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22 Awesome, Fun Things to Do in Quintana Roo


Quintana Roo is a Mexican state located on the Yucatan, known as home to the resort city of Cancun. The state is also known for the islands of Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, the ancient Maya ruins, and the towns of Bacalar, Akumal, and Playa del Carmen. 

If you’re visiting Quintana Roo, there’s much to do and enjoy in this Mexican state. From diving and other water activities to their diverse islands and ruins, there’s a lot to enjoy in this top vacation spot. Let’s take a closer look at some fun things to do in Quintana Roo. 

Visit Cancun Underwater Museum 

One of the best places to visit in Quintana Roo is to visit the Cancun Underwater Museum. The museum is now home to over 500 sculptures in the Cancun National Marine Park, with over 200,000 visitors each year. 

Cancun Underwater Museum 

You can visit the Cancun Underwater Museum through a local tour operator. There are different ways to explore the museum, including diving, snorkeling, scuba diving, or a boat tour.

The highlight of the underwater museum is the collection of unique sculptures anchored to the ocean floor. The sculptures change over time and become important parts of the aquatic environment.  


Enjoy Cozumel Scuba Diving 

One of the top dive spots in the world is Cozumel, offering exciting scuba diving for all visitors. Divers can explore the coral formations, slopes, walls, and swim-throughs, with some spots offering impressive visibility of turquoise water up to 50m.



Cozumel is also an exciting spot for drift diving and is open to beginner divers. In Cozumel, you can explore over 500 species of fish, 350 mollusks, 60 species of coral, and many other marine mammals, seagrasses, and algae. 

Explore the El Meco Ruined City

If you’re a fan of archaeological sites, Quintana Roo offers a wide range of them for you to explore. The El Meco Ruined City is one of them, located north of Cancun. The archaeological site has a lot of unexplored coasts to fulfill your curiosity. 

In the ruins of El Meco, you can view the tallest building and the large metropolitan area of Cancun. You can visit the ruined castle and the temple with a tripartite entrance. You can easily see some nearby beaches and bars after exploring The Meco. It’s a chance to explore buildings that have existed since 250 AD.

Have Fun in Xcaret Amusement Park 

Another activity you can enjoy while in Quintana Roo is its amusement parks. Xcaret is a nature park offering over 50 natural and cultural attractions. You can enjoy many fun activities in Xcaret, from swimming in underground rivers to checking out their aquarium, aviary, and butterfly pavilion. 

The theme park also allows you to enjoy delicious Mexican and international dishes. The park is known for facing the Caribbean Sea, cenotes that you can swim in, and the Mayan jungle among underground rivers for you to explore. It combines an eco-archaeological experience, water park, amusement, and theme park. 


Check Out the Tulum Archaeological Zone 

Tulum is one of the top archaeological zones for history lovers looking for things to do in Quintana Roo and the only one that faces the Caribbean Sea. The zone features 60 restored temples built on a cliff where you can see the sea in all its splendor. This is why many people in the state visit it. 

Tulum Archaeological Zone 

Although the Tulum Archaeological Zone is the main attraction, there are many other attractions to enjoy here. These include the Playa Paraiso Tulum, a pretty popular beach, and diverse parks for you to explore. It also features fun cenotes that you can five in, and Akumal beside it, where you can see the turtles’ natural habitat. 


Tour the Kohunlich Ruins

Kohunlich is another adventure-filled Maya archaeological zone in Quintana Roo. The name means ‘Cohoon Ridge,’ the Corozo palm tree found in ruins. The site spreads over 20 acres, with over 200 mounds located throughout the zone that has not yet been excavated.

There are numerous burial grounds to check out, the large Sun God masks, and a subtropical rainforest that you can enjoy. Popularly known as the home of the Sun God, you can explore the Kohunlich Ruins with different tours. But keep in mind, you can’t climb the ruins. 

Visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve 

Another one of the fun things to do in Quintana Roo is a visit to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the reserve offers thousands of species of fauna and flora for visitors to enjoy the never-ending natural beauty. 

You can explore the shimmering lagoons and coastal wetlands, amazing Mayan ruins, and spectacular wildlife scenes like the capuchin monkeys, wild ocelots, turtles, and crocodiles. It is also one of the most affordable places to visit with friends and family. Sian Ka’an is also located close to Tulum, so that you can enjoy both tourist sites in a day. 

