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Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

TripBlog
Feb 26, 20218461

"A course of a river that turns, moves on; doubles back, and comes full circle; forever arriving." -- Octavio Paz. Mexican poet Octavio Paz’s allusion to circularity and form are a fitting description for Cancun. Set on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun is a town continually inventing itself. Established as a tourist destination in the early 1970s, Cancun has risen to prominence, alongside Acapulco, as the premiere resort town in all Mexico. Beachgoers from around the world come to experience the white sands and blue Caribbean waters.

Table of Contents

Arrival and Accommodations
General Location and Layout
Beaches and Attractions
Central Cancun and Local Mexican Culture
Fabulous Day-Trips around Cancun
Chichen Itza
Tulum
Cozumel and Isla Mujeres

Beyond creature comforts and relaxation, Cancun features Maya archaeological sites, shopping, and of course, delicious food. To take in the sights and sounds of Cancun, it is best to allot yourself several days. Interspersing visits to the beach with day-trips to archaeological sites provides a nice balance. As Mexico did not resort to the harsh travel restrictions employed by many other a vacation destination, it is still possible visit Cancun basically as before. In fact, one might just cruz on down for a weekend getaway. In this brief introduction, we’re reprising our introduction to Cancun and offering some suggestions for how you can build your own Cancun adventure.

Arrival and Accommodations

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Mexico by and large avoided imposing harsh travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors arriving from abroad simply need to fill out a standard health questionnaire, which can be done online prior to departure or when you arrive. At the time of writing, Mexico’s land border with the United States remains closed to non-essential traffic. However, this hardly presents a problem as overland transportation to Cancun is not practical given the distances involve. As before, flying remains the best way to get yourself down to the sunny Yucatan.

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Arriving in Cancun is best accomplished via Cancun International Airport. The modern terminal is a regional hub and gateway to other Yucatan destinations. From there it’s easy to find transport to central Cancun or to the resort area in the hotel zone. Prices for accommodations vary with proximity to the beach. If you plan to stay in the hotel zone, you might check out Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun for a truly memorable resort experience. Travelers hoping to save a bit on their hotel stay should look towards central Cancun. The Ramada or Four Points are great budget alternatives.

General Location and Layout

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Cancun is essentially two cities separated by a large body of a water. The hotel zone is the main resort and tourist area. It’s located on a narrow island connected to the rest of the city by major roadways. A 7 mile stretch of essentially uninterrupted white sand beach is the principle attraction. Well, that and of course a large collection of resort hotels. Visitors staying here will have no problem entertaining themselves with some fun in the sun. Room rates in the hotel zone naturally tend to run a bit higher than in the central city. Downtown Cancun features large residential blocks arranged in geometric patterns. These blocks contain densely packed housing along with shopping, restaurants, and other establishments. As Cancun has continued to expand over the years, the city is essentially growing to the northwest.

Beaches and Attractions

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

No matter where you’re staying, however, the beaches along the hotel zone are among the best in the world. The magnificent Caribbean climate coupled with the long stretches of white sand and sparkling blue water make Cancun a resort destination like few other. You will recognize why this region has captivated travelers for years. Playa Delfines is a publically accessible beach, even to those not staying in the hotel zone. It’s a favorite location and a great place to visit at sunset. If you’re in the mood for a long stroll, try walking north along the beach up to Playa Gaviota Azul. At the tip of the peninsula there you can snap some photos at the Punta Cancun Lighthouse. The whole experience will leave you with little doubt as to why the beaches in Cancun are often recognized to be among the best in the world.

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

After you’ve had your fill of sand and sun (although it’s understandable to want more), certainly make time to visit Cancun’s historical museums. The Maya were prevalent on the Yucatan Peninsula and Cancun houses some of the best preserved artifacts from this time. The Mayan Museum set along the hotel zone is a modern museum with a truly stunning collection. Its ocean views complement the experience and add to the sense of wonder. The relics tell the story of the Maya and help visitors appreciate the region’s long history and culture. Admission to the museum includes entrance to the adjoining archeological site San Miguelito. Here you can wander among Maya ruins and get a sense for their building techniques and architectures.

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Further north are the El Rey Ruins featuring the relics of a Maya temple and ceremonial platforms. The proximity of these three attractions make them excellent choices for the historically-minded traveler. Finally, do not pass up the opportunity to visit the Cancun Underwater Museum. Snorkel through this innovative underwater sculpture garden, created in part to help preserve the coral reefs surrounding Cancun by providing a dedicated place for visitors to explore the shallow waters. It’s an unforgettable experience as you dive into the blue and watch the forms emerge and appear to dance in the light.

Central Cancun and Local Mexican Culture

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Outside the hotel zone and across the small waterway separating the two is Cancun proper. This is where you will find the best shopping experiences and access to local culture. Mercado 23 is a large local market with many different vendors. It’s primarily a food market, which means it’s a great place to buy some fresh produce or sample some delicious local foods. Those looking more for gifts and wares should try nearby Mercado 28, which is a long-running flee market. This maze of vendors is fun to explore as much for the authentic sights and sounds as for the chance to find a great gift or souvenir. Get inside while still shopping with the locals at the Plaza Las Americas. This indoor shopping center might provide welcome relief from the sun and heat. You can also save it as an option in case of rain, which can occur frequently in Cancun’s tropical climate. Even if you’re not the shopping type, exploring downtown Cancun is a reward unto itself.

Fabulous Day-Trips around Cancun

Chichen Itza

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

For all it has to offer, there is even more waiting for you in the areas surrounding Cancun. Depending on how much time you have, you should try to visit at least a few of these places. Chichen Itza is a couple hours’ drive from Cancun and one of Mexico’s most well-known archeological sites. The city dates to the pre-Columbian period and is one of the largest known Maya cities. The preserved temples are world-famous and awe-inspiring. Make sure to visit the famous El Castillo. There are few better places grasp the advances made by Mayan civilization.

Tulum

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Located south of Cancun is Tulum. Erected at the height of the Mayan Empire, these costal ruins are beautifully set on the seaside cliffs. Take the opportunity to walk here in the footsteps of the Maya. Let the ocean breezes waft over you as you’re transported back in time. Heading to Tulum also provides a great chance to visit Cenotes Dos Ojos. Cenotes are natural sinkholes that form when underground water causes the limestone to collapse, creating stunning natural depressions. Depending on the location, it’s often permitted to swim or venture into the underground areas. Cenotes are closely associated with the Yucatan and really are something to behold. It’s a magical experience when light streams in from above to create intricate patterns and shapes on the cave walls.

Cozumel and Isla Mujeres

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Finally, a bit closer to Cancun is the old fishing town on Isla Mujeres. With a more relaxing pace than Cancun, it can be a nice spot if you need a vacation while on vacation. Don’t miss your chance to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. Wading in the water with these amazing creatures will give you a whole new perspective and bring joy to your heart. You also might take the opportunity to daytrip over to Cozumel Island. This island is normally a favorited port of call for regional cruise lines. San Miguel de Cozumel is the main city with much of the rest of the island remaining largely undeveloped.

Cancun: Mexico's Caribbean Resort Paradise

Whether you just want sun and sand, or the chance to explore some of Mexico’s history, Cancun is one of those can’t-miss destinations. There is plenty to do for people of all ages. Make sure to plan ahead during high tourist times, particularly when many American universities go on Spring Break. Pack some sunscreen and discover why they call Cancun the Glistening City.

Disclaimer: This article has been used directly from the Qingqi Qiu Platform, the copyright belongs to the original author. If there is any discrepancy with the copyright please contact us directly and we will immediately delete the content.Index for Network Information Infringement Protection
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