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Cancun, Mexico - travel guide

Cancun is one of the most popular resorts in Mexico, located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, near the waters of the Caribbean Sea.

The history of Cancun dates back to the time of the Maya, and for this reason, several small remnants of this mysterious civilization can be seen in the city today.

Subsequently, Cancun was a small fishing village and only since the late 70s of the 20th century, Cancun began to turn into a modern resort, which was facilitated by its convenient location on the Caribbean coast.

Climate of Cancun

Cancun with all confidence can be called a year-round seaside resort.

The climate of Cancun is tropical mild marine, slightly depending on the time of year. The city has a year-round summer.

The rainy season lasts from May to the end of October. Precipitation also falls in other months of the year. According to statistics, most precipitation falls in January, June, September and October. The rains are torrential, but short-term, however, it happens, the rain may drag on.

The high season falls on December - February months; but November, March and April in Cancun are also well suited for recreation, and in the summer months the resort is visited by vacationers.

The division into high and low season in Cancun is quite conditional, since the weather does not depend very much on the time of year, but rather on temporary natural phenomena. So, dividing by seasons, they rather mean the time of year when a large flow of tourists is expected.

Cancun City

Cancun is divided:

- downtown Cancun (downtown), where the life of local residents is mainly concentrated, there is also a beach, hotels and some tourist infrastructure,

- and the Hotel zone (Zona Hotelera or Zona Hoteleria, hotel zone or Hotel zone / Hotelier), which is also called the Tourist zone and which is a sand spit in the form of a seven, where the main tourist life takes place and the bulk of accommodation facilities (hotels, apartments, villas) are concentrated booking

The beaches and the sea of Cancnua are the Hotelier's zone. How to choose a hotel in Cancun

On the one hand, the spit of the hotel zone of Cancun is washed by the lagoon Nichupte, in which crocodiles are found, and on the other by the waters of the Caribbean Sea.

It is on the spit that the most popular beaches of Cancun are located.

Between the beaches, along which hotels rise, and the lagoon with a park area, there is a driveway with sidewalks - Boulevard Kukulkan, along which there are cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, shopping malls, supermarkets, shops and souvenir shops, as well as some entertainment (aquarium, Ferris wheel, museums). Along the Kukulkan road, along the entire hotel zone of Cancun, public buses R1 and R2 run almost around the clock, which connect the hotel zone with downtown Cancun.

In turn, the zone of Cancun hotels (kosu) is divided into beaches with waves and beaches without waves. Beaches without waves and mostly with shallow water are located on a small part of the seven - from 1 to 9 kilometers of Boulevard Kukulkan, and beaches with waves - on a large part of the spit-seven, which corresponds to 9.5-22 kilometers.

All beaches of Cancun are public and free. The beaches have light and soft sand, there are beach clubs, related infrastructure and some entertainment.

The best beaches with a beautiful Caribbean Sea without waves start from about 5.5 kilometers of Kukulkan Boulevard (which is behind the Nechupte Canal) and stretch to Punta Cancun - the place where Kukulkan Boulevard makes a 90-degree turn and has a bend.

From hotels with beaches:

5-star The Tower by Temptation Cancun Resort - All Inclusive - Adults Only booking only for adults, working on the "all inclusive" system

5-star resort The Villas at The Royal Cancun - All Suites Resort booking, working on the "all inclusive" system

5-star Breathless Cancun Soul Resort & Spa booking, working on the "all inclusive" system

5-star Riu Palace Peninsula Resort - All Inclusive booking, working on the "all inclusive" system

Beaches without waves or with small waves (depending on the weather), as well as moderately deep sea waters are located in the area of Punta Cancun - the bend of the spit. In this place, the beach strip has white and soft sand, the sea water is mostly clean and calm, there are small waves. The depth is great for swimming.

Also, this part of the hotel zone can attract by the fact that here is the most developed part of the hotel zone, where along Kukulkan Boulevard there are shops and souvenir shops, shopping centers, a large supermarket "Chedraui" with a good food court on the top floor, currency exchangers, nightclubs, cafes, bars and restaurants. This is the busiest and most developed part of the Cancun hotel zone.

From hotels:

5-star Fiesta Americana Cancun Villas Resort booking

5-star Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort Cancun booking, working on the "all inclusive" system

Among the hotels in this part of Cancun, the 5-star Hyatt Ziva Cancun Resort is particularly attractive, operating on an all-inclusive system and representing a single complex hotel consisting of:

- The 5-star Hyatt Ziva Cancun Resort, which is designed for guests of all ages. Link to the hotel booking

- The 5-star Turquoise Resort at Hyatt Ziva Cancun - Adults Only - All Inclusive, designed for adults only. Link to the hotel booking

Beyond the turn of Punka Cancun and up to the 22nd kilometer of the spit (up to Punta Nizuk), the beaches are a single beach strip with light and soft sand, which becomes a little harder as you move away from the turn.

