Eight Hours in Cancun

Quick- You have only eight hours to spend in Cancun. What do you do? Oh, and you’re not a college kid on spring break. It’s not a tough question when you know all the wonderful offerings of this white-sanded, brilliant-beached paradise has to offer. If you have a few hours to spend because of a business meeting or layover, consider yourself lucky because there’s still plenty to see! And next time, plan a longer vacation.

While it is still cool in the morning, begin by going to check out the Mayan ruins at Ruinas del Ray, a small Mayan fishing village. Since the bigger ruins will take you all day to visit, Ruinas del Rey is a great place to see some history of this incredible land in a short amount of time. After the ruins, a perfect stop is Xcaret. This “eco-archaeological theme park” features brilliant examples of the local flora and fauna, more on the history of the Mayans and ruins to explore, an aviary, an aquarium, and a nursery for baby sea turtles. If you have time later (doubtful), come back at night for performances of dance, music, and drama. Incredible!

After all that learning, it’s time to get wet. While scuba diving tours are day-long commitments, you can still find plenty of ways to enjoy the water. On Isla Mujeres, you can visit Dolphin Discovery. After a short class, you can swim with the well-trained dolphins. This excursion only takes about one hour altogether. While there, take advantage of the water slides, rides, and pools. If you want to sacrifice another excursion and stay here, make sure to go snorkeling with the amazing tropical fish, rays, and sharks (don’t worry, they’re tame).

Next, hit the beach. The best ones are fronted by the big hotels and resorts but are on public property. Politely go through the lobby and head for the sand. Mujeres Bay is great for swimming. If you want to skip lunch, head to Rancho Loma Bonita. It is thirty miles south of Cancun, so this may take up a lot of your precious time. If you love horses, it’s worth it. You can rent horses and ride along the beach. It is like being in your own movie.

Finish up your day with some shopping. Try the duty free UltraFemme, featuring European jewelry, perfume, and other goodies or La Isla Shopping Village. This is a quaint open-air mall, featuring small canals and an interactive aquarium.

There’s so more to do in Cancun than knock back Tequila. While eight hours in Cancun can give you a taste, you’ll no doubt be planning a trip back in the near future. For now, enjoy your escape to this paradise, even if only for a few hours.