming.
- Coco Bongo
Are you looking for a little bit of fun? Then head to Coco Bongo! This is a favorite place among tourists who want to have a great time. What you’ll love about Coco Bongo is that it has taken entertainment to a whole new level.
Cocktails are flowing and confetti falls from the ceiling. Not only that, the live performances here are just amazing. Everyone is eager to get into this nightclub, especially during peak season.
Fortunately, Coco Bongo has several floors to accommodate a large number of guests. Also, there is a dance floor, a DJ booth, and a live band here.
Where Can You Stay in Cancun?
The good news is that there is no shortage of hotel options here. If you are looking for a place where you can stay, you can start at Zona Hotelera. This is where you will find all-inclusive resorts as well as some of the best restaurants in the area.
If you are looking for budget-friendly accommodations, you can head downtown. The Hotel Zone is where most Spring Breakers stay during their vacation. After all, this is where they are sure to have the best time of their lives. This is the perfect spot for those who want to party all night long.
You can spend the day enjoying the outdoor pool at your hotel if you like. At night, make your way to the beach clubs or nightclubs nearby for a night of partying.
Those who prefer to stay away from the crowd can find a good hotel downtown. I love the laid-back atmosphere of downtown Cancun. Not only that, but I enjoy going out for a stroll here. After all, there are several restaurants and boutique shops here.
Take note that hotel prices can go up during the high season. This is because tourists will be flocking to this beach town. If you want to save money on your trip, travel here during the hurricane season. There will be rain from time to time.
However, there is a good chance that the days will be sunny during your trip. For those who are planning on visiting Cancun during peak season, book ahead of time.
Cancun is a Bucket List of places!
Cancun is on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit. This is not surprising given its pristine beaches and numerous attractions. The ones listed above are just a handful of the tourist hotspots here. In fact, you will find more as you spend more time exploring the town.
You can look for another travel guide to help you out. It would be great if you do your own research on the places you want to see.
That said, I suggest that you get travel insurance before heading here. This insurance will help protect you in case you get into an emergency. I never go anywhere without one for my peace of mind.
Aside from that, make sure that you have cash with you. Your credit card will be accepted in most establishments here. But if you are going to visit the ancient ruins or cenotes, you will need cash to pay for the entrance fees.
Plus Cancun is a Tourist-Friendly town
What I love about Cancun is that it is a very tourist-friendly town. Travelers of all kinds are welcome here. In fact, you can see it from their selections of hotels. You have hostels and apartments downtown for those who are on a budget.
Meanwhile, those who want to splurge can book a stay in one of the all-inclusive resorts. These resorts have modern amenities and services to offer.
The next time you are planning a trip to Mexico, be sure to visit Cancun. This beach town is well-known for its gorgeous beaches and fun parties. You are sure to have a grand time here!