Benefit from exclusive promotions and VIP perks Free Membership!
Waldorf Astoria Cancun | Mexico
Available: Oct 16, 2023 - Mar 31, 2024
Waldorf Astoria Cancun | Mexico
Available: Oct 16, 2023 - Mar 31, 2024
Nizuc Resort & Spa | Mexico
Available: Apr 15, 2023 - Dec 19, 2023
Cancun is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for a good reason. The city has everything you could want on vacation: beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, exciting nightlife, and more. But if you're planning a trip to Cancun, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we've put together this comprehensive Cancun travel guide. We'll provide you with all the information you need to plan the perfect getaway in this Mexican paradise.
Cancun is like many Mexican Caribbean cities. It was once a Mayan cultural hub. This particular parcel of land was vital for maritime trades and Mayan fishing.
However, the Maya forgot about Cancun after they left, surviving with only 100 inhabitants. Fast forward to the 1970s, Cancun was declared the best place in the Caribbean to create the next tourist destination. But it was the Mexican government that financed the first resorts. Investors needed convincing. However, Cancun was able to achieve its goals by the 1980s. It was Mexico's IT hub.
Cancun was quickly a tourist mecca. It has been voted the most vibrant city in Mexico since 1989. Here, the warm oceans, soft sand, and the possibility of achieving your dreams keep people coming back year after year.
Cancun's tropical climate makes it easy to plan a vacation there. But it's the rainy seasons that most tourists pay attention to, as there isn't much temperature variation throughout the year.
Clear and warm weather-wise, but it sees the most significant influx of visitors. You might also feel a little cold in the cenotes, ocean, and swimming pool areas that aren't heated.
This is the hottest, most rainy month of the year. However, there are still lots of sunshine and warm water to snorkel & dive in. You should also keep an eye on hurricane forecasts and make sure you have travel insurance in an emergency. Hotels and tour companies can also expect lower rates during this period because there are fewer tourists.
Many people consider autumn-winter to be the best season to visit Cancun. It is now past hurricane season, and humidity levels are low. In the evenings, it can also feel a little cooler.
These are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Cancun.
Isla Mujeres is the Island of Women. It's the perfect place to escape from the bustling nightlife and beaches of Cancun. Moreover, this 4-mile island is just 30 minutes away by ferry from Cancun. However, travelers love it because there's not much to do here.
Despite its sleepy reputation, the island hosts several sites worth checking out. Recent visitors suggest renting a cart to drive to Punta Sur at the island's southern tip. The Mayan goddess of the moon is also honored here. Besides, the landscape has dramatic bay views and steep rock cliffs. It is the place where Mexico's rising sun first greets us. Garrafon Natural Reef Park is also in this area. This park offers a wide range of activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, zip-lining, and more.
Mercado 28 is a massive shopping center in downtown Cancun. Besides, this isn't your usual mall. Instead, it's a giant flea market with 600 vendors selling almost everything.
Mercado 28 has a variety of Mexican souvenirs. You can also find textiles, maracas, and more. They make great gifts for travelers because many items are handmade and unique. You can also test your bargaining abilities here.
You can't go wrong with the stunning turquoise coastline, whether you're curious about the region's past or want to indulge in street food. The area is famous for its beaches. It isn't easy to choose just one beach to go to on your next trip. So, Playa Delfines is the perfect place to relax if you love to go on beach trips. This beach is one the largest in Cancun. It's also easy to get a taxi from the hotel area to relax on Playa Delfines. Plus, enjoy direct sunlight or shade with a free umbrella.
Chichen Itza is one of the most historic sites in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chichen Itza also has a history of more than a thousand years. It was once an essential part of the Mayan civilization which occupied the region. You can view the ruins on self-guided tours. A hired professional tour operator can also teach you the history of Chichen Itza.
A Temazcal ritual is the traditional Mayan ceremony of purification. It takes place inside a tiny hut. The sweat lodge is heated with hot water and rocks, making it a sauna-like experience. Local shamans lead the ceremony and take care of the participants. The ritual of the temazcal takes place in complete darkness. Also, the shaman pours hot water over the rocks and then chants.
Temazcal is a ritual of purification that cleans the soul, mind, and body. It has been used since ancient times. Besides, the tiny hut allows you to sweat and enter a state of deep meditation. They enhance this with shamanic music.
Zip lining is a popular adventure to do in Cancun. You'll enjoy it even more if your fear of heights is gone!
There are also several zip-line parks in the vicinity of Cancun. Selvatica is the nearest park where you can enjoy zip lining. You can choose from 10 different zip lines. Moreover, many adventure parks offer additional activities such as ATVs and cenotes.
Cancun's popularity as a destination for college-age tourists has led to a casual dress code almost everywhere. But it is best to cover up when you're not at the pool or beach. Cancun's nightlife venues are also different from other destinations. They welcome visitors with a relaxed attitude and look.
Moreover, Spanish is the official language. However, Cancun is so famous for English-speaking travelers that it shouldn't be challenging to find someone who speaks English. Mexico's official currency in Cancun is the peso. So, check the current exchange rate against the U.S. Dollar ahead of time.
These are some of the must-eat foods in Cancun.
