Cancun

Tours and excursions to Cancun departing from Cancun

With the Cancun activities we would like to extend the most cordial welcome to our city. We are here to provide you with quality service and make 23 years ago, Cancun is located in Yucatan and was an unknown fisherman's village with only 117 inhabitants. Today, it offers deluxe modern hotels, a convention center; and two 18-hole golf courses one designed by Robert Trent Jones, quality restaurants, and shops. Cancun is located to one side of the northeastern end of Yucatan peninsula. 347 miles south of Miami. Shaped like a "7", the island is 13 miles long and about a third of a mile wide. Cancun's location on the Yucatan peninsula makes it readily accessible to some of the most important Mayan archeological areas. And an hour by air from Miami, nestled on the eastern coast of the vast, mysterious Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun is Mexico's number one tourist destination.

Created in the 70's, Mexico's youngest and most luxurious tourist destination sports a base population of 800,000 residents and with that a first-class infrastructure for Cancun's stellar hotels. Excellent weather, facilities, and the do-word of all premium resorts - location, location, location - means that visitors get the best services possible, not to mention the highest concentration of luxury hotels in the Caribbean, with jungles and ruins right next door.
Cancun is divided into two parts. The narrow 23-kilometer-long (14-mile) island section (Cancun Island) is lined with modern beachfront hotels surrounded by the Bahia de Mujeres (Bay of Women), the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. Each end of the boomerang-shaped islet is 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 'Centro' on the mainland. 'El Centro' has colorful shops, restaurants and smaller hotels catering more to European and national tourism. Cancun weather is friendly, with an average at 80° F (27° C). With an annual 240 days of sunshine, rain is rare. Beaches are almost 100% limestone outcroppings covered with Caribbean sand - comes from naturally processed shell and coral, so unlike quartz beaches to the north and the south, our sand stays cool even on the hottest of days.

Customs
Customs regulations allow citizens of the United States to import $400.00 USD. worth of merchandise and 2 liters of liquor duty free. The Government of the United States will tax any additional purchases. Customs forms are supplied by airlines during flights to the United States
Purified Water
The city of Cancun, as well as the hotel zone, has a special water purification system. In addition to this each hotel has it's own purifying plant. Water from the tap is safe to drink, or if you prefer; bottled water can be found any place at your convenience.
Currency
The peso is the legal national currency in Mexico. However, American dollars are accepted in the majority of shops and restaurants. American dollars can be exchanged at banks and hotels at the daily conversion rate (exchange rate).
Time
Eastern Time (Cancun)
Electricity
110 volts A.C./60 cycles
Climate
The temperature ranges from 75-90 degrees year round with a 90% humidity level and more than 200 sunny days per year.

The City of Cancun is a grand mixture of history and nature coming together to form a perfect getaway setting. A mixture of turquoise blue sea and intricate jungle, joined by some of the finest white sand covering it's beaches makes this truly a paradise to behold.
After the ancient Mayas occupied this region, nobody else was interested in it. It was in the early 1960's that Cancun began to take shape revealing its many treasures. The City of Cancun has grown to about 450,000 inhabitants. The City is divided into Downtown Cancun and the Hotel Zone (where most of the tourist hotels are located). Many people flock to the Downtown area to haggle with the merchants in the giant mercados. At night, the Downtown area comes alive with a pleasing offering of nightlife.

The Hotel Zone is an island shaped like a "7". It is attached to the mainland via the Punta Nizuc Bridge at the southern tip and the Playa Linda Bridge at the northern tip. The Hotel Zone is where most of the fabulous beach front hotels area located in Cancun as well as a mixture of dining and nightlife spots.

Today, Cancun has extended its appeal beyond the local area. When one talks of Cancun, you have to include such places as Isla Mujeres, Contoy, Cozumel, Akumal, Playa del Carmen, Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Tulum, and even Chichen Itza. Cancun and its surrounding areas has all its takes to please even the most discerning traveler, no matter what interests or attractions you are looking for. Come to Cancun . . . Come to Paradise!
Cancun is Mexico's most visited tourist destination and boasts over twenty-five thousand hotel rooms. There's golf, tennis, lots of shopping facilities and a remarkable biodiversity. There are four hundred seventy-five bird species, over a hundred different mammals and twelve hundred plant species.

