Cancun's Parks and Reserves
You follow the path through the dense Mayan jungle, the scent of native flowers and spices mingling in the air. The calls of birds and insects blend with the sound of a nearby stream, creating a pleasant and peaceful backdrop.
A Rich History & Natural Beauty
Cancun’s parks and reserves capture the natural beauty of the land. Dense jungles, ancient ruins, and exotic plants and animals abound, all within easy traveling distance of Cancun’s Hotel Zone. You won’t have to go far to leave the hustle and bustle behind, and find yourself deep in the heart of pristine nature.
The Best Spots to Explore
Cancun is rich with nature parks and preserves, and you’ll have plenty of options for getting out and enjoying the beauty of the Mayan jungle. Here are a few of our top picks for you to explore.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, Xcaret combines a sprawling nature preserve and archaeological park with popular amenities and entertainment, including shows, restaurants, activities, and more. Wander the jungle paths, visit the aquarium, and soak up the history of the area at Xcaret’s many interactive features. Part nature preserve, part theme park - Xcaret is a family-friendly destination rife with memories to be made. Visit Xcaret.
Ziplines, amphibious vehicles, underground caverns, and plenty of water activities make Xplor one of the top choices to, well, explore! Xplor combines incredible natural beauty with exciting, adventurous activities. You’ll spend your day climbing, hiking, and swimming in this high-energy park, so be sure to prepare appropriately (and maybe plan for an easy night afterwards). Visit Xplor.
Adventure into an underground world of crystals, stalactites, and clear waters. Rio Secreto is an experience like no other. You’ll travel back in time as you wade through the fresh, shallow waters amidst millennia-old rock formations. Small group tours and knowledgeable guides add to the tranquility of the experience. Feel all your tensions disappear as you float in these incredible caverns, and gain a whole new perspective on things from deep underground. Visit Rio Secreto.
A natural aquarium in the Riviera Maya, Xel-Ha is a true slice of paradise. This beautiful park sits in a cove of crystal clear water, surrounded by lush Mayan jungle. You’ll be able to explore its trails, snorkel amidst a wide variety of fish, go cliff diving, and swim the underwater caverns and cenotes. Xel-Ha is a sister park to Xcaret, and is run with all of the same high standards. For outdoor adventure in a truly beautiful location, visit Xel-Ha.
For adrenaline-pumping adventure, look no further than Ventura Park. This park blends beautiful natural landscapes with extreme thrills like bungee jumping, giant rope swings, ziplines, roller coasters, and more. Ventura Park is made up of many different “worlds,” including a dolphinarium, a water park, a go-kart track, and more. If you’re ready to get your heart racing,
If you really want to get away from the hustle and bustle, visit Isla Contoy. A short boat ride from Cancun’s harbors, Isla Contoy is an uninhabited island that is home to many migratory species of birds and other wildlife. The entire island acts as a nature preserve, and you’ll be able to see an incredibly wide variety of flora and fauna as you roam its pristine beaches. You’ll also find excellent snorkeling in the waters around Isla Contoy, adding an aquatic dimension to your adventure. Explore Isla Contoy.
Mayan ruins serve as reminders of the Yucatan Peninsula’s long history, and Chichen Itza is one of the largest and most well-preserved ruins in the region. You’ll have the eerie feeling of wandering back in time as you explore the ruins of this city, which was once one of the most prominent places in all of Mesoamerica. Ancient temples, towering step-pyramids, and other amazing architecture remain as a testament to this once-mighty city. Explore Chichen Itza.
Planning Your Trip
The above list are just a few of the parks, reserves, and other natural wonders you’ll be able to explore around Cancun. Here are even more options, plus places to book your trip:
Before You Go
Be prepared for a long day in the outdoors. Bring plenty of eco-friendly sunscreen to protect yourself and the natural habitats you’re going to explore. Try to choose parks and tours that match your desired level of physical activity, and be sure to check about age or size requirements for children before planning to bring them along.
You Should Also Know…
Be respectful of the natural habitats and Mayan ruins you visit! Be sure to follow all posted rules to help protect and preserve these areas for future generations.
Cancun’s reputation as a modern city is well deserved, but the Yucatan has been a hub for humans for thousands of years. The Mayan sites are a direct connection to ancient culture.
There are plenty of parks and reserves to explore in Cancun, but many of the ones listed here will be full-day adventures.
Eco Park and Reserve Tours