Cancún is a coastal city in the popular vacation destination called The Mexican Caribbean, more officially known as the state of Quintana Roo, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
There are two possibles meanings of Cancun, according to the Mayan language, the first translation is "nest of snakes or pot." The second version (and less accepted) is "place of the gold snake".
Peak season in Cancun tends to run from December to April. Prices in both airfare and hotel increase dramatically during these times, while dropping in the summer and early autumn months.
Resting on the northeast corner of the Mexican Caribbean, Cancun was built on a site selected as the ideal spot for a new tourist development by the Mexican federal government. The state of Quintana Roo was still a federal territory and the area had few inhabitants when construction started in 1970. It is composed of 21 kilometers of pristine white beaches shaped like a number "7", home of the Mayan archaeological wonders, turquoise seas, a bountiful underwater world, and world-class vacation amenities. It is still considered the gateway to the Mayan World (El Mundo Maya). Mayan temples and ritual sites are everywhere, some smothered by lush jungle, others easily accessible.
The Cancun hotel zone is almost entirely built around the tourist industry. It abounds with all-inclusive resort hotels. Stay there if you don't mind spending your vacation with many other tourists. Most tourists are primarily from English-speaking North America and there are also many tourists from Europe, but many tourists also come to Cancun from the rest of Mexico.
Downtown Cancun, especially once you get away from the ADO bus station and nearby hostels and hotels, is where most residents live. There are many restaurants (La Parrilla, Los Pericos, Los Arcos, El Timtnhehdon de Cancun, Va que Va; all of them are really good restaurants, and the best much cheaper than Hotel Zone, and Mexican cousin), shopping centres (Plaza Las Americas, Plaza la Isla in Hotel Zone, Plaza Outlet), markets (Mercado 28 y 23) and clubs in the downtown area that you can visit during your stay (Cocobongo, Dady'O, Palazzo, Mandala).
Those mostly seeking beaches and scuba diving, or who are a bit adventurous, can easily find rooms on equally beautiful and less crowded beaches along the coast just an hour or two south of Cancun. Some Spanish language skills may aid in finding better deals. You can rent a car, or take the bus to Puerto Morelos (about 20min) or Tulum (1h). Playa del Carmen (45min, MXN80) is between the two, but caters to the all-inclusive crowd. Taxis are also available.
Those looking for a base of operations who want good or luxury hotels and the advantages of urban life but prefer more local flavor may wish to stay in the Yucatan's main city of Mérida. Many international flights in to Cancun continue on after a stop to Mérida's International Airport.
The climate in Cancun is tropical, with consistent hot and humid weather throughout the year, and very warm sea temperatures.
Late June is especially hot, so come prepared or try the off season. Hurricanes can be a major threat in late summer and autumn.
Like most resort areas in the Caribbean, Cancun gets hit with a really severe hurricane every 10 to 20 years. The last really bad one was Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which obliterated many of Cancun's famous beaches. Thousands of hapless tourists spent their precious vacations jammed into hurricane shelters waiting for Wilma to pass, then waited days in the humid tropical heat (with no air conditioning) for transport home. As a result, from 2005 to 2008, most of Cancun's tourist traffic went to Cabo San Lucas (triggering a massive construction boom there) while Cancun painstakingly rebuilt its resorts and dredged the ocean to bring the white sand back to its beaches. The moral of this story is to buy really good trip insurance if your trip is scheduled during hurricane season, have a backup vacation (or staycation) plan, and cancel promptly if a hurricane is forecasted the week before your trip. Hurricane season is typically from August through October or November and can happen outside those times too.
Cancún International Airport (IATA: CUN) is Mexico's second busiest airport and is about 10km (6 mi) from south end of the hotel strip (Zona Hotelera) and 16km (9 mi) southwest of downtown.
One of Cancun's best features is its transport links, as most major air carriers in North, Central, and South America, have services to Cancun. There are some extremely cheap charter flight deals available from the UK (from around GBP150) as well as commercial flight deals from several European carriers. International flights within Latin America are usually expensive such as those coming from Central and South America.
|FBO (Fixed Base Operations or terminal privada) is re-located next to Terminal 3 at SE side
|| Mayair, Tropic Air, private general aviation
|1 Gates 1-7A
|| Viva Aerobus, Magni Charters & Group charters. Group charters may be at any of the three main terminals. Check with the airline or the tour agency's representative to be sure.
|2S, Gates A1-A11 in the octagonal shaped Satellite concourse
|| Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentina, Air Canada, Air Pullmantur, Air Transat, Avianca, British Airways, CanJet, Condor, Copa, Copa Colombia (formerly AeroRepublica), EdelWeiss, Enerjet, Euro Atlantic, Jetairfly, JetBlue, LAN Airlines, LAN Peru, Monarch, Neos, Orbest Portugal, OrenAir, SATA International, Southwest, Sunwing, Thomson, Transaero Airlines, TUIfly, Virgin Atlantic, WestJet, White, WhiteJets, XL Airways (Some of these are chartered flights and can be at Terminal 1, check with the carrier or tour operator)
|2M, Gates B12-B22 in the Main building
|| Aeromexico, Cubana de Aviacion, Interjet, Volaris
|3 Gates C23-C37
|| Air Berlin, Air Europa, Air France, Alaska Airlines, American, Apple Vacations (chartered on Allegiant, AirTran & Frontier), Delta, Frontier, Nordwind, Perla, Pullmantur, Spirit, Sun Country, Thomas Cook, United, Virgin America & Vacation Express (chartered on Aeromexico, Miami Air International and/or Sunwing) (Some of these are chartered flights and can be at Terminal 1 instead, check with the carrier or tour operator)
|| (Under construction)
Airlines that fly to Cancun from:
- Mexico City and other cities within Mexico include: Aeromexico/Aeromexico Connect, Interjet, Volaris, MayAir, Magnicharters, and VivaAerobus;
- Central America Avianca El Salvador (formerly Taca & Taca Regional), Tropic Air (to Belize City), and Copa (Panama City);
- USA: Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, United, Jetblue, Sun Country, Frontier, Miami Air International (Charter), Southwest, Spirit, Virgin America, Apple Vacations (operated by Frontier and Allegiant), Vacation Express (operated by Aeromexico, Miami Air International & Sunwing from the U.S. & Canada) (Most flights from the USA are regularly scheduled flights);
- South America: Avianca Colombia, LAN, LAN Peru & White Jets;
- Canada: Air Canada, Air Transat, CanJet, Enerjet, Sunwing, WestJet (Except Sunwing, Westjet and Air Canada the others operate on a seasonal basis from Canada or as chartered.);
- Cuba: Cubana de Aviacion and Aeromexico;
- Europe & Russia: Aeroflot, Air Berlin, Air France, British Airways, Air Europa, Blue Panaroma, Condor, Edelwiess, Jetairfly, LOT Polish, Monarch, White, Pullmantur, Thomas Cook, Thomson, Transaero, TUIFly, Virgin Atlantic, XL Airways and White (Portugal). (Some or most European, Canadian and South American carriers come on a seasonal basis and/or as a charter, usually during the northern winters while others operate year round as a regularly scheduled or chartered flight. Check with the airline individually).
See the adjoining chart to find where the airlines are within the airport or contact the particular carrier or tour operator.
Be sure to pass through customs before looking for money exchange inside the customs zone rates are much lower than even the greediest street vendors ask. (City bank, Elektra are the best money exchanges you can try.)
