In the Southeast of Mexico, located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, the attractive city of Cancun sits on the stunning Yucatan Peninsula surrounded by white sandy beaches and crystal turquoise seas. Whether visitors are seeking an all-inclusive, once-in-a-lifetime family holiday; an active outdoor adventure; or are simply looking for an idyllic, romantic getaway for two, the island has an abundance of activities, attractions, history and accommodation which can cater to anyone. This is why it has become one of the top holiday destinations for travellers in recent years. Cancun's history is nothing short of amazing and the city is extremely proud of it.
When you visit the city you see the traces of ancient architecture and art dating from the times of the Mayans. The Mayans used the Yucatan Peninsula as a settlement area from 500 A.D. to 250 B.C.. Today, holidaymakers are encouraged to visit the remains of the sites to see some of the earliest examples of the architecture that still stands from the time of the indigenous Mesoamerican civilisation. If you are keen to experience the local culture, the Viva Mexico en Cancun Festival and Carnival are good places to start; they both promise to be an experience that you won't forget. Cancun is a lively, colourful and happy place to visit and it is a perfect location to experience a mixture of both relaxation and adventure.
Things to Do
To visit and not experience snorkelling in the crystal blue waters of the reefs or witness the exotic marine life would be regretful. There are many companies who offer this service throughout the Yucatan area, and if you are looking to make it that extra bit special why not rent an all-inclusive catamaran for the day whilst dipping in and out of the reefs at your own pace? For those that would like something a bit more adventurous, there is always the option of going Shark diving or swimming with the huge and gentle whale sharks for the day. The 360 Surf School gives visitors a chance to take advantage of the glorious waters of the Caribbean Sea by offering lessons. The school claims that if you can't stand and surf by the end you get the lesson completely free, and they also include paddle boarding, windsurfing and kitesurfing in their list of activities that they offer.
Chichén Itzá is a magnificent example of Mayan architecture; it's a definite must-see on one's travels to the Yucatan Peninsula. Maintained by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, a visit offers you the chance to spend the day learning about the Mayan Empire or relax by bathing in the beautiful tropical cenotes that were considered sacred to the Mayans for their revitalising properties. Another recommendation is a visit to the Mayan Museum Cancun -- for a small fee you will find a fantastic selection of ancient Mayan texts, artefacts and architecture on display. If you want to see the natural and raw beauty of Mexico, Cancun Vacation Experts offer the Rio Secreto Underground River tour of the Crystal Caves -- you will be collected at your hotel and taken to secret underground caves with stunning crystal formations above the exotic turquoise river in which you can swim in the serenity and peacefulness of this stunning hidden treasure.
Nightlife and Hotspots
Cancun has a vibrant and lively nightlife and for nightly entertainment, the Zona Hotelera strip is the place to be. It is here that the highly popular Coco Bongo nightclub and the largest nightclub in Latin America, The City, are located. Both of these establishments put on amazing acrobatic and dance performances throughout the night, and you might even catch a performance from a known celebrity. A visit to Mandala is a must. It is one of the hottest, most popular clubs in the city with its elegant, Indian-inspired interior opening out into the street.
It is impossible to visit Cancun and not take a shopping trip into the La Isla Village, where visitors can stroll along the pretty canals, view traditional Mexican architecture and shop at stores selling wares from the biggest names in fashion. If a dreaded rainy day occurs, the Plaza Las Americas shopping centre is a great place to spend the day. Much quieter than the bustle of La Isla Village, it allows for a relaxing stroll and shopping in the more local shops. The food court provides various types of cuisine, giving tourists the opportunity to taste genuine local foods or visit large chain eateries.
The Island is truly child and family friendly, as throughout the city and the surrounding areas there are various museums, aquariums and parks that cater to children of all ages. Most places that are suitable for families have all-inclusive prices such as the Ventura Amusement Park. Here, all drinks and food are included in the overall price and there are activities to cater for all ages. The Xcaret Day trip is another excellent choice for families and couples alike. It also offers an all-inclusive ticket price and it is an eco-archaeological park that offers various activities such as a butterfly pavilion, wildlife, an aquarium and orchid garden to name but a few of its attractions!
Calendar of Events
Cancun is a vibrant city and reflects this by engaging its citizens in many celebrations throughout the year, most months have multiple holidays and vibrant celebrations.
- Carnival. Although there are various other festivities between Christmas and Carnival, it is Carnival (taking place at the end of February or beginning of March) which is most looked forward to as it is a celebration of the last week before Lent and fasting begin. For five nights there are parades through Playa Del Carmen with fancy dress and large parade floats that are brightly decorated, music and dancing. Dates vary each year, so it's wise to confirm them if you plan on going.
- Holy Week/ Easter. Holy week (1st April - 8th April) is a hugely anticipated holiday for Cancun. Locals fill the bars, clubs and beaches to mark the end of Lent and take a break from work. There is a great relaxed atmosphere around Cancun at this time, which makes it a perfect time of year to visit.
- Viva Mexico en Cancun. September is culturally the best month to visit Cancun as it is dedicated to celebrating Mexican culture. Local art, food, music and folklore is in abundance throughout this month and on the 16th there is a firework display and street parties to mark the Mexican Independence Day.
- Dia de Los Muertos. Between 31st October and 1st November, Dia de Los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) fires up to celebrate those who have passed. Painting skeletal features on people's faces, dressing in bright colours, dancing and music ensures that this festival is enjoyed by many and sees many people visiting from all over the world to experience this unique and different approach to death.