What can you do in Cancun in 5 days?
The options are endless, and everyone has something to say about their experience in the Riviera Maya.
But the most important question to help you craft the perfect 5-day itinerary in Cancun is this: What do you want from this vacation?
I have traveled for over 2 months in the Riviera Maya and have created travel itineraries since 2017. In this guide, you will discover 3 detailed 5-day itineraries for 3 different types of travelers:
- An easy and fun stay for families.
- An exciting trip, full of parties and adventures for friends.
- A romantic getaway for couples.
Ready to plan your Cancun adventure? Let’s go!
👉 Don’t hesitate to read our Cancun guide to plan your vacation and not make any more mistakes. You will find all our articles about this destination.
Plan your trip around Cancun
In 2 months, I’ve spent more than 10,000 USD to test the best activities in the Riviera Maya. Stay with me to quickly decide which experiences you should do and learn how to make the most of your trip.
Cancun Itinerary 5 days with your family
Cancun is full of surprises to entertain kids and adults; I’ll take you there!
Easy and fun activities in a paradisiac environment, a touch of culture and history, the whole in a relaxing mood, this is your vision of a memorable family trip!
Where to stay
You will stay in two places during these 5 days in Cancun.
First, you will stay in Isla Mujeres, a quiet corner of paradise in the Caribbean sea, while entertaining your little tribe.
In the north of the island, Hotel Secreto, with its modern and comfortable design, is only a 5-minute walk from the famous Playa Norte, with its white sand beach and turquoise waters.
You can also choose the Caribbean atmosphere and the enchanting setting of a charming hotel on the island’s west coast, opposite Cancun, such as Hotel La Joya Isla Mujeres.
These two sections of the island are relatively well protected from seaweed.
Then, to enjoy the beach while being close to Cancun, opt for an all-inclusive hotel on the quiet Costa Mujeres, such as Finest Playa Mujeres, with its water park, or a nice hotel with all the comforts of home in the hotel zone, such as Beachscape Kin Ha Villas & Suites.
Both areas are bathed by shallow and clear waters, perfect for family bathing.
Day 1: Let’s relax on Isla Mujeres!
On the first day, the family tastes the peaceful mood of Isla Mujeres.
Morning: From Cancun to Isla Mujeres
Upon reservation, an air-conditioned van from an air-conditioned van company will wait for you upon arrival at Cancun international airport to take you to the maritime terminal in Puerto Juarez. Child car seats are available for young kids.
There, a ferry operated by Ultramar Ferry will take you to Isla Mujeres. Departures are hourly until 10.00 pm; the trip takes about 30 minutes.
When you arrive, rent a golf cart from Isla Mujeres Rentadora Joaquin to move around the island and enjoy its charms. The agency is at the port.
Afternoon: Relax at a beach club
This afternoon, it’s time for the whole family to relax in a nice and friendly beach club in the south of the island, the Kin Ha Isla Mujeres Restaurant.
After lunch at the restaurant, which offers a wide and good choice of Mexican and fish dishes, enjoy a nap on a sunbed in the shade of a palapa while the kids splash around in one of the swimming pools.
Before you leave, take a walk along the pontoon over the turquoise waters to admire the beauty of the place and gaze at the sunset.
Day 2: Explore Isla Mujeres!
The family discovers the beauties of this Caribbean island.
Morning: Underwater statues and colorful fishes
This morning the whole family explores one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the area.
At 8.30 am, be at the meeting point of this agency to embark on a 3-hour aquatic adventure.
You will snorkel with colorful fishes in shallow waters, admire a beautiful coral reef, and wander through the fascinating Cancun underwater museum of sculptures colonized by numerous species. Maybe you will meet some sea turtles.
A margarita and fruit juices will refresh you on the boat, and a local ceviche and healthy sandwiches will calm the small hunger that will surely nag you.
Back on shore, listen to your desire to rest at the hotel or enjoy a relaxing sea bath.