The hardest part of the journey to Cancun (aside from your initial airport check-in) is getting from the luggage carousel to your transport. Make sure you know who your transport is (in case you pre-booked) and find them on outside, as that is where they will be. Unless you are looking for a time-share, free meal or looking to burn hours of travel time and money on your vacation, do NOT stop to chit-chat with anyone about booking tours, transfer services and such. There is plenty of time for that after you get settled in. After you clear customs inspection (the red or green light baggage inspection), do not give your bags to anybody offering to carry them.
To get from the airport (by ground transport) to your destination you have several options:
- You can take an authorized taxi cab, sedan, SUV or van (shared or private), at the Airport. Buy the ticket at one of the podiums (by the vehicles) in the parking lot directly OUTSIDE the arrivals doors or pre-book online or by phone. If you pre-booked online someone should be OUTSIDE of the building holding up a sign with your name(s) on it, if not approach (or call) them yourself and refuse any offer of "help" by anybody who approaches you. Be aware that the legitimate representatives for the taxi and shuttle companies are OUTSIDE the building and anybody inside the building soliciting transfer services can be time share sales people or other hucksters selling something besides a simple ride into town or ripping you off.
- Taxis from the city (white with a green stripe at sides) or from elsewhere (other colors) coming in to drop off others are NOT allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. Anybody trying to direct you to an unmarked car in some obscure location with only a cardboard sign on the dashboard reading "TAXI" is not legitimate and potentially unsafe.
- By public transportation, ADO or Riviera operates buses to the downtown bus station and down into Playa del Carmen regularly. From Terminal 2 the bus parking lot is just to front and right of the national/domestic arrivals (llegadas nacionales) doors, northeast of the building. From international arrivals at Terminal 2 turn right and go past the building to the other side. The bus parking lot is just beyond the access road going back out. At Terminal 3 the bus stop is in the bus parking lot, past the 'Air Margaritaville' bar (in a hut) to the right when coming out of the doors. In both locations there should be an attendant at an 'ADO' podium in front of the stall (first stall) to buy the tickets from, otherwise pay the driver or his helper. Tickets cost 6 USD one-way (11 return) or much cheaper in pesos. There are 4 possibilities to go from the Airport. Cancún downtown MXN$82, Playa del Carmen MXN$198, Mérida MXN$740 and Cozumel (Bus+Ferry) MXN$398 (Aug 2018).
A taxi journey from the downtown bus station to your hotel at about MXN$200-250 would be considerably cheaper than a whole journey by taxi from the airport at about USD$48 dollars or catch the R1 bus going south along Av Tulum (main road next to the bus station) to the hotel zone for MXN$12 (Jan 2019).
Beware of trying to leave Mexico without enough cash. The Mexican Government charges a travel tax of around MXN$800 (USD$65) to leave the country from an airport. Most major air carriers may already have the travel tax included in the price of the ticket, but it is highly recommended that travellers check this before leaving to/from Cancun. For example, Thomas Cook is charging MXN$660, and US dollars are not accepted. -- The current collective travel experience shows that almost all airlines flying from the US have already included this tax in the 'taxes & surcharge' section above the initial airfare (collected together), so there is no need to pay again when leaving Cancun. It seems that only charter flights from the UK do not include this tax and UK travellers may need to pay upon leaving.
Also, beware of going through security too early. Food and drink prices almost double and you can't easily go back.
By Private Transfers
Private Transfers are a convenient way to get from Cancún's International Airport to your Hotel, condo, or beachfront home in Cancun's Hotel Zone or Downtown. Consider that access to your hotel door might be restricted due to its location, if that's the case, you will be dropped off at the nearest available point from walking distance to your hotel door.
You can book online in advance from well known companies such as:
- Cancun Airport Transportations. (cancun airport transportation), (toll free: 1 888 2340 557), . Reserve the service of your choice. Starting from $35 usd. edit
- Pananha (Luxury Transfers), ☎ +52 1 998 149 9431 (toll free: (844) 665-9431, [email protected]), . edit
- Famar Travel & Adventures, Av Lopez Portillo SM64 MZ26, 77524 Cancún, ☎ +52 998-880-4405, . edit
- Discovery Mundo (Private Transfers), ☎ +52 1 998-884-8286 (toll free: (866) 238-1312, [email protected]), . edit
- Happy Shuttle Cancun, ☎ +52 1 998-887-4242 (toll free: (844) 310 9821, [email protected]), . edit
- Cancun Shuttle On Time (Private Transfers), ☎ +52 1 984-980-0526 (toll free: (866) 485-1936, [email protected]), . edit
- Cancun Airport Transportation (eTransfers), ☎ +52 (998) 980.0259 ([email protected]), . edit
By Car Rental
It is convenient to use a car rental if you want more freedom when touring the city, or more destinations in the Riviera Maya.
The main bus station is at Calle Pino, SM23, MZ56, Lt 1 y 2 which is at the 10 o'clock position (northwest, north is at the 12 o'clock position) of the roundabout at Av Tulum & Av Uxmal in downtown (el centro). The following bus companies operate buses to/from here (Note: The 800 toll free numbers are for calling from within Mexico unless stated otherwise. Other numbers are regular or local numbers. From outside Mexico you will have to call the regular numbers):
- Grupo ADO (Autobuses de Oriente), ☎ +52 55 5133-5133 (toll free: 800 009 9090), . operates ADO & OCC first class, ADO GL Deluxe & ADO Platino on longer routes to various major cities in Yucatan (Merida 4hr20 MXN356-428), Campeche, Quintana Roo (including Play del Carmen (1hr20 MXN58) & Tulum (2hr20 MXN128), Tobasco, Chiapas & Oaxaca states and to/from Mexico DF (MXN1800-2200 pesos or USD135.80-166 for 23-25hrs (2hr20 MXN128)). ADO buses to/from the airport (:30min MXN62) are also here. They also operate the Oriente, Mayab, and Sureste second class buses to various cities and towns in Quintana Roo and Yucatan such as to Tulum, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Puerto Morleos, Playa del Carmen, etc. The Autotur brand is their charter or bus rental subsidiary for group travel, such as organized tours. edit
- AutoCentro, Calle 46 No 517, por 65 y 67; Merida, YUC, ☎ +52 999 923 9962, . operates second class bus service between Cancun & Merida via Tixpeual, Tixkokob, Euan, Cacalchen, Izamal, Tunkas, Dzitas, Valladolid, Chemax, Xcan and/or Leona on three different routes. These buses stop anywhere along the road to pick up and drop off people on request edit
There is a taxi stand in front of the bus station (street side) which are cheaper than a direct (private) transfer from the airport.
Cancun is very easy to navigate. To the South is the airport, to the North is the city and in between on the stretch of land between the sea and the Nichupte lagoon are all the hotels, beaches and bars, referred to as the hotel zone or Zona Hotelera. Downtown is where most residents live and it stretches in on the mainland behind the lagoon.
It can be interesting catching a bus - they stop when you don't want them! It is better to pay in pesos, not dollars.
Bus is the preferred way of getting around. Buses are cheap and come frequently. Most bus drivers are very courteous and will stop for you even if you are not waiting at a bus stop. After paying the fare, which is on a per person basis, the driver will hand you a ticket/receipt which are usually printed with advertisements. Just so there are no surprises, do not expect buses to have amenities such as air conditioning and seat cushions. Also, most bus drivers speak enough English just to help visitors get around.
