The Yucatan peninsula is a paradise destination on the Mexican coast, this includes the city of Cancun. Beaches, nature reserves, cenotes, and Mayan ruins are just a few highlights of what you can find. Keep on reading this post to learn more about my Cancun vegan recommendations!
During my trip to Yucatan, I was able to explore several cities that are favorite places for both local and foreign tourists. I was happy to see that the Mexican Caribbean has activities for all tastes!
This was my first time in Mexico, therefore I was really excited. I arrived at Cancun International Airport which is only two hours flight from Panama. We arranged a shuttle service for our accommodation because the flight was arriving late at night.
While in Yucatan I visited the following places:
- Holbox Island
- Valladolid (Chichen Itza)
- Playa del Carmen and
I already have a vegan guide about Playa del Carmen which you can check out here. And I hope to also share my experiences from Holbox and Valladolid sometime.
Where to stay in Cancun
The city of Cancun is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the Yucatan peninsula. Here you can find a wide arrange of extreme sports, museums, and restaurants of all kinds. Furthermore, there is a very active nightlife.
The hotel zone is chosen by thousands of visitors each year. Their five-star all-inclusive resorts offer turquoise beaches, white sand, and countless activities for the guests. This makes this destination very attractive to spring-breakers.
If you want to experience the local life more, then you can choose to stay in Cancun downtown instead of the hotel zone. It’s also very central and there are plenty of restaurants with vegan options. The connectivity to the hotel zone is available 24 hours a day by using local buses at very affordable prices.
Moving Around in Cancun
Cancun International Airport is the most common point of entry if you come by air. Once at the airport you have several alternatives to move to the center, the hotel zone or some other point of the Riviera such as Playa del Carmen or Tulum.
- ADO buses: They have several routes including one that goes to and from the airport to the downtown area of Cancun. Also in the terminal, you can take the buses to other cities within the area including Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Mérida, etc. The company provides a first-class service with TV, bathrooms and air conditioning.
- Private or shared Shuttle service: ADO buses do not reach the hotel zone so you must connect with an urban bus or take a taxi from the terminal. So if you want to go straight to your hotel then a shared or private shuttle is a good alternative.
- Rent a car: If you want to have control over where to go whenever you want then you can choose to rent a car at the airport. The streets are in good condition generally and with GPS you should be able to move around easily.
- Local buses: There are urban buses that connect Cancun’s hotel zone with the city center. They operate 24 hours a day and are safe and affordable at a cost of approx. 12 pesos per trip.
- Taxi and Uber: an extra option to move around Cancun.
My suggestion is that you use Cancun or another city like Playa del Carmen or Tulum as your base of operations. Because there are so many attractions along the peninsula that you are very likely to move between different points in the area.
What to Do and See in Cancun
The city has amenities for all types of visitors. From solo travelers to families. Couples to friends. Young people to old people and more. Below are some of the things you can do and see in Cancun.
Enjoy breathtaking beaches
It’s impossible to go to Cancun and not explore the beach. With dozens to choose around the hotel zone and the surrounding area, you have several options.
This includes beaches such as:
- Playa Delfines,
- Las Perlas,
- Playa Tortugas,
- Playa Forum,
- And more…
You can also enjoy all-inclusive hotel or beach clubs. Or, simply visit one of the many public beaches and enjoy your time while swimming and sunbathing.
A day trip to Isla Mujeres is a must on your visit to Cancun. You could even stay longer if your schedule allows it.
To get to Isla Mujeres you take a ferry, the trip takes around 1 hour but there are some faster options of up to 20 minutes.
For adrenaline lovers, Cancun is the ideal place to practice water sports. You can find several offers available like windsurfing, scuba diving, jet ski or parasailing.
But, if you prefer to do something a little more peaceful you can do some snorkel on the crystal clear waters or only swim in one of its many beaches!
The hotel zone has a wide selection of bars and nightclubs, including the famous Coco Bongo with its night show.
For a cultural experience visit one of the many museums available in Cancun such as the Mayan Museum or the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA) with its underwater sculptures.
Visit an archaeological site
In the Cancun area, you have central ruins such as the El Rey Archaeological Zone, Yamil Lu’um and also San Miguelito.
But, if you want to delve more into the history and wonders of Mayan civilization you definitely need to take a day tour. Visit the ruins of the Mayan city of Chichen Itza and also Coba if you have with enough time.
Both, the hotel zone and Cancun Centro offer a wide range of options between craft markets, shopping malls, and boutiques where you can buy interesting things or souvenirs for friends and family.
Some of the recommended points are the Mercado 28, Plaza La Isla Shopping Center, Plaza Las Americas, Kukulcan Plaza, among others.
If you are only staying in Cancun then you should definitely take some time to visit the Mayan Riviera that starts in Puerto Morelos and runs along the coast until you reach Punta Allen, south of Tulum.
To learn more about everything you can enjoy at the Mayan Riviera I suggest this post.
Vegan Food in Cancun
This is the part that interests many of us, especially because the culinary experience is part of the adventure when traveling. When not consuming animal products it may be necessary to have more scrutiny and research, so I hope to be of help to make your planning more simple and easier.
Luckily in Cancun and other areas of the Riviera Maya, it’s possible to find vegan options that are inclusive for us. But I still find that Playa del Carmen and Tulum have more places with options than Cancun. On my honest review, I prefer my stay in Playa del Carmen due to the vegan offer.
In supermarkets or local mercados, you can find vegan-friendly foods, and a great variety of fruits and vegetables. Also vegetarian tacos, corn, guacamole, refried beans (make sure it doesn’t contain lard), nachos among other things. If you have a space with a kitchen then buying ingredients and cooking yourself is a very good way to save costs and in case you don’t find many options around.
In case you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, the chances are you can find vegan options at the buffet. Always check with the hotel beforehand if they can provide vegan food at their restaurants.
Below are some of the places you can visit during your stay in Cancun and find vegan food.
💚 Vegan Restaurant 💜 Vegetarian 💛 Restaurant with Vegan Options
One of the favorites, Vegan Planet Cancun has vegan versions of Mexican dishes such as tamales, enchiladas, nachos and even desserts like cheesecakes. So you’re not going to miss out on some of Mexico’s favorite foods. It’s a must on your visit.
If you don’t have enough time to visit them, they also have a delivery option.
📍Location: Av. Andres Quintana Roo, Mza. 1 Lote 4.4 Sm. 45 x Av. Del Sol, Cancun, Mexico.
With a cozy courtyard surrounded by trees, Sirena Morena offers refreshing smoothies and energizing salads at reasonable prices. You can also enjoy the classic Mexican favorites such as tacos, soups, burritos and more.
Sirena Morena it’s located quite close to the main bus station in Cancun so it’s very easy to this restaurant that offers many vegan options.
📍Location: Av Carlos Nader Sm 03 Mzn 02 LT7 No 66 (between Mero Street and Calle Rubia), Cancun, Mexico.
Opened in 2017, Calavera is a food truck that offers vegan fast food in Cancun. You can find burgers and tacos among other delicious meals. There are not many tourist attractions around so the biggest reason to go is exclusively to eat as much as you can.
They only open from Monday to Saturday, from 6 pm to 12 am.
📍Location: Av Huayacan SM 313 Mz 341 lote 01, Cancun, Mexico.
Tacos, burgers, hot dogs and salads. including vegan tacos al pastor at a very good price. The downside is that it’s only opened on the weekend.
📍Location: Av 127 num 6, FRACC Andalucía, Cancún, Mexico.
Middle East cuisine food truck offering salads, hamburgers, falafel, Tabbuleh, hummus, pitas and other yummy things from the other side of the world.
📍Location: Av. Rodrigo Gómez SM 57, MZ03 LT 02 – 8 Cancún, Quintana Roo 77533
This restaurant has a strategic location in the center of the hotel zone, making it a good choice if you are staying in the area.
They have a menu where the vegan options are clearly identified and a wide selection of fruit smoothies and breakfast choices.
📍Location: Blvd Kukulcan Km 9.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, Mexico.
Cafe and guesthouse offering vegan and gluten-free options. You can find desserts, pastries, bowls, burgers, drinks and more.
📍Location: Return 3 de Chilan Balam #72, SM 50-Cancun, Quintana Roo.
💚 Combi Vegan-Food Truck
Update: Permanently Closed
Vegan fast food on wheels. Burgers, tacos, choripanes, cakes and all those favorites but in their meatless version. What else can you ask for?
Update: Permanently Closed
Organic restaurant with vegan and gluten-free options. On the menu, you can find burgers, Mexican food, salads, juices, and soups, among others.
Cold-pressed juices, bowls, smoothies with superfoods and protein, Matcha, Açaí bowls, vegan snacks, and Detox.
📍Location: Avenida Banco Chinchorro. Cancún, Quintana Roo
Other restaurants with vegan options in Cancun
- Dharma Vegetarian
- Fresco Habito (Also in Playa del Carmen)
- 100% Natural Cancun
- Sahara-Arabic Food
- The Surfing Burrito
Stores with vegan products
Links of Interest
- Happy Cow-Restaurant guide-Cancun
- A full map of vegans, vegetarians or options in Cancun and around
- Visit Mexico-Official website
- How to get to Isla Mujeres
- ADO buses
- Expedia-Shuttle Airport
- Bus Routes Cancun
- Vegans of Cancun-Facebook Group
I hope this guide will be very helpful if you plan to visit Cancun or you are new to the city. If you know any other place you would like to recommend and does not appear in this post do not hesitate to leave the information in the comments!