Going solo in Cancun doesn’t have to be a bore! Explore the wonders that the Yucatan peninsula, famous for its white sand beaches, turquoise water and never stopping nightlife, has to offer to you. Cancun is very much of a party hub. But what if it’s not all? Take advantage of the backpacker’s mindset and take the less traveled roads. The Mexican Gulf, with its white sand coastlines, historical landmarks, seas opened to many sports activities and enchanting stunning marine environment are waiting for the vacations photographers and the adventurous solo travelers. Here are 6 tips for making the best memories.
El Rey Ruins
Located in the heart of Cancun, in the touristy Hotel Zone, the tiny and only ancient ruins in the city stands out. If every visitor would agree on the fact that the site is less than spectacular, it’s still a favorite because of its current inhabitants. Indeed, myriads of apparently docile iguanas have taken residence at the ruins. Candid photographs with your new reptilian friends will be a quirky addition to your travel journal.
Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA)
Take a deep breath and prepare to be stunned. Resting at a depth between 13 and 30 ft, the Cancun Underwater Museum looks innovative and like one of a kind. Located on the coast between Cancun and Isla Mujeres (see next entry), the museum is one of the South American’s largest underwater art attraction, with over 500 marine sculptures. Those statues are made of a material promoting the growth of coral. It’s an added bonus the that these sculptures help distract casuals divers’ attention from the natural reef, furthering its chance to survive in a highly visited area. To explore the museum, it’s possible to snorkel, dive or take a glass-bottom boat… With your trusty sports camera.
Leave the rowdy littoral of the Hotel Zone for a peaceful afternoon in the sun. Isla Mujeres is an island close Cancun (20 min by ferry), but a little less crowded than most beaches in the area. Once you have set foot on the island, head to Playa Norte (North Beach) and pick the patch of waterfront the more to your liking and laze around under the shade. Later, stroll along the main street where you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants or quant souvenirs shops. If shopping and tasteful Mexican cuisine aren’t your priority, the Isla Mujeres will reveal its unusual beauty. The island is small enough to explore by foot, but do yourself a favor by renting a bike to discover its quieter south and the more rugged east side. There, a vacation photograph with the waves crashing on the rocks behind your back is in order.
Declared National Park in 1998, Isla Contoy is the most important bird nesting site in Mexico. If you enjoy colorful feathers and musical chirping, the island up north of Isla Mujeres is definitely for you. The bird sanctuary is the refuge to close to 150 species of seabirds. You’ll also find whale sharks (during summer) and important colonies sea turtles nesting in Isla Contoy.
Chaak Tun Cenote
Leaving the city for a few day trips is a must! The whole Rivera Maya is full of hidden gems that you would regret missing. One of them are the mesmerizing cenote, sprinkled along the coast. Those natural underground pools are not uncommon in the friable limestone area, but might be one of the most exciting outdoor adventures in the region. The caves of the Chaak Tun Cenote, close to Playa del Carmen, will allow you the full experience to swim between stalactites, stalagmites in crystal clear waters. Also during summer, diving in the fresh stream of those sinkholes is your best option to cool off in the hot weather.
Head further south to the beauty that is the small beach town of Tulum. Tiny but authentic, Tulum is one of the few Mexican Ancient cities by the seaside. Facing the clear turquoise water, the Tulum ruins are so well preserved that they seem to not care about the time passing. Once you will have soaked the almost heavenly atmosphere, you’ll be ready to laze around at one of the numerous bars or restaurants planted on the amazing beaches, a rejuvenating experience before going back to the boisterous Cancun.