Buses head up and down the main thoroughfare, Blvd Kukulcan, named after the feather serpent which is the main Mayan deity, from the Mayan words kukul (bird) and can (snake). Buses pass constantly but be prepared for a cramped and rough ride. The rules for the bus drivers seem to be "he who gets to the next passenger quickest, makes the most money". Therefore, be prepared for a wild, but entertaining ride. Frequently, locals will get on with their instruments and "entertain". Some are quite good. R1 goes from around ADO station to the end of Hotel Zone; R2 goes from Market 28 to the end of Hotel Zone; The ticket price is $12.
When you are ready to get off, you can either push the button on top of the hand rail, or if you're not sure of your destination, tell the driver where you would like to get off or point to the destination using a bus map. Most bus drivers speak enough English to understand non-Spanish speakers.
Be careful when the bus is full as pick-pocketing is a concern.
Companies serving the station include all attractions and towns along the coast: the Riviera Express for the Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Xel-Ha, etc.) and ADO for the major national destinations. For some Riviera Maya destinations, it's possible to stop the buses on the Tulum Avenue without having to go all the way to the station, however if you are unsure about where to catch the bus then it's best to go to the station.
The following are companies that operate local bus routes. Turicun & AutoCar provides a list of routes (rutas) and a map (mapa) of the area. Click on the route from the list and the highlight of the route will appear on the map showing where the route goes:
Taxis are plentiful, a bit expensive for the hotel zone and airport, but cheap in the downtown area. Fares for the hotel zone depend on how far along the Blvd Kukulcan you want to go (fares available at hotel receptions and shopping centres), while within the downtown there is a general fixed fare of about MXN$20 per trip, it is best to just ask the driver upon boarding to avoid misunderstandings. Also in downtown area, many taxi drivers use the vehicle as shuttle and allow other people to board while you are inside. If this is not comfortable for you, ask your taxi driver not to do it.
By far, the best mode of transportation for the hotel zone is by bus. The bus fare is cheap and getting from Point A to Point B doesn't take very long.
Be careful and clear with your taxista. They have set rates on paper for how much they should charge for the trip per kilometre (no meter). You can also obtain a discount about 10% if you ask. If you are splitting a cab with friends, be clear on the number of services, people, and price he will charge to your destination. If your friends get out before you he can charge you twice the amount you negotiated for just a few more kilometres. A "service" is considered to be from start point to a requested stop point. If your taxista is non-cooperative there are about 10 more taxis around every corner.
Note that taxis to many of the major resorts outside the hotel zone will be extremely expensive compared to other parts of Mexico and, due to the strong taxi union, difficult to bargain down. Taking a bus part of the way to your destination may help reduce the cost.
Be very careful if you choose to drive in Cancun. The police seem to pull tourists over at the drop of a hat during spring break. When you pick up a rental, check that all the lights work. Also when you are pulled over for a light violation, do not be surprised if the police holds out an open palmed hand, while holding your driver’s license hostage in the other. Most police officers are underpaid and will for the most part demand a small bribe to let you off the hook. If you decide to rent a car, ask always what the final price will be, as there are some companies -both international and local brands- that will offer a small rate to hook you up, to later make you buy additional insurance to increase their revenue.
Car Rental Companies Available in Cancun:
- Car Rental Cancun (City Car Rental), Km 22 Carretera Cancun-Chetumal Aeropuerto Internacional de Cancun, ☎ +52 999 923 9962 ([email protected]), . edit
See the related travel article driving in Mexico for additional information.
- The Interactive Aquarium Of Cancun, Right in the middle of the hotel zone, this small but modern aquarium lets you get up close and personal with aquatic life. You can pet rays, nurse sharks, touch starfish, etc. There is also a chance to swim with dolphins in a large pool.
- Water and sand, Cancun is possibly best known for its beautiful turquoise waters and powdery white beaches.
- Isla Contoy, is about 30km (19 mi) north of Isla Mujeres and apart from its natural beauty it is considered to be the most important nesting place for sea birds in the Mexican Caribbean with more than 150 different species.
There are several activities you can do in Cancun and the rest of the Riviera Maya. You can either buy them from the provider or through an agency. Most of the agencies offer extra value at the same price.
Here is a list of the most popular activities in Cancun:
Ocean and beaches, For the more advanced swimmers, the edge of the open ocean can make for a challenging and fun swimming experience. For less advanced swimmers, or those with little ones, pick a resort facing Isla Mujeres for a gentle and relaxing aquatic experience. Be aware that the island becomes extremely hot during day and there are few, if any opportunities to cool off. The sand found here is ground up coral and doesn't get hot like you might expect. The beaches are absolutely gorgeous and the water is crystal clear and warm. Most beaches along Kulkulkan boulevard in Cancun are public. All along the Kulkulkan boulevard you will see "Acceso publico a la playa" (public access to the beach). Under them you will often see rules of that beach - some beaches do not permit alcohol or vendors, for example. Hotels bordering the beach will generally not allow you to use their facilities, though if you order at their restaurant (if they allow that) they may allow you to use the washrooms. For change from the beaches bordered by hotels, go to Playa Delfines (Dolphin beach), which has only change rooms and no commercial buildings in sight. It is located near the end of Kulkulkan at Km 17.5. Rumour has it the northern section is supposedly more frequented by gays, but don't expect anything obvious here.
Spending the day on the beaches of Cancun is not only an opportunity to relax, but to shop as well. Many of the native people of Cancun make a living by selling different items to the tourists on the beach. There are a variety of items to be purchased from these vendors, items such as sarongs, jewellery, sea shells and more. However, as in the markets, you have to be willing to bargain to get the right prices.
Museo Maya de Cancun, It’s the largest structure built by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). After 6 years in the making they opened the doors in November 2012. The building itself is a modern piece of architecture and really quite nice to walk around in. There is a nice view of the surrounding areas from the top level. The building is air-conditioned.
Chichen Itza  was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Mayan civilization. This archaeological site is world famous, because of the Kukulkan pyramid and designated by UNESCO as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are one of the places you shouldn’t miss when traveling to Cancun or the Riviera Maya.
Parque de las Palapas, This square in downtown is considered a classic place to meet for most of the residents, thus it is the real heart of the city of Cancun. There is a main stage perfectly visible where the shows are easily enjoyed. The shadows cast by the new palm trees are sweet relief from the striking sun and in the evenings the well illuminated square has a wonderfully romantic air. An open-air food court with 14 stands is located at the northern extreme of the park, and a few wooden carts with palapas covering them are distributed throughout, used by the artisans to sell their products.
MUSA Museo Subacuatico de Arte, In 2009 this monumental underwater contemporary museum of art was formed in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc. The Museum aims to demonstrate the interaction between art and environmental science and form part of a complex reef structure for marine life to colonize and inhabit whilst increasing biomass on a grand scale. All of the sculptures are fixed to the seabed and made from specialized materials used to promote coral life. The total installations occupy an area of over 420 square metres of barren substrate and weighing in at over 200 tonnes.
Football, New in Cancun with the First Division team "Potros de Hierro (Iron Colts) of Cancun". The Atlante team, now based in Cancun, has a brand new stadium downtown.
Markets, Bring your haggling skills and get ready for a vast shopping experience in any of the city markets. Great buys can be found, so stick to your price resolve.
Cooking, The Little Mexican Cooking School, teaches tourists, in one day fun and educational classes, authentic Mexican cooking techniques and regional cuisine.
