Cancun

Wild and wonderful Cancun was chosen specifically by the Mexican government as a prime holiday hotspot. It has it all; a pristine white sandy beach, warm turquoise waters lapping at the shore, an undersea world, coral reefs to explore, verdant jungles and an enormous series of underworld caves, and as gateway to El Mundo Maya (the Mayan World), Cancun is within close proximity to Chichen Itza and Tulum, two of Mexico’s most stunning archaeological treasures.
 
Cancun has a huge range of hotels, most of them offering incredible all-inclusive prices – eat lots, drink too much, dance the night away – then recover from it all, lying on a sun lounger by the pool, or under a thatched umbrella on the beach.
 
When you are ready to play, Cancun has a huge range of activities – parasailing, snorkelling and scuba diving off the nearby Isla Mujeres, exploring the deep cave system that rings the limestone recess of the Yucatan Peninsula, horse-riding along deserted beach and, of course, shopping!
Cancun Location

Beachlife

Cancun has 14 miles of pristine white beaches shaped like a number '7' and is surrounded by three unique bodies of water. The Caribbean Sea has the liveliest surf, the Bahia Mujeres, between Isla Mujeres and Cancun, is tranquil and serene and a great place to snorkel, and the Nichupte Lagoon’s still waters are the ideal setting for water sports of all kinds. Bahia Mujeres beaches, which sit along the top part of the '7', include shallow and calm beaches like Playa Tortugas and Playa Caracol, which are great for families. Along the Caribbean, near Punta Cancun, is a wonderful sheltered cove, Playa Gaviota Azul. Further south are Playa Chac-Mool, Playa Marlin, and Playa Ballenas which are wide, sandy beaches with open surf. Generally the beaches get wider the further south you move along the '7' and eventually lead to lovely Playa Coral at Punta Nizuc.

Cancun Beach Umbrellas
Shutterstock

Activities

There is so much more to do in Cancun when you have soaked up enough sun on the spectacular beaches. You'll find fabulous Mexican souvenirs, and a good place to start your shopping ventures, at La Casa del Arte Popular Mexicano, a wonderful museum and shop located at El Embarcadero. There are five golf courses, sport-fishing and jungle tours available. You can tick snorkelling with whale sharks off your bucket-list, explore Laguna Nichupte, rich with waterfowl, fish, crocodiles, shellfish, and mangrove vegetation, which borders the resort zone. There is also the Interactive Aquarium and on Isla Mujeres snorkelling, hiking trails, aerial zip line, dolphin swims and golf are just some activities.

 

Cancun
Olenka Palac

Scuba Diving

The coral reefs off the coast of Cancun and nearby Cozumel are sheer bliss and known as the best places to dive in the Mexican Caribbean. There are 24 divine dive sites with the average dive being around 12m, up to 25m. Drift diving is common, fish life is abundant and options are available to cater for beginners to advanced. Diving in the cenotes (sinkholes) of the Yucatan Peninsula and finding cool, crystal-clear water (visibility of 60m) is a unique experience found only in this part of Mexico. Experienced cave divers who dip in and out of the intricate maze of underwater caverns, find it to be a thrill beyond compare. For the truly adventurous (intermediate and expert divers only), Cuevas de los Tiburones (cave of the sharks) off the coast of nearby Isla Mujeres may provide a glimpse of these dozing predators. 

Cave diving in a Cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula
Shutterstock

Art & Culture

Cancun is known as the gateway to the Mundo Maya, an enormous geographic region that includes five Mexican states (Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas), and five countries (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). Historical evidence indicates the presence of a Mayan culture at least as far back as 1800 B.C., with the Mayans rising in prominence between 200 B.C. and A.D. 1000. Remains of the ancient Mayan civilisation are scattered throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and some, like the archaeological site called 'El Rey', are right in Cancun. The El Rey site includes plazas outlined by buildings and platforms that are connected by a 200m path. It is named after a skeleton that was found on the site, thought to be that of a king (El Rey is Spanish for 'the king'). There is also Yamil Lu’um, a site that consists of two small temples that were likely used as watchtowers and lighthouses between 500 and 700 years ago.

 

 

 

El Rey Ruins, Cancun
Shutterstock

Party Town

Cancun is well known and well deserved of its party town reputation. Start the evening with a relaxing meal or a margarita at one of the hotel lobby bars to ease into it. For a cultural evening there are Ballet Folkloricos at many hotels which are lavish productions with extravagant costumes, traditional dances and music from different Mexican states. A conga line may feature. Nightclubs abound and vary from disco, jazz and latin music. The City, thought to be the largest nightclub in Latin America, Coco Bongo, Dady'O, Roots Jazz Club and many others will keep you dancing until dawn. 

Cancun Beach Restaurant
Shutterstock

The Infinity Experience

Big Reef
The Great Mayan Barrier Reef, off the Cancun coast, is the second largest coral reef in the world after Australia's Great Barrier Reef.