Best Cancun adventures: Top 15 activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Dec 22, 2022 BY Paul McWilliams

The best Cancun adventures include a variety of activities in the air, on the water and on the ground. Combined with the natural beauty, lively town and enigmatic Mayan remains it makes Cancun a great holiday destination. So check out these top 15 activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico to find out what you could get up to during a visit.

scuba dive in cancun

The Caribbean climate is of course perfect to top up your tan while enjoying white sandy beaches or lazing around the pool. Sampling the superb Mexican cuisine is a must, as is experiencing the local culture. But we hope you’ll also fill your days with some of the adrenaline-fueled fun below.

Best Cancun adventures

Top 15 activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Ranging from skydiving to scuba diving, walking to wakeboarding and MTB to SUP. The 15 best Cancun adventures below will keep everyone from hardcore adrenaline junkies to fun seeking holiday makers entertained.

Kitesurfing and windsurfing

Cancun is regarded as one of the best Caribbean water sport holiday destinations. And both here and in nearby Playa del Carmen are great for kitesurfing and windsurfing. The main season runs from November to June. Winds are consistent at this time of year and vary between the north and south.

Kitesurfing and windsurfing one of the Best Cancun adventures Top 15 activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico public domain image from rawpixel.jpg(1)

The warm water makes the experience a pleasant one if you are used to frigid British water. And there’s a good choice of kite and windsurf schools available, both in the town and at beaches up and down the coast.

There’s a variety of conditions to choose from too. Find flat water around the Isla Blanca and Playa Nizuc that’s ideal for freestyle. And enjoy waves at Playa Chac Mool and Playa Delfines.

Scuba diving and snorkeling

The Riviera Maya is close to the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef, so there are many scuba diving spots to explore. The area is home to an incredible array of colourful fish, nurse sharks, lobsters, rays, whale sharks, turtles and so much more.

In addition, there are underground rivers and cenotes to dive too. Here you can explore a vast network of tunnels and caves with an experienced guide. Plus there are a plenty of Cancun scuba diving courses available to get certified.

Cenotes of Mexico one of the best Caribbean scuba diving destinations Flickr image by dMap Travel Guide

Alternatively, head out into the bay and snorkel your way around the reefs and shipwrecks, you may even get sea lions and turtles for company. You can join a small group on a boat with a snorkel guide or just stick to the shallower waters by the beach. However you do it, this is one of the best Cancun adventures.

Sailing and yacht charter

With such a beautiful coastline, sailing is one of the best ways to explore. Sail around the bay of Cancun and Isla Mujeres to enjoy the spectacular views. Stop to swim in the crystal clear waters, snorkel or go deep sea fishing.

Sailing is an ideal Cancun adventure for all types of holidays and groups. It works for everyone from friends and families to couples looking for a romantic getaway. Yacht rentals in Cancun can be for the day or multi-day trips. You can take in set destinations along the coast or create your own sailing adventure.

I recommend that you stop off at some of the best restaurants the Riviera Maya has to offer. Plus you can learn to sail as you work towards your skipper qualifications.

sailing one of the Best Cancun adventures public domain image from Hippo PX

MTB and cycling

You might associate Cancun with white sandy beaches and watersports but head inland just a few kilometres and there’s a lot more terrain to explore. And what better way to get involved than on two wheels?

Just because there are no mountains on the Riviera Maya, that doesn’t mean that there’s no mountain biking to enjoy. Head to the Punta Venado bike park where you can find a range of well-maintained trails to ride. While the paths are mainly flat they are technical and a lot of fun. You’ll ride alongside sandy beaches, mangrove swamps and cenotes (sinkholes) through lots of jungle.

There are plenty of other cycle paths and road routes to enjoy for those why prefer to ride on tarmac. All along the coast and around Cancun itself you can hire bikes for everything from a chilled ride to a long distance slog.

Wakeboard and waterski

There’s wakeboarding and water-skiing on offer in the Mayan Water Complex park. You’ll find intermediate and advanced cables plus tuition making it one of the best activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

wakeboarding one of the Top 15 activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico public domain image from rawpixel

However, if you’d like to get out on the open water then there is scope for that too. The Laguna Nichupte offers great flat water conditions. Or you could charter a boat for the day to explore wake and water-ski spots along the coast.

Skydiving

There’s a dropzone for skydiving near Playa del Carmen. Here you can experience tandem jumps complete with 40-second freefall and 8-minute canopy descents. Easily one of the best Cancun adventures.

You’ll experience the adrenaline rush of freefall and then the beautiful views of the Caribbean coast, with the city and bay below. Of all the available activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico, this is one of the most popular.

Walking and hiking

One of the truly special things about the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan Peninsula is the sheer amount of wildlife. From the beachfront or resort accommodation hikers can head straight onto jungle trails to spot a huge array of exotic birdlife, including vast colonies of flamingos.

Soak in the Maya culture and experience an authentic village in Mexico with this bird watching in Muyil trip

Hike La Ruta de los Cenotes, visiting some of the sinkholes that form the surface part of a vast underground river network. Even take a swim in the Azul Cenote to cool off. Or walk along the beachfront and explore the archaeological zone complete with stunningly preserved Mayan ruins.

Bungee jumping

You can bungee jump from a 25 metre (80ft) platform at the edge of the crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Most people opt for a dip into the water, before being pulled back up again by the bungee.

You’ll get a quick training session from a certified instructor before you jump and a certificate to prove your bravery on completion. As thrills go a bungee is more intense than a skydive as you need to overcome the fear of jumping headfirst yourself. But the beauty is anyone can do it!

SUP

Conditions for SUP in Cancun are ideal with a choice of locations suitable for all levels and styles. The sunrise paddle is always popular, giving you the chance to get out on the water as the sun comes up over the resort.

SUP one of the Best Cancun adventures and Top 15 activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico public domain image from pexels

There’s also a two-hour mangrove paddle-boarding experience and the chance to enjoy the hidden beach at the Laguna Nichupte. Plus, there’s wave riding and a 10km downwind run from Punta Cancun to Playa Del Nino.

We hope you found this guide to the best Cancun adventures inspirational. Find out more about the top 15 activities in Riviera Maya, Mexico on our Cancun adventure travel page.

 
Cancun, Caribbean, Caribbean Sea, Isla Mujeres, Mesoamerican Reef, Mexico, North America, Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya
Bungee Jumping, Cycling, Hiking, Kitesurfing, Mountain Biking, Multi Activity, Sailing, Scuba Diving, SUP, Wakeboarding, Walking, Water Skiing, Windsurfing, Yacht Charter
Bike Parks, Bird watching, Cable Tow (Wake), Independent Travel, Whale Shark
Travel Articles
 

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