Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon March 02 2015

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  • A Cruising Couple | March 2, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    Cancun For The Adventure Traveler

    Cancun For The Adventure Traveler

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

    I love a good visit to Cancun. Though the popular tourist destination is perhaps most known for its luxurious all-inclusive resorts, clear turquoise water and white-sand beaches, there’s much more to the city than Mai Tais and infinity pools alone. Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is steeped in adventurous activities, and Cancun makes a perfect base for exploring the surrounding area attractions—while also getting to relax and recharge in style. We say don’t miss the following experiences on your next visit to Cancun:

    The Cenotes

    Photo via Jorge Sanmartin Maissa

    Cenotes are natural sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock, espousing the groundwater underneath. Mayans have long considered those unique bodies of water to be sacred entrances to Xibalba (the underworld). In addition to their spiritual significance, cenotes were also the main source of freshwater for the Mayan people.

    There are more than 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, meaning you shouldn’t have any trouble finding at least a few to explore!  We chose to journey through four cenotes with Xenotes Oasis Maya. Our adventures took us kayaking, snorkeling, zip-lining, cliff-jumping, and rappelling through uniquely breathtaking bodies of water. Our favorite proved to be snorkeling through “the Water Cenote,” where we had the chance to see fossilized shells and cave formations.

    The Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

    PHOTO: A unique diving encounter.

    We’ve written about our favorite places to scuba dive around the world before, and Cancun is always on the list. For a real adventure, strap on your dive gear and head to MUSA, or the Underwater Museum. The vision of artist Jason deCaires Taylor, MUSA is both an aesthetically pleasing art project as well as an eco-conservation plan. The exhibit consists of life-size casts of over 400 Mexicans depicted in different aspects of everyday life. It’s a totally unique experience to scuba dive amongst life-size figurines; we can say without hesitation that our visit to MUSA was a highlight of our two months in Mexico.

    For an extra touch of adventure on your vacation, snorkel or scuba dive with Aquaworld. You’ll arrive at the dive site via speedboat, but only after a few hair-raising doughnuts along the way!

    If you prefer scuba diving with wildlife to swimming amongst human sculptures, then head over to Akumal to snorkel with the turtles. The small beach is home to a particular kind of sea grass that turtles love (meaning you’re guaranteed to spot at least a couple of the magnificent creatures!).

    The Mayan Ruins

    PHOTO: An encounter at Coba.

    No visit to the Yucatan Peninsula is complete without at least one visit to a Mayan ruin. Chichen Itza is perhaps the most popular choice; though nearly always crowded with tourists, the massive temple is certainly an awe-worthy site.

    For something a bit different, consider an adventure to Coba, the largest Mayan temple at 130 feet. A tour of Coba with Alltournative includes a knowledgable guide at the ruins as well as zip lining and rappelling adventures, ultimately culminating with a traditional Mayan lunch. We love that Alltournative gives back to the local Mayan population by working with the locals to create eco-friendly attractions without changing the integrity of the environment.

    The key to getting the most out of your visit to Cancun is to be willing to venture outside of your limits—whether that’s the resort walls, your fear of heights, or uncertainty to what might be out there. Most of the adventure activities above are in the region surrounding Cancun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of adventure in the city, too. Try a new Mexican dish. Go parasailing on the beach. Get on a boat for some deep sea fishing. And ultimately, remember that adventure is what you make of it, anywhere in the world!

    Have you been to Cancun? What did you think? 

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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