Cycle on Holbox Island

Another fun activity that you can take part in while in Quintana Roo is cycling on Holbox Island. The sand island is located off the north coast of the Mexican state and is popular for being a haven for diverse wildlife. You can find turtles nesting on beaches and whale sharks offshore. 

Cycle on Holbox Island

There is a lagoon separating Holbox from the mainland and is known for flocking with flamingos at any time of the year. If you want to get the most out of Holbox Island, the best way is with a bicycle. The island also allows you to get around with a golf cart, the only mode of transportation besides biking. 

See the Dzibanche and Kinichna Ruins

Another adventurous location that you can explore while in Quintana Roo is Dzibanche and Kinichna. You will see four Mayan archaeological sites on this site, but you can only visit these two. Those that aren’t exposed to the public are Tuttle and Lamay.

The Kinichna and Dzibanche ruins are also located between the jungle of northern Yucatan and the tropical rainforest of Peten. The sites have different temples since it was a major Mayan city and the intimidating Cormoranes Pyramid.  

Party At the Zenzi Beach Bar 

You should also check out the Zenzi Beach Bar if you’re looking for a fun things to do in Quintana Roo. This bar is only an hour’s drive from Cancun, with lapping waves, soft white sand, and a gorgeous sky.

Zenzi Beach Bar 

You should watch the gorgeous sky with an icy mojito in your hand whenever you’re free at this bar. During the day, Zenzi is quiet and relaxing, like a lounge in Ibiza. But once night falls, it’s one of the top spots in the state for nightlife. People gather to sip cocktails and enjoy the dance parties with popular DJs. 

Enjoy Music at Riviera Maya Jazz Festival 

Music lovers can also participate in the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival in Quintana Roo. If you want to participate, you must visit the Mexican state in November, where the free festival takes place, and the weather is still warm. You can find some of your favorite music stars playing.

If you decide to visit the jazz festival, you should stay in Playa del Carmen and book ahead. Over 20,000 people visit the festival annually, and there is limited space for parking and toilets. If you plan, you can enjoy the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. 

Dive into the Quintana Roo Cenotes 

One of the reasons why people enjoy visiting Quintana Roo is its many cenotes that you can swim in. The cenotes are located a few miles from the sea, with natural landscapes and gorgeous scenes. Every cenote also comes with a Mayan legend, with over 600 in the state.

cenotes in quintana roo

Some of the most popular cenotes you can visit for swimming, exploration, and fun are Chac Mool, Suytun, Cenote Azul, Ik Kil, and Cenote Xunaan Ha. The cenotes allow for snorkeling, diving, swimming, wildlife watching, and more. And if you’re with a tour guide, you can ask them for some exciting legends. 

Explore the Coba Ruins 

While Tulum is a major archaeological site in Quintana Roo, it is nicely matched by Coba, an ancient Mayan capital. Going on tour to the Coba ruins in Riviera Maya means you can learn and enjoy the cultural value and life of the Mayans.

One of the sites in Coba is the Nohoch Mul pyramid, a favorite among many tourists. It is one of the highest pyramids in the Yucatan Peninsula, up to 42 meters. You can better explore the ruins by renting a bike to get around Coba easily. 

Birdwatching in Isla Contoy 

Quintana Roo is also home to different islands like Holbox and Cozumel. You can also check out the Isla Contoy while in the Mexican state. Keep in mind that this place is a protected area, so visits are limited. You can ask your tour guide if you can visit the island.

Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve

This gorgeous island is the perfect place for birdwatching. It features over 150 species of birds on the island that you can enjoy. Isla Contoy is also a popular place for turtles who lay their eggs here during the summer. Also, over 60% of the island is covered with mangroves. 

Snorkelling at Xel-Ha 

Another park on our Quintana Roo things to do list is Xel-Ha. This fun park is known for offering exciting snorkeling, so if you’re interested in this water sport, you should consider a visit. While touring around Xel-Ha, you can explore the cenotes, coves, and lagoons offering gorgeous sights. 

Xel-Ha is a tropical jungle located at Quintana Roo, which means you don’t only enjoy water sports, but jungle adventures. You can slide down the trees through zip lines, ride a bike through the jungle, or ride the river with inflatable tires. Plus, there’s so much to eat if you’re interested in an authentic Mexican meal.