Cancun has lots of beach and the hotels are magnificent. Some people actually never even leave the hotel grounds their entire vacation. This speaks volumes for some of these resorts situated on the edge of ocean beaches.

The beautiful ocean is home to over two thousand five hundred marine species with five hundred different tropical fish.

Cancun is located in the State of Quintana Roo at the most southern tip of the peninsula. It is divided into two sections: the Hotel Zone [Zona Hotelera] which is a 22 km sandy strip of land between a lagoon and seaside hotels located on Cancun Island and Cancun City/Downtown [El Centro] which is home to the many Mexicans who live in the district. Downtown is located on the mainland.


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CANCUN HOTELS
For current Cancun hotel and resort information including rates, availability and secure on-line reservations please see:
Cancun Hotels & Resorts
Cancun Airport to Hotel Shuttle see:
Transfer Information



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THE CANCUN HOTEL ZONE

The hotel zone is an island shaped like a 7. It is joined to the mainland on the southern tip by the Punta Nizuc Bridge and the Playa Linda Bridge at the northern end. This 22 km strip of sandy beach is bisected by a long main street named Kukulcan Boulevard.

On the north and south side of the island is the Caribbean Sea while an enormous lagoon named Laguna Nichupte is formed by the inside of the "7" on the islands southwest side.

Cancun is similar to Miami or Myrtle Beach but with a more international flare. In some places you would be hard-pressed to notice the difference. You can however go on guided excursions from Cancun to almost anywhere in the Yucatan.

To see full-size hotel map see: Cancun Hotel Map



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CANCUN CITY/DOWNTOWN
The city begins where Kukulcan Boulevard meets Bonampak Avenue at the most northern tip. In Cancun streets are named after Mayan cities. Today over 450,000 people live in this growing community.
The heart of the city is known as "Downtown" [El Centro] which is where the main vendor markets are located on Tulum Avenue. There are also numerous restaurants and boutiques offering everything from cigars to exotic perfumes.

NOTE: We have purchased expensive perfumes in Cancun at 1/3 the cost of the perfume in the US and Canada.




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HOTELS OFF THE BEACH STRIP
There are many hotels off the beach strip and these hotels drop in price dramatically. Many are within a short drive or bus ride to the beach. The rule is that the closer to the beach you are the more expensive. You can also find some pretty expensive 5 Star resorts way off the beach that cater to people who don't necessarily feel the need to be near the sea.

If you are backpacking and traveling by bus there are a number of cheap accommodations near the bus station. If you just stand there with your backpack/luggage somebody will approach you and suggest a hotel. These guys are the hotel reps and get a commission for bringing in customers.




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HOTELS ON THE BEACH STRIP
Every time you blink it seems there is a new hotel. We have spoken to many people who have had marvelous stays in more than one hotel in the beach zone. Quite often we talk to people who have been going here for over a dozen years and have never had a negative experience with any of the hotels.
If you are planning on going there, the following articles written by Jules Seigel are recommended reading. Jules has lived in the area for over 20 years. See "Recommended Readings" located at the bottom of this page.




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GETTING AROUND CANCUN

Getting around Cancun is relatively easy using the bus system, taxis, hotel shuttles and walking.

Many vacationers are content to stay at the hotel the entire week with maybe a couple tours, making it easy since you are picked up more or less at your front door and returned there after your tours. Airport transfers deliver you and pick you up with no problems.

For those vacationer who wish to get out of the hotel zone, visit various attractions, sight-see and shop, see Getting Around Cancun for more information.




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CANCUN BEACH UPDATE
Cancun Beach Video NEW
MSNBC - Cancun rebuilt, reborn, after Hurricane Wilma

Travel Weekly
The National Newspaper of the Travel Industry

THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT declared Cancun's famous beaches fully restored, nearly six months after Hurricane Wilma roared ashore and well ahead of the April 30 deadline set by Mexican President Vicente Fox. Mexico began the 24/7 dredging program on Feb. 1 at a cost of $21.5 million. Approximately 96 million cubic feet of sand was dredged from 22 miles offshore by two ships and pumped back onto the beach, resulting in what Cancun officials described as a wider beach along the 7.5-mile stretch of sand between Punta Cancun south to Punta Nizuc.

