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The Ideal Cancun Itinerary for 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 Days [2024]

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. It’s 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 could easily spend a whole week there. Chilling at the beach, swimming in the cenotes, and visiting nearby locations are a few of the wonderful activities to enjoy.

Over the last few years, I’ve spent a good amount of time in Cancun. Every time I visit Tulum or Yucatan, I always fly in or out of the country from Cancun Airport. It only makes sense to spend a few days here and make the most of its attractions!

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 visit, and discover the best nightlife in town (among plenty other things!) below.

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.

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. They’ll lead you to a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle where you’ll settle for the ride.

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!

Private transfers from Cancun Airport to Cancun

The private transfer to Cancun costs $44 one-way, and $85 if you book round trip. The price is the same for groups starting at 3 participants, making it all the more convenient if you’re with more people. ➥ 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.

However, it takes you to your hotel’s front door at a more affordable price. The shuttle is particularly convenient for solo travelers.

The one-way trip to Cancun costs $12 per person. ➥ 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 Zona Hotelera 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, it’s 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. 

To avoid this kind of situation, I recommend booking your car online ahead of time. That’s what I do! I use Discover Cars to compare prices and make sure I’m getting the best deal. COMPARE PRICES HERE

Discover Cars is an online booking service that offers a wide range of rental options from various agencies in Cancun. This makes it easier to find a rental car that suits your budget and needs.

I especially like their cancellation policy. With Discover Cars, you can typically cancel your booking for free up to 48 hours before the pickup time. This is a much more generous cancelation policy than most other platforms. It’s always important, however, to read the specific terms and conditions of your rental agreement. Policies can vary based on the rental company and the rate you choose.

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. 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-day 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, attractions for young guests, and a gym. Some even boast children’s clubs and live entertainment. 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 Archeological Site.

A white yacht sailing on the Caribbean Sea, inserted in a post about the ideal Cancun itinerary

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 rent a golf cart and explore the other parts of the island as well, though!

There’s fantastic street art and plenty of craft shops in Isla Mujeres. There’s also 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 with Snorkel, Open Bar and Transportation from Hotel is a full-day sailing excursion. Besides some free time to explore, you’ll go snorkeling in prime locations around the island. Back onboard, make the most of the catamaran’s open bar! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ You can take your boat trip to the next level by booking a Luxury Catamaran and Snorkel with Lunch and Open Bar, and Visit to Isla Mujeres. You’ll stop at fantastic snorkeling spots, visit the island, and enjoy delicious food and drinks 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.

A woman posing in front of a giant spiderman statue in Cancun

There is a spectacular show every night that features flying acrobats, dancers, and very talented artists. That’s 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:

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 the Cancun Hotel Zone.

My personal recommendations include these:

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 white sand beaches in Cancun is long, number one is undoubtedly Playa Delfines.

This spectacular beach features shallow turquoise waters, which makes it ideal for families. 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.

Another amazing beach in Cancun is Playa Forum on the northern end of Cancun Hotel Zone. There’s also Playa Pez Volador, 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 trip 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. It features 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. It held incredible importance to the Mayan civilization, considered one of the biggest cities in pre-Hispanic America.

These Mayan ruins feature many structures, among which the Kukulcan Pyramid stands out. They provide great insight into the Mayans’ beliefs and knowledge.

I highly recommend visiting the ancient ruins as part of your Cancun 4 day itinerary. 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. You’ll 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.

You’ll have both transfers covered, plus a guided tour of the ruins and food. Below are the best options.

➤ The Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour is a full-day tour. It 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

➤ This Chichen Itza Private Tour includes skip-the-line tickets, as well as a guided visit of the ruins. You’ll have a private guide, and spend time swimming in a sacred cenote. 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 and the region around town.

5 Days in Cancun

Follow the itinerary above for your first 4 days. Then, 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. They 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!

Image of a cenote, inserted in a post about the ideal Cancun itinerary

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!

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!

➤ The Tour Cenotes Oasis Maya by Xcaret from Cancún 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. Discover the mythical tales that surround the cenotes, and enjoy a picnic lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ This ATV Adventure,Interactive Bridges, Ziplines, Cenote& Free Lunch takes place in Extreme Adventure Eco Park. 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 Adventure Park: Ziplines and Cenote Tour from Cancun is a great half-day activity. 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.

