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Cancun, Mexico

Cancun

Great Destination:

4

Value for Money:

4

Total Stars:

8.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Almost exclusively liked by all Authentic types of personalities

Did You Know … ?

  • Cancun originated as a Mayan name meaning serpents’ nest.
  • The Maya had the only fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas.
  • The base coral in the Cancun reef system is estimated to be 125,000 years old.
  • The City, Latin America’s largest discotheque, accommodates 5,000.
  • The Manatee Sanctuary has the world’s largest population of manatees (200).

Idyll on an island

In the 1970s, planners built Cancun on a small island abutting the Yucatan Peninsula, and now it’s probably the most popular destination in Mexico.

The colors of Cancun contribute visual delights: white sand, green-to-turquoise translucent waters, lavender sunsets, buildings of white and pastels, plus inland jungle greens forming a backdrop for ruins of brown, slate and amber.

The weather is semi-tropical, ideal for any kind of water activity, for lounging on the beach or sipping a drink on the balcony at a hotel or timeshare.  It is often said that Cancun is almost an American town that happens to be in Mexico. It’s no secret that this resort city wants to attract North American tourism and to make visitors feel at home.

The combination of beautiful scenery, a wide range of lodging and dining experiences, and excellent service has worked so well that the red flag of overdevelopment is now being waved rather vigorously.

Cancun offers a range of options for the very active traveler and for those with special interests, such as archaeology.  Water sports like fishing and diving can be as strenuous as any visitor wants. As to archaeology, the Mayan civilization bequeathed its history to Mexico in the form of ruins and artifacts that are on display in museums or in situ on the Yucatan Peninsula. Those who bemoan the loss or pollution of natural areas can involve themselves in saving them, or saving threatened wildlife such as sea turtles or some bird species.

The venturesome tend to see Cancun as a jumping-off point to explore the rest of the Yucatan, or as a base for adventures like deep-sea fishing or investigating coral reefs and marine life in scuba gear. The resort is a little too Americanized for adventurers’ tastes, but foreign enough in flavor to please other travelers who are happy to cruise the surrounding islands, swim and snorkel, enjoy varied meals and conduct more limited forays to Mayan ruins.

Travelers see Cancun as good value for the money and find that locals make them feel welcome.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Go windsurfing. If it is new to you, take lessons.
  • Nightlife in Cancun means discos, and the action starts late. Most places open at 9 p.m., and things really start to swing after 10. Reggae is also popular. Check with your hotel or guide for suggestions about which places are “in” when you go.
  • Try Tyrolean traverse (which involves sliding over rivers and trees aided by a strong rope) or climbing stone columns or vertical walls (such as the 180-foot Cenote Cocodrilo Dorado). Alternatively, try bungee jumping into the turquoise sea.
  • Descend into caves and sacred pools, as in Aktun Chen; at the end of this cave is a pool that is approximately 40 feet deep.
  • Take your nature excursion by bicycle.  More ambitiously, take a multiday cycling journey along the Yucatan’s Mayan route.
  • Take a jungle tour by canoe or kayak.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Choose one of the several daily cruise tours to see the nearby islands. Warning: Children are usually excluded from cruises where alcohol is served.
  • Get a load of the Cancun barrier reef, part of the Mesoamerican Reef System, and its marine life: Go snorkeling or diving. You can snorkel with whale sharks.
  • Arrange horseback tours to the interior and to the archaeological sites.
  • You may see some of the following on nature excursions: white-tailed deer, jaguar, ocelot, jaguarundi, collard peccary and the Jabiru stork. Also, there are 300 swamp crocodiles at Crococun Crocodile Park and Regional Zoo a few miles outside Cancun.
  • From a proper distance, watch sea turtles lay their eggs in the same places used by their ancestors for thousands of years.
  • Head north of Cancun a short distance, and fish for marlin, barracuda and other fish.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Visit one or more of the area’s archaeological sites. The easiest site to get to (but not the best) is El Rey, which is right in Cancun. Chichen Itza means a longer day, but is a more compelling choice.
  • Visit the Museo de Antropologia e Historia which houses skeletons, sculptures and other artifacts.
  • Buy a timeshare.
  • Attend a dinner with folkloric show.
  • Go shopping, but be aware that Cancun is not one of Mexico’s bargain areas. Local crafts are best sought away from the main hotel area, and shoppers should bargain carefully and be discriminating.
  • Play golf. You’ve got 253 days of sunshine each year for this.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://cancun.travel and, on the same page, click on the Cancun Tourism Institute icon to find a travel agent who is a Cancun expert.