Afternoon: Sunset at Punta Norte
If you can’t get enough of scuba diving, you can enjoy the waters of the Garaffon de Castilla Beach Club before going to the Coco Snack Beach Bar in the late afternoon to watch the sunset on the beach.
You will taste a typical dish at the Xcatik Restaurant or in another one of the restaurants on the pedestrian street Miguel Hidalgo and finish this day by listening to good music at EL PATIO CASA DE LA MUSICA.
Day 3: Sunrise & Cancun
Your day will rise on Isla Mujeres and will set in Cancun.
Morning: Sunrise at Punta Sur
Wake up your little family to watch the sunrise over the sea from the top of the cliffs of Punta Sur before enjoying the early morning hours and the pleasure of having Playa Norte just for you.
Around 10 am, you will have a refreshing drink at the Green Demon Beach Club, then return to your hotel to check out.
Have a last lunch on Isla Mujeres before taking the ferry to Cancun.
Afternoon: Sunset on the Laguna Nichupté
Carefully select your ferry destination depending on whether your hotel is in Costa Mujeres (Puerto Juarez Terminal) or Cancun’s hotel zone (Playa Tortugas Terminal).
Explore your hotel and its amenities after check-in.
The whole family will end the day in the beautiful atmosphere of Casa Rolandi on the waterfront of the Nichupté lagoon for a delicious Mexican dinner at sunset.
Day 4: Visit Tulum ruins and the famous cenotes
Today the family explores the culture and nature of the Riviera Maya!
Early in the morning, a van with your guide on board will pick you up at your hotel to avoid the heat and the crowds.
You will start by visiting the beautiful Mayan ruins of Tulum overlooking the Caribbean Sea. No doubt that the history of the Mayan people will captivate kids and parents as well.
You will then go for a refreshing snorkeling on a coral reef.
Finally, your guide will bring you on a walk through the rainforest to a beautiful set of cenote caves that the whole family can swim through.
Drinks and snacks will be available to satisfy thirst and hunger at any time of the day.
Your van will take you back to your hotel, the head full of memories, and surely quite tired after this busy day trip.
If you still have some energy left, you will take your family to the Parque de Las Palapas to mix with the locals, wander among the artisans’ stands and musicians, and eat in one of the many food trucks.
Your taste buds will be nicely surprised by a Marquesita with cheese and Nutella, a Yucatecan specialty.
Day 5: Mexican food and Mayan history
A day of gastronomic and archaeological experiences to satisfy the curiosity of both young and old!
Morning: Delicious street food tour
At 10 am, a van will pick you up at your hotel for a culinary tour of Cancun.
Your guide will first take you to a local market with stalls overflowing with colorful vegetables and fruits. Then, along the way, you’ll stop at street food spots to taste Yucatan Peninsula specialties; there will be something for everyone.
A paleta, a delicious and refreshing ice cream with fresh fruit, will delight everybody.
Afternoon: El Rey ruins & White-sand beach
Belly full, you’ll catch the R1 or R2 public bus to the archaeological site of El Rey, where for a very reasonable price, you’ll learn a little more about the Mayan culture while wandering among the ruins and napping iguanas.
For about 10 USD more, you will have a private guide for 1 hour in English.
After this brief History lesson, you will walk to Playa Delfines, one of Cancun’s most beautiful white sand beaches. The cameras will be clicking in front of the symbolic CANCUN sign on the beach to engrave the souvenir of this amazing family holiday forever.
Cancun Itinerary 5 days with your friends
Cancun is great for joyful and dynamic buddies!
You are a happy group of friends full of energy who like trips that mix adventure and fun.
So let’s go for 5 days where you will enjoy the beach, swimming and sailing on the dreamy waters of the Caribbean Sea, a colorful and varied cuisine, fantastic nature with the mysterious cenotes, the Mexican feast, and the nightlife of Cancun.
If possible, book the weekend in Cancun.
Where to stay
A first stop in a pretty and peaceful area before you dive into the lively vibe of Cancun.