Kayaking at Xavage 

Suppose you’re interested in extreme activities while in Quintana Roo, Xavage is an exciting theme park you can visit. One of the most popular activities is kayaking, but the thrill park is a great place to have an adventure. You can also enjoy rides in a water jet, taking extreme 360-degree turns. 

Aside from water sports, other things you can enjoy while in Xavage include the ropes course, zip-line flight, monster truck riding, and rafting. Xavage also features different hotels and delicious places to eat. It is fun for both children and adults to enjoy. 

Adventure Fun at Xplor 

You can also check out Xplor while at Quintana Roo. The adventure park offers a lot of fun for you to enjoy, including zip line adventures through the jungles and exploring the caverns through rivers. You can also tour the jungle in amphibious vehicles and check out ancient stalactite formations. 

Xplor is an adventure park in Playa del Carmen, where you can experience an excursion in freedom. You can swim through the tunnels with protective gear or use rafts to go underground. Most of the fun you get is underground, including the underground expedition, aside from the hammock splash and zip lining. 

Enjoy Mexican Dishes at Xochimilco 

One of the best places to enjoy Mexican dishes in Quintana Roo is Xochimilco. The park is based on the idea of the Mexican fiesta and was even designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. You can take a day trip to this region or celebrate bachelorette parties, birthdays, and other events.

Enjoy Mexican Dishes at Xochimilco 

Aside from the food and Mexican fiesta, Xochimilco is famous for its floating gardens. These are chinampas that developed in pre-Hispanic times. This is what gained it a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Keep in mind that it’s a popular tourist spot, so there will be a lot of crowds. 


Visit the Cozumel Pearl Farm 

You should also check out the Cozumel Pearl Farm in Quintana Roo. The farm is a family-owned and operated pearl farm located on the north shore of Cozumel Island and the only active pearl farm in the Caribbean. It is a naturally protected area that is only accessible by boat.

Visit the Cozumel Pearl Farm 

You can visit the Cozumel Pearl Farm with a small tour group or alone and look at some unique pearls and shells while exploring the beach. It’s a perfect place to visit with your family or friends, to enjoy the amazing landscape away from crowds. 

Check Out the Rio Secreto 

Whenever you’re in Quintana Roo, specifically Playa del Carmen, another top site to visit is Rio Secreto. This takes you on an exciting journey through a system of ancient caverns and underground rivers, making up a perfect day trip with family and friends. 

You can only visit Rio Secreto through organized tours offered by the reserve. During the tour, you go hiking and swimming through the caves. Even if you can’t swim, the tour works because you’ll be given a wetsuit and flotation vest. This allows you to walk through the water without any swimming skills.

Shop at La Isla Shopping Village 

One of the top places to visit in Quintana Roo is the La Isla Shopping Village, a must-visit for shopping enthusiasts. This massive shopping center features over 150 shops, including restaurants, with indoor and outdoor shopping options. The shopping village offers everything you need for entertainment and dining. 

Aside from the local Mexican stores, you can also find brand names like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Starbucks, Louis Vuitton, Ben and Jerry’s, Hooters, and more. You can enjoy fine dining at restaurants or visiting cafes in the afternoon. The center offers modern souvenirs and is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. 

Discover Aktun Chen

Rounding up our list is the gorgeous Aktun Chen, a nature park within the driving range of Tulum. The park is in the heart of a tropical rainforest untouched by human hands, spanning 400 acres of forests, caves, and local fauna. 

One of the best parts of this park is its cave, estimated to be about five million years old. You can join a walking tour to check out the cave’s formation, see its organisms, and view the jungle through the spaces in the ceiling. Some tours take you swimming, snorkeling, and underwater photography. 

Dive into the Quintana Roo Cenotes 

Explore Quintana Roo 

Our Quintana Roo things to do list is bustling with amazing locations for visitors and tourists, from its archaeological sites, tropical forests, and theme parks to its islands and hundreds of cenotes where you can explore and swim.

The Mexican state has loads of locations for water sports like snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, caves to explore, shopping centers, delicious food, and nightlife. 

Enjoying this guide, share it with others, give us a tip, or simply follow us here on backpackingwithabook.com, where storytelling, authenticity, and traveling merge in to one safe and fun digital space.

Check out our Mexico travel guides too, from Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun. Enjoy your trip!

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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