The Magic of Cancun
Start planning your visit to the beautiful coastal city of Cancun
Cancun is situated in the eastern part of Mexico spreading along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The district was named kaan kun by the ancient Mayas and its modern name resembles the ancient pronunciation. There a lot of theories about the meaning of the name. It is usually translated as a “nest of snakes” or a “place of the golden snake”, though in some other sources it is interpreted as a “point of grass”.
Long gone are the snakes and today Cancun is Mexico’s most popular resort renowned for its warm sandy beaches, crystal clear water and amazing Mayan heritage. Few resorts in the world have the impressive infrastructure and amenities which Cancun offers but this was not always like that. A less known fact is that prior to 1970, there were only 3 people living in the area, landowners of coconut plantations. Due to the initiative and efforts of the Mexican state Cancun rapidly developed into an attractive place for living of more than 700 000 residents and became the number one tourist destination in the region with over 3 million tourists per year.
When in Cancun...
Go to the Beach
Cancun is divided into two areas – Ciudad Cancun or Cancun Island and Zona Hoteliera or the Hotel Zone. The Cancun hotel zone is spread along a 15-mile-long sandbar in the shape of number seven. Only one boulevard, the Kukulkan Boulevard, crosses the hotel zone and all restaurants, shopping centers, and nightlife are concentrated in this area.
The beautiful beaches with lovely temperatures varying between 23 and 27 ºC are the perfect place to relax. The sparkling sand is formed by crushed corals which means it feels naturally cool underneath bare feet no matter how hot the day is!
If you are a turtle fan, you might have luck and see some of the local turtles returning to their nests in the heart of the Hotel Zone. Be careful not to disturb the turtles as they are a protected species and all residents and tourists are responsible for keeping them safe.
Admire the Mayan Heritage
Explore the ruins of one of the largest pre-Columbian cities built by the Maya people – Chichén Itzá. As one of the most popular tourist sites in Mexico, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is part of the “New” Seven Wonders of the World! Visit the Ball Court, the Castle, the Pyramid of Kukulkan and Temple of the Warriors.
Take advantage of the offers of your hotel resort and go for a short trip to Tulum, Coba or Valldolid.
Tulum is believed to be one of the most important ceremonial sites of the Maya people. In ancient times it was a huge walled city with important road arteries, wealthy homes and a point of trade. The major attraction in Tulum is El Castillo – a large pyramid located on a cliff, believed to have been part of a big lighthouse complex.
Coba was one of the biggest Maya cities but much of it is still hidden in the lush jungle. The tallest pyramid on the Yucatan Peninsula is here – Nohoch Mul.
Valladolid is a small town famous for its Spanish Colonial style architecture. Located between Cancun and Chichén Itzá, it is a nice place to relax and also a convenient starting point for sightseeing.
Visit the Underwater City
Cancun has an entire underwater museum consisting of over 500 real-size sculptures. Dive a little deeper and you will be able to see The Silent Evolution, Man on Fire, The Gardener of hope and many more!
If you take a 20-minute ferry ride from the Cancun Hotel Zone you will reach Isla Mujeres. It’s an island with a beautiful park, splendid views, and a magical underwater world.
Cancun is best known for its snorkeling and diving opportunities and there is a reason for that. The Maya Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world. Get excited by the various sea creatures, the beautiful corals and the clear turquoise waters.
And that’s not all! Cancun is the place where you can find the largest underwater cave in the world. Its name is Ox Bel Ha, it is 167.9 miles long and contains huge reservoirs of freshwater.
Taste the Local Specialties
Mexican cuisine is famous for its delicious flavors and rich ingredients. Who hasn’t heard of the amazing tacos, burritos, and enchiladas? But these are not the only specialties typical for the Yucatan region. Make sure you try some of the following dishes:
Cochinita Pibil – probably the most popular Yucatan dish includes marinated pork, habanero peppers, and red onions. It is usually prepared in banana leaves and served as a sub sandwich or taco.
Huevos Motulenos – a traditional breakfast of fried eggs served with black beans and topped with tomatoe souce and hot salsa on a bed of tortillas.
Sopa de Lima – soup from local limes, which are sweeter than other sorts. The dish also includes garlic, coriander, chicken and avocado.