All Articles How many days do you need in Cancun?

How many days do you need in Cancun?

Aerial view of a beach in Cancun
Image: Tamara Malaniy / Unsplash
Anchit Kher
By Anchit Kher29 Mar 2022 4 minutes read

Cancun is known for its stunning white sandy beaches and clear waters which mesmerize with its turquoise-blue hues. A popular holiday destination that is packed with natural attractions, Mayan culture, adventure, and thrilling nightlife, Cancun is great for travelers of all ages and interests.

So how many days should you spend in Cancun?

Our Tripadvisor community recommends a three- to five-day vacation to enjoy most of what Cancun has to offer, and up to 10 days for the full experience. But even if you just have the weekend, here are some ideas on what you can do in Cancun.

A day trip to Cancun

People on the Playa Delfines beach in Cancun
People chilling out at the shaded tables at Parque Las Palapas in Cancun
Image: shantaram1917 (left), Michael U (right) / Tripadvisor

If you only have a day in Cancun, just pick one area to explore. We recommend Downtown, the heart of the city, or the Hotel Zone, which is home to restaurants, bustling nightlife, and spectacular beaches.

Start your day by exploring Parque Las Palapas, the city’s main plaza, which is filled with food carts (be sure to try their tacos or ceviche), handicraft stores, and a playground.

A trip to the beach is undoubtedly a must, so take a 10-minute taxi ride to either Playa Delfines or head to Coco’s Beach Club, where you can get a daybed, a tanning sofa, and two chairs for about $125.

Cap off the day with dinner at an authentic Mexican restaurant—we suggest Las de Guanatos, which is famous for their torta ahogada (pulled pork sandwich) and Michelada cerveza (beer prepared with lime juice, spices, and sauces, served in a salt-rimmed glass).

Pro tip: Rent a car to minimize travel time between activities. It is relatively cheap and you can get one at as low as $8 a day.

A weekend trip to Cancun

Chichen Itza Mayan ruins near Cancun
A party at Coco Bongo nightclub in Cancun
Image: Filip Gielda / Unsplash (left); Management / Tripadvisor (right)

Before hitting the beach or heading to the nightclubs, use the extra time in Cancun to take a little detour to the nearby Mayan ruins and cenotes.

The best part? You can do it all in a day with this tour to Chichen Itza. Besides getting to explore the archaeological park, you will also enjoy a buffet lunch, taste the local tequila, and swim in a sacred limestone waterhole.

On the second day, check out the local markets like Mercado 23, and its souvenir shops and street food stalls.

Since you’re spending the night in Cancun, don’t miss the chance to experience its vibrant nightlife. Check out bars on Yaxchilan Avenue like Grand Mambo Cafe, for an enjoyable evening of Latin dancing and mojitos. Nightclubs like the iconic Coco Bongo are also a must-visit, which includes exceptional stage productions and an open bar for about $90 per person.

Top spots to grab a bite

  • La Habichuela (about $25 per person) has an award-winning menu and is a great option for those looking for a romantic atmosphere
  • Carlos’n Charlie’s (about $20 per person) offers the perfect blend of tasty dishes and excellent dance music to groove to

Best places to stay

3-5 days in Cancun

People lazing on beach chars at Mamita's Beach Club in Cancun
Swimming with whale sharks in Cancun
Image: Mario C (left), Management (right) / Tripadvisor

Three to five days is the sweet spot to experience most of Cancun’s best sights. We recommend splitting your days based on key highlights. Dedicate one to two days to the main attractions, including Cancun’s best beaches, and spend the rest of the time exploring the area's lesser-known sights.

Aside from the typical spots in Cancun, you can consider driving down to soak up the sun at Kantenah Beach or head to a beach club (we recommend Mamita's Beach Club) where you can while away the afternoon on a comfy daybed with cocktails in hand.

Tours are a great way to squeeze in a few more sights like this 3-in-1 Discovery Combo Tour that includes a visit to the Tulum Ruins, reef snorkeling, a jungle hike, and a refreshing swim at a cenote. You can even swim with whale sharks or go on an eating tour of Cancun’s best taco joints.

Top spots to grab a bite

  • Maki Taco (about $20 per person) for a fusion of Japanese-Mexican flavors
  • Divina Carne (about $60 per person), a Brazilian Steakhouse with many vegetarian alternatives.

Best places to stay

Pro tip: The local buses are a cheap and convenient way to get around Cancun. The R-1 and R-2 buses service most of the popular areas in Cancun and trips will cost you less than $1.

7–10 days in Cancun

A traditional Temazcal Ceremony in Cancun
A man grabbing his hat at the pink lake at Las Coloradas
Image: Management (left), rapha_y_nici (right) / Tripadvisor

To truly immerse yourself in Cancun’s culture, spend a few extra days participating in local experiences and exploring the area’s natural wonders.

You can take part in the Temazcal Ceremony where a shaman leads you through a spiritual sauna-like process, catch a Lucha Libre show, or head to Xoximilco, a theme park built around Mexican customs, music, and food.

Spend a few days enjoying the adrenaline rush from these thrilling nature activities: take an ATV tour in Riviera Maya, zipline through the jungle, kayak at Nichupte Lagoon, and try Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) at Bahía de Mujeres.

Top spots to grab a bite

  • Peter’s Restaurante (about $30 per person) for family-friendly and affordable dining
  • Senor Frog’s (about $15 per person) for a night of laughs, fine meats, and great tequila

Best places to stay

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Anchit Kher
Anchit Kher writes about exploration of the world, mind and soul through travel, laughter and friendships. As a freelancer, he writes to reflect, learn and express - always on the lookout for the next inspiration. Outside of work, he enjoys watching & playing football, singing bad karaoke, learning a new board game, or enjoying the hearty hawker food of Singapore.