Are you planning your Cancun itinerary? You’re in luck, because you’ve just found the ultimate itinerary guide to the destination, whether you’re staying there for 3, 4, 5, or 7 days. Check it out!
Cancun is a vibrant, bustling city that combines city life with the most dreamy beaches and paradisiac resorts. With so many attractions to offer, and aiming to cater to all sorts of travelers, Cancun is definitely Riviera Maya’s hot spot, and probably already in your Yucatan road trip plan.
And while a couple of days might be enough to check out the main landmarks in town, you might want to spend a whole week chilling at the beach, swimming in the cenotes, and even visiting nearby towns.
Over the last few years, I’ve spent a good amount of times in Cancun. Every time I visit Tulum or Yucatan, I always fly in or out of the country from Cancun Airport, so it only makes sense to spend a few days here and chill in some of the best beaches in Mexico.
Whether you plan to stay for a long weekend, 4, 5, or 7 days, this Cancun itinerary will help you plan your travel schedule, find astounding locations to stop by, and the best nightlife in town.
HOW TO GET TO CANCUN FROM CANCUN AIRPORT
There are various ways you can make the journey from Cancun International Airport to Cancun. The best transfer option will actually depend on your budget and priorities, so I’ve listed below all the possible alternatives. You can choose the one that suits your travel necessities best!
▶️ The most convenient option is pre-booking a private transfer. Your English-speaking driver will be waiting for you at the airport’s arrival area and help you settle in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle that’s solely for you and your party. You’ll then be driven to your hotel in either Downtown Cancun or the Hotel Zone.
We personally used this company multiple times and always had a great experience – 5-star service!
The private transfer to Cancun for up to 3 people costs $39 one-way, and $65 if you book round trip. If you already know you’ll be heading back to the airport after your vacation, you’re better off booking round-trip to save some money. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
▶️ If you’re traveling on a budget, the shared shuttle is a fantastic alternative. It takes slightly longer than the private transfer as it will be dropping off other passengers along the way, but you’ll also be taken to your hotel’s front door at a more affordable price.
This shuttle only takes 2 + passengers, so it’s not a good option for solo travelers, but it’s still our first choice as we know the company and have used the service ourselves.
The one-way trip to Cancun costs $15 per person, for a minimum of 2 passengers. You can’t book roundtrip directly, but if you want to buy your return trip already you can buy a one-way transfer from your hotel to the airport. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
▶️ Are you a solo traveler? Then your best option is this Cancun Airport Shuttle, which accommodates solo passengers and also drops you off at your hotel. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
▶️ If you plan on going on day trips from Cancun and driving around the Yucatan peninsula, you might as well rent your car at the airport and drive to Cancun. Both Downtown Cancun and Hotel Zone are 14 miles north of the airport, and the drive takes a little less than 30 minutes.
Renting a car in Mexico, though, is a little tricky, especially because of the scams you’re likely to encounter. Most car rentals will try to charge you extra money, in most cases for damages or scratches that may have already been in the vehicle when you rented it.
That’s why is very important to take pictures of the car as soon as you get it, in case it’s already slightly damaged and you need proof that it isn’t on you.
SAVE MONEY WITH THE GO CITY CANCUN PASS
To save money when exploring Cancun, I recommend getting the Go City Cancun Pass. You can choose between the Explorer and the All Inclusive Pass depending on your interests.
The Explorer Pass lasts 60 days and allows you to visit the number of attractions you desire (either 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10). The All-Inclusive Pass, on the other hand, enables you to visit as many attractions as you can manage in a certain amount of days, from 1 to 5 days or 7 days.
Depending on how many attractions you want to check out, the pass will help you save a lot of money as each individual entry ticket is more expensive when purchased separately than it is with the pass. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
THE IDEAL CANCUN ITINERARY
After traveling to Cancun multiple times, I created this itinerary in a way that makes sense no matter if you’re visiting Cancun for 3, 4, 5, or 7 days.