Diving lessons and professional certified dive instructors in the best dive spots in Cancun, Cenote dives, Cozumel dives.
- Scuba Divig Cancun, ☎ 52 998 228 5335, . Daily 08:00-16:00. edit
- Diving Center Cancun, Boulevard Kukulcan, Km 3.2, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Marina Chac Chic, ☎ +52 (998) 148 7077 ([email protected]), . edit
- Dive center Aquaworld Cancun (From reef dives to the underwater museum, wreck diving to night diving, Cancun offers it all.), (Boulevard Kukulcan km 15.3, Zona Hotelera, Quintana Roo, Mexico.), ☎ + 52 (998) 689 10 13 (toll free: 1-866-210-1236), . Daily 07:00-20:00. edit
- Solo Buceo Dive Shop, (Hotel Hyatt Ziva, Hotel Zone Km 9.5 Entrance), ☎ +52 (998) 260-4995 (toll free: 1-888-348-3639, [email protected]), . Daily 07:00-20:00. edit
- The Lobster Dinner Cruise, . Take a trip out on the calm lagoon on a beautiful boat with friends you have not met yet. The staff allow you to take part in the fun or settle back and watch the sunset. Steak and lobster is cooked on the boat and is extra tasty when eaten out on the high seas. edit
- Jeep Adventures, . Experience some of the most beautiful parts of Cancun in a self drive jeep safari. Tour prices usually include an experienced guide, and the chance to swim or snorkel in underground caves, explore Mayan ruins and visit a jungle reserve. edit
Water activities & tours
- Aquaworld Cancun, (toll free: 1-866-210-1236), . Offers snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing tours, water activities, day trips and more in Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and Riviera Maya edit
- Cancun Yachts Club, . The most luxury way to see the best sea areas in cancun and isla mujeres, snorkeling, cruising, yachting in cancun. edit
Cancun and the surrounding area offers amazing possibilities to get out of the touristy areas and get close to nature. You find caves, underwater rivers, pristine jungle, botanical garden, national parks all close to the city. You also have world class diving, but if you are not certified you can also snorkel on the second largest barrier reef in the world, or with Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, Sea Turtles or with huge groups of Sailfish. The Yucatan peninsula is packed with natural wonders, you just need to know where to look.
Many companies are offering one day trips but you need to be aware, the easier a tour looks, the less nature oriented it is. In many cases the best option is to rent a car and visit the parks and places on your own (or with a local guide). Some activities, like the Whale Sharks or Sailfish can be organized only through a licensed operator. Look for the specialized Eco-Tour operators there are a few but still not too many in Cancun.
When shopping in Cancun, you can either go into downtown or the hotel zone. Downtown is much cheaper.
- Market 28, . This is the local market in downtown Cancun. Great shopping for souvenirs. It also has some great Mexican outdoor restaurants. Very cheap and good shopping. Don't forget to bargain. edit
- Market 23. This is more of a 'locals' market. Doesn't have the same range as Market 28, but is worth a visit. edit
- La Isla Mall, KM12.5 hotel zone, ☎ 998 8835025. Beautiful mall in the hotel zone. Offers many boutiques and designer stores plus a wide range of restaurants and bars. mid to high. edit
- Lapis Jewelry Factory, Blv. Kukulkan km 11.5 local 100 Int. Plaza Flamingo, Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 110-8787 ([email protected]), . """. You are likely to be offered a coupon for free jewelry at this store. Their website also offers a free gift for individuals who book a shuttle through their website. However, if you do not have any evidence of this, the offer will not be honored. A free shuttle service is offered to take you to the store from your hotel. However, the prices in the store are exorbitant (even at the "discounted" rates), and much of the same jewelry is sold by street vendors and hotel gift shops, as well as online. Be sure to investigate other vendors first to get an idea of how much you should pay. One rule of thumb is to buy at 20-30% of the quoted price. For example, if a Mayan calendar pendant is offered to you at the discounted rate of MXN75, it's actually probably worth about MXN20. The salespeople will insist that it's worth much more, but stand your ground. If a salesperson agrees to your offer too quickly, you're probably paying too much. In addition, a number of people have reported difficulty obtaining refunds. edit
- Plaza Las Americas, Av. Tulum 260, . Plaza Las Americas is one of the biggest shopping center in Cancun mid to high. edit
Cancun is one of the premier spa destinations in the world with a choice of more than thirty Cancun Spa Resorts that promise to transport your mind, body and spirit to a nirvana of pure bliss. Spas in Cancun offer treatments combining native, ancient mayan healing rituals, modern stress-reducing techniques.
Try a traditional Temazcal steam bath or a full-body massage on the beach overlooking the turquoise blue waters. Indulge in a thalassotherapy treatment and relax as expert therapists provide natural body wraps made with local plants and flowers.
- Adore SPa Cancun, (Marina Town Center Cancun Puerto Cancun, Cancun, Mexico), ☎ +(52) 998 217 7849 ([email protected]), . Daily 11:00-19:00. edit
There are many different yoga styles being taught and practiced today. And many of those options are in Cancun to practice yoga.
For cheaper but still very good eats, one should go inside Cancun proper. However there are a number of restaurants in the Hotel zone as well.
- The Surfin Burrito, at Kukulcan Blvd. Km 9.5. This small unpretentious restaurant offers great food and big drinks at reasonable prices.
- La Parrilla, at Avenida Yaxchilan 51 | S.M 22. Albeit a bit expensive, the food is very good and they offer car valet service. You may be able to pick up a coupon for a free drink from your hotel - ask the reception. Easy to get service in English. Accepts credit cards.
- La Casa de los Abuelos (Grandparent's house), at Avenue Coba, Plaza las Palmas. Featuring a retro look and lots of decorations. Great Mexican eats. English and Spanish menus, easy to get service in English. Accepts credit cards.
- El Parque de las Palapas, 10 Margaritas, S.M. 22. Lots of small vendor stalls for cheap food, and nighttime activities as well.
Cancun's nightlife is unlike any other destination on Earth. For some, a day in Cancun doesn't start until tasks like a noon breakfast, nap on the beach, and siesta are arduously completed. This is your place to shine.
The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18.
The Hotel Zone is a huge venue and gets top entertainers and DJs. Don't be surprised to see Vegas like shows spontaneously erupt while you are sipping your piña colada. These clubs can charge large covers ranging from USD20-60 per person, though the cover can include an open bar.
You may find yourself dancing in a conga line, laughing your cares away and speaking whatever Español you managed to pickup. A must for the first timers, and always good fun for returners also. Coco Bongo's entertainment includes a show, complete with girls swinging from the ceilings.
- Señor Frog's, Hotel Zone. Señor Frog's is a restaurant by day and a dance club by night, and is one of the most popular spots for vacationers to visit. The restaurant opens up for lunch and serves international types of food such as pasta, chicken and pizza as well as Mexican cuisine all day until midnight. A cover charge of five dollars will get you into the party after 8PM and includes a souvenir yard glass which you can then pay to get filled with your drink of choice. One of Señor Frog's famous attractions is the water slide that leads from the club out into the lagoon, just for a little bit of fun. As the evening progresses, Señor Frog's becomes less family friendly and more of a party establishment, waitresses will circulate, offering shots of tequila for a price. Waiters are also very "hands on", if you are not traveling in a family group, expect them to try to touch, hug, or kiss the female members of the party. edit
- O' Ultra Lounge, Hotel Zone. is a very sleek NYC type club and can take some time getting in and out of, but has had some great acts like "Infected Mushroom" rock the crowd till the wee hours. edit
- Basic Discotheque Cacun, Hotel Zone. The only night club over the lagoon with an amazing half opened architecture which offers an extraordinary view and the best wet t´shirt and bikini contest of Cancun. edit
- Dady'O, Hotel Zone, . Dady'O has been known to host some of the world's top DJs, including Red Foo (LMFAO), Apl.De.App and Tiësto, features a casual atmosphere, laser shows, pole dancing go go girls and flashing dance floor opening shows. (21.133183,-86.7474) edit
Also try the clubs at Yaxchilan Avenue, located in downtown Cancun, where all the locals hang out.