Puerto Morelos is a quiet and lovely little beach resort close to Cancun, with its fishing port.
You will stay at the Hotel Amar Inn, close to the beach and many bars and restaurants.
You will enjoy the garden, the outdoor swimming pool, the nicely furnished rooms and bungalows for 4 persons, and a delicious breakfast included in the price.
During the seaweed season (April to October), choosing a hotel with a swimming pool is better.
Two good addresses for the joyful troop:
- Ideally located near the lively Cancun area, the all-inclusive Breathless for adult-only is an elegant establishment with a good vibe and great amenities.
- Another good option is the Villa du Golf, a lovely boutique hotel close to the famous Coco Bongo Club.
If you want to enjoy Cancun’s nightlife, choose a hotel near Punta Cancun.
Day 1: Let’s Explore Puerto Morelos
A first day to gently get into the mood.
Morning: From Cancun to Puerto Morelos
When you arrive at the international airport of Cancun, you will book a car at Avant Rent A Car. The service is of quality, and the prices are fair.
You will drive to Puerto Morelos, which is about 20 minutes away.
Afternoon: Discover Mexico’s specialties
Why not start your discovery of Cancun by enjoying tacos and great cocktails?
You can choose to book a food tour. From 5.30 pm for 2 hours, your guide will make you taste specialties in local restaurants and taco stalls and eat delicious fruits in a market.
Or you can go on an adventure with your friends.
To guide you, here are a few greedy spots:
- You’ll go to Takos Al Chile for the best tacos and quesadillas (cornmeal and cheese crepes).
- You can have a great beer or a Chamochela at Micheladas del Semaforo.
- The small and friendly restaurant Amor y Pez offers delicious typical fish and seafood dishes. They do not serve alcohol but perfect mineral water.
- And finally, at the Blue Morelos, you will enjoy fish or meat tacos with a delicious Margarita.
You will finish this first day by enjoying the beach at sunset.
Day 2: La Ruta de Los Cenotes & Playa del Carmen
Today you will explore some incredible cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula before enjoying the festive atmosphere of Cancun.
Morning & Afternoon: Explore the cenotes with your buddies
You will start by diving into Cenote La Noria, a beautiful cave cenote with mild, cool waters.
Then you’ll go to Cenote Boca del Puma, where under the watchful eye of slightly thieving monkeys, you’ll be able to thrill yourself on the area’s highest zipline, swim in two cenotes, and rent ATVs ( plan about 4 hours).
And if you were brave enough to get up early enough this morning, you’ll finish the tour at Cenote 7 Bocas, where you’ll snorkel with fish in the clear waters of underground rivers and galleries inhabited by bats.
Evening: Party in Playa del Carmen
After this sporty day, relaxing is a must!
Head to Playa del Carmen to experience the vibrant Mexican nightlife vibe.
Most restaurants, bars, and clubs concentrate on La Avenida Quinta. Here you will be spoilt for choice! You’ll find all kinds of atmospheres that will surely meet the approval of your buddies.
Make a stop at the Tequila Barrel, which is always so lively.
Hip Hop fans can go to the Prana to shake it up.
And why not end the night with some crazy karaoke and laughs while sipping a last beer at the Social Club?
No need to remind you that the group driver will not drink!
Day 3: Snorkeling + Punta Cancun
Underwater exploration is on the program for the day before leaving for Cancun.
Morning: Admire one of the world’s largest coral reefs
It is impossible to leave Puerto Morelos without swimming in the protected reserve with its splendid coral reef.
You will get up early to avoid the heat and the crowds. Head for the beach, where various agencies offer snorkel tours.
Here is a good one. In 2 hours, it will offer you unforgettable memories.
You go to the meeting point of the agency.
With a professional guide and all the scuba diving material, you will explore the reef in small groups avoiding any waiting. Water bottles are supplied.
Afternoon: Let’s go back to Cancun
Drive to Cancun, where you will give back your rental car. You will take a taxi to your hotel.