WITH THE FIRST PHASE COMPLETE, the next challenge will be to do the necessary maintenance to prevent erosion and protect the beach from any future storms, Cancun officials said. Don't be surprised to see a hotel or tourism tax in the near future to help pay for necessary maintenance. A spokeswoman for the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau said plans for the next phase of beach restoration, which will include dunes and other protective measures, will be unveiled within the next six to eight weeks, and tourism officials are considering some form of a tourism tax to help finance this second phase of beach restoration.



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THINGS TO KNOW
Cancun is an international tourist destination and thus there is foreign money and experience here. Many of the hotels are co-owned by foreign investors who also supply experienced management. There are countless Americans, Germans, Italians, Swiss, and Canadians working here.
This is the tourist mecca of Mexico and the Mexican government provides a safe environment for this to flourish. Crime is taken very seriously here. You are indeed safe.

For vactioners, many of your questions could probably be answered if you read these pages:

Cancun Vacations
Info & Tips
Cancun All Inclusive



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BREIF CANCUN HISTORY
During WW2 American servicemen stationed on Cozumel discovered what an amazing place this little island was for diving. In fact it was Americans who built the first air-field on the island. Cozumel is located a little south-west of Cancun.
After the war word spread about the great diving at Isla Murejes and Cozumel and Mexico's Carribean tourism industry began, albeit small. In 1959, Jacques Cousteau discovered the extent and beauty of Palancar, the coral reefs at the south of Cozumel and publicized it as one of the best places in the world to go diving.

During this period Mexico began ramping up for the 1968 Olympic games, which were to be held in Mexico City. Realizing the enormous amount of international attention that would be garnished on the country during and after the games, Mexico's government wisely turned an eye to tourism, on a grand scale.

By 1969 The Bank of Mexico had begun developing the concept of Cancun as one of five new tourist destinations that would be created. Plans were made to convert this uninhabited jungle area into a tropical tourist mecca as well as open up new tourism possibilities by developing the infrastructure throughout the entire Yucatan region.

In 1974 Quintana Roo [the Mexican state where Cancun exists] officially gained statehood, Cancun International Airport opened its runways and the first hotel opened.


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Cancun Airport Information

Immigration Customs

Cancun Airport Restaurants
Cancun Airport Duty Free
Cancun Airport VIP Lounges
Cancun Airport Lost & Found
Cancun Airport Medical Services
Flying Tips & Neat Stuff


RIVIERA MAYA INFORMATION
Riviera Maya Information



Riviera Maya, is located along the coast of the Yucatan peninsula, between Cancun and Tulum, the famous Mayan archaeological site. Large tourists developments and rustic lodgings are intermingled among the rain forests and the natural coastline.

The Riviera Maya is a place for adventure: diving, snorkeling, jungle walks, archaeological sites and ruins, underground rivers, cenotes, caverns, beautiful white sandy beaches, bays, mangroves, and inlets.




Locations
On the coast of the Riviera Maya there are several locations of different importance, size and origin. The heart of the Riviera Maya is the city of Playa del Carmen, which can be considered specifically as a destination by itself. This city has the higher rate of growth in the country. Here you will find all the services and support that you may require during your stay in the Riviera Maya, in addition, restaurants and shopping. Playa del Carmen’s commercial pier is the place where ferries transport people to and from the Island of Cozumel.

We encourage you to program a visit for the day to Playa del Carmen. At sunset, walk by the fifth avenue, look around its stores, and choose a restaurant to have a superb meal, this is something you cannot miss.

Tulúm is the second town in importance in the Riviera Maya, denominated just as the famous archaeological zone, although it is a small town of just a few streets running parallel to the Federal highway which is in reality its main avenue. In Tulúm you can find basic services that are no longer available in other coastal settlements of the southern part of the Riviera Maya.

There are other small towns and settlements, like Chemuyil and Akumal, the last, an old port with a small town. Hotels and residential areas can be found in this place. The growth of these towns has been according to the needs of lodging the workers of the great tourist developments, as well as a different option for the visitors to stay in the local hotels.

