Cancun's Interactive Aquarium is home to many types of fish. — Photo courtesy of Susan R. Vincil
La Isla Shopping Village is a beautiful, open-air mall, in the heart of Cancun's hotel zone. The shopping center has the typical clothing boutiques and restaurants that are found in the average, run-of-the-mill mall, but La Isla also has some incredibly unique attractions that are not normally found in shopping center. The mall's most notable attraction is the Interactive Aquarium.
Inside the aquarium, you'll see large tanks of fish and other marine life but, when you step into the outdoor area, the fun really starts. The outdoor area houses a large pool, filled with sea turtles and manta rays, as well as another pool that is filled with dolphins. You can touch the manta rays as they swim over to the side of the pool. You can also pose for pictures with the manta rays and sea turtles, when they make their way to the edge of the pool.
The Interactive Aquarium is relatively small and can be seen in an hour, or less, but visitors can extend their stay by engaging in several optional activities, like swimming with dolphins or feeding sharks.
To feed sharks, participants don wetsuits and snorkel gear and get inside an acrylic box, which is then submerged into a shark-filled tank. From the safety of the acrylic box, members of the group lure sharks to them, by placing food through holes in the box. They are quickly surrounded by sharks and definitely get an up-close view of the beautiful, yet deadly, creatures. This exciting adventure only gives you 15 minutes of time in the water but it is sure to be an adrenaline-packed 15 minutes.
Every day, there are dolphin shows, where the dolphins do tricks and perform for spectators. The dolphin shows are included in the price of admission to the aquarium. If you want to get a closer look at dolphins, you can schedule a time to swim with dolphins. There are several choices of dolphin swims; the Educational Dolphin Swim, the Advanced Dolphin Swim, and the Trainer for a Day option. The Educational Dolphin Swim is only 40 minutes long, while the Advanced Dolphin Swim is 55 minutes. The Trainer for a Day program lasts 8 hours.
If you don't want to visit the aquarium, you can still see the dolphin shows while dining inside Jugo de Limon, a restaurant that is connected to the aquarium. They are open for breakfast and lunch. Get a table by the window, so you can easily see into the dolphin pool.
Cancun Duck Tours is based at La Isla Shopping Village and all tours start and end at the shopping center. This fun-for-the-whole-family excursion takes you on a tour of Cancun's hotel zone, both by land and sea, in an amphibious vehicle. The outing begins with a drive around town and finishes with a floating tour of Nichupte lagoon, before dropping you off back on dry land.
During this adventure, participants are given whistles that look like plastic duck bills but, instead of whistling, they make the sound of a duck quacking. It's nearly impossible to take the Cancun Duck Tour and not have fun. In fact, you'll probably end up laughing (and quacking) for the majority of the entire 90-minute tour.
You can easily see the aquarium, swim with dolphins (with the exception of the 8-hour Trainer for a Day dolphin program, of course) and/or feed sharks, as well as take the Cancun Duck Tour, all in one day. You'll even have plenty of time left over to do some shopping, see a movie, or have a delicious meal at La Isla Shopping Village.