Situated on the southeast coast of Mexico, in the state of Quintana Roo, in the Yucatan peninsula- the city of Cancun is a strong contender for the top spot for an ideal Caribbean vacation. Looking back in time, it is almost impossible to believe that a city bestowed with so many tourist attractions could not find private investors when it had first started its makeover in 1974. But times were different then. Cancun then, was more like a small village occupied only by fishermen and had miles of uninhabited beaches. The hotels, a majority of which are five stars, occupying the seventeen-mile stretch called ‘hotel zone’, on the Caribbean shore, tell an altogether different story today.
Ancient Mayan ruins, water activities, the luxury of grand hotels, and the aroma of savory fajitas served at Mexican eateries by cordial native owners- all these sights and experiences, come together to form the memory of a trip to Cancun.
The specialty of Cancun is that it offers everything from adventure activities, eating out and entertainment, in a well-planned and executed setting that does complete justice to its natural gifts. As a result, even popular activities like golfing, zip lining or a massage at a nice spa, all carry the distinct stamp of Cancun.Shoppers need not despair as Cancun has a good many options for shoppers too, starting from the La Isla Shopping Village that houses chic urban designer wear, to departmental stores in Plaza Las Americas, and the famous flea market called Market 28 (Mercado 28 among locals). If you are in the mind for true relaxation; then after a playful bout in the Caribbean waters, a de-stressing spa is just what you need. Thirty spa resorts await you here in Cancun. You can even visit the Anti Aging Center where they will use the latest advancements in beauty treatments to turn round the clock, or you can opt for a nice Mayan massage. Cancun is also very popular as a wedding destination.
Map of Cancun
Interesting Facts about Cancun
- Based on the Mayan translation of Cancun (Kaan kun), the name means ‘nest of snakes’.
- In 1970, before development activities began, Cancun had only three residents who were caretakers of a coconut plantation.
- The first nine hotels in Cancun were financed by the Mexican government, since private investors did not see any scope of returns from an investment here.
Where is Cancun?
Cancun is located in the Yuca´tan peninsula of southeastern Mexico, in the state of Quintana Roo.
How to reach Cancun ?
Reach by air
The best way an international traveler can reach Cancun is by taking a flight to the Cancun International Airport. The Cancun International Airport lies 16 km southwest of Cancun City and is the most modern airport in Mexico in terms of facilities. You can take the Carretera Tulum- Cancu´n/ Mexico 307 highway to get to Cancun City.
Reach by rail
There are no rail connections to Cancun.
Reach By Water
Cancun is well-serviced by its waterways. You can easily reach Cancun by a cruise ship or a regular passenger ship from the USA or South America. You can also arrive at Cancun by ferries from other Mexican towns like Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Manzanillo, Mazatia´n, Puerto Vallarta, Tampico, and Zihutanejo. However, if you would like a more comfortable traveling option, take Bus One- it is a fully air -conditioned bus traveling in the Hotel Zone and costs 11 pesos.
Reach By road
There is a bus station on Avenida Tulum from where buses will get you out of Cancun to any other Mexican town. Similarly, if you have to enter Cancun by road, opt for a bus that drops you off at the bus station in Avenida Tulum.
Getting around Cancun
Buses are the most affordable and convenient way to get around Cancun. A small charge of 8.5 pesos will take you from the Hotel Zone to anywhere else in the city. R1, R2, R15 and R27 are the buses that take you from the hotel zone to different important parts of the town like the Walmart store, Market 28 in Downtown Cancun, Puerto Juarez and Plaza Las Americas.
Best time to visit Cancun
Cancun has a tropical climate. According to the Koppen Aw system of classification, Cancun has a wet and dry climate. The annual mean temperature is around 27ºC or 80º F. Owing to the sea-breezes temperatures hardly soar above 35ºC or 95ºF. It rains on around 115 days a year.
November to February are the best months to visit when the cool sea breezes blow. Temperatures start to increase around March but are still bearable, weather too is dry.
May to September are, however the hottest and wettest months (wet due to the hurricane season), and a visit should to Cancun should be postponed to more favorable months.
Places to Visit in Cancun
Xcaret Eco Theme Park
The Xcaret Eco Theme Park presents a buffet of colorful Mexican culture and the natural attractions of Cancun- all tastefully garnished and served inside one big theme park for someone who would like to taste all of Cancun in one go. The theme park affords the happy possibility of swimming with jolly dolphins or swimming in an underground river. Another place where you can spend an entire day is the biggest natural aquarium in the world, aptly named- Xel Ha- the place where water is born. At El Garrafon Natural Reef Park you can snorkel and admire the coral reefs.
Xplor Cancun Park
The Xplor Cancun Park is a wonderful journey not only into the wonder -world of underground caves, but also into the earth’s past. Xplor is located at a stone’s throw from the Xcaret Park. At Xplor, you can truly explore fun activities in the most fascinating natural surroundings- zip line across lush green tropical vegetation, swim inside caves under the beautiful stalactites, and take your roaring jeep through underground lanes. The aquariums in Cancun, though, diametrically opposite in concept, are fun too. Here you can have closely monitored encounters with sharks, or your baby can kiss a dolphin calf. Environment-friendly eco-tours are plenty in Cancun. To book an authentic tour operator check up the travel site of Cancun and find the best deals. Some famous tour operators are Alltournative, We Go Mexico, and Elite Cyclery Bike Tours. Each of them has its own specialty. One provides biking tours while one brings you into close contact with real Mayan culture and local people.
Islands In Cancun
Cancun is also the base location for visiting famous nearby islands like Holbox, Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres. A fishermen’s village, Holbox is the perfect tranquil escape for anyone who rates unspoiled natural beaches over touristy adventure spots. You can enjoy the sun go down at the Holbock beach while dolphins and turtles quietly swim ashore, pelicans fly homeward and flamingos perch on the ground admiring the dramatic effect of the sunset on their startling orange feathers. A bird lover would do well to visit Isla Contoy, which is home to more than a hundred migratory and resident birds. Isla Contoy is also famous for ‘Tikinxik’- a traditional Mayan dish made with seared fish. Another tiny island whose size belies its beauty is the Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres deserves special mention as it is a complete vacation spot by itself. Hotels, restaurants and beach clubs- catering to every pocket and taste, can be found here. A visit to the Mayan ruins in the day can be followed by an evening of dancing to the strums of a vihuela.
Cancun Night Life
Finally comes the eternal question that makes or breaks the deal for any destination vying for the top spot- does Cancun have a night life? The answer is a resounding yes. The City is the largest and most happening entertainment center in all of Latin America, and it is right in the heart of Cancun. It boasts names like Fergie, Akon, American Eagle, MTV, Paris Hilton and many more. There are many more night clubs like Senor Frogs, Mandala, SHAH, Palazzo, Dady O and Coco Bongo.
Golf Courses In Cancun
Cancun is a dream vacation for golfers as well. Minds of world -class golfers and golf-course architects like Jack William Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones, Jr, Robert Von Hagge, P.B. Dye and many more, have come together to design these top-notch golf- courses. These fabulous courses present golfers with a field of vision encompassing lush tropical vegetation, gentle sloping knolls, aquamarine waters, and Mayan temples. A number of golf clubs in Cancun ensure that a golfer, be he of any skill level, has plenty of options.
More about Cancun
Explore more through Cancun Infographic
What are the coordinates of Cancun?
The coordinates of Cancun are 21.16º N and 86.84º W.
What are the attractions near Cancun?
Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy, Isla Holbox, Cities of Valladolid and Merida, Puerto Juarez, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Punta Allen
Image credit : MardetanhaPublished On: Thursday, November 27th, 2014