Most tourists who visit Cancun go with the intention of spending their time on its beautiful white sand beaches, enjoying the many water activities available, and maybe going beyond the city to explore ancient Mayan history. These are all excellent reasons to visit the much-loved Caribbean vacation destination, and all offer plenty of opportunities for a great vacation. But the downtown area that sits beyond the Cancun Hotel Zone is worth exploring as well, and we’ll share the top 5 reasons you should visit Downtown Cancun.
Downtown Cancun is about a 20-minute ride from the Cancun Hotel Zone and can be reached by taxi or bus for those that won’t be renting a vehicle while visiting. The trip in a taxi will run around $10 USD each way, and by bus will cost about $1 USD per trip. Once you get to the downtown area, much of what you’ll want to see is walkable, and for the places that aren’t, you can easily hop on another bus, as there are stops throughout the area.
Visit Parque Urbano Kabah
Cancun isn’t all just sand and water, in fact, there are many areas that are more characterized by jungle vegetation and home to different species of animals. Parque Urbano Kabah, Kabah Urban Park, is one such area, and you’ll find all sorts of flora and fauna to explore, including parrots, alligators, iguanas, and even spider monkeys. The park is located on Nichupte Avenue and is free for visitors, including the small museum onsite, Casa Maya, where you can learn some history about the area.
Shop at Market 28 and Market 23
There are a lot of places to shop for souvenirs and authentic Mexican goods, but none quite like Mercado 28 and Mercado 23, also known as Market 28 and Market 23. Whichever one you decide to go to first, the other is within walking distance, about a 20-minute walk away. While many items may be the same at both places, Market 23 is more geared toward locals and has more food carts, and grocery-type stands selling things like rice and beans, whereas Market 28 is set up more for the tourist.
Check Out Parque Las Palapas
Parque Las Palapas is largely a local gathering spot, but there are good times to be had by tourists at this park as well. There are a lot of food and souvenir stalls, and the food you’ll find here is authentic, delicious, and cheap. As the sun goes down, the park gets busier, and often there is live music to enjoy alongside a good Mexican street food meal.
Go On a Street Art Walking Tour
Street art is becoming more and more popular in the downtown Cancun area, and you can see quite a bit of it on a self-guided tour. Avenida Bonampak is one area where you’ll find individual murals just by walking around. For the best experience, though, you can book a tour and not only see more street art but learn about some of the art and artists along the way.
Explore the Vibrant Nightlife
While there is definitely a nightlife scene in the Cancun Hotel Zone, the vibrant nightlife of the downtown area is something worth experiencing too. You’ll find a lot more locals in this area but plenty of tourists as well. The Roof and Route 666 Biker Bar are two of the hottest spots, but there are plenty more to choose from, no matter what type of scene you’re looking for.
Cancun has a lot to offer, but if you look beyond the main tourist area and explore the more authentic side of the city, it has even more to offer. Combine a little bit of both for the ultimate Cancun vacation.
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