Here the coast is open to the ocean and there are always waves, and the sea water is a beautiful color. It is this color of water that can often be seen in advertising and in photographs. There is also a good depth here, but it is almost impossible to swim in the sea because of the constant waves.

From hotels:

5-star Royalton CHIC Cancun Resort, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort - Adults Only booking, working on the "all inclusive" system

5-star Hyatt Zilara Cancun Resort - All Inclusive - Adults Only booking, working on the "all inclusive" system

The Ritz-Carlton Cancun 5-star Resort booking, working on the "all inclusive" system

For reef lovers, Punta Nizuk or Punta Nisuk (Nizuc) is a quiet green area with a coral reef and places for snorkeling, diving and watching marine animals. You can go kayaking on the Nichupte Lagoon, which is inhabited by manatees and turtles.

In the area there are small beaches of the same name Nisuk (Playa Nizuc) without waves, which are popular among water sports enthusiasts and vacationers looking for privacy.

Punta Nisuk is located from 23 to 25 kilometers of the hotel zone.

From hotels:

5-star Resort & Spa Hotel Nizuc Resort & Spa booking

3-star Residence Inn by Marriott Cancun Hotel Zone booking

Learn more about all the beaches and hotel zone of Cancun with photos...

Downtown Cancun

Downtown Cancun (downtown) is unremarkable. It was built for local residents working in the tourist area of hotels.

Today, downtown also has hotels and apartments, shops and supermarkets, cafes and restaurants.

In downtown Cancun, hotels are more budget-friendly, but you will have to take buses to the beaches.

The most convenient place to stop in the city is near Tulum Avenue. So there will be a Cancun bus station nearby, which is convenient for traveling around Yucatan, and buses run along the avenue that go to the beaches in the hotel zone.

There are small squares, monuments and monuments in dauntan.

Downtown Cancun has one Nino or Nino beach (Playa El Niño).

The beach has a Blue Flag award, but is not popular among tourists.

There is large yellow sand on the beach, there are algae. The sea water is calm and quite shallow. Boats and speedboats are moored near the beach.

!!! There are American standard sockets in Mexico. Not all hotel outlets are adapted or there are adapters, either already in the room or at the reception. You can bring an adapter with you (if available) or buy it on the spot in stores for 35-50 pesos.

Food in Cancun

In Cancun, especially in the area of hotels (on the spit), there are many cafes, restaurants, coffee shops and bars where you can find dishes for every taste: snacks, salads, soups, pasta, pizza, fish, seafood, steaks, burgers, etc. There are also several Starbucks coffee shops.

In the area of Punta Cancun (the turn of the spit) there is a large supermarket "Chedraui" with a good food court on the top floor.

In the large shopping center La Isla, located at 12.5 kilometers of Kukulkan Boulevard, catering is well developed and there is a cafe-shop "Ah Cacao Chocolate Cafe" with delicious Mexican chocolate. More about La Isla Shopping Center...

In the city and the hotel area there are cafes with local Mexican dishes, such as tacos, quesadillas, nachos with guacamole, etc. In these cafes, prices are lower than in cafes with other cuisines.

Of alcohol in Cancun, beer is especially popular, both local and imported, also, of course, tequila, which can be found in a wide variety in shops and supermarkets, and other alcohol - wine, whiskey, rum, vodka, etc.

Attractions and entertainment of Cancun

Cancun can not boast of sights.

In the city, near the beaches, there are several small archaeological areas with remnants of Mayan ruins:

- not far from Nino Beach (2 kilometers) on the coast of El Meco is the archaeological zone of the ancient Mayan city El Meco Archaeological Site. Address: Carretera Puerto Juaréz, López Portillo, 85, 77520 Cancun;

- across the pedestrian and driveway from the Delfines beach there are archaeological excavations of the remnants of the Maya civilization - the ruins of El Rey (El Rey Archaeological Zone). Not far from the beach there is a golf club, a diving center and a Mayan archaeological site with the museum "Zona Arqueologica de San Miguelito";

- through the lobby of The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa Cancun 5-star Resort & Spa booking

One of the most visited places of interest in the hotel zone of Cancun are inscriptions with large multicolored letters "CANCUN", of which there are several. The most recognizable inscriptions are located near the Langosta Beach (Playa Langosta) at 5.5 kilometers of Kukulkan Boulevard and near the Delfines Beach (Playa Delfines) at 17.5 kilometers.

