How to visit Cancun and avoid crowds

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Cancun is synonymous with crowded beaches and nightlife locales filled with late night revelers. But if that’s not your scene, you can have a more laid back Cancun vacation. We’re sharing our insider travel tips for finding the quieter side of Cancun, where to stay and what to do while you’re there.

A quieter spot to stay

How to visit Cancun and avoid crowds
Room at the JW Marriott (Image: JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa)

If you want the option of space to yourself, privacy and a feeling of having found your oasis in a sea of vacationers, book a room at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa. While still conveniently located in Cancun’s bustling Hotel Zone, there are many opportunities to bypass crowds at this beachfront property. For starters, rent a daybed by the beach. These large Balinese-inspired daybeds are big enough to comfortably accommodate four to six people (great for families or groups), and offer both privacy and shade. Each one comes with water, a fresh fruit plate and delivery service to your daybed from the nearby beachfront restaurant.

How to visit Cancun and avoid crowds
Quiet adult only pool at the JW Marriott (Image: Jessica Padykula)

If you don’t have kids with you, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa also features an adult only pool, set back from the two main pools, making it a peaceful and quiet haven when you need to recharge. In addition, the atmosphere you’ll find here is decidedly less hectic than that of other properties in the same area. But don’t worry, the sense of fun is there, just in a much more laid back manner, and one that’s much more conducive to relaxing.

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A dip in a cenote

How to visit Cancun and avoid crowds
Cenote Azul (Image: Graeme Churchard)

Get away from the crowds on the beach by taking a trip to a cenote. These are natural limestone walled sinkholes dotted all around the Yucatan Peninsula, and are a great way to cool off without having to jostle for beach space. Cenote Azul is a beautiful cenote surrounded by a jungle where you can swim, relax in the dappled sunlight, rent snorkel equipment or jump in from a platform above into the clear blue fresh water below. Life jackets are also available for rent if you have small children in tow. In addition to Cenote Azul there are many others in the area you can visit.

A shopping stop in Playa del Carmen

How to visit Cancun and avoid crowds
Playa del Carmen (Image: Jessica Padykula)

Instead of souvenir shopping in downtown Cancun, head to nearby Playa del Carmen. About 45 minutes from Cancun, Playa del Carmen boasts Quinto Avienda (5th Avenue), a pedestrian-only strip lined with  souvenir shops, clothing boutiques, jewellery stores, cafes, bars and restaurants. It’s a fun place to spend a few hours browsing or even going to the beach that runs parallel to 5th Avenue. Two stores to look for with interesting handmade clothing and jewellery are Silvia Suarez and La Troupe.

A day at the spa

How to visit Cancun and avoid crowds
Spa treatment (Image: JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa)

One place you won’t find crowds? The spa. If you’re really craving peace and quiet on your vacation, make time for a body scrub or massage at the spa at the JW Marriott. In addition to its treatment rooms, the 3,250 square-metre Mayan-inspired spa has a pool, two Jacuzzis, a relaxation room, a steam room and a sauna that can all be enjoyed either before or after your treatment for a soothing and blissfully quiet way to spend a few hours.

A ferry to Isla Mujeres

How to visit Cancun and avoid crowds
Beach on Isla Mujeres (Image: Jessica Padykula)

Trade Cancun crowds for a slower pace on the tiny island of Isla Mujeres, a quick ferry ride off the coast of Cancun. Here, people still get around on golf carts and the vibe is laid back and ideal for aimless wandering. Browse souvenir stalls, lie on the secluded beach, rent a golf cart and explore the island on four wheels or stop at a small bar or café for a snack and a cold drink.

Lead photo: Jessica Padykula

How to visit Cancun and avoid crowds was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Jessica Padykula
Author: Jessica Padykula (292 posts)

Jessica Padykula is a Toronto-based writer and editor who regularly covers travel and lifestyle trends. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world.