Cancun, Mexico, One of My Favorite Destinations!
“Cancun is a very popular tourist destination in the Caribbean, especially for North Americans. Be sure to really plan your trip well, because there is plenty to see in this great Mexican resort town…”
For North Americans, the beauty and tropical ambiance of the Caribbean always seems to call to us, and it is our perpetual playground when the weather back home does not seem to cooperate and gives us more snow than we can handle… There are many fantastic places and islands in the Caribbean that could give us a little peace and solace and also a lot of warm weather, but one of the most popular areas is located within our neighbor to the south, Mexico. Cancun has been specifically developed as a resort town starting in 1970, and has expanded since then to become the premier tourist destination in the Caribbean, including the Bahamas! Cancun travel is where it’s at!
Before 1970 there was nothing there but mangroves and heavy jungle, but the Mexican government wanted an east coast tourist area to be able to compete with Acapulco and other cities in the west. So they planned it out and built Cancun over a period of many years into what stands today as a strip of tourist hotels and the rest of the city was built up around it. This area is far from being completed though, as they have a master plan in place to eventually build a huge marina to accommodate cruise ships to the north, and they are also building up the “Mayan Riviera” down farther to the south past Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.
Cancun has always been one of my favorite places, with its incredible turquoise colored water and exciting scuba diving and snorkeling! It is hard to beat the clarity of the water here, and as an exotic vacation destination it is unsurpassed. There are many great hotels and resorts located on the strip in Cancun, and it’s always a good idea to do your research on a few of them that you are interested in before booking. There are many name brands that you are probably aware of, including the Hyatt, the Carlton-Ritz, and the Marriott, and all of them are incredibly nice and range from 4 to 5 stars in accommodations. Try to get some recent online pictures of the hotel so that you can really see what they look like today, because some of the resorts are older and have not been refurbished as often as they should. It’s always good to be prepared and not just jump into a reservation blindly!
Once you’ve established the resort that you are going to stay at as a home base while you are there (and remember that there are also 5 star resorts that are located farther south toward Playa del Carmen), then it’s time to consider what types of activities you would like to see and do while you are there. There are always lots of fun excursions ranging to party catamarans, self-driven power boats, hobie-cat sailing, windsurfing, parasailing, trips to the local Mayan ruins, and also the incredibly fun natural water parks south of Playa del Carmen. You should be able to do a quick Google search to find some great tour options that you might be interested in, but be sure to investigate several companies before deciding on one because there are many differences between them and you want one that’s reputable. If you would feel safer, then check with the concierge department of the hotel or resort you’re staying at in Cancun, and they should be able to provide you with their recommendations.
Playa Del Carmen just to the south is a very interesting strip of tourist stalls, stores, restaurants, and the like, and most people will never take the time to get down there and visit. It’s definitely worth your time, and if you are low on cash and adventurous there are even some great hotel deals that you can get, and everything is right within walking distance so you won’t need a car. The great thing about Playa del Carmen is that it is right next to the ferry boat that will take you over to the island of Cozumel, which is where the cruise ships dock and all the great snorkeling and scuba diving is! It’s a great island, and there are many fun things and activities that you can immerse yourself in. It’s very laid back, and the locals are all on island time as you will soon see! Before leaving Playa del Carmen, be sure to visit the local favorite, “Senor Frog’s” for some refreshing alcoholic beverages and appetizers. I believe they also have one of these great establishments in Cancun if I’m not mistaken.
South of Playa del Carmen is the famous “Mayan Riviera” which is getting filled with ultra new and ritzy all-inclusive resorts and hotels, and is a very nice area to stay. There isn’t really a town associated with this area like Cancun has, but the waters are just as beautiful and it’s not as crowded and you’re sure to love it! Also, the Mayan ruins of Tulum are located a short distance from this area, and it’s one of the only Mayan cities built right on the shores of the Caribbean. This is really a must see while you are visiting this area, and be sure to take lots of pictures. It’s absolutely stunning in its contrast to the waters around it, and you’ll also learn a great deal of history with your trip.
Another must see while you are here is the famous Xel-Ha natural water park located nearby. This place is simply amazing, and has the best snorkeling you will probably do during your whole stay! They have a huge protected area for swimming and snorkeling, and large tropical fish school all around in large groups for you to interact with if you can. I was really amazed by the size and variety of the fish, and I know you will be too. One word of caution though, if you rent snorkeling equipment from the park, do NOT let it out of your sight! There are many thieves that abound there, and the park employees will make you pay for them if someone steals your rental… After getting your fill of snorkeling with the fish, make sure to try the “underground river” attraction, which is a swim through a canal where you get to see different types of cave fish and plants that exist there. That was one of my favorite things at the park, and I actually went through it twice! Once you get out and are dry, be sure to try some of the more exotic tropical drinks at the Tiki Bar which are served in a coconut! They are designed to please!
Those are some of the highlights of your Cancun vacation, but there is a lot more around the area for you to explore! I hope you check everything out so that you won’t head back home thinking you missed something… Cancun is one of my favorite places to go in the Caribbean, and I know you’ll have a great time if you go! Have fun!
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