Cancun Travel Guide
Cancún is nothing if not resilient. Consider the debilitating effects Hurricane Wilma had on the region in 2005—drowned shores, felled storefronts, and capsized boats. But less than 10 years later, this skinny "7"-shaped barrier island in southeastern Mexico is once again a go-to spot for beaches, golfing, and nightlife. Cancún also remains one of the most affordable vacations in the Western Hemisphere—you could pay less than $600 per person for ... continue» Read More
The best time to visit Cancún is December to April during the peak season. Even though the crowds are heavier, you'll experience near-perfect weather and find some of the cheapest flight and room rates for a winter getaway at the beach. Just be sure to avoid traveling from mid-March to early April; that's when Spring Breakers descend on the Yucatán's shores. There are also significant discounts in late spring, summer, and fall, but Cancún summers are sweltering and the fall months are prone to bad storms.Read More Best Times to Visit Cancun»
A 14-mile sandy strip on the Yucatán Peninsula that's shaped like the number seven, Cancún is dotted with resorts, beaches and fun. The area is mostly comprised of the Boulevard Kukulcán, which runs through The Hotel Zone—or Zona Hotelera—and ends at downtown Cancún, located west and further inland. La Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women), is a short ferry trip away.
When traveling to Cancún, your options can be limited in terms of variety, but writers offer this key advice: If you're seeking a traditional Cancún getaway—Spring Break style—the Hotel Zone should suit you just fine. For something a little different or cheaper, book accommodations downtown.
The Hotel Zone
Cancún's main thoroughfare is the Boulevard Kukulcán, which runs through a collection of hotels, resorts, and attractions generally known as the Hotel Zone. Beaches—including Playa Langosta and Playa Tortugas in the north, Playa Gaviota and Playa Chacmool in the middle of the strip, and Playa Delfines on the southeastern side—line this area. Chances are you'll travel Kukulcán most often, and fortunately it's easy to traverse both by bus and by foot.
Cancún proper is a relatively small resort city that's dominated by more than 150 hotels and other commercial properties. But uniquely Mexican neighborhoods are within a bus's reach of downtown Cancún, which is located to the west of the Hotel Zone.
For a more elegant experience, try visiting Isla Mujeres, a small island town about eight miles northeast of Cancún. Isla Mujeres' placid Playa Norte beach is a serene scene for those travelers desiring a more secluded swim. To get there, take a ferry from nearby Puerto Juárez (at the northern tip of Cancún's "7").
Cancún has largely avoided the drug violence that has afflicted much of Mexico in the past decade. But while crime against tourists is especially low, the U.S. State Department advises constant vigilance. Your most important safety concern in Cancún is likely to be in the water. Beware of rough surf and only swim when supervised by a lifeguard. White or green beach flags signify safe waters while orange flags advise caution. If you see a red flag, swimming is prohibited.
The best way to get around Cancún is the bus, which stops frequently along Boulevard Kukulcán and within the downtown area. One-way fares are a steal at 6 MXN (less than $.50 USD) making an $8 ride in a Cancún taxi seem exorbitant. However, you should splurge for the cab to get to and from Cancún International Airport (CUN), located about six miles from the hotel zone and nine miles from downtown. There are car rental kiosks in the airport, but we wouldn't recommend driving yourself—the area's narrow roads and speedy traffic patterns can be intimidating.Getting Around Cancun»