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  • Lena Claeys

Cancun, Mexico: the travel guide you need

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

Cancun is considered to be the heart of the Mexican Caribbean. At this beautiful destination, you’ll find spectacular white-sand beaches, a turquoise sea, and a vibrant nightlife, which attracts millions of tourists every year. Cancun is composed of 2 distinct areas: the more local downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops, and restaurants. Unfortunately, most tourists don’t venture out of the famed Hotel Zone. This is a shame because there are so many fun things to do in and around Cancun. In this travel guide we break down everything you need to know when visiting Cancun, where to stay, the best things to do in the city and the best day trips from Cancun in Mexico.

Check out our video about Cancun to get a sense of what it's like there!

Where is Cancun and how to get there?

Cancun is located in the northeast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico and borders the Caribbean Sea. The best way to go to Cancun is by flying to Cancun International Airport and then taking a shuttle bus or ADO public bus that will take around 30 minutes to go to the center of Cancun. We always book our flights through Skyscanner to get the cheapest prices.

Important things to know before you go to Cancun in Mexico

The best time to visit Cancun is between December and May. The weather is generally nice and not too hot or too cold. You will have a lot of sunny days and low humidity. Be aware that this is the busiest time in Cancun.

If you plan on only staying in the hotel zone and not leaving, you'll be fine with English. However, when you leave that zone it might be good if you have a basic knowledge of Spanish, Mexico's official language. The currency of Mexico is Mexican Pesos.

The crime rates in Cancun are much lower than in the rest of Mexico due to the many tourists and lots of police controls. So Cancun in Mexico is generally safe. Just use your common sense and don't buy drugs on the street because there is quite some cartel violence.

Where to stay in Cancun?

Cancun has two extremes when talking about accommodation. There are very cheap places to stay but also very expensive places. It is so extreme that finding something in between isn't easy. Especially the hotel zone has mainly expensive places to stay, whereas the downtown area is more affordable. There are a few places we recommend staying in around Cancun. Click the links below to check them out for yourself.

Budget accommodations in Cancun:

Medium-priced accommodations in Cancun:

Premium accommodations in Cancun:

where to stay in cancun

Best Things to do in Cancun

In this article, we will highlight the best things to do in Cancun and also share a few of our favorite lesser-known places so you can enjoy your time in this wonderful city.

7. Enjoy the view in the Cancun Scenic Tower

The Cancun Scenic Tower is the highest attraction in the Riviera Maya. Here, you can take a ride up to an altitude of 262 feet, or 80 meters. You can take photos while the deck spins, giving you 360 views of the entire Hotel Zone and the Caribbean coastline.