Cancun is a tale of two cities, with the Zona Hotelera giving magnificent Caribbean beaches and Maya culture and Cancun Centro providing the local feel.
It is clear from one glance at Cancun’s azure Caribbean waters why developers were so keen to establish the region as Mexico’s next major vacation destination back in the 1970s. Cancun is a beach lover’s paradise with 19 kilometres of pristine white sand beaches in the Zona Hotelera and a more tranquil 15 km of coastline north of the city. Between Km 4 and Km 9, on the north side of the Zona Hotelera, you’ll find some of the most swimmable seas, while Isla Blanca, to the north of Cancun Centro, beckons with its extensive, comparatively unspoilt shoreline.
Cancun is typically associated with a chaotic party scene. But don’t worry—in between the fiestas, you can also learn about Maya culture. A must-see attraction is the Museo Maya de Cancn, a top-notch museum with 400 Maya antiquities on exhibit. The San Miguelito archaeological site is also highly recommended. To spend a day exploring different ruins, travel 2 km south to El Rey, which is renowned for its small temple and numerous ceremonial platforms. Cancun’s Maya sites might not be as impressive as, say, Chichén Itzá, but when combined with a museum visit, they offer fascinating historical context.
Cancun’s eclectic culinary scene keeps your stomach completely satisfied, offering everything from Michelin-starred haute cuisine in the Zona Hotelera to Yucatecan comfort food and evocative downtown taco shops. Aside from panuchos, a bean-filled fried tortilla snack, and cochinita pibil, which is slow-roasted pork with achiote and orange juice, thatch-roofed eateries serving premium fresh fish and shellfish provide yet another dimension to the unique eating experience. A rising number of restaurants that specialise in modern Mexican food use native Maya and Caribbean traditions to create creative regional meals.
The activities available in Cancun will be especially appreciated by outdoor enthusiasts and kids. In addition to ocean dives, you may connect with trips to explore neighbouring cenotes (limestone sinkholes) and their interesting underwater cave systems. The area has great diving and snorkelling spots, including a well-known underwater sculpture museum. Isla Contoy, an uninhabited island that offers fantastic hiking, bird-watching, and snorkelling opportunities, is a perfect day excursion for nature lovers from Cancun. Of course, there’s also the beach, where you can go swimming, kayaking, or kiteboarding.