After check-in and luggage drop-off, you will go to Playa Forum.
Playa Forum is a beautiful white sand beach with shallow turquoise waters, located in an animated area of the Cancun hotel zone and very near shopping malls, several clubs, bars, and restaurants.
You can end the evening by going to Punta Cancun, a district known for its festive nightlife and beautiful viewpoint, but you better save yourself for the next night.
Day 4: Beach and party boat
Today, the buddies relax and enjoy the beach before leaving for a stunning musical evening!
Morning & afternoon: Beach time!
After a lazy morning and a great brunch, you will enjoy the comfort of your hotel or go to the beach and refresh in the beautiful and clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Evening: Xoximilco in Cancun
Dressed in your best, you will leave your hotel to go to Xoximilco, a theme park on Mexican culture and cuisine set in the jungle.
You will be warmly invited to board a “tranjinera,” a traditional Mexican gondola for up to 20 people. Let’s go for 4 hours of festive night sailing.
You will enjoy delicious authentic Mexican food with tequila and beer while Mariachis musicians perform in a great musical ambiance.
Your boatman will take you back to the departure point, and you will whistle back to your hotel.
Day 5: Rent a catamaran with your buddies
On this last day, the buddies will sail the Caribbean Sea!
Hat, sunglasses, and T-shirt in your backpacks, you will be at the Marina at 9 am, where the crew will be waiting for you on board the catamaran you have booked for a 7 hours cruise on idyllic waters.
While the boat is gently rolling, you will enjoy the fresh ocean air and the open bar!
A first stop will take you to the Underwater Museum site, where you can snorkel among impressive stone statues surrounded by beautiful fish.
You will then head for Isla Mujeres for a few hours of freedom on a Caribbean pearl.
Enjoy the beautiful clear, shallow waters of Playa del Norte and its white sand.
Shop around, then relax in the shade of a palapa at a friendly beach club you chose for lunch.
Your skipper will take you back to the Marina after this sea adventure.
Cancun Itinerary 5 days with your soulmate
Cancun has many hidden secrets and sweet experiences for lovers.
You are newlyweds, and you dream of a magical honeymoon. With your lover, you come to celebrate a date that is precious to you. Welcome to Cancun!
Romantic landscapes, fine amenities, idyllic beaches, sunset dinners, gourmet cuisine, and a touch of mystery, let yourself be carried away!
Where to stay
If you seek peace and quiet despite stronger sea currents, choose a hotel in the Middle or South of Cancun’s hotel zone.
If your budget allows it, enjoy the refinement and comfort of the NIZUC Resort & Spa in a beautiful secluded site.
If you prefer the luxury of a stylish all-inclusive resort without kids, you’ll love Secret The Vine Cancun.
The mid-range Westin Resort & Spa, near Playa Delfines, is a good option for a comfortable stay in a quiet environment.
Day 1: Cancun’s beaches and the Cirque du Soleil
Sweetness and poetry for your first day in Cancun.
Morning & afternoon: Arrival in Cancun
Before landing at Cancun International Airport, you will have taken care to book transportation. Apart from lower prices, you’ll be sure to be expected while keeping flexibility in case of unforeseen events.
Relax at the pool or on the beach of your hotel after checking in and discovering your suite.
And after this long journey, why not enjoy relaxing care at the Spa with your lover?
- The Nizuc Resort & Spa offers various treatments inspired by Maya culture.
- You can experience a massage on the beach at Westin’s Heavenly Spa.
Evening: Dinner show!
Tonight you go out to enjoy JOYA, an enchanting show, in the intimate and stunning architecture of the Cirque du Soleil theater.
A van will wait for you at a meeting point in the Cancun Hotel Zone to drive you to the heart of the rainforest of Riviera Maya, north of Playa del Carmen.
Before the show, upon reservation, you will be able to celebrate this first day with champagne and a delicious meal.
After the performance, a vehicle will drive you back to the meeting point.