If you’re in Cancun for 7 days, simply follow the complete itinerary – of course, feel free to skip any attractions you’re not interested in, or switch the attractions based on your interests and schedule.
For example, you might visit Cancun for 5 days but you prefer to visit Xcaret (that is not in the 5 days itinerary) rather than the cenotes in Cancun. Remember that this is just a sample itinerary!
Also, some people might think this is too packed and want to spend more days lounging at the beach or by the pool. This is perfectly fine! In fact, you’d probably have a great time by just spending most of your time at your resort. It all comes down to personal interests – some people like to be on the go all the time, while others just want to chill.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Traveling to Mexico is quite safe, but you should always get travel insurance for your trips… just in case! As we all know after the last couple of years, unexpected things can happen and you want to be covered when you need it the most.
I’ve personally had to use my insurance multiple times while traveling! I recommend SafetyWing, which covers you in 185 countries and is affordable. Prices start at 8 USD for one week.
3 Days in Cancun Itinerary
If you’re embarking on a 3 day trip to Cancun, make the most of it by following this short itinerary.
Day 1: Relax at Your Hotel
The first day you arrive in Cancun, you’ll probably want to chill at your hotel. Especially if you’re staying in a resort with many amenities!
Most hotels in Cancun feature a swimming pool with a bar, a spa that offers massage and beauty treatments, attractions for young guests, and a gym. Some even boast children’s clubs and live entertainment, so relaxing and enjoying the hotel’s facilities is also part of the experience.
Make sure to chill and save your energy for your second-day adventures, as you’ll be going on a day trip!
Day 2: Head to Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a paradisiac island off the coast of Cancun with dreamy beaches, a fun downtown, and Mayan ruins.
The island boasts several miles of perfect white sand and crystal clear water that will surely keep you glued to the beach. Make sure to explore the other parts of the island as well, though!
There’s fantastic street art and plenty of craft shops in Isla Mujeres, as well as a pirate’s hacienda, a Natural Reef Park, and an underwater museum where you can snorkel or dive in.
You also can’t skip Ixchel, a Mayan temple built to honor the goddess of fertility. Isla Mujeres actually means Women Island, and the name is believed to have been inspired by the goddess Ixchel. Visiting the islands is one of the best things to do in Cancun.
➤ This Isla Mujeres Catamaran Tour is a full-day sailing excursion that takes you to visit the island. Besides some free time to explore it, you’ll also enjoy snorkeling around the island, an open bar aboard the catamaran, and transfers from your hotel. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ You can take your boat trip to the next level by booking a Luxury Catamaran Tour. You’ll stop at fantastic snorkeling spots, visit the island, and enjoy lunch and an open bar onboard. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
👉 If you want to visit on your own, you can check my post about getting from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
At night, back in Cancun, go partying at Coco Bongo, a Cancun classic. Coco Bongo is the most popular nightclub in the city, but it’s not just a regular club.
There is a spectacular show every night that features flying acrobats, dancers, and very talented artists, besides bars and great music to dance to. It’s said to be a Vegas show and the Cinco de Mayo festivities, all rolled into one.
The venue accommodates 1,800 people, but tickets sell out fast, so I’d recommend buying yours in advance. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
If that doesn’t sound like your kind of night, but you’d still like to go clubbing, some great alternatives are Mandala Cancun, The City Cancun, and Palazzo Cancun.
On the other hand, you might be hoping for a more relaxing evening in Cancun. Dinner and drinks are a great way to end a jam-packed day, and you’ll find countless options in Cancun Hotel Zone.
My personal recommendations include Taco & Tequila, where you’ll find the most traditional food + drink combination in Mexico, Casa Rolandi and Nicoletta for Italian cuisine, La Habichuela for Mexican fare, and Harry’s Prime Steakhouse for meat lovers.
For a fancy post-dinner drink head to Doble B Bar Cancun, a modern bar with an atmosphere that emulates 1920’s New York City vibes.