Letters near Langosta Beach

Letters near Delphines Beach

In the hotel area, at the bend of the spit (Punta Cancun), there is a rocky cliff with beautiful views of the sea and the coast, and where the old lighthouse (Punta Cancun lighthouse, Faro de Punta Cancun), which is a local landmark, is located.

You can walk up the cliff to the lighthouse along the beaches through the 5-star Hyatt Ziva Cancun Resort booking. If the security of the hotel approaches, then it is necessary to say that you are going to the lighthouse, and they will let you through without any problems.

There are churches in the city. The Parroquia de Cristo Resucitado Church is located 3.5 kilometers from the Hotelier's area.

From entertainment in Cancun:

- beach and sea entertainment and access to the open sea for swimming, fishing, snorkeling or diving. You can walk around the Nichupte lagoon by boat or boat (there are berths with rental of watercraft near the shores of the lagoon);

- beach and night clubs, bars with entertainment programs. The most famous are the famous beach and night club "Coco Bongo", and the beach club "Mandala Beach Club", located on the bend of the spit of the hotel zone in the Punta Cancun area;

- 80-meter tower with a closed rotating observation deck "Torre Escenica del Embarcadero de Cancun" (lift is paid), located near the 4-star resort Occidental Costa Cancun - All Inclusive booking (at the Nichupte Canal);

- pirate ships "Captain Hook Cancun", which go to sea in the evening and arrange themed shows with dinner for visitors (entertainment is paid). The ships are moored at the Nichupte Canal, there are also ticket offices there;

- in the shopping center "La Isla Shopping Village" (La Isla Cancun Shopping Village) there is a casino, a Ferris wheel and an interactive aquarium where you can get acquainted with more than 140 species of marine life and enjoy various activities for children and adults, including swimming with dolphins and sharks.

Near Cancun there is an amusement park "Ventura Park" with water slides, dolphinarium, zipline, go-karting and other entertainment. Website: venturapark.

In the hotel area, you can take a tour on a tour bus.

Where to go from Cancun

Yucatan is rich in attractions, therefore, relaxing in Cancun and other resorts of Yucatan, it will be more interesting if you do not finish your vacation with beaches, but travel around the peninsula.

You can travel around Yucatan by public buses (sometimes you will have to travel with transfers to get to one or another attraction), a rented car (which is more convenient if you want to visit several places of the peninsula on your own), a taxi or with organized excursions.

Car rental in Cancun (all places) →

Taxi in Mexico and across Yucatan →

The attractions of Yucatan can be divided into several categories:

- boat trips and visits to nearby islands:

  • Akumal, washed by waters with a coral reef and tropical fish, is considered a bay of sea turtles of the Tortuga verde species. Diving and snorkeling can be enjoyed on Akumal's north beach. There are diving centers in Akumala. Also in Akumala there are beaches with white sand and all the necessary infrastructure,

  • the island of Isla Mujeres (Isla Mujeres, which translates as "the Island of Women"), near which there is a famous museum of underwater sculptures (MUSA - Museo Subacuatico de Arte). This is a beautiful island with excellent sandy beaches, all the necessary infrastructure and attractions, which is located in the Caribbean Sea near the mainland, opposite Cancun,

  • uninhabited nature reserve of the island of Contoy (Isla Contoy) with valuable specimens of Caribbean flora and fauna,

  • the largest island in Mexico is Cozumel (Cozumel, which translates as "Swallow Island"), where residential towns, ruins of a temple complex, cenotes, beaches and snorkeling and diving near a large coral reef are located;

- archaeological - the cultural and historical wealth of Yucatan, which was left to the descendants of ancient civilizations. From archaeology, ancient cities are particularly impressive:

  • Chichen Itza is an archaeological site that is recognized as one of the new seven wonders of the world and is one of the most impressive ancient cities of the Maya culture,

  • Ek Balam - ruins of a traditional Mayan village with a temple and a pyramid,

  • The archaeological zone of Tulum (Zona Arqueologica de Tulum) is the ruins of a Mayan city near a cliff and sea waters, including fortress walls, several entrances, watchtowers, a main road, a temple, palaces and the remains of other buildings,

  • The archaeological site in Coba (Zona Arqueologica de Coba) is one of the oldest and largest Mayan cities in Yucatan. In the park you can climb one of the highest ancient structures in Yucatan - the pyramid of Nohoch-Mul. Also in the park there is an extensive network of roads with the ruins of majestic buildings;

- interesting cities of Yucatan, which include:

