Planning Your Trip to Cancun

by  Kristine Hansen | Jan 2, 2020
Cancun / DarrenTierney/iStock

Just like Mexico offers vastly different vacations, so does Cancun, Riviera Maya’s most populated city. With half-a-dozen ruins linked back to Mayan and Aztec settlers, a handful of beautiful cenotes, and stunning beaches — plus an array of resorts offering world-class dining  — this destination is sure to please everyone in your group.

Beach in Playa del Carmen / Mustang_79/iStock

Where Is Cancun?

Cancun is the most populated city in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, also referred to as the Riviera Maya region. It's north of Playa del Carmen (another tourist hotspot), Akumal (a quaint fishing village), and Tulum (an up-and-coming wellness-centric destination). Cozumel and Isla Mujeres are also accessible via a short ferry ride.

Is Cancun Safe?

As with any global destination, there are many factors that can impact your safety. In Cancun (just like in any other city), some areas are safer than others. However, the government continues to provide security and safety measures to protect travelers. We recommend booking tours and excursions through your hotel or a reputable tour company recommended by your resort.

Is Cancun Expensive?

Cancun’s Hotel Zone / Jonathan Ross/istock

Cancun can either be cheap (you can score hotels as low as $75 per night) or expensive (think $500-plus per night at an all-inclusive), depending on what you're looking for. All-inclusive vacation packages can be convenient since everything is bundled into one rate, but you’ll need to determine if this is something that works for you. For example, if you enjoy premium spirits, then the free margaritas and house wines and beers featured in the all-inclusive package may not cut it for you. On the other hand, if you abstain from alcohol, then an all-inclusive might not be a good deal for you. Also worth noting: Some properties fold watersports rentals and fitness classes into the all-inclusive rate, which is well worth it for adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. 

What Currency Should I Use in Cancun?

Pesos is the local currency and used throughout Mexico. However, if you are in a tourism-heavy zone like Cancun, you will find that some tour operators and retail shops accept U.S. dollars. Keep in mind they will probably give you change in pesos — so this is not where you want to pay for a pack of gum with a $50 bill — unless there are enough days remaining in your trip.

Things to Do in Cancun

Cenote in Cancun / Tatanata/iStock

The beaches here are absolutely beautiful and feature tropical fish, crystal-clear waters, and sugar-sand beaches. For a bucket-list-worthy experience, take a dip in a cenote (a natural sinkhole). Foodies will love Riviera Maya's top-notch dining scene. Here, you'll find everything from taco stands to Michelin-starred restaurants. If you're looking to learn more about the region's history, trek ancient ruins, or visit postcard-worthy towns, consider one of these easy Cancun day trips

When Is Hurricane Season in Cancun?

Generally speaking, hurricane season takes place from June through November. Even if a hurricane does not reach full force, you may still experience heavy rain and high winds, so be cautious. 

What to Bring to Cancun

The sun here can be fierce, so it's important to be prepared. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunblock  — the latter of which you should apply liberally and often. Wear loose, comfortable clothing (cotton is always a good bet) so you can avoid getting sticky and hot. For many land excursions, you’ll need comfortable walking shoes as well as bug spray. And, of course, don’t forget to pack several swimsuits or swim trunks. 

Cenote in Cancun
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