- Los 4 Elementos, Hotel Xbalamque (Ave Yaxchilan 31). Try the live music bar Los 4 Elementos. They open and play live music from 11PM until the last customer leaves. The music is great and prices are significantly lower than those found in the hotel zone clubs. edit
- Pericos Restaurante - cantina, Ave Yaxchilan 61. Be prepared to join the waiters for some fun games. They also play live music until around 9PM. The atmosphere is fun and relaxing, and prices are reasonable (for example MXN230 for a large delicious plate of fish or shrimp). Their dessert serving is quite a show. edit
- 77 Sports Bars, Ave Yaxchilan. edit
- La Taberna, Ave Yaxchilan. edit
- El Pabilo Cafe, Ave Yaxchilan. edit
Cancun is in the state of Quintana Roo, at the north-eastern tip of the Yucatan peninsula. During the ‘70s it became an exclusive tourist destination, after the construction of the first hotels. Cancun is divided into two very distinct areas: the hotel area, an island separated from the mainland, connected by two bridges in the North and the South. In the interior is the lagoon called Nichupté. The second area is the centre of the modern city of Cancun, full of shops, restaurants and shows.
Cancún has a large range of 3-5 star hotels in the "hotel zone" and some more economical hotels in the city center.
Note that several aging resorts located on and around Punta Cancun are now relying upon heavily discounted vacation packages or all-inclusive deals to fill rooms. They market themselves heavily as a great bargain to starving college students as well as working-class and lower middle class tourists, many of whom are going overseas for their first time. The result is that Punta Cancun is jam-packed with people who can barely afford to be on vacation and perpetuate all the "ugly American" bad tourist stereotypes. If you prefer to spend your vacations around people who can handle their liquor and are sensible enough to only yell in real emergencies, it may be worth it to splurge on a newer resort in the central or southern part of the Hotel Zone. Then you can save Punta for a brief day trip, mainly to reassure yourself why you are paying USD100 more per day for a much quieter (and more pleasant) experience.
- Cancún Clipper Club, Blvd.Kukulcan Km 9, Hotel Zone, ☎ +52(998) 891-5999, . All rooms have hairdryer, room safe, baby crib (subject to availability), private toilet and bath. Some of its facilities and services are beach club, tennis court, basketball court, function room(s)/meeting room(s), restaurant/cafe/bar, swimming pool, parking, room service, safe deposit boxes and wake-up call. edit
- Hostel Bed and Breakfast Garden, Lot 7 Jicama, ☎ +52 998 267-7777 ([email protected]), . A great place to spend nice relaxing evenings while visiting Cancun. 5 minutes form Market 28. Includes continental breakfast. Dorms from USD13-40 per night with air-con and fans. edit
- Hostel Mundo Maya, Av.Yaxchilan No. 82 Zm 25 M.8. (Beside the Fiat cars c.p.77509), ☎ + 52 998 252-5651, . Hostel Mundo Maya is located in Cancun`s historic centre, a 15 minute walk from Cancun´s bus station ADO, which offers direct buses to Airport and Playa del Carmen. Prices start from USD9 for dorms which also includes breakfast, safe lockers, A/C and free unlimited Wi-Fi. Also have private rooms for individuals and couples as well. 9 USD. edit
- Hostel Natura Cancun, Kukulcan km 9.5 Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 883 0887 ([email protected]). The Only beachside hostel in Cancun. edit
- Hostel Quetzal, Calle Orquideas num 10, ☎ +52 988 893 9821, . A great hostel in downtown Cancun. Price includes dinner and breakfast. It is very social with everyone sitting down for dinner together every night. Close to Ave Tulum and ADO bus. They have dorms and private rooms. edit
- Hotel Rivemar, Av Tulum 51, ☎ +52 998 884-1199, . In the downtown area near the bus station. MXN330 for a private, two-bed room for two people. MXN440 if you want air conditioning. Free Wi-Fi. Front desk help is very friendly. You can keep your bags at the hotel even after checking out. You can take the Rt. 1 bus to the hotel/beaches district for USD8.50. edit
- Las Palmas Hostel, Calle Palmeras #43 (off Calle Uxmal), ☎ +52 8842513. checkout: noon. Just three blocks west of ADO bus terminal. A/C dormitories with clean bathrooms and showers en suite and secure lockers. Ample double rooms, kitchen and (unreliable) internet access. Free continental breakfast. However, no hot water and beds falling apart. Noise throughout the night from nearby disco. Dorms from MXN120, doubles from MXN300 with fan, MXN350 with air-con. edit
- Villa Playa Blanca, Carretera Puerto Juarez-PuntaSam Km 3.8 SM86M4L11 fracciones 1 y 2 (A lado del restaurante Flamingos), ☎ +52 19981098275 ([email protected]), . checkout: 1PM. 10 min by bus from downtown (buses leaving every 5 minutes for USD4.50). Very quiet and with a nice ambiance. Good rooms and free breakfast in bed every morning. Free wifi, swimming pool and views. Ask for the room "La Palma", it's USD400, but you have more than 50² m of space. Doubles from MXN350 (A/C). edit
- Avalon Baccara Cancun, Blvd Kukulkan | Zona Hotelera. Small hotel but cozy. Central air_con, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi in the lobby. Swimming pool, and a restaurant that serves tasty food with ocean view. No jaccuzi, but you can use the jacuzzi and swimming pool at their sister hotel Avalon Grande that's nearby.
