Mecca of tourism in Mexico, Cancun is a dream destination for many vacationers and tourists. At the mere announcement of its name, we can already see turquoise sea, white sand, radiant sunshine, idleness on the beach, cocktails with melodious names, but not only. Cancun also rhymes with discovering a rich historical heritage and adventure in nature with lush vegetation. Whatever your desire to get away, it is the ideal destination, but before packing up, let’s go back a bit to its history and its tourist attractions.
According to archaeological excavations, the current site of Cancun was occupied from pre-Columbian times. Until 16e century, everything suggests that it was an important stop on a trade route taken by the Mayas when they had to go to Honduras.
Discover the Maya civilization
The site was discovered by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba in 1517. The name Cancun did not appear on documents, including a map, until the 18e century.
This name would mean “snake hole”, “snake nest” or “snake throne” in the Mayan language.
In the 1960s, the site was only occupied by a few fishermen. However, it had great prospects for tourism and this is how the government decided to transform it into a seaside resort. As early as 1969, various tourist infrastructures were built there, especially hotels. The first hotel establishment was inaugurated in 1974 and when the tourist sector exploded, the city grew rapidly and the population only increased from year to year.
The city is now equipped with an international airport which is the largest in Mexico after that of Mexico City. Even though it ranks second in terms of size, it rises to first place in terms of passenger traffic. Indeed, the majority of tourists often take a direct flight to Cancun before reaching other Mexican cities by domestic flights or by road. Not only is it more convenient for those who only want a stay in the sun, but in addition, tickets to Cancun are cheaper than those to the capital. It is therefore a good plan that many vacationers use to better manage their mexico vacation budget.
Cancun, a city with two faces
Located in the northeast of Yucatanin the state of Quintana Roo and on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, the city of Cancun is divided into two sections:
- the “beaches” area where hotels, restaurants and everything related to nautical activities are concentrated. It occupies a strip of land, only 23 km wide between the Nichupte lagoon and the Caribbean Sea.
- the urban area, where the inhabitants live and where they have their little daily habits: work, market, shops, … It is also in the center that the institutions of the city are located
Most tourists prefer the beach area, but the more adventurous know that the center of Cancun is not to be overlooked given the number of activities it offers.
You should know that in recent years, the city center has undergone many important changes and has been provided with new private and public buildings as well as new original landscapes. Some of the city’s best bars and restaurants are also located here, so after your days at the beach, why not pop into town for a fun night out with the locals? Warm and welcoming, they will introduce you to their festive and culinary traditions.
Tourism in Cancun
We mainly talk about “mass tourism” when we talk about Cancun. This was also the objective of the government when it decided to transform it into a seaside resort. Today, it remains among the top destinations in the world, not only for its postcard-worthy setting, but also because year after year the city offers new modern leisure facilities and convenient new services for delight visitors. During your stay in this city, here are some activities to do and sites to discover…
Located northwest of Cancun, Holbox is approximately 42 km long. It is separated from the mainland coast of Mexico by a shallow lagoon that provides refuge to thousands of flamingos, pelicans and other exotic birds. Most of the inhabitants live from fishing. It is common to see fishermen walking across the island with their catch of the day. The streets are made of white sand, common to the Caribbean islands.
It is a pristine tourist destination because very few foreigners visit it. Its natural beauty makes all its charm so if you are looking for superb beaches away from the crowds, this is where you should put your bags.
Also, know that Holbox is known to be one of the best sites for stargazing.
- The Mayan Museum of Cancun:
Home to one of the most important collections of Mayan art in Mexico, the new modern museum offers a real spectacle in a city known more for its atmosphere than for its cultural attractions. You will discover some 350 pieces found in key sites around and within the peninsula. Among them are jewelry, ceramics and sculptures. One of the three temporary exhibition halls is part of the Maya-theme.
The Cancún Museum of Anthropology, which stood next to the convention center, was closed in 2006 due to structural damage caused by hurricanes. It now has reinforced glazing. The entrance price includes access to the ruins of San Miguelito, which you absolutely must discover.
- The Nichupté Lagoon:
Escape the crowds of Cancun and enjoy a beautiful cruise on the Nichupté Lagoon tasting delicious lobster and listening to the mysterious sounds of the jungle. It’s an unforgettable experience not to be missed to break the “beach-sea-sand-hotel” routine.
Aboard one of the boats that sail on the lagoon, you will enjoy admiring the sunset, which takes on magical hues in Cancun. When the sun has set on the horizon, the cruise continues with a delicious dinner followed by a festive evening. On the program: games, prizes, entertainment and dancing.
Sail through the Caribbean Sea to reach this tropical island located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Baptized Isla Mujeres, this piece of land invites you to a day of relaxation in the Robinson Crusoe of modern times.
Isla Mujeres is an island entirely dedicated to tourism. It is home to many scuba diving sites. 8 km long and 4 km wide, the place is known as the added value for sightseeing in the Caribbean.
It offers a wide range of relaxation activities such as cruises, snorkeling to admire tropical fish, coral and other inhabitants of the seabed or going out to sea to feed the fish. And so that your stay on the island can be rich in discoveries, take the time to leave the sea and the beach to go to the heart of Isla Mujeres. You will discover small restaurants to discover the local gastronomy as well as many craft shops to stock up on memories of this magical place.
Considered the heart of the Maya City, Mahahual invites you into an authentic and relaxing setting. It takes on the appearance of a fishing village overlooking the azure blue Caribbean Sea on one side and the jungle on the other. Nature and the sea come together to offer you a heavenly and well-filled stay.
Cancun and Quintana Roo rhyme with white sand beaches and both deliver on their promise. During your stay, you will have no trouble finding a pretty little beach to bask in the sun, but be aware that among them, some are particularly worth the detour. We quote the Playa Grand Velas and Aventuras DIF. The latter acts as a nesting area for turtles and is therefore protected at certain times of the year. In both cases, these are “recognized quality” beaches, but they are not the only ones.
Apart from these activities, also remember that other sites are worth seeing around Cancun, such as the Mayan temple Chichen Itzathe ruins of Tulum, the eco-park of Xcaret, the eco-park Xel-Ha, …
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When to go to Cancún?
To fully benefit from your stay in Cancun, the best time to go there is from November to May. During this period, the temperature is pleasant, even hot without exceeding 30°C.
The months of September and October are to be avoided, as they coincide with the hurricane period and heavy rains. Learn more about the best time to go to mexico