Hotel Zone, Cancun Travel Guide
Hotel Zone Summary
- The Hotel Zone is one of the world’s top beach destinations, with beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters
- It's the gateway to world-famous Chichen Itza and Tulum Mayan ruins
- Bustling nightlife, great shopping and excellent dining
- All beaches are public
- Great snorkeling in the area’s shallow reefs
- Hotel options for every budget
- Well-paved roads
- Parking is free at most hotels and restaurants
- English is spoken almost everywhere you go
- Family-friendly activities abound
- Generally safe
- Crowds everywhere -- the Hotel Zone caters to mass tourism
- Strong undertow off the Caribbean beaches
- Expensive taxis -- foreign tourists are charged double, and guests of expensive hotels pay more
- Hurricane season (from August through November)
- Local culture lost to tourism
What It's Like
The Hotel Zone is the soul of mass tourism in Cancun. Dozens of megaresorts line miles and miles of postcard beaches where guests lounge in the sun margarita in hand. Hotels here cater to spring breakers, hard partiers, young couples and rowdy groups with night-long parties, loud entertainment, cheap booze and all-inclusive plans. But they also boast some of the best ocean views in the area, with most rooms overlooking either the tranquil lagoon or the blue Caribbean. Surprisingly, most hotels are also very family-friendly, with great kids' clubs, waterparks, and dozens of daily activities for the young guests.
Those who venture outside their resort will find a wide array of great shops, restaurants, bars and clubs in every direction, and Ciudad Cancun, with its traditional Mexican businesses and strong local flavor, is an easy drive away. However, there’s no trace of local culture in the Hotel Zone: It's a bit like a huge mall that happens to have gorgeous beaches and nightlife.
The southern part of the Hotel Zone is quieter and feels a world apart, but it has the convenience of proximity to the airport, and to the shopping and dining areas, without being in the thick of the action. Also, beaches are less crowded and generally drunkard-free, and have the white sand and crystalline waters.
Where to Stay
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 northern side of the Hotel Zone. But those looking for some R&R or for a quieter spot closer to the airport might consider the southern end a better pick.