Cancun was built just for you, the North American and European tourist, so you could come and enjoy Mexico's own bit of paradise. Less than 40 years ago, Cancun was basically uninhabited, miles from civilization. Today, world-class hotels, restaurants and glitzy nightclubs abound.

Cancun is a narrow 23-kilometer-long (14-mile) island section (Cancun Island) lined with modern beach front hotels surrounded by the Bahia de Mujeres (Bay of Women), the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. The island is a "seven" with each end connected to the mainland by bridges, the southernmost connecting to the airport and the highway south. To the north, the bridge connects the Hotel Zone with Cancun's downtown, the "Centro" on the mainland. "El Centro" has colorful shops, restaurants and smaller hotels catering more to European and national tourism.

Cancun's incredible beaches are its main attraction, with brilliant white sands and turquoise waters. Discover abundant and colorful underwater life at the snorkeling reserves of Xcaret and Xel-Ha in the Riviera Maya or at Isla Mujeres, where Palancar Reef begins - the second largest barrier reef in the world.

Cancun offers more modern luxury and less "old world culture" than other popular Mexican resort areas. Still, it is within easy reach of the fabulous Mayan history found within the ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza and Coba.

In the evening, Cancun turns up the heat with nightclubs that rock until dawn!

Cancun is located off the northeast point of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, directly south of New Orleans, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

There are nonstop flights to Cancun from over 20 US cities - plus daily nationwide scheduled service.

White sand and turquoise sea...that's Cancun.

White sand and turquoise sea...that's Cancun. (Photo taken from beach in front of Riu Cancun looking towards the Fiesta Americana Coral Beach and Dreams Cancun.)

The drive from the Cancun airport to your resort hotel depends on where your hotel is located. Most are along the long stretch of beach that makes up the Hotel Zone. The resorts closest to the airport are those at the southern end of the Zone, and typically are only a few minutes' drive away. Depending on traffic, resorts at the northern end of the Zone may be a 30 minute drive or more. A few hotels are also in "Downtown" Cancun, but they are not particularly attractive to the typical Cancun vacationer who is looking for beaches and warm tropical seas. For that atmosphere, you want a resort in the Hotel Zone.

Best Time to Visit

If you want to pick the best month for going to Cancun, it is likely to be November. The weather is at its best and the prices are "low season" because there are fewer tourists going there.

The best weather for visiting Cancun is November through February. Temperatures tend to be in the low to mid 80s, and the humidity is not too bad. It is the "dry season" for this part of Mexico, with rain only falling on 6-12 days of each month and then maybe only an inch of rain per month. Precisely because those are the best weather months, they are also the months with some of the biggest crowds of northerners escaping the cold weather of the US and Canada and higher prices.

The worse months for going to Cancun are March through May when the discomfort from heat and humidity is extreme. The average daily temperature is in the low 90s, and temperatures of 106° F are not unknown. It only begins to cool off a bit as the rains start in May (expect rain on 10 days that month for a total of more than 3 inches in the month). Despite the weather, those months are also some of the most crowded as "spring breakers" descend on Cancun for major party time.

In the "summer months" of June through October, the discomfort level is not quite as bad although the heat and humidity are high and it will be rainy quite often. Expect significant rain on 20 or so days in each of those months. And those are the months when hurricanes may strike in the Western Caribbean and put a real "dampener" on a beach vacation.

See tips for dressing.

Practical Matters

  • Cancun is in the Central Time Zone.
  • Electricity is 110v, just like in the US and Canada.
  • English is widely spoken.
  • US dollars are accepted in most places. But if you want pesos, you can get them from ATMs and banks. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 3 pm, some until 5 pm. A few open on Saturdays from 10 am to 1:30 pm.
  • Tipping is expected for excellent service; in restaurants and bars, 15% is typical. Tipping hotel maids is a very nice thing to do as they work very hard for low wages, and your tips will be very much appreciated. A couple of dollars per day can make a difference in their lives and will hardly break your bank. Tipping of taxi-drivers is not expected.
  • Take a few bucks along to use as tips to the driver, guide, etc. If you tip with pesos, remember that one peso is worth only about a dime. You’d feel badly if you gave someone a “nice” five peso tip and then realize later that you gave them only 50 cents rather than the $5 you had intended to give. Tipping with dollar bills is perfectly acceptable.
  • Traveling with children? Mexico is very strict about allowing minors in who are not accompanied by both parents. Minors traveling with only one parent or adults other than their parents must have a notarized letter from the absent parent(s) authorizing them to be taken out of the country. If the parent is deceased, a copy of the death certificate will be required for check-in at the airport. Don't even think about going into Mexico without this documentation. If in doubt, ask Carole about it when you talk to her about arranging your travel to Mexico.


