8 minutes reading time Mexico
If there was a place that you could trust your basic instincts on to help you decide on your next holiday destination, then look no further than Cancun, Mexico.
Cancun welcomes over 10 million tourists every year, surely, they can’t all be wrong.
Cancun, is the ultimate vacation for many adventurous travelers worldwide, whatever your primary reason is for jetting away on your next vacation, be sure to know that Cancun has something for everyone, such as sunbathing, scuba diving, adventure parks, shopping facilities, eco-parks, night-life, water sports and remarkable biodiversity.
In this article you will find out more about Cancun, things to do and some great highlights for you to experience at this once in a lifetime destination.
More about Cancun
Cancun, a Mexican city located on the Yucatan Peninsula neighboring the Caribbean Sea is known for its renowned high energy which in turn is associated with its nightlife, exotic beaches and its luxurious all-inclusive hotels. Mexico’s most visited tourist destination possesses over 30,000 hotel rooms.
Cancun is essentially divided into two regions: Downtown Cancun and the Hotel Zone.
Downtown Cancun is much less developed than The Hotel Zone but nonetheless is still a great place to absorb the local culture and traditional Mexican flavor. Furthermore, another benefit is its affordability, many tourists visit here to shop with several markets and street food vendors easily accessible.
If you are someone who is looking for a more authentic and rich tradition in Mexican/Mayan culture I would certainly recommend staying in Ciudad Cancun (Downtown Cancun) for being a great way to indulge in the local culture.
The Hotel Zone
The Hotel Zone, also known as ‘Zona Hotelera’ or ‘Tourist Zone’ is the most popular place travelers base themselves when arriving in Cancun, The Hotel Zone is a 22km arc of stunning sandy white beaches that are filled with resorts and hotels for every type of travelers’ budget. Several hotels are all-inclusive, with most high-end resorts tending to have robust security for safety purposes. Whilst your access to beaches and resorts are located on the outside of this long stretch, on the inside is Laguna Nichupté, a huge lagoon. Opposite the Laguna Nichupté you will find an abundant of local attractions, Golf courses, shopping malls, water sports activities to name a few etc.
So frankly speaking if you are looking for a more easy-going area to stay in Cancun then The Hotel Zone is probably the most ideal area due to its absence of local Mexican culture, providing you with more convenience and ease when it comes to communicating with the locals.
Safety in Cancun
Knowing your destination and researching travel advice is always a handy tip before travelling to help prevent any unnecessary problems, and it is one of the first things everyone wonders about when it comes to Cancun.
With Cancun attracting millions of tourists each and every year, it would be naïve to think that crime is non-existent throughout most of this incredible paradise hotspot. And although the media may portray this party island to be somewhat crime ridden, I would definitely disagree and confirm Cancun is a very safe!
If safety is your biggest concern when travelling alone or with family then, the hotel zone (‘Zona Hotelera’) is undeniably the safest part of Cancun and its surrounding areas.
Some things you can do to remain safe in Cancun is to be extremely vigilant, don’t wear ridiculous amounts of jewelry or carry large wads of cash and avoid walking around in unfamiliar dark areas at night. But again – that’s good advice no matter where you go.
Things to do in Cancun
Now to the fun part that we all dream and visualize before we actually arrive in Cancun.
Explore Zona Hotelera
As mentioned previously Cancun is divided into two areas, Downtown (Ciudad Cancun) & The Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera).
The Hotel Zone is the primary area where tourists stay when visiting Cancun, this area is synonymous with tourists as its name implies for its hotels, beaches, wild extravagant nightlife and its catamarans. Here you will find the only road which goes by the name of Kulkukan Boulevard. You’ll find a host of restaurants and nightclubs saturated along the stretch from one point to another so there are no excuses for hungry bellies or a well-deserved holiday drink.
Downtown (Ciudad Cancun)
If you’re someone like me who finds being stuck in your hotel resort quite mundane and uninspiring then you can also check out Downtown Cancun which offers a taste of local culture, delicious street food, small local markets and lots of greenery.
