5-7 Day Cancun Itinerary (The Ultimate Guide)

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Are you itching to get away and soak up some much-needed sunshine?

Drop the travel books because you’ve just found the only guide you’ll need to spend 5-7 days in Cancun!

There’s miles of pristine beaches and rich cultural history; with this ultimate itinerary, you’ll be able to experience everything this popular vacation destination has to offer.

So put on your adventure hat and get ready for a wild week filled with exploration and excitement!

Cancun Itinerary at a Glance

Nothing screams ‘chill’ like a beach and resort day. Imprint your body shape on Cancun’s sandy whites, then set off to the lush fringes for a Cirque du Soleil dinner show.

The ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, glowing cenotes, and historical Valladolid await! Return in time for a wild night at Cancun’s best clubs and bars.

While the morning is a history lesson told through Cancun city’s Mayan ruins, the road diverges after lunch. Option one: a city break. Option two: a snorkeling session followed by live-action pirate battles as dinner entertainment.

Jungle life has never been more appealing on a day trip to Xcaret eco-adventure park… unless you prefer the vibrant scuba diving sites around Cancun. Ride that high all the way into Cancun’s prolific nightlife.

Wind down with a casual catamaran cruise around Isla Mujeres; snorkeling optional. Souvenir shopping and market digs will countdown those afternoon hours until it’s time to pack and fly home.

Push on for a full week in Cancun with this 7-day itinerary:

Embark on another day trip into Riviera Maya with your choice activity. Energy levels allowing, stay out to mingle with the locals.

Say farewell to Cancun with a lazy beach day and finish off your to-eat list. If you have time, enjoy a final sunset cruise.

Before We Get Started...

Your excitement is probably palpable from the ground of Cancun International Airport! A week in Cancun will see you tanned, relaxed, and with stories to share.

To be action-ready (and budget-friendly), nab an all-inclusive hotel stay within the Hotel Zone. 

It’ll save you time, money, and energy whether you’re doing 5 or 7 days in Cancun.

This means nix the rental car – hotel shuttles, public transport, and pre-planned tours will get you to places.

If you're undecided, this guide will help you decide if an all-inclusive resort is worth it.

Also! Make sure you check out our tips on planning a trip to Cancun and our full guide to tipping.


Day 1 - Beach Day & Cirque du Soleil

Account for your traveler’s exhaustion with a chill start to your vacation in Cancun. Your 5-day Cancun itinerary begins at the resort and beach.

Settling In

After dropping off your luggage and freshening up, check out your hotel’s daily entertainment schedule.

All-inclusive hotels feature activities that range from wholesome meditation on the beach to foam parties and disco events.

Sign up for something that catches your fancy or relax at an on-site bar.

Pool Activities at All inclusive resort
Pool Activities at All inclusive resort

Have a Beach Day

Others may prefer to kickstart a beach day, made easy with the numerous public beaches within the Hotel Zone.

Don’t forget your beach towels if you want to lay claim at Cancun’s most popular beaches: Playa Chacmool, Playa Forum, Playa Norte, Playa Delfines.

Cirque du Soleil

After recharging with cocktails or the sun, hail a ride and head to the tropical fringes of Playa del Carmen.

The 40-minute ride is worth it: the first permanent Cirque du Soleil show JOYA awaits.

The theater at the Vidanta Riviera Maya Resort hosts an enthralling tale of an alchemist and his granddaughter, drawing on Mexican heritage and history.

Note: The show offers 3 show times and various ticket options. The Dinner and Champagne ticket will net you the best seats plus a 3-course dinner and drinks.

JOYA by Cirque du Soleil at Vidanta Riviera Maya
JOYA by Cirque du Soleil at Vidanta Riviera Maya Photo by Viator

Day 2 - Chichen Itza & Cenotes

Day 2 of your Cancun holiday will take you out of the city for most of the day. Rent a car for maximum flexibility and dibs on the road trip BGM.

Chichen Itza

The theme of the day is Chichen Itza, one of Riviera Maya’s treasured landmarks.

What was once the ceremonial heart of Mayan civilization is now 2.5 square miles of remnant ruins.

