Located at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun has cultural thrills for open-minded and adventurous travelers of all ages. From ancient archaeological wonders to jaw-dropping museums, you’ll discover a world where traditional kingdoms meet the 21st century. Here are 5 Cancún Cultural Experiences That You Can’t Miss when you’re in Cancun, Mexico:
Cancún Cultural Experiences : MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art)
If you’re an art lover looking for an extraordinary experience, consider visiting MUSA – the Underwater Museum of Art. Established in 2009, this museum is located in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc. It features more than 500 life-size sculptures, many of which were created by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor and several by local Cancun sculptors. The sculptures are submerged between 10 and 20 feet deep, providing an immersive and surreal experience.
MUSA is not just a museum, but also an artificial reef that provides a habitat for marine species. As the sculptures are constructed using specialized materials that encourage coral growth, the museum serves as a refuge for a variety of aquatic life. Visitors can expect to see a plethora of tropical fish, as well as turtles, lobsters, stingrays, and even sharks.
For those looking to capture the beauty of MUSA – a Cancún Cultural Experiences- the museum also offers underwater photography tours. This is the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the sculptures, and take breathtaking photos of the vibrant marine life.
A Mayan Wonder: Chichén Itzá
An astonishing complex of Mayan ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula, Chichén Itzá is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This incredibly preserved historical wonder was once the cultural and economic capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, and as you explore you’ll feel deeply connected to this advanced civilization, through its towering pyramids, ornate temples, and expansive ball courts. Don’t miss the 80-foot-tall Pyramid of Kukulcan, also known as the castle (The castle).
The Castle is the most iconic structure in Chichén Itzá and was built around the year 1000 CE. This is a Cancún Cultural Experiences that a lot of people love to visit. It stands as a testament to the Mayan’s knowledge of astronomy, with the four staircases representing the four seasons, and the 91 steps on each side representing the number of days in a year. On the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun casts a pattern of shadows that creates an image of a serpent slithering down the stairs. This is an incredible sight to behold and one of Chichén Itzá’s many mysteries.
Classical Dance: Folkloric Ballet in Aztlán
For over 50 years, the Cancun Folkloric Ballet has been celebrating and preserving indigenous Mexican culture through vibrant performances at the Teatro de Cancún. The performances are open to all and showcase skilled performers dressed in traditional costumes dancing to festive live music. Each segment of the performance is extremely entertaining and reflects different regions of Mexico. An added bonus is that the Ballet Folklórico de Cancún shows are accompanied by authentic Mexican food and drinks.
The Ballet Folklórico de Cancún is known for its vibrant choreography and beautiful costumes, which have been featured in many films. The troupe has also been invited to perform at special events and festivals around the world. With their dedication to preserving Mexican culture, the Cancun Folkloric Ballet is an important part of the area’s cultural heritage. They continue to entertain audiences with their energetic performances and to educate them on the history of traditional Mexican dance.
Journey through the past: Cancun Mayan Museum
The Mayan Museum of Cancun is also listed as a Cancún Cultural Experiences. It is located in the heart of the city’s hotel zone, brings Cancun’s rich Mayan heritage to life. The museum boasts one of the most important collections of Mayan artifacts in the Yucatán and features over 400 incredible pieces of sculpture, ceramics, and jewelry on display at any given time. A visit to this elegantly designed museum will enlighten you about the fascinating rise and fall of the Mayan empire and provide insight into the beliefs, traditions, and daily lives of its people. Moreover, the museum incorporates the archaeological site of San Miguelito, which is also worth exploring. Don’t forget to see the detailed carving of the Mayan god Chaak, which is a great example of the superb art that the Maya possessed.
The museum also houses a replica of a Mayan jungle village, complete with traditional dwellings and artifacts that allow visitors to experience what it was like to live in the area thousands of years ago. In addition, the museum provides interactive elements, such as audio-visual presentations and 3D holograms, to further bring the Mayan culture to life.
The Mayan Museum of Cancun is the perfect place to learn more about the Maya and gain a greater appreciation for their impressive civilization. Whether you are a history or culture enthusiast, you are sure to enjoy your visit to this museum.
The Spirit of Cancun: Tequila Herradura Sensory Museum
If you’re of legal drinking age, a trip to Cancun is incomplete without indulging in Mexico’s national drink: Tequila! To be considered a true tequila, it must be produced in Mexico, just like champagne must come from France. Most of the tequila is produced in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, although some varieties come from Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. For those who want to delve deeper into the subject, a visit to the Museo Sensorial del Tequila Herradura will showcase the traditional and modern methods of making this powerful and delicious elixir. Moreover, you will learn how to correctly identify the different varieties of tequila, ensuring that you never go wrong in your tequila selection.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, which is native to Mexico. To be considered a tequila, the agave must be grown in the five Mexican states mentioned above and the distillation process must meet certain requirements. Tequila is usually classified based on its aging process. Blanco is unaged, reposado is aged for two months to a year, añejo is aged for one to three years and extra añejo is aged for three or more years. There are also flavored tequilas, such as those made with mango, lime, and raspberry. No matter what your preference, it’s easy to find a tequila that’s perfect for you in Cancun.
One last thing! If you plan to travel to Cancun, Mexico, you should read our 3 days Cancun travel guide or Tips for Staying Safe While Traveling to the Caribbean to make sure that you and your family will have a safe and fun trip.