Cancun Itinerary : Top Things To Do In 3 Days

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If you are looking for an ultimate Cancun itinerary for 3 days, you have come to the right place. Discover the best things to do and explore with this 3 days in Cancun itinerary.

Cancun is a peninsular heaven for many people around the world. If your travel bucket list has places from Mexico, we are sure Cancun would be at the top of the list. After all, it has everything that a traveler can dream of. Cancun is also known as the place which is famous for being the destination for university students during their spring breaks. Though Cancun is divided into two parts, the older Cancun has more traditional places while the new Cancun has restaurants, hotels, resorts and nightclubs.

To make sure that you enjoy the best of your time in this lovely Mexican city, here is a 3 day Cancun Itinerary packaging all the wonders that this place possesses.

Cancun Itinerary : 3 Days In Cancun

Let’s dive in and plan the perfect 3 days in Cancun itinerary for your visit.

Day 1 : Chichen Itza, La Isla Shopping Village

Explore Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza - Cancun Itinerary
Chichen Itza – Cancun Itinerary

One of the first places to visit while you are in Cancun is Chichen Itza. This site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has also been listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It’s a short excursion from the city through a convenient route. The media brought Mayan culture and the Mayan calendar into the limelight a few years back. You might have heard about its mentions in several movies too. But if you want to explore the remains of this talked about culture, you can do it while you are in Chichen Itza.

On your first day, Chichen Itza won’t only introduce you to some of the hidden facts about this culture but you would be astonished at how much you don’t know about this long-forgotten yet valuable culture. Then huge remains against the green lands and clear blue skies would give you Insta worthy pictures. The cenote near Chichen Itza is a gorgeous cave-like structure with a hole on the roof, from where sun beams reflect the water on the ground, thus, giving it a divine look. You can take a natural replenishing dip in the cenote.

Chichen Itza is located 120 miles from Cancun’s center. You can hire a car to reach the location or simply be a part of an organized tour. If you want to make the most out of this excursion, we recommend you to take an organized tour with a local guide. Here is a tour of Chichen Itza inclusive of hotel transfers, guide, buffet meal, cenote entrance and a visit to Valladolid which is an incredible hidden gem in Mexico’s Yucatan jungle.

La Isla Shopping Village

La Isla Shopping Village - Cancun Itinerary
La Isla Shopping Village – Cancun Itinerary

After exploring so much through your entire day, you must be on for something light for the evening. And, La Isla Shopping Village, is the best place to catch some breath and explore the products from this lovely place. You will find everything here. From the brands like Calvin Klein, Swarovski, Diesel, Louis Vuitton etc to some small shops with local businesses that sell the products made by local craftsmen. You can also buy some souvenirs from here and make them a part of your closet.

The time to explore the shopping village is 11 AM to 10 PM. So you can wrap up an early night on your first day here for an adventure the next day.

Day 2 : Isla Mujeres, Coco Bongo

Sail Off To Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres - Cancun Itinerary
Isla Mujeres – Cancun Itinerary

Isla Mujeres will give you an escape that you have been looking for quite a while from your daily life and daily schedule. It is an island away only 13 kms from Cancun. Its soothing vibe and laid-back environment make it a must visit place for visitors and tourists. You can hire a ferry from Gran Puerto Cancun which is located in Puerto Juarez. It is a few minutes’ walk from downtown Cancun and the ferry leaves at an interval of every 15 minutes from 5 AM to 9:30 PM throughout the entire day.

Alternatively, you can book online round trip ferry ride for Isla Mujeres that depart from the Utramar deck at Playa Tortugas or Puerto Juarez (as per your selection).

There are several activities that you can be a part of on the island. You can participate in diving, snorkeling or spend time with the dolphins that keep swimming around the Island. Visitors love the aura of the island and prefer to stay there for quite some time. Hence, there are several hotels and resorts as per your requirements and taste, if you want to spend a night or two there.

The relaxing and carefree environment of the island is what makes it people’s favorite. And you would hear it from many people who simply visit Cancun to just stay at Isla Mujeres. There is no doubt that they define it as heaven or paradise.

For an easy day trip to Isla Mujeres, click here to book a tour that is inclusive of hotel transfers, Catamaran cruise, snorkeling activity, bar access and a delicious buffet lunch.

Party At Coco Bongo

If you are on a tight schedule and prefer to return by evening from the Island, there is a fun place waiting for you at Cancun too. You can spend your evening or we would rather mention a party night at Coco Bongo. Though there are many nightclubs and lounges around, Coco Bongo needs a special mention in your Cancun itinerary because of its vast area and the festive surroundings. It is more than a lounge or a club. People, especially those who are visiting Cancun as tourists, love to dance their hearts out and drink at this place.

Being a part of a night at Coco Bongo is like being a part of a carnival under one roof where people party and enjoy together. There would be a different environment if you visit the place around a festive season like New Year or Christmas.

You can prebook a Coco Bongo Nightclub Experience here.

Day 3 : Ancient Ruins Of Coba & Tulum, Visit Playa del Carmen

The Ancient Ruins Of Coba

Ancient Ruins Of Coba - Cancun Itinerary
Ancient Ruins Of Coba – Cancun Itinerary

If you loved your first day in the deep Mayan culture, this is going to be a treat for you. Coba ruins are mostly secluded and surrounded by deep forests from all sides. You will have to climb several stairs to reach the real treasure chest at the top of the mountain-like structure. The pyramid of Coba is taller than Chichen Itza, so make sure you do not underestimate its height. Once you reach the top of the Coba pyramid, you would love the gorgeous views of the surroundings, the green tops of the trees and the sky. You would be at the height of 142 feet.

