The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary For Your Trip to Cancun, Mexico

Relaxing on the Beach in Cancun, Mexico.

Looking for a Cancun itinerary for your trip to Mexico?

Wondering which attractions to go to and what you can do in Cancun for three days?

Don’t worry!

Cancun is an excellent destination for a quick 3-day trip!

If you’re from Dallas like me, or another southern state in the US, a weekend in Cancun is a breeze! 

Getting tickets and flying is easy and the Caribbean is beckoning – like it’s saying “Visit Cancun!”

Three days hanging around its white sand beaches isn’t a lot, but it’s enough to enjoy and have the best time. And just a tip – April to December are typically the best months to go visit this spot of heaven in the Caribbean Sea, though the months of May to November are considered more budget-friendly.

This 3-day Cancun itinerary is based on a stay at an all-inclusive resort in the Zona Hotelera, so it will involve a lot of downtime at the beach and meals at the resort.

You can book your stay in this area below right here on my site!

Booking.com

Without further ado, here is your Cancun itinerary!

chilling in a hammock in Cancun, Mexico
jumping for joy at a resort in Cancun, Mexico

Cancun Itinerary Day 1- Exploring Cenotes

You’ve arrived!

At this point, you’ve landed in and left the Cancun International Airport, checked into one of the hotels at the Cancun Hotel Zone, and are now looking for cool things to do or ways to enjoy the beach vibe.

To make the most of your three days, book an early flight or fly in the night before.

Once you’re at your hotel, you can start off your first day with an adventure in the jungle!

You can book a cenote tour through your hotel or online beforehand.

Cenotes are gems that you’ll find in the Yucatan Peninsula where you can swim in a natural pool, oftentimes in a cave or underground setting!

ziplining into a cenote in Cancun, Mexico
That’s me ziplining into a natural pool in a cenote!

Although Harrison and I enjoyed our zip-lining and cenote excursion, we felt like it could have been better and more professional.

This cenote excursion is one of the highest-rated on Viator, and if I were going to Cancun again, I would choose this cenote experience.

Day 1 Itinerary

8 am – Breakfast

9 am – Pool time

11 am– Get picked up by tour

12 am-5 pm– Cenote tour (here’s an example of what we did)

6 pm – Back at the resort

7 pm – Dinner

8:30 pm– Hot tubbing/relaxation

swimming in a cenote in Cancun, Mexico
relaxing by the pool at a resort in Cancun, Mexico

Cancun Itinerary Day 2- Swim with Dolphins on Isla Mujeres

For Day 2 of my itinerary in Cancun, you’re going to spend a lot of time on the island of Isla Mujeres!

Just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Mujeres is a wonderful island to explore and swim with dolphins! They also have the friendliest locals around.

You’ll need to take a ferry to this island.

You can book this ferry ride through Viator, but I can’t personally vouch for it since we didn’t book through that link.

We booked our entire Isla Mujeres experience locally.

swimming with dolphins on the Isla de Mujeres off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula near Cancun, Mexico
exploring the Isla de Mujeres

What I can vouch for is our swim with dolphins experience, and I 100% recommend it to anyone visiting Isla Mujeres!

This experience was the highlight of our entire trip! It’s amazing swimming with these animals in beautiful turquoise waters.

You get to spend time with dolphins and a trainer.

The trainer will instruct the dolphin to swim by you so you can pet it, rise up out of the water to give you a kiss, and even push your feet with its nose to launch you on a boogie board!

The trainers seem to really love and care for the dolphins, giving them plenty of space to swim, good food, and lots of free time without performing for visitors.

There’s also an underwater museum here that you can visit called MUSA Underwater Sculpture Museum. You can get there by diving, snorkeling, or through a glass-bottomed boat. Definitely an eye-opening experience!