Most locals who work in the Zona Hotelera actually live here as it is the main residential area, so if you’re keen like me to experience what local life is actually like in Cancun make sure to check out Ciudad Cancun and get a taste for the local culture and mouthwatering food.
Added tip – Make sure to visit Avenida Tulum if you’re a fan of tacos, check out the vendors here which will ultimately delight your appetite.
Chichen Itza is one of the new seven wonders of the world, and one of the most popular destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico. The Mayan site is unquestionably worth a trip. When visiting Cancun, taking a day trip to Chichen Itza is an absolute must. This stunning world-famous landmark is pretty incredible and will give you a glimpse into how powerful and advanced the Mayan civilization once was.
Snorkeling near Cancun
Cancun is home to incredible white sandy beaches and a turquoise blue sea which is just perfect for you avid snorkelers to explore and discover the variety of tropical fish, rays, turtles and other beautiful species which are truly breathtaking.
Due to its prime location on the Caribbean Sea and its fabulous visibility Cancun offers some of the best Snorkeling hotspots for you to truly enjoy and experience.
This eco-archaeological park is jam-packed with Mexican and Mayan flavor, music, nature and Mexican culture. Inside the park you can view a variety of different animals such as flamingos, spider monkey’s, jaguars and much much more. If that’s enough to get you booking your flight tickets, you can also swim with dolphins, swim in underground rivers, climb a small Mayan ruin, visit the traditional cemetery’s, and relax at a local pristine beach.
Xcaret provides a rich taste of Mexican and Mayan culture in a fascinating jungle location. Definitely a must see when you visit!
Nightlife in Cancun
Ok, so without further ado I don’t think I would be doing Cancun justice without mentioning the nightlife it has to offer.
American students in particular love Cancun especially around Spring Break due to the wild nightlife it provides for tourists to have fun. Cancun’s nightlife is predominantly known for its high energy and again is essentially a must do activity after a nice chilled day relaxing at the beach or pool with an ice cool martini.
Some of the nightclubs that are popular here in Cancun are:
- Coco Bongo – International DJ’s, Las Vegas alike with acrobats floating through the club. Most popular club in Cancun.
- The City Nightclub – This club has three floors and nine bars, so plenty of drinks and space to shake your stress away.
- Daddy-O – Perfect for Techno and House music lovers, Daddy-O offers professional dancers along with body painting to keep you occupied until sunrise.
Locals from Cancun, Mexico
Visiting Cancun for the first time, you might be forgiven for thinking it is overrun with foreigners (English is widely used, dollars are also widely accepted over peso’s etc.), however admittedly there is a large local population here in Cancun. Take a closer look and you will see that these are the locals who are working at your hotel, collecting you to and from the airport, guiding you through the Cenotes, or feeding you shots at Coco Bongo.
The locals (Cancunenses) are very tourist friendly, they are pivotal to this paradise destination who strive to make it an amazing experience for both locals and tourists. English is widely spoken among locals who cater to their guests needs via hotels, restaurants, bars and shopping malls for example. This can be a downside for some as it loses the feel of the rich Mexican culture that has been ingrained throughout Cancun. However, on the other hand this makes Cancun even more convenient for tourists as it allows travelers to navigate with ease.
If you’re someone who doesn’t speak Spanish, you’d still get about fine with English. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good idea to at least try to pick up the local vocabulary.
Speaking a tiny bit of Spanish can enhance your experience further with appreciation from the locals when you can use minimal phrases such as “Hola” and “Gracias” instead of “Hello” and “Thank You.”
To conclude, don’t hesitate to experience the luxury that Cancun has to offer, from their rich culture and Mayan history to their beautiful white sandy beaches to the tasty Mexican food to the many in demand once in a lifetime excursions, Cancun is truly a wonder of the world that should be experienced by everyone without question.