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Cancun is packed with things to do and places to see. It's almost impossible to see it all and do it all on just one trip, but there are certain attractions and activities we recommend not missing. Of course, we recommend trying out a scuba diving trip while in Cancun. For many people, scuba diving is the ultimate Cancun activity. Here is our short list of top attractions and points of interest in Cancun.

El Centro:

Most travelers who come to Cancun fail to venture outside of the Hotel Zone. Sure, the Hotel Zone is where the majority of the famous resorts and hotels are located. And yes, there are wide options for dining and entertainment in the Hotel Zone, as well as easy access to beaches and Cancun tours & activities. But it's El Centro where visitors can get a sample of the more urban non-tourist parts of Cancun. El Centro, which is Spanish for Downtown, is made up of dense streets that are lined with great (and oftentimes less expensive) restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges. This is also where you can find the small specialty shops that will offer you a unique selection of gifts to take back home as souvenirs. The Downtown's main avenue, Avenida Tulum, is distinguished by a massive sculpture of shells and starfish that lights up at night. Avenida Yaxchilan is known as the nightlife center of Cancun. You can easily hit over a dozen bars in one night, as the majority of the best nightlife venues in Cancun can be found right on Avenida Yaxchilan and it's easy and safe to walk from bar to bar.

Isla Mujeres:

The beaches along the Hotel Zone are great, but oftentimes they are private and small beaches reserved specifically for hotel guests. To get a real taste of the best beaches and tropical settings in Cancun, we recommend jumping on a ferry and heading out to the neighboring island of Isla Mujeres. Most of the best reef sites for scuba diving are, in fact, located between Cancun and Isla Mujeres. But if you have some extra time during your stay in Cancun, try planning for a half day or full day out on the island. On Isla Mujeres, you will find the beautiful Garrafon Reef Park, where you can do snorkeling, swimming, hiking, and biking. You can even go swimming with dolphins at the Garrafon Reef Park's dolphin marine facilities. There are few places in Cancun that compare to Isla Mujeres. Most people come out to the island for the day, but you also have the option of spending the night (or even a few nights) out on Isla Mujeres and there are several low-key but top-quality hotels on the island. You will also find great dining options ranging from local Yucatan cuisine to Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

Coba and Tulum:

Coba and Tulum are the two best Mayan ruins in Cancun. Each one is unique when it comes to Mayan ruin sites, and each one is located just a short drive from the heart of Cancun. You can drive to the sites yourself but most people choose to go on a guided tour to get the most out of their experience. Coba is one of the latest Mayan ruins to be discovered and it is still being excavated and studied. It is located deep in the heart of the Yucatan jungle, offering a stunning setting for visitors. Tulum is unique because it is one of the few Mayan sites built right on the coast. The site includes dramatic forty-foot cliffs that stare out into the Caribbean Sea.