- Courtyard Cancun Airport, Blvd. Luis Donaldo Colosio, Km. 12.5, Lot 1, SMZA. 301 Cancun Quintana Roo, 77560, ☎ "52-998-287. checkout: 12:00. 5 minutes from the Cancun International Airport, with easy access to nightlife, shopping, and other attractions in the Cancun area. The Courtyard Cancun Airport is just 20 minutes from the beach where you can enjoy watersports such as parasailing and snorkeling. edit
- Crown Paradise Club - All Inclusive Resort, Blvd Kukulcan Km 18.5, Zona Hotelera. Water park for the kids with a pirate ship and 8 water slides, a la carte and buffet dining, adult only areas, mini golf, disco, nightly entertainment. edit
- La Cabaña Playa Secreta, Playa del Secreto, lote 28, D y C Carretera federal Cetumal Puerto Juarez Km 312-400, ☎ +52 998 914 0115 ([email protected]), . edit
- Maria’s Kankin, Km. 4.5 Carretera al Parque El Garrafón, Fraccionamiento Mar Turquesa, Isla Mujeres, ☎ +52 998 877 0015, . Marias Kankin is on Isla Mujeres. The hotel is about 50 min from the Cancun airport. Ferry boats also shuttle back and forth from the mainland. 9 suites in minimalist, Caribbean-inspired décor, each A/C suite has a mini-bar, internet, sofa bed, and writing desk & chair. edit
- Mayafair Design Hotel, . Nearby to the beach. edit
- Oasis Cancun, Blvd Kukulkan Km 16.5; Lote 45, 46, y 47; Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 881-7000 (toll free: U.S. 1-800-446-2747), . Resort with a college-aged crowd. The rooms are clean and surprisingly spacious for the price. The pool is generally crowded during peak times but is large and features several swim-up bars. The bad part is that since the Oasis is all-inclusive you basically get what you pay for, the food and drinks are not the best quality. The buffet-style restaurants are bland and the food can get quite repetitive. An exception is the sushi restaurant. All bars also stop serving alcohol at midnight, which is unfortunate, but there is a 24 hr liquor store right across from the resort with prices somewhat expensive for Mexico. They also sell absinthe. They also have another hotel at Oasis Sens at Km 19.5, Oasis Palm and Oasis Viva at Km 8.5 edit
- Parador Hotel, Ave Tulum N°26, SM 5, MZA 5, Lote 1, Col Centro, ☎ +52 998 884 9696, . * <sleep name="RIU Caribe" alt="" address="Blvd Kukulcan, Km 5.5, Lote 6-C." directions="" phone="+52 998 848-78-50" lat="" long="" tollfree="U.S. 1-888-748-4990" email="" fax="+52 998 848-78-51" url="http://www.riu.com/en/Paises/mexico/cancun/hotel-riu-cancun/index.jsp" checkin="" checkout="" price=""> All inclusive resort with Mayan-style architecture overlooking the Caribbean. 506 oceanview rooms with mini-bar and liquor dispenser. Several restaurants, bars and facilities including 24 hr Inclusive snacks and beverages. Fun and relaxing atmosphere created by the large swimming pool and spectacular beach. From MXN510. (,""A/C,) edit
- RIU Cancun, Blvd Kukulcan Km 9; Manzana 50, Lote 5, Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 848-71-51 (toll free: U.S. 1-888-748-4990, +52 998 881-43-10), . Resort with views of the Caribbean Sea. Several restaurants and bars. Choice of activities and entertainment options, including a sports bar, night club and theater with theme shows. edit
- Royal Resorts, (toll free: U.S. 1-888-838-7842), . he Royal Resorts have been around since 1974 and include a string of 4 hotels all in close vicinity of each other. The Royal Mayan, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander are side by side where as the newest hotel, The Royal Sands is no more than a five minute ride in bus. The Royal Resorts offer beautiful villas that overlook the Gulf of Mexico. Each villa is equipped with a kitchen, two bathrooms two bedrooms, one with two double beds, one with a queen sized bed, a living room with two murphy beds, three televisions, one in each room and a terrace that overlooks the other two hotels as well as the Carribean Sea. These hotels include free activities such as snorkeling and sailing in the ocean, tennis, and free beach towels. Also on the premises are a number of different restaurants and bars at which the vacationers may dine. edit
- Sea Adventure Resort & Spa Cancun (Sea Adventure Resort Cancun), Km. 1.5 Carretera a Puerto Juarez-Punta Sam, ☎ "52 ([email protected], fax: +52 998 848-7994). checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. 2-3 star with 3 restaurants. Reservations to be made 10:00-11:00 the previous day. Internet is USD15 per 24 hr. Sea Adventure Resort & Waterpark Cancun is our family hotel where you will enjoy your most fun-packed yet relaxing (21.201802,-86.805366) edit
- Soberanis Hotel, Av. Coba, No. 5 y 7, Smza. 22, Mza. 8, ☎ +52 998 884-15-40, 892-23-20 (toll free: MEX 01800-0770-682), . In downtown. It is 3 km to the beach and 15 km to Isla Mujeres. The airport is 20 km away. The rooms are all air-conditioned. They have cable television, a private toilet and bath, and safe. the rooms are further equipped with an IDD telephone, Internet access, and writing desk and chair. Rates include daily breakfast. Non-smoking rooms are available. edit
- Sotavento Hotel and Yacht Club, Blvd. Kukulcan Km 4 Zona Hotelera, Calle del Pescador, Lote D-8-4, ☎ +52 998 849-47-07 (toll free: MEX 01800-0770-682), . In front of Nichupte Laguna and is within walking distance to sandy beaches and downtown area. The airport is also nearby. Internet and cableTV. Non-smoking rooms can be requested. From USD40. edit
- Temptation Resort and Spa (Temptation Resort Cancun), Blvd Kukulkan Km 3, ☎ +52 998 848 7900 ([email protected], fax: 52+(998) 848 7994), . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. 2-3 star with 3 restaurants. Reservations to be made from 10AM-11AM the previous day. Internet is USD15 for 24h. Beach front is calm mainly for boat use. (21.147153,-86.791338) edit
- CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort, Blvd Kukulcan, +52 998 881 2000, (Fax: +52 998 881 2085), . Completely renovated in the wake of Hurricane Wilma. 418 rooms and 34 suites. Each room has a private balcony with a table and chairs. 3 restaurants on-site, including a steakhouse, a Japanese restaurant and a sports bar. The beach in front of the resort has been restored, as has the pool area. The hotel itself tends to be priced on the higher side for Cancun, but that also tends to weed out the younger crowd. This resort is adjacent to the JW Marriott Cancun and is directly connected to it through a pathway.
- Casa Turquesa Boutique Hotel, Blvd Kukulcan KM 13.5, Zona Hotelera (Next to Luxury Shopping Mall), ☎ +52 998 193-2260, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. 29 suite boutique hotel has amenities including an infinity pool with swim up bar, spa, free WiFi, two restaurants and an onsite art gallery. Suites have 32” flat screen satellite TV, minibar and full bathrooms with separate bathtub and shower. Jacuzzi on the terrace/balcony. Airport transportation can be arranged. Rates depended upon room category/season. MXN267-2579. edit
- Cancun All Inclusive Resorts, Sm 50, Mza 20, Lote 14 (In the Hotel Zone Strip), ☎ +52 998 252 7702, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. A whole range of Cancun All Inclusive Resorts to choose from, from the most luxurious to the most complete All Inclusive service edit
- ClubMed, Punta Nizuc 77500, Estado de Quinatana Roo, ☎ +52 998 881-8200. An all inclusive resort. A short distance outside the town, at the tip of the bay. The Caribbean Sea is on one side and on the other is a lagoon. Club Med was the first to establish itself here around 30 years ago. Traditional central square, bungalow-haciendas and speciality restaurants. edit
- Dreams Cancun Resort and Spa, Punta Cancun Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 848 7000, . Situated at the shore point known as Punta Cancun and surrounded by the sea on 3 sides. All rooms have private balcony views of the ocean, beaches, lagoon or gardens. Marble floors, dining area, mini-bar, satelliteTV and 24 hr room service. Several have private whirlpools. A pod of 6 dolphins live in the resorts lagoon. Swim with the dolphin programs are available for guests and the general public. edit
- Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa, Carretera Chetumal-Puerto Juárez Km. 236.7, Tamkah, 77780 Tulum, QROO, Mexico, ☎ +52 984 871 3333, . The Riviera Maya, admired for its history and its wondrous sugar-white sands, kaleidoscope of green palm trees,and deep blue sea provide a mesmerizing backdrop for Dreams Tulum Resort. from 1029£. edit
- Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancún Resort & Spa, Blvd. Kukulcán km. 9.5, Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 881 3200, . AAA 5 Diamond resort has 602 rooms. The hotel is outwardly hostile toward same sex couples. 5 restaurants, one of which is the Le Basilic restaurant is one of only three 5 diamond restaurants found in Mexico. 4 bars, a spa, fitness and business center, a very long swimming pool, and a sun deck. edit
- Gran Melia Cancun , Kukulcan Blvd, km 16.5, Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 193 0090. Well known for its white sandy beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea. 4 pools, specialized a la carte restaurants, and activities program for children and adults. 9 hole, par three golf course, a tennis court, 2 paddle tennis courts and has received an award from The Leading Hotels of the World as a Leading Spa of the World.
