Day One

  • Km 9.5

Kick the first day off in the Zona Hotelera with some quality beach time at the lovely Playa Gaviota Azul, or head just south for the enticing sands of nearby Playa Chac-Mool.

Next, soak up some culture at the world-class Museo Maya de Cancún, a museum holding one of the region's most important collections of Maya artifacts; some 400 pieces found at key sites in and around the peninsula are on display. Before leaving don't forget to check out the small ruins at the museum's adjoining archaeological site, San Miguelito. For an afternoon of ruins-hopping, you'll find another archaeological site, El Rey, about 1.5km south of San Miguelito.

  • Dinner Make reservations at Tempo.
  • Km 14.2

After dinner, hit H Roof Nightclub up above Harry's Steakhouse for late-night DJ sets and the occasional live group. If you prefer a wild party atmosphere, return to Km 9.5 to run amok in the large dance clubs with thumping music and open bar service until the wee hours.

Day Two

  • Isla Blanca

Rent a car, bike or scooter and make your way north from Cancún Centro to the remote beaches of Isla Blanca. At the end of a bumpy dirt road, about 27km north of Puerto Juárez, you'll reach a gorgeous beach flanked by the Caribbean Sea to the east and a tranquil lagoon to the west.

  • Lunch On the way back from Isla Blanca stop for fresh seafood at Kiosco Verde or Puerto Santo, both of which get high praise from locals.
  • Plaza de Toros

Grab some drinks and hang with the locals at Plaza de Toros, a former bullring building that has been converted into a popular downtown gathering spot.

  • Dinner From Plaza de Toros hoof it to The Bears Den or Peter's Restaurante, two of the Centro's finest restaurants specializing in international cuisine.
  • Hong Kong Plaza

Cap the evening off with dancing at Mambocafé, a large venue with live bands playing Cuban salsa and other tropical styles. It draws a mostly local clientele and really packs 'em in on Friday and Saturday.

Day Three

; Km 12.5

Return to the Zona Hotelera for shopping and/or activities at La Isla Shopping Village, where you'll find everything from boutique shops selling designer brands to a 60m-high ferris wheel and an onsite aquarium.

  • Lunch Grab affordable pescadillas (fried fish tacos) and fresh ceviche at El Galeón del Caribe, a lagoonside hideaway at Km 19.4.
  • Km 5

After lunch make your way over to the shallow waters of Playa Langosta for a fun afternoon of swimming or snorkeling. If you've still got some shopping left in you or perhaps would like to catch a movie on an IMAX screen instead; head about 4km west to Puerto Cancún Marina Town Center.

Dinner Make reservations at Benazuza, at the Grand Oasis Sens hotel. More than just a meal it's an experience as you feast on up to 30 gourmet courses.

  • Km 12.6

For a nightcap, drop by the La Destilería to take in a lagoon view over margaritas, or hit the Surfin' Burrito at Km 9.5 for generously served late-night cocktails.

Day Four

  • Isla Contoy

Book a trip with Asterix to boat out to Isla Contoy, an uninhabited island that's home to 170 bird species. It's a truly magnificent family-friendly trip that offers fun snorkeling and light hiking opportunities. Asterix provides snorkeling gear and lunch. You usually get back to the mainland around 6pm.

  • Dinner Eat at La Habichuela or El Tigre y El Toro, both located in the downtown tourist center. During the summer lobster season, El Tigre y El Toro makes a popular pizza with the seafood topping.
  • Parque de las Palapas

After dinner swing by Parque de las Palapas and see what's happening on stage at the park's open-air cultural venue: there's often free concerts there and even if not it makes a nice spot to kick back over a decadently sweet churro (doughnut-like fritters) on the square.

  • Avenida Náder

Next, hit the cool cocktail bars in this up-and-coming neighborhood, some of which feature DJ sessions and the occasional live gig. Amarula con Acento Tropical and Nomads Cocina & Barra are two good ones.