Getting to Know Cancún’s Wildest Residents

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Thanks to a handful of portrayals in popular culture, you may think Cancún is predominately home to rowdy spring-breakers and kitschy souvenir shops. This couldn’t be further from reality.

Cancún houses a litany of authentic staples beyond the beachside fiesta—ancient Mayan ruins, lush tropical cenotes, serene white-sand beaches and thriving underwater ecosystems.

In traversing the many sites and wonders of this tropical paradise, you’re bound to encounter some of the vibrant wildlife. While there are more species than there’s room to list, here are a few local legends you’ll want to get acquainted with ahead of time: the wild animals in Cancún.

wild animals in Cancún

Barracudas

When snorkeling or scuba-diving amongst the neon-alien world of the Grand Mayan reef, you might encounter a rather imposing looking fish—long and slender like a snake, glinting silver in hue, sporting ray-fins and a mouthful of snaggletooth daggers. While the barracuda is indeed fearsome-looking, encountering one in the wild is not an immediate cause for alarm. Barracudas are scavengers and may mistake you for a large predator, hoping to follow you for a free meal. With that being said, you should avoid attempting to touch barracudas—unless it’s after you’ve hooked one while sport-fishing.

wild animals in Cancún

Sea Turtles

The beach is home to many creatures, but none might be as mystical, revered or endangered as the sea turtle. Luckily enough, witnessing this majestic creature is entirely possible while in town. Xcacel Beach is renowned as a turtle sanctuary, closing off sections of the beach every year to protect the sea turtles as well as the eggs they lay. If you don’t get a chance to witness the breath-taking sight of baby turtles scampering to sea, fear not: the Xcacelito Cenote is only steps away from the beach and makes for more than enough reason to visit.

wild animals in Cancún

Iguanas

While there’s a decent chance of encountering iguanas in most forested parts of Cancún, the spiny lizards are an absolute certainty at El Rey Ruins. The former site of an ancient Mayan structure, the remnants today are situated in the bottom portion of Zona Hotelera and completely overrun with the massive lizards. What’s more, these iguanas have become thoroughly accustomed to humans, allowing for some truly awesome photo opportunities with these wild animals in Cancún.

Ready to start planning your trip to see the wild animals in Cancún? Talk with one of our specialized travel advisors. Not only can they help you chart your adventure, but also they can set you up with exclusive deals, snorkeling and diving tours at industry-leading resorts, like Moon Palace Cancun—a resort that is pulsating with energy and possibilities.