Cancun Beaches – The Top Most Vacation Hotspot in Mexico
Consider the destructive effects Hurricane Wilma had on the Yucatan region in 2005—drowned shores, demolished storefronts, and upturned boats but in less than 10 years, Cancun snapped back to recovery and today this skinny “7”-shaped barrier island in southeastern Mexico is back to being one of the most popular and affordable holiday destinations in Mexico with spectacular beaches, a vibrant nightlife, colorful ambiance, amazing restaurants, cultural hotspots, golfing and water sports.
There’s so much to see and do in Cancun that no matter what your passion is, you’ll find your little pocket of paradise.
Beaches & Water Sports
Most travelers visit Cancun for its beaches and no one comes back complaining! Cancun’s beaches are some of the most prized in Mexico and most of them are publicly accessible. Some of the most popular beaches along the north side of the hotel zone are Playa Langosta or Playa Tortugas and on the southeast coast is Playa Delfines. These areas are perfect for water sports, including jet skiing, parasailing and snorkeling. Cancún’s diving conditions are also ideal. The water is clear throughout the year, and the shallow waters provide a wonderful environment for new divers. Many ship wrecks and caverns offer exciting challenges to the more experienced divers, while large reefs allow travelers a sighting of the area’s exuberant marine life that consists of dolphins, anemones, cave sharks, barracuda, starfish, lobster, and scorpion fish.
It is not without reason that Cancun is known as the nightlife epicenter of the Yucatan. The city has a vibrant nightlife that will keep you up until the crack of dawn. With several impressive beachside restaurants, coffee spots, clubs and music venues, you will have absolutely no trouble staying busy in this city. But stay safe: Party in groups and stay out of the ocean at night.
Cancún has an array of restaurants serving varied cuisines. The area specializes in regional Mexican food and fresh seafood dishes, but North American and European restaurants are also very popular. For classic Mexican food and drinks you can check out Calypso’s. For more elegant menu, head to the moderately priced ‘Labna’ which is quite popular amongst travelers and serves authentic Yucateco food in huge portions.
Explore the inland jungles in a Hummer or a jeep, swim with the dolphins or interact with other marine life. There are quite a few tour companies that specialize in exploring the area’s vast forests.
Cancún’s cultural importance is often overlooked. The area is within driving distance of many Mayan ruins sites such as Tulum, Chichen Itza and Coba. All these sites are accessible by bus from Cancún and make great cultural day trips. When visiting Cancun, you just cannot afford to miss out on the chance to witness Chichen Itza, a large Mayan archaeological site that features on the list the “New Seven Wonders Of The World”.
Best Time to Visit Cancun
The best time to visit Cancún is during the peak season i.e. from December to April. Even though the crowds are larger, you will experience near-perfect weather and may find some good hotel deals as well. But if you are looking for real economical deals, avoid that period and aim for a trip at the beginning of May, when the off-season begins and many hotels offer discounted prices. There are also significant discounts in late spring, summer, and fall, but Cancún summers are scorching and the fall months are prone to bad storms. Try to avoid traveling from mid-March to early April as that is when Spring Breakers descend on the Yucatán’s shores.
A rental car is not a necessity in Cancun since the area is well-served by public transportation like buses and taxis. Buses are the most economical and most organized ways to get around the city, especially as a first-time tourist. Taxis are easily available but can be expensive.
There’s no doubt that Cancun’s beaches are beautiful and inviting, but the deceptive currents and undertows on some stretches of the beach can spell danger for even the strongest swimmers. Pay attention to the flags upon the lifeguard towers–red means it is dangerous to swim, black means it is too dangerous. Be very careful and alert at night, especially in popular nightclubs. Do not flash money or sport expensive jewelry.
Some valuable tips for vacationing in Cancun
- A vacation rental furnished with a kitchen is usually cheaper than a high-end hotel and is a good choice for a family group.
- The most affordable accommodations are located in the city center. Most of these hostels and budget hotels are within walking distance to Cancun’s shopping and restaurant district.
- To avoid being overcharged when traveling by taxi, agree on a fare before entering the vehicle.
- When you arrive at Cancun airport you must use the airport’s own taxi system as other taxis are restricted from collecting passengers from the airport.
- Cancún is swarming with timeshare representatives. They will try to grab your attention at the airport, the hotel lobbies, and around the shopping areas. Don’t stop to chit-chat with them. If you are not interested, give a polite but firm, “No, thank you” and get going.
- The workers here take a little ‘disco nap’ every afternoon. Expect activity to come to a standstill from about 1 to 4 p.m.
- It is a great idea to learn a foreign language, but purchasing a Spanish phrasebook just for your trip to Cancún would be a real waste. Nearly everyone speaks and understands English here.
- Use the buses to move around in Cancun. They’re reliable, abundant and very economical.
- Cancún overflows with all-inclusive resorts. Some of the best packages include all your meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, gym access, and even tip.
- Pack lightweight resort clothing as most of the areas around Cancun have a casual dress code.
- Unless the hotel or restaurant uses a water purifier, avoid drinking the water anywhere in Cancun. Pick up bottled water from grocery stores.
- As you go looking for handicrafts, souvenirs and other goodies, haggle for the best price with the vendors to bag yourself a great bargain.
About the author: Martin Cowell is a Cancun real estate expert. When he is not selling & buying homes and condos, he travels cooks and blogs. You can reach him through his website www.iownakumal.com
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