There is a two day waiting period, and couples must present a passport or driver's license and original raised-seal birth certificate, certified copies of both parents' birth certificates or valid passports, four witnesses, and blood tests not older than 15 days. Divorced people must meet other document requirements as well.

Resorts that offer wedding packages may have additional requirements and typically ask couples to be at the resort at least three business days before the day of the wedding (e.g., check in by Tuesday for a Friday wedding). Be sure to ask Carole for the specific requirements in your case.


At present, the Cancun Hotel Zone offers two championship 18-hole golf courses, and The Melia Cancun and Oasis Cancun each have short but fun Par 3 courses open to play for both guests and non-guests. Additionally, the nearby Riviera Maya offers an 18-hole course in Playa del Carmen, and a 9-hole course in Puerto Aventuras.

  • Pok-Ta-Pok artistically incorporates hundreds of meters of dramatic shoreline and ancient Mayan ruins into a flat yet challenging course that winds past Cancun's saltwater lagoon and turquoise Caribbean waters. Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed this scenic 18-hole course, which is conveniently located in the heart of the Cancun Hotel Zone. Visitors will delight in the authentic Mayan temple situated next to one of its greens. Green fees range from $65 to $100 US per person.
  • The Hilton Cancun Beach & Golf Resort is home to a Par 72, 18-hole championship course that reaches a total of 6,767 yards. Constructed by the Aoki Corp. (Japanese), the Hilton Course features challenging sand traps, a driving range, a golf shop with name brand equipment for both men and women, electric carts, equipment rental, and resident golf pros. (Tel. 1-800-228-3000).


There are a wide variety of resorts in Cancun, from ultra luxury to pretty basic to you-would-have-to-be-desparate-to-go there ones. Here is a selection to choose from, but there are many others. Ask Carole to help you pick the ones just right for you.

tba Fiesta Americana Grand Aqua
1 JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa
2 Le Meridien Cancun Resort and Spa
3 The Ritz-Carlton

4 Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa
5 Fiesta Americana Cancun
6 Fiesta Americana Condesa
7 Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach
8 Gran Melia Cancun Mexico
9 Hilton Cancun Beach and Golf Resort
10 Hyatt Cancun Caribe
11 Hyatt Regency Cancun
12 Marriott CasaMagna
13 Moon Palace Golf and
Spa Resort (All-inclusive)
14 Omni Cancun (All-inclusive available
15 Presidente Inter-Continental
16 Sheraton Resort and Towers

Deluxe (continued)
17 Sun Palace (All-inclusive)
18 The Westin Resort and Spa Cancun

Superior +
19 Ambiance Villas and Club
tba GR Solaris
20 Gran Costa Real Resort & Spa
21 Melia Turquesa (All-inclusive)
22 Riu Caribe, Cancun
23 Riu Palace Las Americas (All-inclusive)

24 Beach Palace (All-inclusive)
25 Blue Bay Getaway and Spa Cancun (All-inclusive)
26 Cancun Palace (All-inclusive)
27 Crown Paradise Club (All-inclusive)
28 Golden Crown Paradise Spa
29 Grand Oasis (All-inclusive in 2005)
30 NH Krystal Cancun

Superior (continued)
31 Oasis Cancun (All-inclusive in 2005)
32 Oasis Playa (All-inclusive)
33 Oasis Viva Cancun (All-inclusive in 2005)
34 Royal Solaris (All-inclusive)

Moderate +
35 Blue Bay Club (All-inclusive)
36 Caribbean Village Cancun by Occidental (All-inclusive)

37 Calinda Oasis Beach
38 Caribe Real Resort and Spa
39 Flamingo Cancun Resort
40 Miramar Mision
41 TuCancun Beach Resort and Villas

42 Carrousel Cancun
43 Holiday Inn Express Club De Golf


Cancun offers an abundance of fun in the sun activities and lots of nightlife, too. If you stay at an all-inclusive resort, you will likely find something to keep you active around-the-clock. But even if your resort seems to have everything you need for your vacation, you shouldn't miss Cancun's nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, such as Pat O'Brien's, Margaritaville, Planet Hollywood, and the Hard Rock Cafe. There are also lots of tours and opportunities for fun in the Riviera Maya and nearby Isla Mujeres. See Cancun Activities for some ideas of things to do while in Cancun.

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