The vibrant city of Cancun on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico is a beach paradise. You could spend a lifetime lying on its white welcoming sands watching the clear, blue waters rolling in and out. But brush off the sand and travel inland a little more to discover a region that has even more to offer than top class sun worship.

Here’s our recommendations for things to do in Cancún when taking a break from topping up the tan.

Shopping in Cancun

Go beyond the beach for a true shopper’s paradise in Cancun. There’s a brilliant range to choose from including humble flea markets and major malls that offer the biggest brands. Head downtown to find that perfect souvenir of your trip or stay in the Hotel Zone if you’re trying to pick up a designer bag.

Plaza Las Americas is the biggest outside mall in Cancun. If you’re looking for luxury goods then Plaza Kukulkan is probably the best destination. Mercado 28 is the place to sharpen your haggling skills and pick up an authentic piece of Mexico at a bargain price.

Eat amazing

Cancun takes Mexican food to another level. It’s a hotspot for those who want something on their plate that will stay in their memory for a lifetime.

The city is a magnet for international chefs as well as locals who serve up all your favourites using the freshest ingredients, making you realise that the Mexican food we have at home can never compare to the real thing.

Try La Parilla for old, authentic and a hacienda-setting where you’ll dine to the sound of a local Mariachi band. Splash out on fine dining at Le Chique where the 2-course tasting menu is served up by Alejandro Villagrana Pérez who‘s worked at some of the world’s leading restaurants.

Visit ruins

Cancun is close to some of the best archaeological sites in Mexico. El Rey and El Templo del Alacrán (The temple of the scorpion) are simply amazing. You really don’t want to miss the famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the most popular day trips for guests in Cancun. The El Castillo pyramid is astonishing and has been rightly named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Tulum is also highly recommended: a Mayan ruin dramatically set atop a cliff by the Caribbean Sea, just two hours south of Cancun. Get your camera at the ready.

Jump on the ferry

Discover a true island paradise. From Cancun, it’s only a short ferry ride to Isla Mujeres. This is a small island, 7km long and 650 metres wide. For those looking for the freshest seafood, best snorkelling and the chance to swim with turtles it’s a highly recommended trip.

There’s so much to do in this small space. Visit Punta Sur and Garrafon Natural Reef Park, where you can enjoy the sculpture garden and Mayan ruins. Hire a golf cart to see everything in one day.

Cancun at night

The nightlife in Cancún is legendary – outrageous, loud and a lot of fun. All the action can be found in Punta Cancun, also known as the Party Zone.

Long lines of people form outside the main clubs but there are always interesting, more intimate places to be explored for those who want to get away from the crowds. However, we’d recommend Coco Bongo for its circus and spectacle. The City Nightclub is massive and plays host to up to 5,000 people plus big name performers. Mandala Beach Club hosts the best pool parties in town.

Visit the secret river

Xcaret eco-archaeological park is one of the best attractions in Mexico. It has three underground rivers that flow into the sea next to mangroves where you can see pink flamingos standing on one leg or running around in a cackling panic.

You’ll be given a life jacket to float down each river which offers a treasure trove of inlets and tunnels. The famous crystal caves are stunningly contrasted with the turquoise water as you explore these ancient water passages still haunted by Mayans. The park itself is home to a range of exotic animals as well as ruins and other entertainment for the family.

Yes, the beach is amazing in Cancun but so is the city itself. Book your break with Club Med and get ready to explore this remarkable region. Situated in the heart of Cancún, Club Med Cancun is the perfect resort when visiting the area.

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