Cancun (meaning Golden Snake) -
The Beach Paradise, Mexico
Cancun is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mexico and is located by the Caribbean sea on the Yucatan peninsula (South East Mexico). In the last 30 years, Cancun has transformed from a tiny fishing village into a world famous tourism destination. The economy is based on tourism and the people go out of their way to give tourists a good time.
• Cancun Tourism Overview
• Getting There
• Transportation And Car Rental
• When To Go
• Climate / Weather
• Popular Tourist Attractions
• Top Hotels
• Local Tourist Office
• Recommendation and Safety
CANCUN TOURISM AND TRAVEL OVERVIEW:
More than three million tourists visit Cancun each year from all over the world and it contributes more than one third of Mexico’s tourism generated revenues. The surrounding areas of Cancun are rich with ancient Mayan influences. Mayan civilizations were one of the most advanced ancient civilizations in the world.
It has a year round mild climate, white sandy beaches and excellent tourist services. You will find one of the finest hotels of Mexico here, offering relaxing spas, luxury rooms and service . These waters are ideal for water sports including surfing, kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing, under water diving, sailing and boating. Cancun is populated with mega resorts, budget motels and cheaper inns too, offering over 22,000 hotel rooms. You can either select an ocean facing room or the one which shows the landscape or the city. Winter and spring months are the busiest. Cancun also offers activities like Golf, Ecological Parks, Fishing and Charters, Horseback Riding, Jungle Tours, Nature Reserves, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and Swim with Dolphins.
Cancun is comprised of two areas: Ciudad Cancun and Isla Cancun.
Ciudad is located on the Yucatan mainland and features shopping and restaurants, pharmacies, banks, travel agencies and other businesses. Many trips to the nearby Mayan ruins start from here.
Isla Cancun, is the main resort city. It consists of luxurious resorts, championship golf course, deep-sea fishing, diving, beaches and more. It is connected to the mainland by two bridges. The low-slung jungles of this area were also settled by Mayan culture.
Cancún International Airport (IATA: CUN, ICAO: MMUN) is located 8km (5mi) south of the city centre and receives an average of 190 flights daily. It is very well connected with Mexico's other domestic airports and international destinations including USA, Canada, European nations and many others. There are shuttle vans which transfer tourists from the airport into Cancún. There is a booth selling bus tickets into town close to the Budget rental car agency. The vans are cheaper (US$10 approximately), but they squeeze six to seven people in. Taxis tend to be a bit expensive as they are subjected to the airport tax. Alternatively, some hotels also pick and drop their guests.
Cancún's ADO bus terminal is in the downtown at the intersection of Avenidas Tulum and Uxmal. Some tourists who are visiting the nearby Mérida or Campeche cities, prefer to drive.
Most cruise ships dock at the Centro Empresarial Cancun, located on the Boulevard Kukulkan. This area has many shops and restaurants. There are also many transportation options which help you to explore the region.
TRANSPORTATION AND CAR RENTAL:
Bus system is quite dependable in Cancun and the preferred way of transportation. In fact many use it when traveling between Zona Hotelera beaches and Ciudad Cancún. Public busses (marked: Zona Hoteles) run up and down all day on the main drag in the hotel zone - Paseo Kukulkan and cost less than 50 cents. Drivers understand English enough to get visitors around or tell the driver on a map where you want to go.
Rental car agencies are conveniently located at the airport and in the town. Booking in advance can get you a better deal, rental car. You should seriously consider taking rental insurance as accidents (mostly minor) and car break-ins are not uncommon. Driving here can be a bit different from your home country, therefore it is not always recommended to drive yourself the very first day. Its better you arrive here and observe the traffic for a day or two, and rent a car only if you feel you can drive comfortably. Also be prepared as traffic cops may stop you for driving violation.
Taxis are available everywhere but they are not metered. Therefore its important that you negotiate and agree on a fare. Your hotel can also give tips and approximate fares on the cost of taxi.
WHEN TO GO:
High travel (busy) season runs mid-December to end of April particularly during Christmas, New year, Easter and Spring Break.
Low season is May through mid-December due heat and to Pacific hurricane season (June to October).
Most resorts reduce their prices after Easter. If you want most for your money and a fair / bearable climate then this is the time to go.
Cancun Tourism is also made ideal due to its warm, sunny, tropical weather. The sun shines on average between 240 and 250 days a year.
• Average daytime winter temperatures in Cancun are in the mid 80's F(29 C) with evenings in the upper 60's F (19-20 C), so it can be a bit chilly at night.
• In summer season Cancun weather gets a little hotter with daytime temperatures around 93 F (34 C) and evening temperatures in the mid 70's F (24 C).
• Hurricane and storm season: June to Early November.
• Average year-round temperature is 78F.
POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF CANCUN:
• Beaches: Cancun tourism offers several public and private beaches. Popular beaches include Las Perlas, Langosta, Tortugas, Caracol, Chac Mool, Ballenas, Delfines and Nizuc.
• Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone):
As the name suggests, this is the main zone of Cancun where you will find amazing beachfront hotels and resorts. This peninsula is 14 miles long and shaped like number 7. In the Zona Hotelera rates range from $100 - $1,500 US dollars. Cancun tourism offers several small Mayan ruins you can see in the hotel zone, the largest of them is El Rey.
• El Centro (SHOPPING & Economical Accommodation):
This is the commercial center of Mexico with colorful shops and malls. Variety of food including Mexican, American, Italian and other popular cuisines. Since this area is away from the main ocean front, you will find some budget hotels too. The El Centro is the area of the locals and is often thronged by the outsiders due to the fantastic cultural festivals and activities. Rates for hotel rooms in the downtown area range from $40 - $150 US dollars.