Day 3: Beach Day in Cancun
On the last day of your 3 day Cancun itinerary you’ll get to relax at the beach. Cancun is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the area, and there are many gorgeous strips of sand and turquoise waters to choose from.
While the list of best beaches in Cancun is long, number one is undoubtedly Playa Delfines. This spectacular beach features shallow turquoise waters, which makes it ideal for families with small children. It also boasts the customary powdery white sand and offers free palapas to its visitors.
Playa Delfines is far from the resorts that act as a backdrop to most Cancun beaches, another reason why it’s considered the most beautiful.
Other amazing beaches include Playa Forum on the northern end of Cancun Hotel Zone, Playa Pez Volador, which is surrounded by lush vegetation, Playa Tortugas (Turtle Beach), and Playa Chac Mool.
At most Cancun beaches you can also practice watersports, rent sunbeds to sunbathe or nap by the sea, get drinks and food from the beach bars, and snorkel.
After a day under the sun, get ready to enjoy dinner and a magnificent show to end your 3 days in Cancun on a great note: Joya. Joya is a Cirque du Soleil experience that offers fine dining in a stunning setting in the jungle, while you marvel at the hypnotic show.
Joya presents a beautiful story that showcases the heritage and history of Mexico, featuring incredibly talented artists and amazing visuals. ➥ BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE
4 Days in Cancun Itinerary
👉 Follow the activities above for your first 3 days, and visit Chichen Itza on the last day of your 4 day Cancun itinerary.
Day 4: Visit Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is Mexico’s most visited attraction. The archaeological site of Chichen Itza is around 1,500 years old, and of incredible importance to the Mayan civilization, considered one of the biggest and main cities in pre-Hispanic America.
These Mayan ruins feature many structures, among which the Kukulcan Pyramid stands out, and provide great insight into the Mayans’ beliefs and knowledge.
I highly recommend visiting the ruins as part of your Cancun 4 day itinerary, because it’s one of the most meaningful historical sites on the continent.
👉Before you visit, make sure you read my post about the most incredible fun facts about Chichen Itza, so you get to understand the site more deeply – and have fun in it!
Chichen Itza is about 124 miles from Cancun, and the drive there takes 2.5 hours. Since you’re only going on a day trip, I suggest booking a tour so you have both transfers covered, plus a guided tour of the ruins and food. Below are the best options.
➤ The Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid Tour is an all-inclusive, full-day tour that includes a visit to Chichen Itza with a knowledgeable guide, a swim in a nearby cenote, and some time in the charming town of Valladolid. You’ll also enjoy a buffet meal, and benefit from hotel pick-up and drop-off. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and Cenote Tour takes you around the world-famous Mayan ruins with an expert archeological guide, so you get to discover all that’s known about the site. You’ll also swim in a cenote, and visit the ruins of Ek Balam, another fantastic Mayan city. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ This Chichen Itza Private Tour includes skip-the-line tickets, as well as a guided visit of the ruins with your private guide, and some time to swim and cool off at a sacred cenote. You’ll also visit the town of Valladolid, and enjoy the snacks and beverages provided. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
👉 If you want to plan the trip on your own, I have a guide about visiting Chichen Itza from Cancun that you should check out!
That’s a wrap for this Cancun Itinerary (4 days), which should enable you to discover some of the main attractions in the city and explore the region around it.
5 Days in Cancun
👉 Follow the itinerary above for your first 4 days, and prepare for a fifth day full of adrenaline to end your 5 day trip to Cancun.
Day 5: Cenotes in Cancun and Jungle Adventure
Cenotes are one of the most beautiful features of the Yucatan Peninsula. They are natural sinkholes formed thousands of years ago that are fed by underground rivers, offering cool, fresh water in which to swim and snorkel.
There are many cenotes near Cancun, and you should definitely visit a few of them if you’re staying in Cancun for 5 days. I’ve written a whole post about the best Cancun cenote tours, so if you have time, check it out!
But how about you combine a visit to the cenotes with some jungle adventure? The amount of eco and adventure parks in Cancun make it a great destination to enjoy a thrilling day, and most experiences combine the excitement with some downtime cooling off at the cenotes.
