7 Things to do in Cancun Mexico (and useful Spanish Phrases for Beginners)

Traveling is one of the best reasons to learn a new language. Not only will you enjoy and learn from the local culture at another level, but you will actually get to have more fun and discover more. In this short post we will take a look at a 7 interesting things to do in Cancun Mexico (some of them near Cancun) and a few useful phrases for beginners learning Spanish.

 1- Go to a Beautiful and Safe Beach…

Although most beaches in Cancun are beautiful, probably one of the prettiest and safest places to visit is the Beach around the area of the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel.

A few useful phrases to find this place may be:

  • Excuse me, which way is the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel beach?
  • Disculpe, ¿dónde está la playa del Hotel Presidente Intercontinental?


  • How far is the beach of the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel from here?
  • ¿Qué tan lejos está la playa del Hotel Presidente Intercontinental de aquí?


  • Excuse me, which bus can I take to go to the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel?
  • Disculpe, ¿qué autobús puedo tomar para ir a la playa del Hotel Presidente Intercontinental?


This is what the beach looks like (Isn´t it pretty?)…


2- Cheap Food with and an amazing beach view

If you are near the area where the nightclub known as “Coco Bongo” is located (which is close to the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel mentioned before) and you want to eat something fast and inexpensive, visit the 3rd floor of Plaza Forum to grab a quick bite.

Take the escalator on the right hand side of Hard Rock Café and you will find a small food court with Chinese food, pizza and other reasonably priced alternatives. After grabbing a bite, step out to the terrace to enjoy the view and take a photo of yourself with the spectacular Caribbean ocean in the background.

On the third floor, you can also find free bathrooms and a Mexican Souvenirs Outlet with reasonable prices. This is one of those hidden secrets that most tourists never hear about.

This is what Plaza Forum looks like (and you can see the view at 2:39 )…


If you want to sit down, just buy 1 beer and enjoy the view (1 beer at that place is about 5 dollars, not the cheapest, but the view is worth it). This is what the view looks like from a table…


This is what Plaza Forum looks like from outside (if you see a big red guitar, you are there) Click and drag the image to look around:

View Larger Map

3- Walk around the Municipal Hall

Cancun is known worldwide for its beautiful beaches and nightlife, but it also has a “local community” feel that most tourists overlook. If you want to get a feel of the town, walk around Cancun’s City Hall (Palacio Municipal) during the day.

You will not see many tourists there, but it is an interesting place worth visiting. Just walk around, buy a few snacks or some ice cream and discover the area. You will also find great local food at bargain prices at family owned restaurants. Don’t be afraid to practice your Spanish, local people are very nice.

In December, they often have an ice skating ring for local kids as seen here…


This is what City Hall looks like from the street (not spectacular, but certainly a nice place to walk around and be surprised by the kindness of local people) Click on the image and drag around to have a look at the city:

View Larger Map


4- Ride a bus and explore Cancun…

This is a safe city, and walking around is a great way to discover it. If you feel like getting out of your Hotel, take the R-2 bus and stop where you see something interesting. It is a great way to discover new and interesting things and finding your own path.

Here is what a bus ride looks like…


A few useful phrases for a bus ride may be…


  • Excuse me, do you reach the Radisson Hotel?
  • Disculpe, ¿pasa por el Hotel Radisson?


  • How much is one ticket?
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta un boleto?


  • How much is it for all of us?
  • ¿Cuánto es por todos nosotros?


…and if you’re lucky, you may even get live music during your bus ride (tipping the artists is optional, but certainly appreciated), check it out…


5- Plaza Las Américas

If you feel like visiting a pleasant shopping mall with several economical food options (that also include international standards like McDonald’s, Subway and Starbucks), visit “Plaza Malecón Américas”. They have a nice food court where you can choose your favorite type of meal.

If you want something inexpensive, authentic and DELICIOUS; then you should try “Las Quekas”. Highly recommended! Just order 1 chicken quesadilla (una quesadilla de pollo) and 1 mushroom quesadilla (quesadilla de champiñones) and “una agua de jamaica” (Hibiscus sweet tea. A red drink that is very refreshing). They are big, make sure you are hungry.

They also have a nice movie theater you can check out if you feel like taking a break for a few hours in an air-conditioned environment.

This is what the shopping mall “Plaza Las Américas” looks like (check out the huge fan on top)…




A few useful phrases may be…


  • Excuse me, where is the food court?
  • Disculpe, ¿dónde está la zona de comidas?


  • Excuse me, where are the bathrooms?
  • Disculpe, ¿dónde están los baños?


  • Excuse me, where’s the exit?
  • Disculpe, ¿dónde está la salida?


  • Excuse me, where can I get a taxi?
  • Disculpe, ¿dónde puedo tomar un taxi?


This is what the food court looks like…


6- Visit Xcaret Park

If you want a full-day adventure, you should consider visiting Xcaret. It is a privately owned Eco-archeological theme park located 47 miles (75 kilometers) south of Cancun. It is not cheap, but it’s worth the price.

Here is a quick overview of the park…


If you have time, stay for the cultural music night show (lots of music, lots of dancing and lots of costumes) It´s not a short one, but it certainly is spectacular.

Take a look at this video of the show (pay attention to the huge green “Penacho” (headdress) on the guy´s head at 2:42) …


The show also has a section showcasing a live Mayan ball game known as Pok ta Pok where players hit a solid rubber ball using their hips. It is very interesting and something you rarely get to see. Take a look…


And they also have the “fire version”, take a look (pretty intense, huh?)…


7- Visit Tulum…

This pre-Columbian Mayan walled city was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayas. It is located 80 miles (128 kilometers) south of Cancun and it has one of the most fascinating beaches you’ll ever find (bring your bathing suit). Preferably, get there early. Take a look at this short video by the amazing Sonia Gil (I think she is SUPER cool) to see why…


Do you know of any other cool things to do in Cancun? Please share them in the comments section available at the end of this page.

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2 thoughts on “7 Things to do in Cancun Mexico (and useful Spanish Phrases for Beginners)”

  1. Thank you for such an awesome article. When I visit Cancun I want to be able to experience more than what is advertised int the tourist brochures and this is just what I needed. It is obvious that you have great local knowledge. Thanks for sharing it.

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