Cancun is Mexico’s most popular resort area. It is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, on what was previously a long strip of forest flanked by beaches. Cancun’s history as a tourist destination dates back only to 1970 when the Mexican government chose the spot for development thanks to the area’s great weather, beautiful beaches, clear waters, and nearby coral reef. Cancun is now the biggest resort area in the country, with a population around 600,000, but receiving over 3 million visitors annually.
Cancún is a tale of two cities. There’s the glitzy hotel zone with its famous white-sand beaches, unabashed party scene and sophisticated seafood restaurants. Then there’s the actual city itself, which gives you a taste of local flavour at, say, neighbourhood taco joint or a nearby, undeveloped beach. That’s what keeps Cancún interesting. Had your fill of raucous discos in the hotel zone? Escape to a downtown salsa club. Tired of lounging around the pool in Ciudad Cancún? Simply hop on a bus and head for the sapphire waters of the hotel zone. Or even better, venture out and explore more of Quintana Roo state. Just a day trip away from Cancún, the pristine national park of Isla Contoy beckons with a fascinating variety of bird and plant species. And up north awaits low-key Isla Holbox, where swimming with massive whale sharks has become all the rage.