Below are the best tours that offer you both. Check them out!
➤ Tour Cenotes By Xcaret is a full-day trip that takes you into the jungle. There you’ll kayak in underground rivers, swim in the cenotes, and snorkel. You’ll also rappel down a rock wall into a cenote, and discover the mythical tales that surround the cenotes, their formation, and their importance to the Mayan. A picnic lunch and all transfers are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ This ATV, Ziplines, and Cenote Tour takes place in Extreme Adventure Eco Park, where you’ll get to drive an ATV on mud roads, soar above the jungle on the zipline course, and then cool off in a wonderful cenote. The tour includes refreshments and hotel roundtrip transportation, and it’s family-friendly. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ The Selvatica Ziplines and Cenote Tour is a great half-day activity that takes you to Selvatica Adventure Park. You’ll enjoy the 10 different ziplines, including a zipline coaster and Aquazip, and finish your trip cooling off in a beautiful cenote. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
It’s the last night of your Cancun itinerary (5 days), and I suggest that you spend it in Playa del Carmen. Playa is renowned for its nightlife, and it will provide a nice change from Cancun’s night scene. While there’s also another Coco Bongo in the city, whose party atmosphere is said to put Vegas to shame, you can have a great time just strolling along 5th Avenue.
This main street in Playa del Carmen features a great number of bars, restaurants, and shops, and at night it becomes even livelier. You’ll see street performers, street food stalls with all sorts of dishes, and a lot of movement, music, and smells.
You can also go to one of the beach or rooftop bars for a few drinks, and have dinner at Zitla, Porfirio’s, or Harry’s. If you’re up to partying, Coco Bongo and Mandala are your best options.
This 5 days in Cancun itinerary combines nature, adrenaline, relaxation, and vibrant nightlife, so you truly enjoy the most of what the city has to offer. If you’re lucky enough to spend a whole week in Cancun, continue reading!
7 Days in Cancun
👉 Follow the guide above for your first 5 days, and read on to discover what you’ll be doing on your last days in town if you’re planning a Cancun 1 week itinerary.
Day 6: Day Trip to Tulum
On day 6 of your Cancun itinerary for 7 days, I recommend going on a day trip to Tulum. Tulum is a charming, boho-chic town south of Cancun with stunning beaches, one of the most spectacular Mayan ruins you’ll see, and a great vibe.
Among the attractions you can’t miss are the Tulum Ruins, perched on a clifftop with stunning views over the sea, the gorgeous Tulum beach, a visit to the cenotes that surround Tulum, which are some of the best in the peninsula, and chilling at one of the beach clubs.
There are a few ways you can organize your Cancun to Tulum day trip, either taking public transportation, driving, or going on a tour. The last option is fantastic if you don’t have a car and want to skip the planning for both the transfers and the activities.
➤ This Exclusive Combo Tour lasts a full day and takes you on a guided visit of the Tulum Ruins, as well as snorkeling on the reef and some time to cool off in a cenote. All entrance fees and a buffet lunch are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ The Tulum and Cenotes Tour is a full-day trip in which you’ll enjoy a tour around the Tulum Ruins with a knowledgeable guide, and then visit two beautiful cenotes to cool off and swim. All transfers are covered, as well as the ruins’ entrance fee. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ This 4×1 Tour to Tulum covers a great number of sites in a single day. You’ll visit both Tulum and Coba Ruins with a guide, as well as relax in a spectacular cenote and wander around Playa del Carmen. A buffet lunch and all entrance fees are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Day 7: Xcaret or Xplor or Rio Secreto
This Cancun Itinerary (7 days) finishes with a visit to one of the spectacular adventure parks in the area.
▶️ Xcaret is a beautiful eco theme park that boasts dozens of thrilling activities, taking advantage of its natural wonders. Situated in the jungle, it offers hikes, shows, cenotes to swim in, underground rivers, and even Mayan ruins.