Day 2 – Itinerary

7:30 am – Breakfast

8:15 am – Get picked up by tour (alternatively, take the R-2 bus to the Isla Mujeres port in Cancun)

9am – Board ferry to Isla Mujeres

10 am – Reach Isla Mujeres, make sure you know when your dolphin lesson is

**depending on what time your dolphin lesson is… take a taxi or rent a golf cart to drive around the island. Assuming your dolphin lesson is at 1:30 pm, here is a potential breakdown of the day:

10:30 am – Hop in a taxi (read more about things to do on Isla Mujeres here)

10:40-11:15 am – Tour the Sea Turtle Discovery Center, feed sea turtles

11:20 am-12 pm – Explore the Ancient Ruins at the top of the island

12 pm – Return to Dolphin Discovery Center

12:30 pm – Eat a light lunch (all-inclusive) at Dolphin Discovery

1:20 pm – Meet your group at your designated area

1:30-2:15 pm – Swim with your dolphin! (Read more about what to expect here!)

2:30 pm – Post-dolphin snack

3:30 pm – Head back to Cancun

4:15 pm – Reach Cancun, take the public transportation or tour bus back to the hotel

5-6:30 pm – Relax by the beach

7:30 pm – Dinner

Feeding the sea turtles on Isla de Mujeres

Cancun Itinerary Day 3- Mercado 28 and Beach Time

It’s your last day, and since you’ve come for a vacation, today you’re going to RELAX.

And shop for souvenirs in Downtown Cancun.

But, mostly, relax.

fun in the sun at our all-inclusive resort on Isla de Mujeres
walking on the beach in Cancun, Mexico

Day 3 – Itinerary

8 am – Breakfast at the resort

10 am – Get on the R-2 bus to Market 28 (here’s all you need to know about Market 28)

10:30 am -1 pm – Explore Market 28 (there is SO much to see!). Stop for some local food at Market 28.

1 pm – Bus back to the resort (the R-2 again, going the opposite way)

1:30 pm – Lunch if you have room

2:30 pm – Pool time/spa time/beach time

5:30 pm – Shower/get ready for dinner

6:30 pm – Dinner

mercado 28 cancun pink stairs girl
eating pizza at the resort in Cancun, Mexico

This is how Harrison and I spent each of our three days on the island and we felt like it was a perfect balance of activities and relaxation.

Note: We had rain on our first day, so actually did Mercado 28 and relaxation time on that day instead, and then did the Cenote day and then Isla Mujeres.

However, if you have sunny skies, I think this order is a more ideal pace.

Other Things To Do in Cancun

If you’re wondering whether there are other things to do in Cancun, here I’ll give you some suggestions on things to do or spots to visit that you can readily include in your itinerary!

Tour Amazing Ruins

Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico and also one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, so visiting it is a fantastic idea when you’re in Cancun. Among the most astonishing of the Mayan ruins is the El Castillo, but you can also see El Caracol, the Mayan Ball Game, and The Temple of the Warriors.

On the other hand, El Rey Ruins is located on the lagoon side of a high sand barrier in Cancun. It’s very accessible to visitors, though get ready to meet with a lot of iguanas on the site!

It’s also near the Museo Maya de Cancun, which you can visit to see more archeological pieces from historic sites all over Mexico.

Visit Other Beautiful Beaches

Playa Del Carmen is a quiet vacation paradise that also has turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, but has a more laid-back feel! Scuba diving is fantastic to do in this spot, and you’ll get to see so many fish and marine life along the coral reefs here.

Playa Delfines, on the other hand, is a gorgeous 4-kilometer beach that has a ton of recreational spaces for the little ones. You’ll need to bring your own food here as there are no stores or restaurants around, though!

Lastly, the Riviera Maya offers turquoise waters, picturesque cenotes, and ruins to boot!

Go Loco at Coco Bongo

Ready for a fun night out in Cancun? Head on to Coco Bongo for an unforgettable night of music and disco! It also has impressive acrobat shows that will just leave you spellbound. “The Mask” is their most famous show, though – and it involves you drinking tequila!

Remember, when you’re in Cancun, you’re on tropical time. So relax, enjoy the sun, and have fun!

No matter what your excursions are, make the most of them!

Safe travels,

Jasmine

If you liked this guide, please share it to Pinterest!

Sick of ads?

