Peak seasons lead to overcrowded restaurants and long waits
The appearance of the 288-room adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cancun goes against the often bad reputation all-inclusives have gained. Suites appear updated and buck traditional room layouts with a centrally located bed and spacious balcony (some are even swim-out). The bathrooms boast massive walk-in showers and Jacuzzi tubs with killer views. The quality of the food is surprisingly good and varied, including the convenient 24-hour VIP lounge. But like many all-inclusive properties, basic amenities can get crowded fast: Expect to fight for chairs by the pool or for dinner reservations at a decent hour. The vibe is also slightly older, so young couples or spring breakers may want to consider staying elsewhere. And families, of course, steer clear (no guests under the age of 16 are allowed).
The Hyatt Zilara Cancun is located in the heart of the Hotel Zone, a 23-minute drive to the airport. It is a great spot for those who want a beautiful, half-empty beach -- restaurants (aside from U.S. chains like Chili's and Outback Steakhouse), shops, and the tourist-oriented Cancun nightlife are a quick drive to the north.
The Zona Hotelera (or Hotel Zone) is the megaresort, mega-mall area in La Isla Cancun that caters to mass tourism. The nightlife is one of its main draws, as are its shops and restaurants -- but there's little of Cancun's original flavor here. To get a hint of what that is, you'll have to take a cab to Ciudad Cancun, the real downtown, where smaller, better restaurants, local shops, and quieter bars are located.
23-minute drive to the airport
18-minute drive to downtown Cancun (Ciudad Cancun)
40-minute drive to snorkeling and quiet beaches in Puerto Morelos
1-hour drive to Playa del Carmen, a laid-back and bustling town with great shopping, and a well-heeled crowd
1-hour-45-minute drive to the Mayan ruins at Tulum
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