Playa Tortugas (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 1.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) — Playa Tortugas (Turtle Beach) eroded greatly after Hurricane Wilma. There’s now a restored sandbank at the entrance around Km 6.5 on Boulevard Kukulcán. The water is deep and the swimming is excellent, so many people come here to sail, snorkel, kayak, paraglide, and ride Wave Runners. The nicest section of this beach is on the far right, just past the rocks. The sand can get very crowded, especially because this is where people usually grab a drink or snack before catching the ferry to Isla Mujeres. Locals from El Centro will spend their entire weekend here, so if you are looking for isolation, it’s best to head elsewhere. Don’t be fooled by the name—this spot is seldom frequented by tortugas.
Playa Pez Volador (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 5.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) — The calm surf and relaxing shallows of Playa Pez Volador make it an aquatic playground for families with young children. Marked by a huge Mexican flag at Km 5.5, the wide beach is popular with locals, as many tourists tend to head to the more active Playa Langosta. Sea grass occasionally washes ashore here, but by early morning it is cleared away by the staff of the neighboring Casa Maya Hotel.
Xochimilco (southern outskirts of Mexico City) – located 45 minutes outside of downtown Mexico City, Xochimilco is the last remnants of a vast water transport system built by the Aztecs, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Its neighborhoods are full of tradition and respect for nature. A.K.A. the “Venice of Mexico”, this is one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico City, in which you float through canals in traditional trajinera boats. During the tour, you will come across boats with mariachis players, ‘ranchero’ tri and marimbas who will offer to play you a few songs and liven up your evening.
Turibus (Mexico City) – in existence since 2000, this double-decker tour bus (Turibus) gives visitors the option of seeing Mexico City’s famed sights in an “hop on, hop off” setting. Since the Mexican capital is massive, there are 4 different intersecting Turibus lines across the city – the primary one (Zocalo to Chapultepec ) runs through the heart of the city, Polanco to the wealthy & modern districts, the southern circuit to Coyacan, and a short Basilica tour.
Turibuses run from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, and you can catch a bus at any of the official stops and buy tickets on board. Price: MX$160 (adult weekday); MX$80 (children weekday);
Torre Latinoamericana (Eje Central 2, Centro, Mexico City) –– built in 1956, this 44-story skyscraper (which vaguely resembles New York’s Empire State Building, offers a bird’s eye views over various parts of Mexico City. That alone makes this spot a popular place to have drinks after work or on weekends (including evenings).
Views from the 44th-floor observation deck and the 41st-floor lounge bar are spectacular, smog permitting. Admission includes access to an on-site museum that chronicles Mexico City’s history. Admission is free if you’re just visiting the bar.
Admission (observation deck): MX$120 (adult) MX$80 (children/seniors). Hours: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm daily.
Playa Mujeres Golf Club (Playa Mujeres Beach Resort, Prolongación Bonampak, Punta Sam, Cancún) — Designed by Greg Norman, this 18-hole, par-72 course is the newest course in Cancún, and is within the 930-acre Playa Mujeres Resort in Punta Sam. Practice facilities include a driving range, two putting greens, and a short game area. You can also arrange for individual and group instruction.
Playa las Perlas (Pearl Beach) (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 2.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) –– Located at Km 2.5, between the Cancún mainland and the bridge, it’s a relatively small beach on the protected waters of the Bahía de Mujeres, and is popular with locals. There are several restaurants lining the sand, but most of the water-sports activities are only available to those staying at the nearby resorts like the Imperial las Perlas or Holiday Inn Cancún Arenas.
Playa Delfines (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 18, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) — Located near Ruinas del Rey at Km 18, where Boulevard Kukulcán curves into a hill, Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach) is one of the last beaches before Punta Nizuc. Hotels have yet to dominate this small section of coastline, and there’s an incredible lookout over the ocean. On a clear day you can see at least four shades of blue in the water, though swimming is treacherous unless a green flag is posted. This resort-free area has plenty of sand and surfers, and it’s one of the few places in Cancún where you can take surfing lessons. Although decent waves roll in during hurricane season, they seldom hit “epic” status. At best, you might find choppy, inconsistent surf here and at Playa Chacmool and City Beach. Those seeking more than just a ripple should avoid the placid northern beaches, where Isla Mujeres lies just offshore.
Museo Jumex (Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Granada, Mexico City) — Opened in the heart of Polanco district in 2013, Museo Jumex is the newest contemporary art museum on the scene. It houses one of the largest private collections of contemporary art in Latin America, which includes works by Andy Warhol, Martin Kippenberger, Cy Twombly, and Damien Hirst. And the building is as distinctive as the art: The 15,000 square-foot white-concrete cube with a sawtooth top was designed by British architect David Chipperfield. Admission: MX$50 (foreigners), MX$30 (Mexican citizens), Free for students, children under 15 years and seniors. Free admission for all on Sundays. Hours: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm (Tuesday – Sunday), closed on Mondays.
Playa Linda (Pretty Beach) (Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 2.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún) — Playa Linda (Pretty Beach) is where the ocean meets the freshwater of Laguna Nichupté to create the Nichupté Channel. Restaurants and changing rooms are available near the launching dock. There’s lots of boat activity along the channel, and the ferry to Isla Mujeres leaves from the adjoining Embarcadero marina, so the area isn’t safe for swimming, although it’s a great place to people-watch, with a 300-foot rotating scenic tower nearby that offers a 360-degree view.