What´s the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the word Cancun? If high end luxury hotels and vibrant nightlife is what you think, you must be right. But what you probably don´t know is that once you are in the area, there are unbelievable places to go and things to do in Cancun that you may have never heard of.
Forty five years ago, in the area where Cancun stands today there was nothing, basically. Only a few fishermen huts and some archaeological remains (known today as El Meco, San Miguelito and El Rey); a huge lagoon which today is known as the Nichupte Lagoon System, mangroves, sand dunes and sinkholes.
Sinholes are idiosyncratic within the mayan culture since ancient times, some of them where used as water sources for the mayan communities, cities and ports while others were strictly used as ceremonial places. They believed that this caves and underground rivers where the entrance to the underworld.
So, you can start discovering unbelievable places in the middle of the jungle just a few miles from Cancun, this adventure starts in an inlet where the sea meets the underground rivers of the area creating a rich environment for marine life to develop. Go from the sea to the underground rivers in a heart beat, observe the stalactites and stalagmites, cristal clear waters and feel the serenity of this ancient place. After you are done exploring you can enjoy the fresh waters of the sinkholes nearby.
The ancient city of Coba is another off the beaten path site that is a favorite for the more curious traveller. This city was one of the most powerful cities in the Yucatan and controlled several other towns and ports in the area, it also has the highest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula, the Nohoch Mul pyramid stands about 138ft above the ground and guess what? Climbing is still allowed in this archaeological site. There are two major lagoons and cristal clear cenote sinkholes in the area to cool off once you´ve walked around this site.
This day trip would not be complete if you don´t visit the nearby mayan village of Chimuc, here the mayan culture is very much alive. You can meet the locals, see their arts and crafts and the Elder women are even willing to show you and teach you how a proper corn tortilla is done. There you can have lunch and taste the typical and delicious homemade yucatecan food.
A visit to Ek Balam archaeological site is another amazing daytrip from Cancun, the major structure there known as The Acropolis underwent a recovery process as archaeologist brough the intricate facade back to life. The extention and number of structures here are still unknown since it is still being explored and the discovery of hieroglyphs and Wall paintings are being studied at this momento, is just simply a place that can´t be missed. As well as Coba, is not as crowded as Chichen Itza or Tulum so you can feel the greatness of the place in a whole different level because you can also climb to the top of the Acropolis.
On the side you can visit the nearby Cenote Maya which is a huge sinkhole pool where you can rappel down to get to the water, zip line and even kayak inside this massive cave. We definitely love this sites because after a full mayan culture experience you get the time to chill, explore and enjoy the nature surrounding you.
So, you can plan your days around any of these daytrips to really discover the core of the mayan world and the Yucatan Peninsula without going too far away from Cancun, dismissing the fact that all the things to do in Cancun are party related, you will find plenty of history, nature that will leave you speechless and a mayan culture that is very much alive. Are you in?