640px-Chichen-Itza-Chac-Mool-2010

Cancun – Quick travel tips and guide

Cancun is synonymous with white sand beaches, turquoise water, great hotels, warmth and fun.  Be a honeymoon trip, family trip, group of friends or solo travel, there is always something fun to do whatever your choice..

Cancun 2011

Cancun – Quintana Roo – Mexico   by jthetzel

USEFUL DATA

DISTANCES

● Cancun – Playa del Carmen   68km/42 miles
● Cancun – Tulum    130km/81 miles
● Cancun – Chichen Itza 205km/126 miles.  2 and a half hour drive
● Airport – Hotel Zone  20km/12 miles.  There are shared vans that take you to the hotels for an approximate charge of USD8-10 p/p.     The airport has its own taxi system and is expensive:  USD 50-60

TIPS

● The sun sets at 5 pm, so you have to do beach early, some hotels will overshadow
● Avoid drinking tap water, just in case. Pack or buy sunscreen and OFF or other insect repellent and always keep it handy.
CANCUN TRAVEL  This is a very comprehensive site, has all the info in case you want to check something
● Do not even think to attend any talk of those that offer timeshares or anything alike, even though they offer free breakfast, lunch or dinner. You will probably lose the best beach hours!! They are a bummer, you can not escape and you will want to kill someone for having fallen into the trap.
● Strongly avoid those thematic pirate cruises, night or day, another bummer, once up you will find yourself among a group of strangers dressed as pirates, drinking lots of beer and doing silly things with plastic knives and swords.
● Leave a day or two to visit Tulum, Xcaret or Xel-Ha. Both are ecological theme parks which offer snorkeling, underground rivers, swimming with dolphins among other options.  Of the two I prefer Xcaret, entrance is approx USD 70 each.  Tulum is worth a full day visit.
● Playa del Carmen and Cozumel worth a full day visit.  Once in Playa del Carmen cross to Cozumel by ferry, rent a bike or small motorcycle and tour the island, snorkeling is literally at hand from the docks at the beach. The ferry to Cozumel departs every hour and takes 45m
● Isla Mujeres is a nice trip, you will need a full day.
● The driving to Chichen Itza takes about 2 hours using the toll road and 3 hours approx on the free road, using the Ruta de los Cenotes.  Though the toll road is in good shape and faster I prefer the free road that passes through small Mayan villages and the colonial city of Valladolid where you cannot miss the buildings and the amazing shopping.  Avoid driving after dark.

Xcaret

Xcaret  Photo Dtraveller

STAY

LE BLANC SPA RESORT   Kukulcan 10  Hotel Zone, Cancun. Luxury five-star all-inclusive resort, adult only.

LIVE AQUA CANCUN  Kukulcan 5  Hotel Zone, Cancun. Sophisticated all inclusive beachfront resort.

POSADA LUNA DEL SUR  Calle Luna Sur 5, Tulum.  Affordable small hotel in downtown Tulum pueblo.  Good rooms and good service, though not beachfront, which is  a pity.  Rates USD 55 – USD 120.

ANA Y JOSE   Carretera Cancún-Tulum Bocapaila Km 7.  I recommend this place as one of the most beautiful and complete in the beach area of Tulum.  Just wonderful.
Beach Club at Ana y JoseBeach Club at Ana y Jose  Image lastonein

EAT AND DANCE

COCO BONGO  Shows and  Disco
DADY O  Nightclub
BULL DOG CAFE   Live concerts and Nightclub
SENOR FROG’S   Bar, Food and Music
CARLO’S N CHARLIE’S   Bar, Food and Music

Coco Bongo in Cancun, Mexico

Image  Pictophile 

SHOPPING

There are several shopping centers, the most enjoyable is La Isla Shopping Village, the Caracol Shopping is more of handicraft  and souvenirs, the small hotels at the beach in Tulum have small shops selling clothes and local bijou. There is a market in downtown Cancun, Mercado 28, nice place to wander about, you will find typical Mexican handicrafts, souvenirs and memorabilia. It is also a place where everyone goes to Cancun everyday purchases. In Playa del Carmen, on the main street also called the Fifth Avenue, there are thousands of small shops with clothes and bijou, bars and restaurants.

Mercado 28

MUST DO

Must see and do

  • TULUM  Is an amazing place. It is divided into four main areas, the hotel zone (not like Cancun’s), consists in beachfront cabanas and some other small hotels, the town or “pueblo”, which has a main street with a small crafts market, and some other services like an Internet cafe, post office, phone service and a central bus station, the archaeological site and the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an and small villages of natives. The best beach area of ​​Tulum is between km 5 and km 9, the beach bar Eight is good. The old walled city stands on a cliff and overlooking the beach, the view is breathtaking

Temple of the Gods of Wind  Tulum  Image Wikipedia

  • Swim in underground rivers, cenotes and underwater cave systems.  Dos Ojos, located 13 km north of Tulum, is the second largest cave system in the world and is excellent for diving and snorkeling, also ideal for swimming, offering a picnic area and snorkel rental.  Gran Cenote, Km 4 of the road Tulum – Coba, is part of the Sac Aktun system and forms a series of cenotes that create a huge depression. This cave full of stalactites and stalagmites and is an amazing place for diving, swimming and snorkeling. On site dive shop and picnic area

Entrance to Dos Ojos Tulum   Image Wikipedia

  • PLAYA DEL CARMEN  Go to Playa del Carmen and cross by boat to Cozumel to snorkel

Playa del Carmen Vacation 2012

Playa del Carmen Image davidgordillo

  • CHICHEN ITZA  Drive to Chichen Itza, a long way, but after all is Chichen Itza, the sacred city of the Maya

The Chac Mool statue on top of the Temple of the Warriors in the Chichen Itza complex   Image Wikipedia

  • ISLA MUJERES  The R1 bus route takes you to Puerto Juarez, where you can take the ferry to Isla Mujeres. There are speed boats leaving every half hour. The journey takes 15-20m. There is also a service for tourists at the hotel zone but probably should be more expensive and slow 35m

Sunset Isla Mujeres   Image Wikipedia

  • SNORKEL  AND DIVING  A must. Cozumel is the place or The Garrafon in Isla Mujeres, but this one is always crowded. Punta Cancun, nearby the Dreams Cancun resort is another good place to snorkel.

Snorkeling in Cozumel

Snorkeling in Cozumel  Image ryndham

  • XCARET   Xcaret is a natural park located 45 minutes away from Cancun.  Here you will find underground rivers, natural pools and a lot of activities.  The best of all are the underground rivers where you can swim and snorkel.  In my opinion, is better than Xel-Ha.

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