At nighttime, it showcases its best trait: the Xcaret Show Espectacular, an astounding performance that tells the history of Mexico with music, lights, and actors.
➤ This Xcaret Day Trip offers priority access when you get to the park, as well as all the activities, equipment, and the use of hammocks to rest. You’ll get to enjoy the fantastic night show, and if you upgrade your ticket there’s also a buffet lunch with fruit. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
▶️ A fun alternative is Xplor, another adventure park situated near Xcaret. It also offers adventure activities that go from ATVing to ziplining, swimming in underground rivers filled with stalactites, and relaxing in a cenote.
➤ This Xplor Adventure Park Tour includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, as well as priority access to Xplor to enjoy all the activities on offer. The ticket includes a buffet lunch, beverages, lockers, and equipment. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
▶️ You can otherwise take a trip to Rio Secreto, another gem in the Riviera Maya. Rio Secreto, which translates to Secret River, is an underground river that boasts so many stalagmites and stalactites that has been given the nickname crystal museum.
When visiting, you’ll get to swim in the river marveling at your surroundings and meeting the small animals that inhabit it.
➤ The Tickets to Rio Secreto grant you access to the site, where you’ll explore a network of underground rivers with labyrinths and stalactites, before indulging in lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
You got to the end of the perfect Cancun 7 day itinerary, with which you’ll be able to plan a fantastic time in the city and its surroundings.
Feel free to adapt the itineraries to your own fancy and interests, and make sure to enjoy yourself. Cancun is a gorgeous destination, and I’m sure you’ll have a great time, regardless of how many days you spend there!
WHERE TO STAY IN CANCUN
All-Inclusive Resort: Wyndham Alltra Cancun – This All-Inclusive Resort is situated right on the beach, and features a fitness center, a massive swimming pool, a restaurant & bar, and a spa. There are also family rooms, a games room, children’s playground, and breakfast in the room is available.
Luxury Hotel: Hyatt Zilara Cancun – This 5-star hotel boasts astounding views of the sea, besides providing great amenities to guests. From spectacular architecture to personal trainers at the gym, a pool, private beach, a tennis court, and plenty of activities, there is enough to keep you entertained the whole of your stay.
Boutique Hotel: Casa Tortugas Boutique Suite – There is a swimming pool overlooking the sea, suites with seating area, kitchen, and fully equipped bathrooms, and a sun terrace with loungers at Casa Tortugas. The hotel is very close to restaurants, bars, and the beach.
On a Budget: Bed and Breakfast Pecari – This B&B offers cozy and very comfortable rooms with A/C and a private bathroom. Some rooms feature a balcony, and all guests have free parking, breakfast, and access to the outdoor pool.
Hostel: Mayan Monkey Cancun – This fabulous hostel offers both dorms and private rooms, as well as an outdoor pool, a shared kitchen, a bar, and a restaurant. There are also sun loungers and bike rentals, besides events that make it very easy to meet other travelers.
CANCUN ITINERARY FAQ
How many days in Cancun you should plan will depend on your interests, but I’d say 3 to 5 days is the perfect amount of time. However, I’d recommend planning a trip to Cancun for a full week if you also want to go on day trips.
Yes, 7 days is definitely enough time to explore Cancun and also go on day trips to some other cities in the Riviera Maya. This itinerary for Cancun should help you plan your perfect 7 days in the city!
The cost of your trip will depend entirely on the type of trip you embark on, and how long you stay there. If you’re traveling on a budget, one week in Cancun can cost you around $600 including lodging, food, and some tours/activities. If you decide to go on luxury, the trip for two can cost well over $2500.
If you’re looking to spend a long weekend in Cancun, you’ll be able to discover some of the city’s gems, enjoy the nightlife, and relax by the beach. I’ve written this Cancun 3 day itinerary which will help you plan a fantastic trip there!
A perfect Cancun trip for 5 days includes chilling at the stunning beaches, visiting Chichen Itza, exploring Isla Mujeres, and swimming in the cenotes.
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