• Short Cruises:
A lot of tour operators offer a variety of cruises like
- A romantic sail off into the Cancun sunset for a wonderful three hour dinner while cruising the beautiful and romantic Nichupte Lagoon and enjoy cocktail with Lobster or Steak Dinner cruise.
- Sub Sea Explorer offers guided tours of natural reefs and sea life in a glassed-in boat with an optional snorkeling tour.
• Wet & Wild:
An amusement water park located along the road to the airport with a variety of slides, chutes and water flumes.
• Xcarnet Eco-Park:
This park is full of Mexico Mayan culture, Swim with Dolphin tour and beautiful Flora and Fauna. Xcarnet underground river, Mayan Village tour and Aquarium. This park is located about 45 minutes from the Cancun city and has more than 25 natural attractions and activities. Its better to keep some extra cash when coming here.
• Sain Ka'an Biosphere reserve:
Its located in Yucatan Peninsula. You will find world class flats fishing for permit, bonefish, barracuda, and other species. Bird watching is quite popular. You can find local tours starting from $50 with and English and Spanish speaking biologist. Also includes open motor boat for a trip around the lagoon.
• Croco Cun
About 45 minutes south of Cancun, near Puerto Morelos, is this crocodile zoo, breading farm and research station.
• Isla Mujeres Turtle Farm:
A 25-minute boat ride from Cancun. A land of white-sand beaches and colorful Caribbean architecture, Isle Mujeres features terrific shopping and dining values as well. Six species of sea turtle lay eggs in the sand along the island's calm western shore.
MAYAN RUINS - Cancun Tourism:
• Chichen Itza Ruins
Two hours drive from Cancun making a perfect day trip, these are the ruins of the great Maya culture that the Spanish found when they landed in the Yucatan. The giant pyramid called El Castillo where human sacrifices once occurred, dominates this fascinating abandoned city.
A city the Mayans built between 1200 and 1500 AD and the site has ruins of post-classic, Mayan, walled city. What makes it most impressive is that it was the only site built by the ocean. It is also the most visited archeological site. Located two hours south of Cancun.
• National Institute of Anthropology and History exhibits genuine pieces from the ancient Mayan and Mesoamerican culture. This museum has a collection of items - including jewelry, masks and intentionally deformed skulls.
SPECIAL INTEREST- Cancun Tourism
Cancún has a small bullring, Plaza de Toros , near the northern (town) end of Paseo Kukulkán opposite the Restaurant Los Almendros.
Popular 18-hole golf clubs are the Pok-Ta-Pok along the coast of Caribbean and Hilton Park Golf Club near the El Rey ruins.
The 9-hole golf course located at the Hotel Melia is relatively cheaper.
Shopping is also an important part of Cancun tourism. A great place to start is downtown, where the streets are lined with shops, boutiques, specialty stores and galleries. The American dollar is widely accepted. Local vendors can be found everywhere, prices are negotiable.
Flamingo Plaza ( on Kukulcan Blvd)
A blend of shops and restaurants next to a lagoon boardwalk. This mall features a travel agency, money exchange, and a world class entertainment center.
This shopping center covers an area of 30,000 square meters and features shops, restaurants, a varied of gourmet food court, cinemas, a bowling alley and entertaining games.
Plaza La Isla The largest and glittering, ultra trendy and expensive. Cancun’s Plaza La Isla Shopping Village is on the Nichupte Lagoon under a giant canopy.
Market 28 commonly called mercado veintiocho. A good spot to check out souvenirs and handcrafts.
Other popular shopping areas include Centro Commercio Mayfair, Convention Center Shopping Plaza, Downtown Shopping District , Forum by the Sea and Plaza Caracol.
Royal Sands, JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa, Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort, Le Blanc Spa Resort, Ritz-Carlton Cancun, Royal Caribbean, Riu Palace Las Americas, Fiesta Americana Grand , Coral Beach Cancun, Royal Islander and Marriott Casa Magna Cancun Resort.
Cancun tourism offers wonderful nightlife and is one the biggest draws to the island. Thousands of spring-breakers plan well in advance for this town's partying opportunities. Happy hours can start in the early afternoon and the partying can go on long past midnight. Many nightlife venues are available, including bars, dance clubs, cantinas, pubs, lounges and live music venues throughout the city or step into a quiet lounge for time with that special someone. Romantic Piano bars, Gambling, Old fashion Drinking Bars, Disco, Ballet and regional festival shows can also be found.
Cancun Tourism Information Office, Mexico:
Tel. (998) 884-8073
Plaza Caracol, 3rd floor, Zona Hotelera
FONATUR (tourism development agency)
Tel. (998) 884-0610
For information contact the Mexico Tourism Board at 800-446-3942 or visit www.visitmexico.com.
Most hotels and restaurants accept Credit Cards and US Dollars. ATMs are readily available and accept foreign bankcards but often have a higher fee. If you are taking travelers cheques then you should consider getting them in U.S. dollars for better acceptance and exchange rates.
Mexican Peso -MXN ( 1 US Dollar = 11 MXN apx)
RECOMMENDATION & SAFETY:
Tourists should focus on total personal hygiene from washing hands and brushing teeth regularly, drinking bottled water and not to buy food from street vendors. Medicine should be kept to ward off the malarial infection.
Cancun tourism is overall considered a safe place for tourists. The hotel zone and the tourist areas are very well patrolled by the police. Use hotel in-room safes for your valuables and passport. Bring sun block and drink lots of water. In most resorts the water is safe for drinking, but if unsure then take bottled water. Always carry identification.
Police Tel. (998) 884-2342