Hotels
The hotels are distributed along the coastline. From Deluxe to small Inns or Cabanas our visitors have a wide variety of categories and characteristics to choose. Out from the towns there are great hotel developments with modern facilities, the majority are all inclusive hotels, in addition some European plan hotels provide specific services such as Spa, Golf or Ecotourism.

There are rustic hotels, just with the elementary services, that will make you feel like living in direct contact with nature; beaches for camping, and in Playa del Carmen, you can even find boarding houses.

Transportation
The main point of arrival is Cancun International Airport, a two-hour flight from Mexico City. From here, the Riviera Maya can by covered via the coastal highway which links the city of Cancun with Tulum and continues Southwest, and another which links the cities of Tulum and Cob'a. Available transportation from the airport includes buses, rental cars or taxis which depart from the terminal. Playa del Carmen has a small airport with planes which make short hops to the more distant places. Ferries also depart from Playa del Carmen and Calica, linking the continent with the islands. There are also local bus lines which service different locations along the highway.

The ethnic makeup of this area is indigenous in origin, belonging to the Maya race. There are also other races present, due to the influx brought about by the zone's economic development over the past 20 years.



Related Information:

Riviera Maya Acommodation
Tours & Attractions
Map & Distances
Weather & Tips


MAYAN RIVIERA - RIVIERA MAYA TRAVEL INFORMATION
Mayan Riviera - Stretching from Punta Brava just south of Cancun International Airport to Punta Allen just south of Tulum, exists one of the most fascinating destination spots in the world. Tropical beaches, ancient ruins, abundant marine and wildlife abound. The Great Mayan Reef is the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Mexicans refer to the Riviera as "Riviera Maya" while foreigners call it the "Mayan Riviera" or "Maya Riviera". It is used all three ways in this web site.

We do not know if there exists an exact spot where the Mayan Riviera - Riviera Maya starts but the general concensus is that once you get onto highway 307 along the coast in Quintana Roo you are pretty well in the Mayan Riviera. This highway runs from Cancun all the way down to Belize. The Mayan Riviera ends after Tulum, where the Costa Maya begins.

As you drive along highway 307 you are usually around a kilometer away from the beach. The land is flat and the scenery will appear similar to that of any flat-forested region of Canada or Europe. The highway itself is brand-new having just been widened in recent years and is in impeccable shape.

Along the Mayan Riviera, on the highway there is the occasional Mexican craft market, small industrial center, and lots of resort entrances. On the shoreline there are numerous privately owned rental cabanas, fishing and diving operations and beaches.

The most popular travel destination in the Mayan Riviera is Playa del Carmen which is where you get the ferry to go to Cozumel. After Playa del Carmen the next town of any great size is Tulum.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN MEXICO
Experience the magic of Playa del Carmen.

Playa, as the locals call it, is a beach-side city located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. You generally fly into Cancun airport then transfer to Playa, which is an hour's drive.

Playa del Carmen stretches from the beach west to highway 307 and beyond, however the tourist zone is the area along the coast. Most tourist buses pull into Playa turning off the highway at Benito Juarez Avenue and drive to the downtown bus station which is located right on 5th Avenue. The ferry docks to Cozumel are located close to the bus station as well. This is the busiest spot in all of Playa.

5th Avenue [Quinto Avenida] is the main street that runs parallel to the ocean. It's around 500 meters from the water. In between the water and 5th are hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Inns, Rentals, Timeshares, and restaurants. It is commonly referred to as, "Playa del Carmen's Pedestrian Walkway".

Along 5th Avenue you will find numerous stores selling interesting items as well as restaurants and hotels. There are clothing stores selling the latest trends from Europe as well as Cuban Cigar and Rum stores. It is a vibrant atmosphere reminiscent of a carnival. We have seen live lions, fire breathers, giant boa constrictors and a cavalcade of characters parading down 5th.

Interactive Playa del Carmen Visitor's Map Printable version too!

There are also lots of bars along 5th making it a good place to party. The after hour clubs swing into action after 12:00. These clubs are located on the beach away from the majority of hotels and resorts because of the noise level.