The Ancient Ruins Of Tulum

Ancient Ruins Of Tulum - Cancun Itinerary
Ancient Ruins Of Tulum – Cancun Itinerary

Tulum is another place where you will find the remains of the Mayan culture. Apart from Chichen Itza and Coba, this place is also rich in cultural heritage and is surrounded by the remains of what is left of that culture and living. If you are a history buff, you would love to add this piece, only to join the dots later, after visiting Coba. The three main spots that make the complete Mayan tour at Cancun are Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba. It would be one adventure once you visit all three of them.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen - Cancun Itinerary
Playa del Carmen – Cancun Itinerary

Located 64 kms north of Tulum is Playa del Carmen. This Caribbean like city is a must visit place in Mexico. It has an impressive strip of beautiful beaches comprising adventure caves, amusement parks and theme parks. Stop at 5th Avenue to enjoy shopping and the lip smacking street food. Do try Marquesita. It is a local dessert made of crepe served with Nutella and Edam cheese.

Here is an incredible tour to Coba, Tulum and Playa del Carmen that can be done in a day’s time. Do check it out. It is inclusive of hotel transfers, entrance fee to the sites, cenote visit and buffet lunch.

More Fun Experiences In Cancun

If you are planning to spend more time in Cancun, you should consider visiting the below places in the city.

The Mayan Museum

Now, when you have visited the archaeological remains of the Mayan culture, you would be intrigued to know more about it. Located in the center of Cancun, the answer to quenching all your curiosity about the same is the Mayan Museum. It is a rich museum in the collection where you will find information about the deities of the Mayan people, the lifestyle of the people who were a part of the culture and other archaeological remains. The paintings over the rocks and the detailed craftsmanship of the Mayan people that still speaks a lot about their legends and stories would leave your mind blown.

Pre-book your slots and tickets for Mayan Museum here to save on time.

A Dive Into An Underwater Museum

If you have watched the 1995 flick water world, you have a certain glimpse of what the world would be like if submerged in water. But if you want to experience how beautifully Cancun authorities have preserved the little world underwater you will be surprised. The Underwater Museum of Art is a must-visit place in Cancun and is a once in a lifetime experience to have.

All you need to do is to book your tickets, visit it and dive deep into the water with your diving gears to see the treasures of what once could be lost are not only found but also preserved.

Transparent Boat Tour In Nichupte Lagoon

Soak in the mesmerizing beauty of the Nichupte Lagoon while sailing on a transparent boat over its clear blue waters. This is an offbeat and lesser known activity in Cancun. All you need to do is relax and watch the amazing marine life in the reef below the boat. This experience will be very soothing and memorable for you as you feel the amusing colors of mother nature bringing joy to your senses. Do check out this transparent boat tour here.

General Information On Cancun

Where To Stay For 3 Days In Cancun?

Trying to decide where to stay in Cancun? There are tons of resorts and hotels that fill up the Zona Hotelera area. And if you are on a budget, you will find many pocket friendly accommodations in the downtown area. To make it easier and less overwhelming for you, below are some of our recommendations that you should surely check out.

Budget (Upto $50) : Located in the heart of Cancun city, Hotel Los Girasoles is a steal deal for budget travelers. The rooms are basic, spacious, clean and very comfortable. Free WiFi, free parking, coffee house and sun terrace are other facilities provided by the hotel. Search for availability at Hotel Los Girasoles here.

Mid Range ($50 – $100) : Adhara Hacienda is another pocket friendly hotel accommodation in Cancun. It is located in the downtown area and close to many popular sites. Rooms are elegantly decorated, spacious and clean. The hotel staff is also very helpful and friendly. Facilities at the hotel include swimming pool, sun loungers, free Wifi, free parking, onsite restaurant, bar and fitness center. There is also a garden, kid’s pool and playground in the hotel. Search for availability at Adhara Hacienda here.

Luxury ($100+) : Dreams Vista Cancun Golf & Spa Resort is an all inclusive resort that stands true to its name. The resort has a private beach, swimming pools, a huge garden, spa, wellness center, an exceptional gym, kid’s lay area, kid’s club, entertainment arena, nightclub, gaming room, sports area, themed dinner nights, restaurants and many more fun amenities. The rooms are beautiful, cozy, soundproof and spacious with views to the sea and pool area. Some rooms also have a terrace and balcony. Playa Blanca is just 1.7 kms from the resort. Search for availability at Dreams Vista Resort here.

How To Get Around In Cancun?

Cancun has a fairly easy transport system through which you can very conveniently commute in the city. There are frequent buses from Boulevard Kukulcan (downtown) and Zona Hotelera to take you to various shopping centers, beaches and other city attractions.

Taking a cab is also an inexpensive way of navigating through the cities. Make sure to keep some Mexican pesos handy to avoid time in conversions.

For outskirt excursions, we would recommend you to book rental cars or tours in advance.

What’s The Currency Used In Cancun?

The currency used in Cancun is Mexican Pesos. 1 USD is equivalent to 19.65 Mexican Pesos (approx.)

You can use US dollars too in Cancun, but we would recommend you to bring Mexican Pesos to avoid currency conversions at high rates.

Here you have it, our 3 days in Cancun itinerary for you. Cancun is a gorgeous city with Caribbean climate which also makes it a year round destination. The city has high end resorts, restaurants, nightclubs, museums, accessible theme parks, beaches, tranquil waters and green spaces. It’s a must visit place and perfect for a refreshing vacation.

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Anjali Wadhwa (cheerfultrails) is a travel consultant and enthusiast who has traveled to 15+ countries. She shares about her explorations through her writings. You will find detailed itineraries, best travel tips and well experienced recommendations for food, transportation and hotels on her blog.

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