Things to do in Cancun

Things to do in Cancun

One glimpse of Cancun’s sugar-white sand beaches and glittering turquoise water is all it takes to see why this idyllic beach city has become one of Mexico’s most iconic vacation destinations. Throw in an array of gorgeous all-inclusive resorts, and you’ve got a gay Cancun getaway where the only question that begs asking is: shall I lounge by the pool or the sea? That said, if you prefer a bit more local flair to your travels, Cancun delivers in spades. Swim in mystical, water-filled sinkholes (cenotes.) Explore ancient Mayan civilization via world-class archaeological sites or museums. Feast on Cancun’s burgeoning culinary offerings, which span the gamut from contemporary Yucatanean cuisine to unassuming streetside taco stands. Experience all this and more with these rewarding, Mr Hudson-approved things to do in gay Cancun.

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Discover the best Cancun outdoor activities

There’s plenty to do in Cancun that doesn’t involve sea or sand, but let’s be honest—that’s likely why you came to Cancun in the first place, so let’s start here. With 13 miles of beaches, the Hotel Zone certainly doesn’t want for picturesque, silky-soft stretches. Head to the far south end to find Playa Delfines, Cancun’s most gay-popular beach that’s refreshingly devoid of buildings or hotels—and delivers plenty of space and privacy. For a sandy swath a little closer to the action, Playa Chac Mool is also a gorgeous, gay-friendly option that stays peaceful due to a lack of parking. Then there’s always popular Playa Tortuga and Playa Forum, two easy-access stunners ideal for a short jaunt. Once you’re feeling bronzed and beautiful, set out on a catamaran cruise to appreciate the splendour of the Yucatan Peninsula from the water. This one includes a deluge of adult beverages along with snorkelling and live DJs.

Photo: David Emrich

Photo: David Emrich

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The art of sustainability has never been more hauntingly mesmerizing

Grab a mask and fins and head underwater for the monumental subaquatic museum that is MUSA. Founded by visionary and artist Jason de Caires Taylor, the renowned exhibit displays over 500 life-size statues, all works of art that double as complex reef structures for marine life and coral conservation. The art of sustainability has never been more hauntingly mesmerizing. More excellent snorkelling awaits at Isla Mujeres, a small, postcard-perfect island just a short ferry ride away from Cancun. Garrafon Natural Reef Park is the best place to don your snorkel gear, while Tortugranja offers up-close encounters with turtles and Playa Norte could win the award for the region’s most spectacular beach.

Cancun | Photo: MUSA

MUSA

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The Maya Museum houses a riveting collection of important Mayan archaeological artefacts in a sleek, modern building

Dive deep into Mayan culture

You don’t need to leave the Hotel Zone to learn about the enduring legacy of the ancient Mayan civilization. The Maya Museum houses a riveting collection of important Mayan archaeological artefacts in a sleek, modern building. Make this one of your first stops if you want to understand further the Mayan culture and architecture that you’ll encounter across the Yucatan Peninsula. From here, you’ll have a strong foundation of knowledge for taking on the famed Maya city and UNESCO world heritage site of Chichen Itza. A visit to Chichen Itza is a must to marvel at the ancient pyramids and well-preserved terraces, as well as better,  understand the Mayan’s advanced hieroglyph writing and astrological and mathematical knowledge. A photo op with “El Castillo,” the complex’s striking, well-recognized 98-foot tall pyramid, is a bonus. With over 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, afford time in your gay Cancun vacation to experience at least a few. Mayans believed cenotes to be sacred entrances to Xibalba, the underworld. Apart from their cultural significance, these unique sinkholes make for a wildly fun day trip. Kayak, snorkel, zip-line, and even rappel deep underground with this full-day tour from Cancun.

Chichen Itza | Photo: Austin Distel

Chichen Itza | Photo: Austin Distel

Cenote | Photo: Jared Rice

Cenote | Photo: Jared Rice

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Come for sunset or at 3 am after a riveting night on the town—the Surfin’ Burrito is a hub for grub 24 hours a day

Where to eat in Cancun

When hunger strikes, there’s nowhere in Cancun that satiates quite like the Surfin’ Burrito. The ambience invokes laid-back tropical vibes, and an open-air concept looking out to the sea makes this an ideal spot to sip a margarita after a sun-dappled day. Come for sunset or at 3 am after a riveting night on the town—the Surfin’ Burrito is a hub for grub 24 hours a day. A Cancun institution, Las de Guanatos serves up traditional Mexican cuisine in a casual downtown location that’s popular with both locals and tourists alike. Cocktails are on point, as are their iconic one-litre micheladas. Live music draws a crowd on weekends. For an upscale option, Puerto Madero pays tribute to Buenos Aires with its Prime meats grilled to perfection. Vibes here are chic and stylish; make a reservation on the deck for lovely sea views. Another must on any foodie’s guide to Cancun, La Habichuela brings an international spin to Mexican classics. There are two locations, but we love the original near Parque de las Palapas for its romantic atmosphere and elegant garden seating. Don’t miss the cream of Habichuela soup.

Photo: Krisztian Tabori

Photo: Krisztian Tabori

Photo: Vinicius Amano

Photo: Vinicius Amano

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Cancun nightlife

Mention Cancun nightlife and The City Discotheque will likely be the first name-dropped. At over three stories tall, it’s the largest nightclub in Latin America and has regular performances by some of the most popular DJs from around the world. Its high-energy, hedonistic vibes tend to be popular with spring breakers, but don’t let that deter you. Coco Bongo Cancun gives us serious Vegas vibes with its flying acrobatic performances, wild burlesque shows, and confetti-laden dance floor. The admission fee includes an open bar.

Photo: Joao Victor Alves de Bastos

Photo: Joao Victor Alves de Bastos

While Cancun doesn’t want for gay-friendly spots to while away an evening, don’t expect a large selection of bars that cater specifically to the LGBTQ crowd. Of the ones that are around, 11:11 is easily the best. Come for the sexy staff, Latin and electronic dance floors, and well known gay parties. Follow their active Facebook page to find out when weekly events and boisterous drag shows are happening.

Photo: Krys Amon

Photo: Krys Amon

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Contemporary amenities meet ancient Mayan style to create a design-forward aesthetic that is as zen as can be

The best hotels in Cancun

There’s a reason why award-winning NIZUC always places amongst the best resorts in Mexico (and all of Latin America for that matter.) Contemporary amenities meet ancient Mayan style to create a design-forward aesthetic that is as zen as can be. Expect neutral colour palettes along with stone and wood detailing, a calming backdrop that doesn’t distract from the panoramic Caribbean Sea views. Next-level services live up to the resort’s five-star calibre. Ideally nestled in the heart of the Hotel Zone, Secrets The Vine is an adults-only, all-inclusive option for travellers seeking cosy yet contemporary ocean-view suites. The vistas looking out to the sea here are some of the best in Cancun, especially from the seductive, 12th-floor infinity pool. Then there’s Le Blanc, another of Cancun’s most esteemed hotels. Smaller than most all-inclusive hotels in Cancun, Le Blanc promises opulent amenities in an exclusive atmosphere. The on-site restaurants serve impressive spreads and the adult-beverages are crafted to perfection. Plan to share the space with couples and honeymooners ogling at each other over candlelit dinners.

Photo: Joseph Barrientos

Photo: Joseph Barrientos

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