Intersecting with 5th are streets that all lead to the beach. Along many of these streets are dive-shops, convenience stores, hotels, tour operators, Internet cafes, currency exchanges, and restaurants. All the beaches in Playa are open to the public.

Playa's beaches are nice. Along 5th, in the tourist zone the beaches are all clean white sand, not white powder. There is some coral but not much. The seaweed and other garbage is cleaned up every day. Within a short walk to almost any point on the Playa main beach is a bar/restaurant. There are also a number of snorkeling, dive and fishing boats ready to take you out.

The beaches closest to the ferry docks are the busiest and you have to walk either north or south to find seclusion. Outside the tourist zone the beaches are lined with jungle.

The restaurants along 5th are mostly Italian but there are American restaurants and Mexican restaurants that cook American style food with some Mexican dishes. Off 5th on any of the intersecting streets that head away from the beach you will start to find Mexican restaurants as well as numerous Italian cafes.

The farther away from 5th Avenue you go the cheaper things get. You also will find the best Mexican restaurants not far from 5th on 30th, which puts you in Mexican territory, out of the tourista zona. In fact, in-between 5th and 30th are all kinds of interesting stores selling everything you can think of, from live chickens to computers.

If you're there during the summer and have kids then this is the perfect place to get your school clothing. You will find all the latest trends here. The Mexicans are right on top of fashion.

There are lots of Europeans in Playa, mostly from Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Americans have always been going to Playa. More Canadians would go but for the outrageous airfares.

At night 5th Avenue comes alive. Couples, all dressed up, head out for dinner. The young girls are decked out in their new acquisitions, hair braided. International bohemians walk the strip, many know each other, and it's a friendly place.

Many Mexicans visit Playa for their vacations as well. Don't be surprised if the family across the hall are Mexicans. Just say Hola and you will have new friends.

There are banks, money exchanges, pharmacies all over the place. Playa is not that big and everything the vacationer might need is within the tourist zone. You can walk up 5th Avenue in about 45 minutes but the main strip is only around a kilometer long. After the main strip there are still hotels and stores but they are not as plentiful, however the area north of Constytiones is under development.

Google Map and Satellite View for Playa del Carmen


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PLAYA DEL CARMEN HOTELS
For current Playa del Carmen hotel and resort information including rates, availability and secure on-line reservations please see: Playa del Carmen Hotels
Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen Hotels:
Shuttle Information




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THINGS TO KNOW
Playa del Carmen has everything you could possibly need on a vacation. There are lots and lots of stores. There are laundromats, hardware stores, hair salons, grocery stores, tattoo parlors, health stores, gyms, Tae Kwon Do studios, etc. etc.
You can buy snorkel equipment, bathing suits, sandals, American cigarettes, booze, diapers, you name it, they've got it. And most everything is on 5th avenue or a short walk off of it.

It does not take long to acquaint yourself with Playa. In one day you can get to know the vacation zone quite well and know where things are.

There are two bus stations. The one located on 5th is primarily for buses running up and down 307 from Cancun to Chetumal. The other bus station in Playa del Carmen is located at Avenida 20 and Calle 12, just behind the supermarket "San Francisco".

We have found that for convenience sake, staying close to 5th near the Grand Porto Real at 5th & 14 is a good place to stay. You are close to the supermarket, bus station, beach access, cheap Mexican food and stores. It is also less noisy down at that end of the strip.

Also another secret in Playa is the Chaak tun Cave. It's on Juarez several miles down the highway on the right past Alux Cave. There is a cenote that you can swim in there.

WARNING
Many vacationers rent those little scooters to get around on, especially at Cozumel. Those things are death traps! Yes of course the Mexicans use them and numerous tourists ride them unscathed, however, we have seen the damage done. They are extremely easy to wipe out on and you may have to pay the deductible, which could be more than you bargained for, especially after the medical bills.




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PLAYA DEL CARMEN HOTELS
For current Playa del Carmen hotel and resort information including rates, availability and secure on-line reservations please see:
Playa del Carmen Hotels & Resorts
Cancun Airport to Hotel Shuttle see:
Transfer Information