Day 2: 2 paradise islands in one day
Nothing could be more romantic than sailing with your lover to the two most beautiful islands off the Yucatan Peninsula.
Morning and afternoon: Isla Mujeres & Isla Contoy
A van will pick you up at your hotel and drive you to the jetty, where a comfortable speed boat will take you, hair in the sea wind, to your first destination, Isla Contoy, a small protected natural paradise.
After snorkeling on the reef in clear waters with beautiful fish, you will walk through the reserve and watch for numerous bird colonies.
A quiet lunch will be served on the beach, and you will set sail again to Isla Mujeres and its idyllic white sand beaches with turquoise waters.
You will have enough time to wander the colorful streets and shop around.
Still on board your speed boat, you will return to the mainland, where a van will be waiting at the jetty to drive you back to your hotel.
Evening: Romantic dinner
You will end this lovely day by dining with your soulmate at The Caribbean Galleon, a charming restaurant with a beautiful view of Nichupté Lagoon.
You will enjoy delicious traditional fish dishes in this quiet place while watching the sunset.
Day 3: Book a private cenote!
Today, you will be alone in the world to discover the fascinating and mysterious ambiance of a cenote hidden in the heart of the Quintana Roo forest!
You will book transportation to Cenote Elvira, located on an exclusive property and accessible only upon reservation. For USD 300 a day, you will enjoy this lovely semi-open cenote with clear and fresh waters surrounded by vegetation.
In the morning, without forgetting your well-stocked picnic basket, the driver of the private transportation that you have reserved will pick you up at your hotel.
On-site, you will discover a beautifully landscaped and preserved oasis of calm.
You can explore the cenote, cool off under a small waterfall, enjoy the comfort of a nice picnic area, listen to the forest life, and nap on the shaded sunbeds.
Day 4: Cooking classes & Mayan history
What could be more instructive than the culinary arts and history to learn about a country?
Morning: Cook like a Mexican
This morning you will have a Mexican cooking class to learn how to cook a complete traditional menu of 4 tasty dishes with drinks.
At 9.30 am, you will meet your chief guide at the meeting point, who will start by taking you to a local market to choose the right ingredients that will stimulate your senses.
Then you will proceed to the cooking area to learn how to compose these fresh products using traditional tools such as stone mortar.
Guacamole, Tortilla, Enchilada, and Margarita will no longer hold any secrets for you!
You will just have to enjoy your meal in a friendly atmosphere before going back to the meeting point.
Afternoon: Exciting Mayan history
Now that you’re an apprentice in Mexican cuisine, you’ll go to the Museo Maya to learn more about this civilization that undoubtedly piques your curiosity.
The Museo Maya de Cancun is a modern building with stylish architecture. You will walk through the richly documented exhibition halls containing stunning collections of Mayan vestiges found in the Quintana Roo and the Yucatan.
In the outer part, you will walk among ancient Mayan ruins inhabited by iguanas and enjoy the beauty of a pyramid.
In about 1.5 hours, you will take the time to read the fascinating explanations to make tomorrow’s day even more magical.
Day 5: Sunrise at the 8th wonder of the world
Because nothing is impossible when you are in love, for this last day in Cancun, the sun will rise over Chichen Itza only for you two!
Before dawn, a private vehicle will take you to the site of Chichen Itza, still in the darkness.
There, in the freshness and far from the crowd, you will admire the sun lighting up the ruins little by little, and for 2 hours, you will have all the time to immerse yourself in the magic of the surroundings while listening to your guide telling you their stories.
You will then discover Cenote Ik Kil and take a morning bath in its clear waters without being disturbed.
Take a cardigan, especially in January and February, as you may be surprised by the coolness of the early mornings.
You will be back at your hotel at the beginning of the afternoon. But for an extra fee, you can satisfy your interest in Mayan culture by visiting other archaeological sites such as Coba or Tulum Ruins.
More Cancun Itineraries
You can decide to stay longer (or shorter) in Cancun. Here are some cool trip ideas: