The 7 Best Places to Stay in Downtown Cancun

The 7 Best Places to Stay in Downtown Cancun

Quintana Roo is one of the most popular spots in Mexico for international visitors. Alongside the likes of Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Cancun is a top pick for international vacationers. With its incredible white sand beaches, world-leading food and nightlife scene, and spectacular natural and cultural sites, it’s easy to see why.

While Cancun’s hotel zone has some great luxury all-inclusive resorts and nightclubs, it lacks some of the authenticity of the downtown area. If you’re looking for a ‘real’, fun-packed trip to the Riviera Maya, downtown is the place for you. 

But, where should you stay? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best places to stay in Downtown Cancun.

What is the Best Time to Visit Cancun Downtown?

Due to its favorable location on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, most visitors to the city hope to enjoy some of the wonderful weather that the area is known for. The good news is that Cancun’s weather is warm year-round, so you’re pretty much guaranteed some sunshine.

However, some months are better than others for the weather. April and May are the best time for warm daytime temperatures and cool, pleasant evenings. June to September are wetter and there can be some tropical storms, so bear this in mind when booking your trip.

Things to Do in Downtown Cancun

Although most visitors head to Cancun for its Caribbean coastline and spectacular white sand beaches, there’s a lot more to the city than that. Here is our travel guide for Downtown Cancun. However, if you are interested in the best beaches in Cancun there are plenty to choose from. 

Parque de las Palapas

If you’re staying in Centro you’ll most likely spend some time in Parque de las Palapas. This is the main square of Cancun located behind Avenida Tulum and is a great place to eat, drink, and people-watch. Head over late afternoon and hit up some food stalls for a delicious array of tacos, quesadillas, grilled corn, and sweet treats. If you stick around for sunset, you might even be lucky enough to catch a live music performance.

Mercado 28

This popular market located in Plaza San Miguel is an experience not to be missed. There are countless stalls in this huge mercado selling everything from jewelry to handicrafts and Yucatan-themed souvenirs. There’s also lots of food on offer, making it one of Cancun’s top spots for authentic Mexican food. If you’re looking for a more traditional market experience, Mercado 23 flea market is smaller, less crowded with tourists, and often offers the same items at a lower price.

Eat, Eat, Eat

You can’t visit downtown Cancun without touring some of the city’s best taquerias. Whereas local Mexican food is typically overpriced in the hotel zone, downtown’s small restaurants and food stands will have you eating like a local and paying fewer pesos for the privilege. If you don’t feel confident ordering alone, there are some great taco crawls available that will take you to the best restaurants and street food spots in town.

Discover Mexican Street Art

Most visitors aren’t aware that Cancun downtown is a hotspot for street art. From traditional Mayan-inspired art to ultra-modern murals, it’s fun to stroll around and spot unique art throughout the city. We recommend booking a street art tour to get the most out of your urban exploration. This way, you’ll get to see all of the most Instagrammable spots while learning about the artists behind the pieces.

Explore the Yucatan Peninsula

Downtown Cancun is a fantastically central spot from which to explore the Yucatan Peninsula. No visit to the region is complete without visiting a cenote and there are several that are easily accessible from the area. Nichupte lagoon is another beautiful natural area to explore if you need a break from city life.

For history and culture fans, the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza shouldn’t be missed. The site is less than three hours away by car and is well worth the journey. Tulum’s ruins are also doable as a day trip, as are the Coba ruins.

Isla Mujeres is a short ferry ride away from downtown Cancun and fans of snorkeling and scuba diving will love exploring its crystal-clear coastline. If you’re more of a ‘dry land’ fan, hire a golf cart and explore the island’s winding streets for an authentic taste of Caribbean island life.

Now, let’s get into the best places to stay in downtown Cancun.

1. Four Points by Sheraton Cancun Centro

Four Points by Sheraton Cancun Centro is a centrally located four-star hotel with excellent amenities that your travel group will love.

The outdoor swimming pool is a great perk of this hotel and is an ideal spot for cooling off after a day of tourism. The on-site bar does a great margarita and the restaurant serves a delicious selection of American and international food. If you like to stay active on vacation, you’ll love the well-equipped fitness center.

Each room boasts modern decor and convenient amenities including air conditioning, a coffee machine, and free Wi-Fi access. Each room also has a desk for getting work done, making it a good option for trips that mix business with pleasure, and there are family rooms available for groups with young children.

Four Points has a 24-hour front desk for flexible check-in, and there’s free on-site parking if you’ve hired a car for your time in Cancun. Getting to and from this hotel couldn’t be easier: Cancun International Airport is just a 15-minute drive and the ADO bus station is 2.5 miles away.

Top amenities include:

  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Bar and restaurant
  • Fitness center
  • Free Wi-Fi access

Check availability for this fabulous four-star property here.

2. Eco-hotel El Rey del Caribe

If you’re looking for a well-priced eco-friendly option, Eco-hotel El Rey del Caribe is one of Cancun’s top choices. This eco-hotel uses solar power to heat its water, and all waste and rainwater is recycled to help take care of the planet.

The location of this hotel is fantastic, and the town center can be reached in minutes. Cancun beach is just 1.2 miles away if you’re in the mood for some snorkeling or to enjoy the area’s famous white sand beaches, and the ferry to Isla Mujeres departs from just 1.6 miles away.