You could easily spend 3 hours touring the various temples, sculpture platforms, and centerpiece Kukulcan Pyramid.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is also famous for the Temple of a Thousand Warriors and the Upper Temple of the Jaguar.

Tip: Pack plenty of water, sunglasses, sunscreen, and wear comfortable shoes for trekking jungle paths.

Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza

Go Cenote-Hopping

Explore the freshwater cenotes throughout Riviera Maya:

Ik Kil Cenote – Near Chichen Itza, it’s amongst the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico. The waters were considered sacred by ancient Mayans.

Hacienda Cenote Oxman – Grab lunch at the adobe-style restaurant and gardens before sneaking a peek at the vine-covered Cenote Oxman.

Cenote Saamal – A iconic swimming hole with various trinket shops and photo ops along the pathway down.

Cenote Xkeken – This blue, cavernous sinkhole features large stalactites, easily accessible via a flight of stairs.

You can also save cenote hopping for another day if you’re planning to stay a full week in Cancun.

Other famous cenotes include Cenote Siete Bocas, Cenote Azul, and Cenote Dos Ojos along the coastline.

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If you have time after lunch, stop by the city of Valladolid. Lush urban landscaping and colonial-style buildings give it a peculiar character.

Main attractions include the 16th-century Convent of San Bernardino of Siena, San Gervasio Cathedral, and Casa de los Venados, which hosts folk art and Mexican furnishings.

Chichen Itza & Cenote Tour

Some people may say, "but the drive is almost 3 hours! I don’t want to be behind the wheel that long". Luckily, you don’t have to flex your driving skills. 

For a balance of ancient history, magical sinkholes and stunning architecture; this full-day tour to Chichen Itza, cenotes, and Valladolid does it all for you:

  • Get picked up at your hotel in Cancun at 7-8am.
  • Arrive at Chichen Itza for a look around Kukulcan Pyramid and other ruins; it starts with a guided tour before segueing into free time.
  • Stop at Cenote Saamal for photoshoots and a short swim. Stone steps lead you to below a manmade waterfall.
  • Enjoy a buffet lunch with tequila tasting, right by the striking cenote. 
  • Wander around the market square of Valladolid and a little more tequila tasting. One of the colonial cities of Yucatan, it’s a stunning collection of old architecture and temples. 
  • Arrive back to Cancun around 7pm.
Coco Bongo Cancun Nightlife
Coco Bongo Cancun Nightlife Photo by Viator

Rounding off the Night

It’s your pick of dinner at Punta Cancun, a neighborhood thriving with bars, taco joints, and seafood restaurants.

Not ready to sleep yet? Stretch your legs and arms with a night out in town!

Nightlife is a huge part of Cancun – evident by the rush of spring breakers.

Party hard at the best nightclubs in Cancun such as Coco Bongo, Senor Frogs and Mandala.

Day 3 - Local History & Culture

There are plenty of historical things to see in Cancun itself, so get ready for a day of local history and culture.

Museo Maya de Cancun

Opening at 9am, Museo Maya de Cancun is the first stop of day three of your itinerary.

Filled with contemporary installations, varied exhibits, and views over Nichupté Lagoon, it takes about an hour to explore.

Cabeza de Serpiente Museo Maya de Cancun
Cabeza de Serpiente Museo Maya de Cancun Photo by xiroro

San Miguelito

Next to Museo Maya is the San Miguelito Archaeological Site, another hour-long walking attraction.

Home to 40 pre-Columbian buildings which were inhabited for over 800 years, it’s a peek into Riviera Maya’s long history.

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El Rey Archeological Zone

For an additional historical dive, the El Rey Archeological Zone nearby is also worth checking out.

Have Lunch & Walk Around

Lunch is anywhere you please! Spend some time in downtown Cancun city unless you prefer staying in the Hotel Zone.

Scour through the main residential areas for vibrant street art, or stuff your face with tacos down on Avenida Tulum.

Hunt down souvenirs and flea market bargains at Mercado 28 or Mercado 23.

Those who want to digest meals should stroll down the delightful Malecon Tajamar, a palm-lined walkway that overlooks the Hotel Zone.

Need to rest your feet? Parque de las Palapas is a lively city park, prepped with playground structures, shaded seats, and an open-air stage.

