Cancun brings to mind passed-out American spring breakers, margaritas in hand, on a postcard beach. But really, that’s only one side of it.
There are two Cancuns: The Zona Hotelera in Isla Cancun, which is the mega-resort, mega-mall area that caters to mass tourism, and Ciudad Cancun, which is the original downtown area and where locals actually live and have their businesses.
Thousands of spring breakers, honeymooners, old couples, families and young groups of friends flow into Cancun every year, making it one of the world’s top beach destinations. Its turquoise waters, beautiful stretches of sand, and night-long parties are a main draw here, but there’s a lot to do besides going to the beach. Cancun is the gateway to the breathtaking Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum (Coba is also nearby, but is less well-preserved). Even for those planning to spend most of their time in lounge chair, these centuries-old archaeological sites are well worth a visit.
If all you need is a beautiful beach and a self-contained megaresort close to the party area, you’ll probably have a great time in the Hotel Zone. But if you'd prefer a more authentic experience and don't mind being a 10-minute cab ride from the beach, consider Ciudad Cancun. Here, you’ll find cheaper, smaller hotels, and a wide array of traditional and international restaurants and shops. Either way, you’ll have easy access to the stunning Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum.
Dec. 15 - April
May - Dec. 15
Aug. - Nov.
Varies; U.S., Canadian and European citizens don't need a visa
110 volts AC; 60 cycles
15% in restaurants