- Hilton Golf and Spa Resort, Blvd Kukulcan, Km 17, Lote, ☎ +52 998 881 8000, (Fax:+52 998 881 8093), . The only Golf & Spa Resort on the island. 426 ocean-view rooms, including 82 villas with a private lounge and executive services; 5 restaurants, including a gourmet-dining beachside grill and swim up bar; 7 infinity pools and the largest beach in Cancun. If you are having trouble with the local food, try the hotel's club sandwich.
- Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, Blvd Kukulkan, km 14.5, Zona Hotelera (in the hotel zone), ☎ +52 998 881 3600 ([email protected]), . 5 star hotel with 601 rooms and views of the Mexican Caribbean. All Inclusive Resort with the amenities and accommodations for a rockin' vacation trip. edit
- Hyatt Cancun Caribe Resort, Blvd Kukulkan, km 10.5, Zona Hotelera (in the hotel zone), ☎ +52 998 848 7800 ([email protected]), . 5 star hotel with 296 rooms and views of the Mexican Caribbean. The hotel is within walking distance of the main entertainment areas and shopping malls. edit
- Hyatt Regency Cancun, Blvd Kukulcan, km 8.5, Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 891 5555 ([email protected]), . 5 star hotel with a seafront location. 295 rooms. edit
- JW Marriott Cancun Resort, Blvd Kukulcan, Km 14.5, Lote, Zona Hotelera ☎ +52 998 848 9600, (Fax: +52 998 848 9601), . Adjacent to the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort and has a connected pathway. 448 rooms with private balconies and views of the Caribbean. 35,000² ft Mayan-inspired spa., 4 world-class restaurants and over 20,000² ft of meeting space. Caters to Mexico weddings, events and conferences.
- ME Cancun , Blvd Kukulkan, km. 12, Zona Hotelera, ☎ +52 998 881 2500. Rooms offer views, custom art and furnishings by artist Yuri Zatarain, monsoon showers and Aveda bath amenities, MP3 player docking and digital, surround-sound theater.
- Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas, Blvd Kukulcan, L-48 KM. 16.5 M.55, ☎ +52 998 881 0600, . 5 star resort between the Mexican Caribbean and Nichupte Lagoon on Cancun Island. 341 guest rooms and villas with full service spa. (21.0749722222,-86.7757111111) edit
- Paradisus Riveiera Cancun Resort, Boulevard Kukulcan, km 16.5 Cancún 77500 Mexico, ☎ +52 998 872 8383, . All inclusive resort stretches along a lush tropical mangrove preserve on a 5,000 ft long Caribbean coastline. edit
- Riu Palace Las Americas, (hotel zone), . 372 suites, ocean views, and all-inclusive dining, beverages and entertainment. edit
- Riu Palace Peninsula- New 5 star all inclusive resort with 572 ocean view suites and 5 large swimming pools, Including one with swim up bar. Also 5 restaurants in resort.
- Sea Adventure Resort and Waterpark, Km. 1.5 Carretera a Puerto Juarez-Punta Sam, ☎ " ([email protected], fax: +52 998 848 7994), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. Family hotel offers activities for children and events for adults. edit
- Temptation Resort Spa Cancun, Km. 3.5 Blvd Kukulcan. Zona Hotelera, ☎ + 52 998 848-7900 ([email protected], fax: + 52 998 848 7994), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. A hip vibe is the hallmark of this beachfront, topless optional hotel. edit
- Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort, KM. 12.5 Blvd Kukulcan, Zona Hotelera, ☎ (52)(998) 891 4200, . Beautiful resort with full service spa and an infinity pool. edit
- Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, ☎ +52 998 872 8300, . 90 suites, all have balcony/deck with ocean views, daily serving of champagne and fresh fruit, complimentary unlimited calls worldwide, welcome bottle of tequila and handmade beach bag. Hydrothalasoo pool and aqua gym, spa with private massage cabins and jacuzzi, and chauffeured airport transfer. From USD416. edit
Most resorts in the hotel zone have a travel agent on site during the daytime to assist you with making reservations around Cancun, including the Mayan ruins. It is often better to book activities through these travel agents as they are employed by the hotel and cannot easily cheat you. Activities are also sold at booths found in the busier areas. Prices for the same activities are cheaper in Cancun town than in the hotel zone.
You could also try out the growing vacation rental market as well. It's a chance to experience Cancun without having to share close spaces with thousands of tourists. They are an alternative if you are willing to go without the frills of room service or resort commodities.
Buy bottled water and drink it frequently to avoid dehydration or heat stroke. Bottled water, depending on size, typically costs MXN30-50 (USD2.75-4.55).
Otherwise, do not drink the water unless your hotel has a water purification system. Most of the resorts in Cancun have purified water at all of the facilities located inside the resorts including the bars and restaurants. The upper-scale restaurants usually have purified water as well, but the water outside of these areas is not safe to drink.
The sun's UV rays are extremely strong in Cancun, even on cloudy days, and will burn any exposed skin on most persons from northern climates within a few minutes. Sunscreens that may be adequate elsewhere may not be sufficient in Cancun.
Because Cancun has powerful waves (see below), do not assume your sunscreen layer will remain intact. Always apply a fresh layer of sunscreen after taking a dip in the ocean.
Expect to be inundated with offers to get free tickets, tours, or other items in exchange for viewing a timeshare presentation while in Cancun. While you will generally be given what is promised for viewing the presentation, expect a very high pressure sales pitch lasting from one to two hours during which you may be given incorrect information or promises that later turn out to be untrue. In particular, despite claims of agencies that can buyback your timeshare, most timeshares are a money-losing proposition for purchasers. As with any major purchase, take the time to research before buying - claims that you must buy something right now should always be treated with skepticism. If you do decide to buy, repeatedly feigning disinterested will likely get you a much better deal. See also Common scams.
Ocean Currents— The ocean currents in Cancun, depending on the season you visit, can be strong. While the currents may not be strong enough to pull you under, keep your guard up at all times. Look for the colored flags that are planted on the beach as well as ask your hotel's concierge or a lifeguard (if one is available). As a rule of thumb, if you're not a strong swimmer (or a non-swimmer) it is best to stick to the hotel's pool for water fun. Remember, beaches in Mexico are Federal Zones with no life guards on duty, lifeguards may only be found within the beaches at the hotels.
Weather— Cancun is a place where the weather can change in a matter of minutes rather than hours. As in most tropical places, rain storms will start quickly and leave as quickly as it came. When a storm lingers, use caution in the water; especially when lightning is present.