Grab afternoon snacks at its food stalls and bask in the market vibes.

Cancun Snorkeling Tour
Cancun Snorkeling Tour Photo by Viator

Snorkeling Tour

OR, in lieu of exploring Cancun city, plan a water activity in the afternoon.

While jet-skiing, surfing, and parasailing are well-loved sports, the coast of Cancun is made for snorkeling (check out our top spots here).

This snorkeling tour in Cancun brings you to vibrant coral reefs, the galleries of the Underwater Museum of Art, shipwreck sites and cenotes.

Captain Hook Cruise

Pencil in the 6:30-7pm start time of your Captain Hook dinner cruise. Your swashbuckling adventure takes place on a Spanish-styled galleon, complete with pirate battles and Caribbean dances.

A selection of menus is available, as well as unlimited access to booze at the bar. Return to shore around 10pm and turn in for the night.

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Have a Mexican Feast

Alternatively, you can dine at The Table, an immersive 9-course dinner that recounts Mexican history and Mayan culture via every dish.

The food items themselves are narrative props – like the king crab-lava rock collab that imitates the very first volcanic eruption and following signs of life.

Note: The restaurant is only open on Fridays and Sundays (at 6:30pm).

Day 4 - Outdoor Adventures

Will it be land or water adventures for you today? No week-long itinerary for Cancun is complete without a day in nature.

Option 1:

Your first option is an adrenaline-pumping day at eco-adventure parks near Cancun. The jungle is an integral part of Riviera Maya, so we highly recommend a day within the trees.

Xcaret Park

Combining archeology and adventure, it’s like your custom Indiana Jones movie set.

Activities range from diving the Underground River to sneaking around Jaguar Island; admire the Stained Glass Plaza and archeological sites before watching a ritual ceremony, the Rotating Scenic Tower, or the Xcaret Espectacular Show.

Fish therapy, jetboat rides, Sea Trek and more experiences are available at extra cost. This official entry and tour package is a steal!

Did You Know?

Xcaret Park is part of a collective of eco-adventure parks, which include Xplor, XelHa, Xavage, Xoximilco, Xibolba, and Xsenses.

Each has its own theme and character. Try this combo tour if you want a taste of more than one!


Ventura Park Cancun

A classic theme park brought to Cancun, Ventura Park features the usual go-karts, thrill rides, dolphin encounters, and water park fun. What you may not find in your usual city set-ups, however, are the zip lines.

Selvatica Cancun

Break away from the water to fly above the tree tops instead. The jungle brings you the Extreme Canopy Tour, an extensive zip line circuit that lets you cut through the air.

Military trucks are on standby to deliver you to cenotes or send you off on an Off-Road Challenge.

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Option 2:

We get it, icky mud and bugs aren’t for everyone. You can join scuba diving enthusiasts in discovering underwater wrecks and sea slugs instead.

Isla Mujeres

From Sleeping Sharks Cave to Graffon Natural Reef Park and the colorful Manchones Reef, the varied snorkeling sites at Isla Mujeres guarantee sightings that range between sharks to barracudas, crabs and angelfish.

Cancun Underwater Museum MUSA
Cancun Underwater Museum MUSA

Underwater Museum MUSA

At MUSA, over 500 sculptures lay underwater, tangled in seaweed and host to corals. Spot playful fish darting in and out of a submerged Volkswagen Beetle and more!

Contoy Island

You’ll grow fins for a day on this Isla Contoy snorkeling tour! Not only will you find all kinds of fish within the Ixlache Reef, but a good selection of turtles, octopi, and even Whale Dolphins.

Banco Chinchorro

The ultimate diving experience along the Yucatan Peninsula: the 300-square-mile Banco Chinchorro reef.

Ending the Night

Regardless of your choice, return to Cancun for dinner. Afterwards, hit up The City Discotheque for a unique spin on nightlife; like acrobatic performers swooping across the heads of dancing crowds.

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Day 5 - Isla Mujeres & Shopping

Catamaran Cruise

The last day of your 5-day Cancun itinerary is relaxed. Take it easy in the morning with a luxury Isla Mujeres catamaran cruise.

