The Ultimate Guide To Cancun, AKA The Unofficial Spring Break Capital

Spring break is just about here, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to start planning your vaca. Cancun is an obvious choice for a lot of reasons—namely its many hotels, stunning beaches, fantastic food and drink offerings (tacos and margs, anyone?!), and plenty of things to do and see. It’s the unofficial-official spring break capital, after all, and we’re breaking down exactly how to do it right.

Where To Stay In Cancun 

NIZUC Resort and Spa 

This 29-acre luxury resort is an IG dream come true thanks to the gorg beachfront locale and uber-zen surroundings (think: lots of lush greenery and tropical-AF gardens). Meanwhile, the accommodations here are anything but basic: Take your pick of 274 villas and suites—some of which are adults-only—and consider splurging on one with a private pool or free-standing soaking tub. Other highlights include six chic eateries and an incred spa where you can enjoy unique services like a Mayan cacao body treatment.  

Le Blanc Spa Resort

All-inclusive resorts get a bad rap: However, hear me out: Le Blanc Spa Resort isn’t just a regular all-inclusive but a *cool* all-inclusive (sorry, not sorry for the Mean Girls reference). Not only is this wellness-centric resort adults-only (translate: no crying children to deter from your beach reads), but it’s also incredibly bougie with luxe accommodations complete with private butler service (seriously, they’ll even draw your baths for you). Meanwhile, free activities include yoga, pilates, aquatic spinning, and TRX—though I wouldn’t judge you if you chose to spend the entire vacay napping by the pool. 

SLS Cancun 

You’ve probs heard (or even stayed) at the SLS in Miami or Brickell, and, spoiler alert, the Cancun location is just as scene-y as you can imagine. That said, as one of the newest—and trendiest—properties in town, ~the vibes~ at this 45-room oceanfront oasis are 10/10. Come here to see and be seen while lounging by the buzzy pool area or sipping cocktails at the swanky private beach club. After a morning spent doing absolutely nothing but relaxing, treat yourself to an afternoon spa sesh: You (and your raging hangover) deserve it. 

What To Eat In Cancun 

Harry’s Prime Steakhouse & Raw

Ideally located in Cancun’s famous Zona Hotelera (that’s “hotel zone,” FYI), this swanky steakhouse is a fav amongst out-of-towners craving quality chops—despite the fact that they can get ‘em at home for a fraction of the price, but I digress… Meanwhile, the margs here are a must, as is one of the 24K-covered desserts like carrot cake, molten chocolate cake, or lemon pie. And, while you’re at it, go ahead and order up the 24K Golden Tomahawk (which, you guessed it, is covered in a 24K gold leaf) for the ‘gram: #PhoneEatsFirst, obvi. 

La Habichuela

This elegant eatery is perfect for date night thanks to its intimate ambiance. Plus, it’s still (somewhat) of a hidden gem: for now, at least. Snag a table in the outdoor garden and feast on Mexican and Caribbean seafood specialties like the famous Cocobichuela, AKA chunks of lobster and shrimp cooked in curry sauce and served in a whole coconut shell—and snap a photo if it so everyone and their mother knows about it, too. 

Porfirio’s Cancun

Come to Porfirio’s Cancun for the waterfront views and stay for the top-notch Mexican food, which includes a guac bar with eight (!) toppings plus four types of queso. The contemporary restaurant serves innovative cocktails ranging from chocolate tinis to fruity Mezcal concoctions. In terms of food, we recommend any of the ‘dillas, tacos, or tostadas. 

What To See & Do In Cancun 

Hit Up The Beach

It goes without saying that a trip to Cancun calls for ample beach time. Whether you choose to lounge out along the shore by your hotel or venture somewhere a bit more under the radar (read: fewer crowds), there are plenty of stretches of sand to choose from. Among our fav Cancun beaches include Playa Delfines, Playa Langosta, Playa Marlín, and Playa Gaviota Azul—all of which boast bright turquoise waters and a central location along the Hotel Zone. 

Swim in a Cenote

Cenotes, AKA natural sinkholes filled with water, were once considered sacred to ancient Mayans. Today, they’re popular spots for swimming, snorkeling, and, ofc, capturing content for TikTok and IG. Although there are no cenotes in Cancun proper, you can—and should—take a day trip to nearby Puerto Morelos (about 50 minutes away by car) for a refreshing (and perfectly ‘grammable) dip. 

Check Out Mercado 28

This famous flea market is home to some of Cancun’s best shopping and casual dining opps. Here, travelers can choose from an array of artisan goods—think: clothing, shoes, bags, and more—at prices your dad would actually approve of. Once you work up an appetite from shopping, hit up one of the local street food vendors. 

Go Bar-/Club-Hopping

With its vibrant nightlife scene, Cancun has attracted spring breakers for decades, and bar-/club-hopping here is basically a rite of passage—even if you’re at the age where two glasses of wine lead to a massive hangover the next day (speaking from experience, here). So, travel back in time to your college days and hit up classic spots like Señor Frog’s and Coco Bongo (no shade); alternatively, check out other favorites like H Roof and Amma Club Cancún. 

Lauren Ellman
Lauren Ellman
Lauren Dana Ellman is a New York-based writer and editor specializing in all things travel, beauty, shopping, and wellness. Among her most toxic traits are making online shopping, watching Ted Lasso, and being a dog mom her entire personality (sorry, not sorry). Follow her on IG (@laurenvellman), where she's way cooler compared to IRL.