Practical Information

Tourist Tips

Day Trips

The Yucatan Peninsula

Surf and sand

Downtown Market

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Chichén- Itzá


The Real Mexico

Cancú The "Real" Cancún's Top Tourist Tips

Cancú for Cancún's Top Tourist Tips

Introduction to Cancún's different sides

Welcome to the most comprehensive Cancún tourist guide on the net! Here you can find practical information for your stay, top things to do as well as day trips from Cancún.

Located in the beautiful part of Mexico called the Yucatan Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo, Cancún was developed to be a resort destination. Its most marketable commodities are indeed the unbelievable beaches and ocean scapes, as well as top-of-the-line facilities for visitors. Winter-weary spring-breakers flock there for clubbing and sunning, and many northerners take advantage of package deals and "all-inclusives" to have a hassle-free, relaxing vacation. Whether or not you are one of these, or you have a penchant for adventure and exploration, Cancún has much to offer.

Yes, Cancún is EXTREMELY Americanized. Wait staff and others in the tourist industry will happily practice their English on you. American chains thrive there. But the "real" Mexico can be found, if you choose to look for it. If you get out of the famous "Hotel Zone" and go into downtown Cancún, you will find markets and older buildings. (It is also cheaper to stay downtown.) And within not many hours, you will find yourself in the midst of awe-inspiring monuments of an ancient civilization, or more laidback towns like Playa del Carmen or the charming island of Isla Mujeres.

Practical Information

Cancún is well-served by airlines. It is also one of the premium destinations to get a good vacation package. Packages can vary from air + hotel (+ airport transfers), with add-ons like meals and tours you can purchase ahead of time (not recommended). Like other Mexican resort areas, it is also primed for the "all-inclusive" concept, where you plonk yourself at a resort, and the price you have paid includes all food, domestic drinks (yes, including alcoholic), entertainment (sometimes a little iffy), activities and all gratuities. The bracelet on your wrist is your pass to all manners of consumption. This is great if you are in the mood to lie on the beach, be served with cocktails, and stagger in for meals.

High season for Cancún starts approximately the week before Christmas and goes through Easter. Sometimes, you can get last-minute deals, or you can also try to be slightly off-season for better prices and fewer crowds.

If going for the all-inclusive, be sure to check reviews for the place online. Check the no. of restaurants, the hours, and also, whether the place is large enough. Remember, you will be spending the majority of your vacation on premises.

If not going for the all-inclusive, a good alternative is to have breakfast included. Then you have option of really trying out Yucatan specialties and wonderful seafood (not the same as "Tex-Mex"!), go on your day trips without feeling guilty for wasting what you have already paid for.

Hotel choices range from major reputable chains like the Hilton (Hotel Zone) and Holiday Inn (downtown) to smaller local hotels that some may enjoy e.g. Miramar or Costa Real. When paying for an "oceanview," make sure you understand what that means. There is sometimes less than truth in advertising. Also consider whether you want a place that's festive with a party-like atmosphere, or an adults-only place or a place that may not welcome springbreakers. All this can be checked ahead of time, and SHOULD.

You can use your credit card in most major dining establishments. Some places will even accept the US$, giving you their version of the exchange rate. ATM's are plentiful, and you should indeed get some pesos to shop in local establishments (like the markets) or for transportation.

While many hotels have water purification systems, it is much safer to drink bottled water, and even brush your teeth with bottled water, best purchased at a grocery store.

To get around, you can hail cabs, or have your hotel bellboys hail them for you. Cancún is also well served by buses, and they are easy to use, fun and quite plentiful. Ask at your hotel for the right bus -- the choices are limited, but then so are the places you would get to.

Additional resources

For FAQ's: You can also get maps here.

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