Unique, Unusual & Offbeat Things to Do in Cancun
Cancun was never really on my bucket list — while I knew that the area had no shortage of world-class beaches and great food, I didn’t really think there would be that many unique things to do in Cancun, at least ones that didn’t involve a neon wristband and a drink umbrella. Turns out there’s lots of offbeat activities in Cancun for your inner quirkophile, and I finally got around to writing about them…
1. Get the Lowdown on the Underwater Museum
The Cancun Underwater Museum MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Cancun) is pretty much the work of one man – Jason deCaires Taylor, eco-sculptor extraordinaire. Over 450 statues are currently on display in the waters between Cancun and Isla Mujeres. Art for the sake of art is not the only purpose here though — there’s an environmental agenda afoot here too. The statues act as an artificial reef, promote new coral growth, and divert those wristband-wearing masses away from the more sensitive natural coral nearby.
Travel Tip: To get the most bang for your buck, make sure your snorkel or dive tour includes a visit to The Silent Evolution near Isla Mujeres. Mine only included a stop at The Gardener of Hope near Punta Nizuc, and while as nifty and as uplifting an experience that may sound, it’s not quite as impressive as the 400+ statues you’ll see near Isla Mujeres.
2. Drink Up at The Tequila Museum
Tequila is to Mexican vacations as deep-dish pizza is to Chicago — it’s just one of those things you have to experience on its native soil. But if you don’t know your a-hole from your anejo, or you just really want to find out what you’re getting sloshed on all day at the pool, head over to the Tequila Herradura Sensory Museum for an enlightening round of “sniff and slurp.” Promoting the full sensory experience, the hour and twenty minute tour takes you through the history of the Herradura tequila-making dynasty, how tequila is distilled (both old-school and new), and proper tequila drinking etiquette (hint: it doesn’t involve swigging directly from the bottle.)
Travel Tip: Tours cost between $5 and $20 USD depending on if you like to drink the expensive stuff or not. If you or your taxi driver are too drunk to find the place, ask for La Europea Liquor Store in the Hotel Zone. It’s located on the second floor, and it opens at a the very sane hour of 12 noon.
3. Explore an Abandoned Beach Resort
Once a well-loved all-inclusive resort, Club Tulum just south of Cancun is now an abandoned mess. Hit by government bureaucracy as unforgiving as the hurricanes that destroyed it, the hotel sits in limbo, and in some pretty spectacular ruins. The upshot is they’re also the only ruins in Mexico completely devoid of tourists, so grab yourself a flashlight, a healthy dose of chutzpah, and sneak in for a boo.
Travel Tip: Take the exit road to Xpu-Ha beach, and approach the hotel from the beach side. There is another abandoned resort further down on the northern side of the beach; that one has a sleepy guard and not-so-sleepy guard dogs though.
4. Shell out 3 bucks at a Turtle Hatchery
Well, what can I say about this one? It’s small, it’s uncrowded, it’s woefully low on signage, but there’s plenty of opportunity to get up close with turtles of all ages, shapes, and sizes. There are even some albino turtles and a few poor wounded souls whiling out their days in a tank out back. Located on Isla Mujeres, it’s only 30 pesos ( $3 USD) to get in, and it looks like it’s going to a much needed cause.
Travel Tip: Check out the Casa de Las Iguanas towards the left-hand side of the front entrance. It’s basically just a pile of rocks, but it houses a small army of iguanas.
5. Take Off at JetPack Mexico
The last on my list of quirky attractions in Cancun is a relatively new one for Mexico, and for anywhere for that matter. And I am so bummed I missed it while I was in there, what with my whole George Jetson fantasy and all. JetPack Mexico has only been in operation for a few months, but it’s already tearing up TripAdvisor as one of the top things to do in Cancun, and I can see why. I mean, c’mon, it’s a JET PACK for cryin’ out loud!
Travel Tip: None for this one, but if you do try the JetPack Mexico experience, you HAVE to let me know how it went.
Still not satisfied? Check out some More Unique Things to Do in Cancun.