I get it! Pay $5 and sign up below to never seen an ad on my website again! Plus, you’ll get access to my email vault of past issues containing my best travel and life hacks I don’t share anywhere else! You will also get all my digital printables including itineraries, checklists, and more!
About the author
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Related Posts

13 Responses

  1. Hi Jasmine,
    Thanks for providing great information and details for planning a trip to Cancun.
    I am planning to travel to Cancun from Pittsburgh around mid of Mar 2020 for 3 days with my wife and 2 kids (6yrs & 20months old). I have prepared an itinerary going though your blog. Kindly suggest whether it looks fine, relaxing and enjoyable with kids.
    Day 1 – Cenote Verde Lucero, Tulum Ruins, Cancun Sign, El Rey Maya Ruins
    Day 2 – Chichen Itza, Ik Kil Cenote, Beach
    Day 3 – Isla Mujeres where I am planning to do sea turtle discovery center, feed sea turtles, explore the ruins at the top of the island and Dolphin Discovery center.
    I’ll be staying in Cancun and will be renting the car. For Isla Mujeres is there any particular tour or ferry company from where I should book the ferry and for activities out there should I pre-book the tickets beforehand online or should take it from there.
    Also we are vegetarians so are there any options for veg food around the area. Kindly suggest.
    Thanks,
    Vikrant

    1. Hi Vikrant,

      That looks like a great itinerary- the only concern is you might not have too much time for relaxing on the first day, but you’ll be able to see a lot of cool places!

      We actually booked all of our excursions while we were on the island, but if you want to play it safe, you can book the ferry and experiences ahead of time.

      In terms of vegetarian options, I’m sure you’ll be able to find some good options but unfortunately I don’t know much about the veg food in the area.

      Enjoy your time there!!

      – Jasmine

      1. Thanks Jasmine. Is it better to book excursions for Cenote/ Isla Mujeres through some tours or we can directly go there and book the tickets. Also are cenote safe for Kids as I’ll be having 1 less than 2yrs.
        Also will going to one Cenote will be a good option or should I try to visit both of them. Which Cenote will be the be good option to visit with kids if in case I plan to only visit one of them.

    1. Hi Eva! I’d recommend packing bathing suits and cover ups for the daytime by the pool and beach. Bring something you don’t mind getting dirty if you are ziplining. Other than that, I’d say some casual outfits and a couple of nicer outfits for dinner! For shoes, I’d bring flip flops, sandals, a pair of wedges if you want to for dinner, and sneakers for any adventuring! I hope that helps!

  2. This sounds like a great plan except the part about swimming with dolphins.
    It’s 2022 and it’s an unacceptable way of treating mammals and sentient beings.
    You should highly reconsider rewriting your blog for the trip to Isla Mujeres so it doesn’t involve encouraging the abuse of animals. As a blogger, you hold the responsibility of proposing activities that don’t cause such harm to innocent beings.

  3. Hi,

    I am planning to travel to Cancun, Mexico on the first week of September, 09/2-09/5 on my birthday weekend. I am really looking forward to this trip and looking for your guidance in order to how to make each day happening and not miss a most popular place during my stay. I am more interested in going to beach, Isla Mujeres, Cenote excursion (I believe that includes ride to Atv, zip-lining and so on), Ik kil Cenote, playa del Carmen, Tulum, etc. Can you help me to plan an itinerary for sept 2 noon to Sep 5 8am? Also, advise if there is any special packages for bday. I want to make my bday most memorable. Next question I have is will 2 nights in Cancun and one night in Tulum be enough? Please advise. Thanks so much.

  4. It would help if you weren’t promoting swimming with dolphins, do a little research about what’s behind the dolphin and any animal shows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts
Subscribe

Sign up for my email list to get my best life and travel hacks that I don’t share anywhere else!

Photo Tips
Affiliate Disclosure

Many product links on my site are affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission from advertising or affiliate programs. This doesn’t raise prices- it sometimes may actually lower them! Thanks for supporting my blog by purchasing through these links!

Blogging Tips