Your day will look something like this:

  • Get picked up at your hotel and sip on island-inspired cocktails as you sail the crystal-clear waters towards Isla Mujeres.
  • Stop for a snorkeling sesh; gourmet lunch is prepared for you to dine onboard.
  • Disembark at Isla Mujeres where you’re free to explore its must-see sights or opt for a guided tour.
  • Don’t miss out on the sun-soft Playa Norte, the waterfront sculptures of Punta Sur, Capilla de Guadalupe Church, and the small boutique shops off the main street.
  • Head back onboard with more complimentary drinks on your way back to port.
Marina Puerto Cancun Shopping Center
Marina Puerto Cancun Shopping Center

Go Shopping

After being dropped off at your hotel, spend some time browsing the shops. Popular shopping destinations in Cancun include:

La Isla Cancun Shopping Village – Featuring an aquarium and international brands alongside indie handicraft stores.

Plaza Las Americas – Modern shopping mall with brand-name stores, a food court, and a cinema.

Kukulcan Plaza – Another enclosed mall with a huge atrium fountain and stained-glass dome.

Mercado Coral Negro – A flea market with souvenirs; somewhat pricey.

Mayan Market – Artisanal tequila and Maya-inspired handicrafts are the scene stealers.

End of 5-Day Cancun Itinerary

It's time to say goodbye; pack up or get to your late-night flight! Your 5 days in Cancun ends here.


Day 6 - Go for a Day Trip

Continuing onto a 7-day Cancun itinerary, you can choose between slowing down or riding the momentum for two final days of adventure.

Depending on your preference, you may switch around the day’s plans to match your battery levels.

With Day 5 in Cancun being (arguably) restful, it’s once again, time to inject adrenaline into your Cancun itinerary.

Max out on eco-tourism experiences and tick off sites you couldn’t visit in the previous days. Some amazing day trips from Cancun include:

  • Trekking through underground tunnels and cenotes with dramatic rock formations on this Rio Secreto Nature Reserve tour + lunch combo.
  • Embarking on a magical Tulum guided tour through Mayan ruins, followed by cenote visits and a lagoon exploration. The Tulum Ruins is a rare, enclosed city with one side open to the ocean.
  • Sign up for an ATV jungle adventure so you can get muddy and down-to-earth.
  • Cruise through a secret sandbar near Puerto Morelos on a catamaran if you’re bored of staying grounded.
  • Alternatively, drive along the Ruta de Los Cenotes Puerto Morelos for Mexico’s most amazing deep-water sinkholes! Many of them have ziplines and high jumps for you to make a splash.
  • Having fun on a self-planned day trip to Isla Mujeres – checking out the beaches and diving sites.
  • Plunging the depths with a beginner-friendly diving tour, which walks you through the theory and basic techniques first. Then, a boat brings you out to unspoiled reefs and the Underwater Museum of Art.

The young and chaotic can end the day by partying it out at one of Cancun’s hottest clubs, while those in need of quiet can retreat to their hotel for an early night in.

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Day 7 - Beach Day & Winding Down

Whew, you’re probably feeling the exhaustion set in. Round off your 7-day Cancun itinerary with a lazy day.

Beach Hopping

Beach hop the ones you didn’t get around to visiting on Day 1. Whether you’re lounging on a beach bed or playing an impromptu game of beach volleyball, Cancun’s white-powdered beaches are yours to do nothing or everything.

You can also check out the amenities and beaches at another resort with a day pass.

Playa Norte Isla Mujeres Mexico
Playa Norte Isla Mujeres Mexico

Visit the Spa

Book a facial or spa massage at a nearby hotel. Your muscles will appreciate the treatment.

Check off one last bucket list attraction after lunch.

Tequila Tasting

For those who want to squeeze every single minute out of their vacation, sign yourself up for a tequila tasting tour. We won’t judge.

Sunset Cruise

Enjoy a final sunset sailing cruise that offers a light dinner and open bar; the soft hues of the sunset set a relaxing and romantic mood.

Soak up the tropical breeze and take a photo to commemorate!

Packing Up

If your flight is at night, ensure you have enough time for airport transfer and check-in.