Timeshare and condos are a big business all over Yucatan, especially Cancun. "Tourist information" is another word for sales representative. If someone is offering you a "free" tour to any place or at a discount this means a 90 minute or longer presentation about condos and time-shares. There are 20 reps waiting on the right hand side when you arrive at the Cancun airport. There are also reps in Mexico city attracting tourists with free Xe-Hal and Chichen Ha tours. These timeshare presentations are not always a waste of time. Some of these timeshare presentations offer coupons or other free offers which can total to several thousand dollars of savings during your trip if you are willing to endure the presentation. It may be worth while to hold off booking tours until arriving in Cancun if you'd like to take advantage of this.
Nothing is free- Most important lesson. Someone comes up to you and says, "you want a shot of tequlia? Come on its fun!" This means you have not negotiated the price.
Crime - Although Cancún used to be a safe destination, the resort city had soon succumbed to crime as of 2018, especially with the rise of gang violence and murders, especially around beaches, thus making it seriously unsafe, even on broad daylight. If the beaches and going outside are a complete danger, your best bet is to stay in reputable hotels if you feel as if your life is on the line.
Don't use ATMs not located in a bank- There are ATMs all over Cancun. Use only ones that are inside banks or your hotel. Pharmacies, stores, gas stations are to be avoided. You will become a victim of identity theft (There is security 24 hrs a day in hotel zone, but you never know, just common sense)or you will find big charges for the commission of using them.
The Buddy System- If you plan to have a long night out in the strip, take precautions and have a friend with you at all times (even walking to the bathroom). Unsuspecting tipsy tourists can be easy targets for petty robbery.
- Belize, Avenida Genova 369, (Entre Isla Cancun y Laguna de Bacalar), Col. Benito Juarez, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 983 285-35-11 or 839-23-24 ([email protected], fax: +52 983 285-35-11), . edit
- Belgium, Pabellón Caribe, Local PH 6 y 7 - Av. Nichupté - Mz 2 Lote 22 SM 19, Benito Juarez 77505 Cancun, Quinta Roo, ☎ ++52 99 888 456 75 or 889 225 12 ([email protected], fax: +52 99 888 456 75), . edit
- Canada, Centro Empresarial Oficina E7 Blvd. Kukulcan Km. 12, Zona Hotelera 77599 Cancun, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 998 883 3360 or 883 3361 ([email protected], fax: +52 998 883 3232), . edit
- Denmark (Honorary), Boulevard Kukulkán KM 16.5 Lote 48, Manzana 38 C.P. 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 998 881-0603, . edit
- Germany, Punta Conoco 36, SM 24 C.P. 77509, Cancún, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 998 84-5333/ 1598/ 1898 (fax: +52 998 887-1283), . edit
- Guatemala, Ave. Náder 148, S.M. 3, Edificio Barcelona, Planta Baja, 77500, Cancún, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 998 884-8286 (fax: +52 998 884-4370). edit
- Ireland (Honorary), Av. Coba 15, Mza.8, SM22, 77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 998 112 5436 ([email protected], fax: +52 998 884 9940), . edit
- The Netherlands (Honorary), Aerocharter Martinair Isleta Comercial México Lindo Local 8, Aeropuerto Cancún C.P. 77565, Cancún, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 998 886-0070 ([email protected], fax: +52 998 886-0128), . edit
- Norway (Honorary), Calle Venado No. 30, Super Manzana 20, Manzana 18, 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 998 887-4412 ([email protected], fax: +52 998 887-7106), . edit
- Spain, Blvd Kukulcan Esquina Cenzontle, Lote 1 Edificio Oasis Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, Qunitana Roo, ☎ +52 998 848-9918 / 9900 ([email protected], fax: +52 998 848-9944), . edit
- United States (Consular Agency), Blvd Kukulcan Km 13 Zona Hotelera, Torre La Europea, Despacho 301, ☎ +52 998 883 0272 ([email protected]; [email protected], fax: +52 998 883 1373), . The consular agency only handles emergencies involving U.S. citizens. All other matters such as obtaining U.S. visas, renewing passports while living in Mexico, etc. are handled at the consulate in Merida. edit
- United States (Full Service Consulate), Calle 60 No. 338-K x 29 y 31, Col. Alcala Martin, 97050 Merida, Yucatan, ☎ +52 999 942-5700 ([email protected], fax: +52 999 942-5758), . edit
- United Kingdom, Royal Sands, Blvd Kukulcan Km 13.5 Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo, ☎ +52 998 881 0100 ([email protected], fax: +52 998 848 8229), . edit
- Chichén Itzá Archaeological Site— The largest Maya archaeological site in Yucatan, Chichen Itza is often visited on a day trip from Cancun, but is rather distant and only a small portion of the site and attractions can be seen this way. If you find the ancient Maya of interest, spend a night at one of the hotels at Chichen so you can avoid having a rushed incomplete visit. You can take a public bus or a private vehicle, about 2.5 hours from Cancun by car. Also, close to the site is a cenote, which is a fresh water sinkhole, where you can swim. The Kukulcán Pyramid, one of the most impressive Maya structures and voted one of the World's New Seven Wonders, is now closed off to climbing to preserve it from wear.
- Tulum— The only major Maya archaeological site to overlook the Caribbean Sea is only 128km (80 mi) south of Cancun. Not one of the larger Maya sites, but the seaside location gives it a beautiful setting. Bus services from Cancun run around 2 hrs and cost MXN60. Tulum contains over 60 different structures and is believed to be one of the most important ceremonial sites for the Maya people. This archaeological zone that dates back more than 7 centuries shows the remains of a huge walled city with roads, homes and businesses by the sea. The major highlight of Tulum is El Castillo, which is a large pyramid that sits on a forty-foot cliff. El Castillo is thought to be a part of a series of lighthouses. The architecture is similar to Chichen Itza but on a much smaller scale; unlike Chichen Itza, you are not allowed to go inside or climb on the pyramids.
- Isla Mujeres— A great break from the Cancun tourist traps. This small island is just a 20-minute ferry ride from the hotel zone or from Puerto Juárez Federal Dock, located 5 minutes from downtown Cancun. Rent a scooter to get around the island fast and cheap. There is a beautiful ecological water theme park, Garrafon , with splendid vistas on land and a magical underwater world.
- Cozumel— A very pretty island and the most inhabited in all of Mexico, it is also an important Caribbean port of call. Chankanaab National Park is located here. Well known for its watersport activities such as diving, snorkeling, sailing, boating and fishing.
- Coba— A beautiful site; it was one the largest Maya cities in ancient times, but much is still hidden under lush jungle. It boasts the tallest pyramid of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Nohoch Mul. Muyil boasts a lake surrounded by many Maya constructions.
- Valladolid is a small city dating from the Spanish Colonial era with lots of period local charm, between Cancun and Chichen Itza. The selection of hotels and restaurants makes it a nice base for a night or two; it's a good deal closer to Chichen, and other impressive Maya ruins at Ek Balam are only about 15 minutes north of town.
- Xcaret . Xcaret is an Eco-archaeological Park located about 76km (46 mi) south of Cancun and less than 7km (4 mi) south of Playa del Carmen, in the Riviera Maya. Here you can admire tropical flora and fauna typical of the region as well as different expressions of the Mayan culture. In its facilities you can find an archaeological site, snorkeling in underground rivers, beach, butterfly pavilion, orchid greenhouse, regional fauna breeding farm, Mayan village, jaguar island, among others. For additional cost visitors can swim with dolphins; enjoy the Temascal and Spa services. At night you can admire the unique night show “Xcaret México Espectacular” which features a variety of performances from ancient Mayan culture to traditional Mexican music and dances.
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