This entire article is basically a *heart eyes emoji*.
Cancún may be better known as the Mexican party capital, but the largest city in Quintana Roo also has plenty of romantic appeal. We’re talking sunset strolls down the shore, seafood dinners overlooking the water, and plenty of Caribbean islands on which to enjoy each other’s company. Whether you’re a newlywed looking for the perfect place to honeymoon or an empty nester finally getting to relive your lovestruck youth now that the kids have left home, here’s how best to enjoy a romantic vacation in Cancún.
Journey Along the Río Secreto
Everyone knows secret underground rivers are the very essence of romance. Okay, maybe not. But they are pretty spectacular and make for a cool place to explore alongside your partner while in Cancún. Ideal for adventurous couples, Río Secreto—where you can admire sparkling minerals and dramatic stalactites before biking, hiking, and swimming along the length of this hidden natural phenomenon—offers a more intimate experience than places like Xcaret and Xel-Há.
Hang out at a Beach Club
Get out of the resort for the day and hang out at one of Cancún’s many beach clubs. Mandala Beach Club—attached to the popular Mandala nightclub—is a favorite of fun-loving friends and couples alike. Grab a poolside lounger and enjoy the live DJ sets, sleek feel, and beachfront pools. Alternatively, for a more low-key, romantic beach club experience, head to Coco’s Beach Club. There, snag a private beach bed (or upgrade to the VIP-only lounge) and make the most of the inventive cocktails and refreshing seafood dishes as you admire the ocean views.
Give BOB Snorkeling a Go
See the best of the underwater world off the coast of Cancún during a BOB experience. The lovechild of a scuba suit and a submarine, BOBs—also known as breathing observation bubbles—allow you to submerge and scoot around below water sans all the faff of actual scuba diving, while getting more up-close-and-personal with the Cancún marine life than you could while snorkeling.
Take a Romantic Dinner Cruise
You can’t go wrong with a sunset dinner cruise when on a romantic vacation for two and Cancún has a wealth of evening sailing options for loved-up holidaymakers. Take a Columbus Lobster Dinner Cruise on the Nichupte Lagoon, listen to live music, and make metaphorical heart eyes at your beloved as you enjoy your titular lobster dinner and drinks
Escape the Crowds on a Caribbean Island
There’s little point traveling to Cancún just to stay in Cancún the whole time, so definitely venture to one of the nearby Caribbean islands. While popular Isla Mujeres has more of a family-friendly vibe, Isla Holbox—toward the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula—is the ideal place for an intimate day trip for two. Car-free and still hovering under the radar of your average traveler, Holbox is a ready-made romantic idyll where you can sip coconut water and even swim with whale sharks. Meanwhile, animal-loving couples shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Isla Contoy, a protected national park which only permits access to 200 travelers per day.
Indulge in a Couples Spa Treatment
If you can’t relax while on vacation with your significant other, then when can you? In Cancún, home to some of the best spas in Mexico, take the time to pamper yourself with facials, hydrotherapy circuits, and full-body massages alongside your partner. While there are plenty of places to choose from—your resort may even have its own onsite spa—the private couples’ suites at Nizuc Spa are incredibly intimate, as are the spa’s other state-of-the-art facilities. Similarly, Le Blanc Spa is a treat for fans of a good massage—opt for the relaxing Aroma Essence Massage.
Dine in Style Overlooking the Waterfront
Cancún may not have the culinary reputation of Mexico City but the capital of Quintana Roo has no shortage of fine-dining establishments and waterfront restaurants at which lovestruck holidaymakers can indulge. Go all out with lobster everything overlooking the Nichupte Lagoon at Lorenzillo’s, an iconic Cancún restaurant which specializes in lobster or—if you’re more of an equal opportunity seafood enthusiast—visit Fred’s House instead. Prefer turf to surf? Tuck into Kobe sliders at Harry’s Prime Steakhouse.
Take a Dip in a Cenote
You can’t come to Cancún without visiting a cenote (or two, or three). These freshwater natural sinkholes revered by the Mayans are found across the Peninsula, although you’ll need to travel outside Cancún proper to find some of the best and most easily accessible. Skip the more popular and family-friendly cenotes—such as Cenote Azul and the Gran Cenote–unless you enjoy being splashed by errant toddlers. Instead, combine a trip to Chichén Itzá with a stop at the nearby Cenote Yokdzonot or stay (slightly) closer to Cancún at Cenote Yalahua.
Catch a Sunset Over the Lagoon
A pesky problem with vacationing on the eastern coastline of Mexico is that the sun sets in the west. Simply put, you can only enjoy a Cancún sunset overlooking the Nichupte Lagoon rather than the Caribbean ocean. Don’t let that deter you though—make a well-timed booking at one of the many waterfront restaurants and enjoy dinner as the sun goes down. And what if you and your partner are early risers? Well then, make your way down to the beach before the rest of Cancún shakes off its hangover and snatch a rare moment of tranquility as the sun comes up over the sea.
Learn to Dance at Grand Mambo Café
Few dances are quite as seductive as a well-practiced bachata and even salsa can get steamy when done properly. So, before heading out to one of the biggest clubs in Cancún, dedicate an hour or two to picking up the basics of merengue, salsa, or bachata at the Grand Mambo Café during your romantic couples-only vacation. The live music from Wednesday to Saturday should help you find your rhythm, and a shot of tequila will probably help too.