Quinta Avenida in Playa del Carmen, with colorful flags and shops on both sides

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. 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

Wondering what to do in Cancun for 7 days?! Easy. First of all, follow the guide above to plan your first 5 days in the city.

Then, read on to discover what other activities you can enjoy when organizing 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. It boasts 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. You should also check out the gorgeous Tulum beach, and visit the cenotes that surround Tulum. They are some of the best in the peninsula! 

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 rent a car and want to skip the planning for both the transfers and the activities. 

➤ This Viator Exclusive: Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote and Caves lasts a full day. It takes you on a guided visit of the Tulum Ruins, as well as snorkeling on the reef. End the day cooling off in a cenote.

All entrance fees and a buffet lunch are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE 

➤ The Tulum Ruins Visit and Swim in a Cenote Guided Tour is a full-day trip. 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 Tulum, Coba, Cenote & Playa del Carmen with Buffet Lunch 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. This astounding performance tells the history of Mexico with music, lights, and actors. 

➤ This Priority Access: Xcaret Day Trip+ Night Show+ Transportation *Official Product* is the perfect way to visit. You’ll make use of all the activities, equipment, and hammocks to rest.

Enjoy the fantastic night show, and if you upgrade your ticket there’s also a buffet lunch with fruit. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ Driving there? Get the Xcaret Plus Admission to gain access to the park, use of all its facilities, fre eparking, and a buffet lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

A woman smiling as she drives an ATV in Xplor Park, inserted in a post about the ideal Cancun itinerary

▶️ 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, 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

➤ If you’d rather drive there, get the Xplor Admission ahead of time. It includes free parking, access to all the activities and rest areas, a buffet lunch, and soft drinks. ➥ 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. It 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 Rio Secreto Underground River Tour with Crystal Caves grants you access to the site. There you’ll explore a network of underground rivers with a professional guide. Discover the labyrinths and stalactites, and cap off the trip with lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Another top adventure park is Xavage. This is possibly the best attraction to enjoy thrilling watersports! It features canals where you can kayak, jet boat excursions, and white water rapids.

Besides, you’ll find a zipline, a rope circuit, and a Splash Zone for children.

➤ Get the Priority Access: XAVAGE with Transportation *Official Product* to visit. It includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, as well as entrance to Xacage and use of all the activities and rest areas. After the adventures, refuel with a tasty lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ If you don’t need the transfers, get the Xavage Admission directly. It includes entrance to the park, all the activities and equipment, and a delicious buffet lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

You got to the end of the perfect Cancun 7 day itinerary! With it, you’ll be able to plan a fantastic vacation 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. It features a fitness center, a massive swimming pool, a restaurant & bar, and a spa. There are also family rooms, a games room, and a children’s playground. Breakfast in the room is available as well.

Luxury Hotel: Hyatt Zilara Cancun – This 5-star hotel boasts astounding views of the sea, besides providing great amenities to guests. There are personal trainers at the gym, a pool, a private beach, and a tennis court. Plenty of activities can be enjoyed; there is enough to keep you entertained the whole of your stay! 

Boutique Hotel: Casa Tortugas Boutique Suite – The suites are equipped with a seating area, a kitchen, and a fully equipped bathroom. There’s a swimming pool overlooking the sea, and a sun terrace with loungers. 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 do you need in Cancun?

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.

Is 7 days enough in Cancun?

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!

How much does a trip to Cancun cost?

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.

Are 3 days in Cancun enough?

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!

What is the best Cancun 5 day itinerary?

A perfect Cancun itinerary 5 days includes chilling at the stunning beaches, visiting Chichen Itza, exploring Isla Mujeres, and swimming in the cenotes.

What’s the best time to visit Cancun?

The best months to visit Cancun weatherwise are December through March. It’s also the perfect season to see whales!

Where can I go shopping in Cancun?

Looking forward to a holiday shopping spree! There are plenty of shops and local boutiques in the city, as well as a few renowned shopping malls. These include La Isla Shopping Village, Marina Puerto Cancun, and Plaza Las Americas.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.