  • colonial cityValladolid with a cathedral, a bright historical part, a monastery of the 16th century, churches, cenote and museums,
  • the colonial fortress city of San Francisco de Campeche (San Francisco de Campeche) with fortifications, a bright historical part, a cathedral, churches and a museum,
  • the small town of Celestun, which has beaches near the Gulf of Mexico,
  • the capital of the state of Yucatan is a large city by local standards, Merida, which houses a zoo, a cathedral, a monastery, a municipal palace and museums;

- natural, which include: cenotes, which are many in the Yucatan and in which you can swim, pink lake Las co (Las Coloradas), national Park of sian Kaan (Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka'an) and the cave of the Jaguar or Balankanche (Grutas de Balancanche) artifacts, stalagmites and stalactites, which has about 500 metres in length;

- entertainment - amusement parks and stories, the best of which include:

  • ethnic and entertainment park Iskaret or "I am Mexico" (Parque Xcaret) with the cultural sights of Mexico, the ruins of the May civilization, caves, gorges, underground rivers and places for snorkeling. The park has more than 50 attractions, an aquarium, a butterfly farm, an aviary, a show and more,
  • Xplor Extreme Park, in which: several ziplines, a raft ride, swimming and rafting in an underground river with grottoes and caves, racing on amphibious all-terrain vehicles, flying over the abyss in a hanging hammock, bungee jumping, suspension bridges and a buffet. There are day and evening tickets to the park,
  • natural entertainment park Xel-ha (Parque Xel-ha), where you can snorkel without restrictions in the bay that flows into the Caribbean Sea; climb the observation lighthouse; ride a bike along the paths in the jungle; swim along the river; try yourself in a zipline; jump into the water from the stone of courage or with a rope and feel the excitement on the highest of the slides in Cancun and the entire Riviera Maya,
  • natural eco-amusement and recreation park Tankah with a Mayan village with the traditions of everyday life and culture of the people; cenotes, reservoirs, canoe, bungee and zipline,
  • Xoximilco Theme Park has a festive atmosphere of Mexico in music, dancing and games.

More information about the sights of Yucatan and where to go from Cancun can be found here →

Excursions in Cancun and outside the city

Excursions in Cancun are mainly trips outside the resort in Yucatan and to nearby islands.

Excursions can be purchased on site or ordered online via the Internet

From Cancun, with a day trip, you can go to the capital of Mexico - the city of Mexico, while visiting the most significant archaeological excavations of the ancient city of Teotihuacan in Mexico

Currency exchange in Cancun. Currency of Mexico

The currency of Mexico and, accordingly, in Cancun is the Mexican peso, which is designated on price tags as MXN, but more often as $ - the same as the US dollar, only in Mexico it will be the peso.

It is most profitable to pay in Cancun in the local currency - the peso.

In many cafes, restaurants, bars and shops (especially hotel areas), you can pay in dollars or euros, but the rate is likely to be underestimated.

It will not be difficult to exchange currency in Cancun, especially in the hotel zone. This can be done in exchangers (they are called "money exchange"), banks (the exchange rate in banks is more profitable, a passport is required for exchange), as well as at the receptions of some hotels. There are exchangers at Cancun airport as well.

Bank cards are also accepted for payment. In city buses, payment is only in cash. Cash from bank cards can be withdrawn at ATMs.

In the course of exchange, euros and American dollars are especially common.

How to get to Cancun and to the hotel; get around the hotel area

The nearest airport to the city center and the beaches of Cancun is Cancun International Airport, which accepts/sends both international and domestic flights, including from (to) the USA, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Turkey, Russia, etc.Flights to Cancun →

You can get to the hotel from Cancun International Airport by public buses with a transfer in downtown Cancun, as well as directly by taxi or rented car.

More information about how to get from Cancun Airport to the center of Cancun and the hotel zone can be found here →

Taxis and buses to Cancun (bus station in downtown) can be reached from other resorts and cities of Yucatan, as well as Mexico.

All taxis in Cancun →

You can move around the hotel zone of Cancun on foot, by taxi, by car or by buses R1 or R2, which run almost around the clock along the entire hotel zone of Cancun and connect the hotel zone with downtown Cancun.

Practical information

Visa issues for entry to Mexico and also Cancun depend on your country of residence (citizenship) and the time you are going to spend in Mexico. Therefore, we recommend checking this information and all other conditions of entry/ exit to the country on the websites of consulates (embassies) Mexico.

To visit Mexico and Cancun, for personal safety and peace of mind, it is necessary to have travel insurance, which can be purchased, including online. Travel insurance →

All accommodation facilities in Cancun, including in the hotel zone (on the first and second lines) and in the city center (downtown), can be viewed and booked here booking

Useful for trips / travel

Trip Planner →

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