Back at the hotel, you’ll love the rooms that are set up as studio apartments. Each room has its own kitchenette as well as a cable TV, air conditioning, safety box, and minibar. The bathrooms are clean and spacious, and Wi-Fi is available free of charge.

This beautiful property also has a swimming pool, hot tub, sun terrace, and garden. The on-site restaurant serves breakfast each morning and guests get a discount at the nearby Playa Cabana Beach Club.

Top amenities include:

  • Eco-friendly solar water heating
  • Rooms with kitchenettes
  • Swimming pool
  • Restaurant serving breakfast

Check availability for this eco-friendly hotel here.

3. Kabah Boutique Hotel

For an understated boutique option, Kabah hotel is our pick.

Starting with the rooms, you’ll find everything you need here for a comfortable stay. Each room has air conditioning, a desk, a balcony with a city or garden view, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with towels included.

The hot tub on the spacious terrace is a lovely place to enjoy some sunset relaxation, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating available if you’re in the mood to soak up some of Mexico’s famous good weather. The hotel also has a restaurant on-site and a continental or American breakfast is offered to guests.

When it’s time to balance out all of those taqueria visits, the on-site gym has all the equipment you need to get a good workout in. There’s a 24-hour front desk with bilingual staff, and airport transfers can be arranged for you. The shared lounge offers a handy indoor communal space and there’s free Wi-Fi throughout the property.

Top amenities include:

  • Rooms with private balconies
  • Terrace with hot tub
  • Restaurant serving breakfast
  • Gym on-site

Check availability for this simple boutique hotel here.

4. Wyndham Garden Cancun Downtown

Another great option is Wyndham Garden Cancun Downtown which is positioned just eight minutes by car to the beach.

The rooms are simple, spacious, and extremely clean. With modern decor and tiled floors, you’ll know you’re staying in a four-star hotel. The beds are big and comfortable and each room has a coffee maker, microwave, and private bathroom with a hairdryer. Some rooms have a seating area and others have spectacular city views.

The outdoor swimming pool is a nice bonus of this property and there are plenty of loungers available to lie out on. There’s also a fitness center and guests are welcome to use the communal lounge with a large screen. An excellent daily breakfast of waffles, cereal, fruit juice, and coffee is served each morning, and free coffee is available throughout the day.

If you’ve hired a car you’ll appreciate the free parking and the easy access to Cancun International Airport and important sites including Tulum’s famous Mayan ruins.

Top amenities include:

  • Swimming pool
  • Fitness center
  • Daily breakfast is available
  • Free parking

Check availability for this modern four-star hotel here.

5. Hampton Inn by Hilton Cancun Cumbres

Hampton Inn hotels by the Hilton group have a great reputation for quality accommodation, and this property is no exception.

The rooms are chic, modern, and bright, and there’s plenty of space for a comfortable stay. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV, a safety deposit box, a desk, and air conditioning. There are family rooms available for groups with young kids as well as fully accessible rooms for guests with additional mobility or hearing requirements.

Amenities at this desirable property include a terrace, lounge, free Wi-Fi, and a bar. There’s also a big gym available for guests to use, as well as an outdoor pool with loungers. The 24-hour front desk is available for late check-in and the staff are on-hand to assist with booking trips and excursions during your stay.

Top amenities include:

  • Family rooms available
  • Accessible rooms available
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • 24-hour front desk

Check availability for this Hilton group property here.

6. Villa Sofia Holiday Accommodations

Villa Sofia is a small and perfectly-formed hideaway in central Cancun.

The outdoor swimming pool is a great size and provides plenty of space to splash around in. The surrounding gardens are a tranquil place to enjoy your morning coffee or an afternoon with a good book. There’s a shared kitchen available for guests to use, as well as free Wi-Fi throughout the property.

Inside the rooms, guests benefit from air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, plenty of storage, and a private bathroom with a bath or shower. The location of the hotel is ideal for exploring downtown Cancun. La Isla shopping center is a short drive away, as is Beto Avila stadium and the beautiful Cristo Rey church.

Top amenities include:

  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Tranquil garden
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Air-conditioned rooms

Check availability for this tranquil hotel here.

7. The Yellow Capsule Experience

The final option on our list of the best places to stay in downtown Cancun is unique, to say the least! The Yellow Capsule Experience is exactly that: a series of capsules that are more of an experience than your typical hotel.

The hotel is located in the center of the city and offers guests a futuristic sleeping experience in a series of private pods. Each pod is completely closed off, affording you a budget accommodation option that feels safer and offers a much better night’s sleep than a hostel.

The units have all of the mod-cons that you’d expect from a hotel, including air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and a safety deposit box. The only difference is that all of this is in a capsule instead of a traditional room. The property also offers a terrace, an American breakfast, and a clean and spacious shared bathroom with a shower and hairdryer.

Top amenities include:

  • Private capsules
  • Shared bathroom with shower
  • Outdoor terrace
  • American breakfast

Check availability for this unique Cancun accommodation here.

You’re Ready to Enjoy Downtown Cancun

As you can see, choosing to stay in Downtown Cancun opens up some fantastic, affordable, and unique accommodation options. And whichever property you choose to stay at, you’ll be in the heart of the action with easy access to the best culture and food options in Cancun.