Tamales are a must-try dish in Cancun. They are a classic and iconic dish of Mexican gastronomy. Mesoamerican food usually consists of corn dough stuffed with tenderly prepared meats, vegetables, and other ingredients. The tamales are wrapped in plant leaves and steam cooked.
Ceviche Mexican seafood dishes are the best. Cancun has a distinct location that supplies it with freshwater and marine fish. These delicacies are available in the Mexican version, usually made of fresh raw seafood and marinated with lime juice, tomatoes, salt, and fresh herbs. Locals also love to serve it with Totopos tortilla chips or crackers. It's worth trying the local way. It is more tasty and crispy than eating raw seafood salads. This must-try Cancun dish is worth a try at least once.
The empanada is a traditional Mexican food. Corn dough is used to make golden empanadas. This corn dough is folded and then filled with sweet or salty ingredients. Finally, the dough is deep-fried to achieve the desired consistency. You will find meats, cheeses, tomatoes, corn, and spices in a savory empanada. An empanada sweet can also include fruit jelly.
Castacan is Yucatecan's version of crispy pork belly tacos. Besides, Castacan tacos also have melting cheese topped them. On a griddle, place the taco and complete it with shredded cheese. As the cheese melts slowly, it seeps into the pores and joints between the meat. This binds the pork belly together. It also gives the meat a new flavor and texture.
Below are some of the best areas to stay in Cancun. You can choose from adults-only all-inclusive resorts with swim up bars and whirlpool tubs to resorts in Cancun with a kids club.
El Centro is the best place in Cancun to live like an ex-pat. It has excellent restaurants, taco shops, lively nightclubs, and trendy cocktail bars. You can also find outdoor markets and shopping malls. While some luxury resorts are located near Puerto Cancun on the coast, El Centro is mainly made of mid-range hotels and hostels. Besides, this is a good base for those exploring the Yucatan beyond the bars and beaches.
The North Hotel Zone forms the top of El Centro's "7", between the Middle Hotel Zone and El Centro. The Isla Mujeres protect the beach from hurricane winds, but it is not like the rest of Riviera Cancun or the Hotel Zone. Its unique geography gives it three benefits: the calmest waves in Cancun, the softest San, and the least amount of Seaweed in the Hotel Zone.
Other beaches lost their sand due to significant storms and had to transport replacement sand. The North is perfect for relaxing, exploring, and having fun. It has a sunny beach and is close to El Centro. You can also access the nightlife in PuntaCancun. Moreover, you can find many restaurants and bars in this area.
Playa Mujeres is the latest resort development. It's located north of Cancun's Hotel Zone. The area is a contemporary leisure retreat consisting almost entirely of all-inclusive resorts with golf courses. The marina also offers scuba and sailing tours and the dolphinarium. Besides, you can take several trips on the Punta Sam ferry to Isla Mujeres. However, because the area is still new and has been designed around all-inclusive, there are few dining options.
Riviera Cancun runs from Punta Nizuc (the southern end of South Hotel Zone) south to Puerto Morelos. You will find Cancun's largest all-inclusive resorts. There are also several adventure parks and freshwater cenotes. The Croco Cun Zoo is here. These beaches mostly have white sand, rocky patches, and moderate waves.
Besides, the Mesoamerican Reef runs the length of the Riviera to Guatemala. Furthermore, the sandy beaches are ideal for body surfing and swimming, while the coral-rich areas provide snorkeling and diving opportunities with a large variety of colorful fish.
The South begins at El Rey's Maya ruins archeological site and continues southwest to Punta Nizuc. This is the perfect area for a peaceful escape, with easy access to nearby attractions and excellent restaurants. The beach resembles the Middle zone, with moderate surf, white sand, and sea turtles. Besides, the South is where snorkeling is best, particularly at the end near Punta Nizuc.
The Middle is where the Hotel Zone's activity occurs. At its northern tip, Uptown is packed with bars, nightclubs, and upscale restaurants. To finish the journey southward, you will see a series of beaches, restaurants, and malls. Finally, El Rey is where the South Hotel Zone starts. This beach is slightly rougher and has more giant waves than the North. However, it's still very swimmable.
The beach has a lively atmosphere, but sea turtles make it their nesting spot. They return each year to lay eggs from May through October and are back yearly. The babies hatch from July to December and travel to the ocean by moonlight.
The bus is the best way around Cancun. It stops along Boulevard Kukulcan and downtown. However, a one-way Fare makes a Cancun taxi ride seem expensive. Moreover, a taxi service is available to get to and from Cancun International Airport. The airport also has car rental kiosks, but it is not recommended to drive yourself.
Cancun has managed to avoid the violence from drugs that have plagued much of Mexico. However, the U.S. State Department warns tourists to be vigilant, even though crime against tourists has been low. Cancun is safe and enjoyable if you do not look for trouble. Just use common sense.
Cancun's water is your most critical safety concern. Be aware of rough surf. Only swim under the supervision of a lifeguard. The green flags denote safe waters. Yellow and red flags signal increased caution. Also, swimming is forbidden if there's a black flag. Drinking water may also be a risk to your health.
Purified water is generally safe in the Hotel Zone, particularly at your resort. If you have any questions, call your resort in advance to ensure they have a water purification system.