Guide to Cancun

VacationWiser.com Guide to Cancun

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, Cancun attracts about four million visitors each year to its pristine white beaches, its top-notch resort and hotel scene and its crystal blue water. The city is home to hundreds of hotels that line the beaches in an area called the hotel zone, attracting all types of guests, from traveling business people to timeshare owners to families. The city is probably most famous for its Mayan ruins, which dot the landscape around this southern region of Mexico. From El Rey to Tulum, the ancient stone remains are unique archaeological attractions that tell the original story of the now bustling modern city. Many people also visit the area for its great dive sites. Colorful coral reefs and diverse sea life are located right offshore, and a variety of inland cenotes (deep natural wells) attract diving enthusiasts to explore the rich underwater worlds of Cancun.


Cancun Basics

Before diving into everything that’s great about Cancun, let’s cover some basics:

·         Getting there - Visitors traveling by plane will arrive at the Cancun International Airport, one of the top airports in the world. The airport is about 10 miles away from the city and about 13 miles from the hotel zone.  After arriving at Cancun International, buses and taxis are the most common form of transportation.


·         Entry Requirements - Valid passport needed for entry.  No tourist visa necessary.  For more information go to travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Mexico.html.


·         Location – Cancun is located in Quintana Roo, a southeastern state of Mexico. The city of Cancun shares a border with Bahia de Mujeres to the north, Laguna Nichupté to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east.


·         Climate – Climate is a big appeal for many Cancun visitors. From October to March, average temperature is 68-86° F and from April to September, average temperature is 75-91° F.  The rainy season is from May to October.


·         Currency – When it comes to dinero, travelers have a variety of options. The peso is the official currency of Mexico; however, a majority of tourist establishments are happy to accept U.S. dollars and most major credit cards.


·         Language – Nosotros hablamos español, Spanish is the official language of Mexico and Cancun. Forgot to brush up on your speaking skills? No worries, English is used in all tourist locations. 


·         STEP Program

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

·         Distance from Cancun Airport:



   Drive Time

Distance in Miles

Central Cancun

   20 minutes

10 miles

Cancun Hotel Zone

    25 minutes

12 miles

Isla Mujeres

   45 minutes

20 miles

Puerto Morelos

   22 minutes

25 miles

Playa del Carmen

   40 minutes

32 miles


    1 hour, 45 minutes

46 miles

Puerto Aventuras

    1 hour

47 miles


    1 hour, 10 minutes

57 miles


    1 hour, 30 minutes

72 miles


    1 hour, 40 minutes

89 miles


Cancun has a reputation for awesome resorts that fit every budget and lifestyle. The city currently has a total of 185 hotels and over 35,000 rooms. Many of these hotels are located in Cancun’s hotel zone along the Caribbean Sea.  

Those travelling with kids can book one of the city’s many family-focused resorts to ensure their little ones have just as much fun as the adults. Travelers who are looking for a kid-free zone can opt for an adults-only resort instead.

These are some of our suggested hotels in Cancun.  For more information go to www.vacationwiser.com/Cancun-Mexico.  Sample rates below are for a 4-night stay.  Number in parentheses next to rates are bi-weekly prices. Number in parentheses by hotel name is Star rating,


Paradisus Cancun – Hotel Zone (4.5*)

Set in a building capped by glass pyramids, this upscale beach resort is 1.5 km from the exhibits at Museo Maya de Cancún and 11 km from the Wet'n Wild water park. Featuring marble floors and terraces with lagoon or sea views, the chic suites offer free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, as well as minibars and coffeemakers. Upgraded rooms add a range of extras such as pull-out sofas, kitchens and butler service. There's also 24/7 room service. Amenities include 9 restaurants, 7 bars and 4 lagoon-style pools, plus a spa with a gym and treatment rooms. There's also a golf course.

As low as $1770 ($68) midweek and $2,075 ($80) weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1870 ($72) midweek and $1965 ($76) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Iberostar Cancun – Hotel Zone (5*)

Overlooking the Playa Delfines beach, this luxe all-inclusive resort is 5 km from the Interactive Aquarium Cancun and 8 km from Wet'n Wild Cancun water park. Bright rooms have flat-screens, Wi-Fi (fee), minibars, and tea and coffeemaking equipment. Some have pull-out sofas, while suites add living areas and/or balconies with hot tubs. Room service is available. In addition to modern restaurants serving Mexican, Japanese, French and international fare, amenities include relaxed bars, an outdoor infinity pool, a water park and live entertainment. The resort offers a golf course, a spa, a gym, and activities such as tennis and scuba diving.

As low as $1985 ($77) midweek and $1954 ($76) weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $2070 ($80) midweek and $2070 ($80) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Moon Palace Cancun – Hotel Zone (4.5*)

This all-inclusive golf and spa resort is 1 km from the beach, 12 km from Wet'n Wild Cancun and 17 km from the Croco Cun Zoo. Featuring ocean, resort or golf course views, the contemporary rooms and suites come with free Wi-Fi, smart TVs and minibars, as well as balconies and whirlpool baths. Room service is available 24/7. Meals are provided in a la carte and buffet-style restaurants serving international cuisine. There's also a bar, a nightclub and a teen lounge, plus a spa and a golf course. Other amenities include 7 pools, a surfing simulator, live entertainment and a playground.

As low as $3375 ($130) both midweek and weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $4065 ($157) both midweek and weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Oasis Sens Cancun – Hotel Zone (3.5*)

Grand Oasis Sens is an adults-only 21+ all-inclusive resort that is focused on relaxation.  It’s ideal for couples who want a romantic atmosphere with the excitement of Cancun, set on an amazing Caribbean Beach with the Nichupte Lagoon as a backdrop.  The modern rooms feature flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi access, iPhone docks and minibars. Upgraded rooms include balconies and separate living areas.  Amenities include 12 restaurants and 11 bars (meals and drinks are included), as well as 3 outdoor pools and a spa. There's also a night club, organized entertainment and fitness facilities.

As low as $1720 ($67) both midweek and weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1895 ($73) both midweek and weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Grand Bahia Principe Coba – Riviera Maya (3.5*)

The best family vacation spot in all of the Riviera Maya. A hotel where adults and children can have fun together, but at the same time enjoy their own space, all while delighting in beautiful natural surroundings. The perfect opportunity for intrepid families to immerse themselves in a fascinating culture.

As low as $1170 ($45) both midweek and weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1305 ($51) both midweek and weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Secrets Capri – Playa Del Carmen (4.4*)

Ideally located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen and just a short 35-minute drive south of Cancun International Airport. Surrounded by a string of sparkling beaches, Mayan archaeological sites and tropical coves.  Designed to reflect the charm of a Mexican Hacienda with a splash of Mediterranean flavor. There are 6 restaurants on premises plus 1,000 feet of sugary white sand beach & 71 acres of lush tropical foliage.  Adults Only.

As low as $2005 ($78) both midweek and weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $2055 ($80) midweek and $2205 ($85) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Riu Lupita – Playa Del Carmen (3.9*)

Surrounded by tropical gardens and a championship golf course, this property offers a relaxing atmosphere for friends, families, and couples. Just two miles away from a gorgeous beach (transportation provided), the Riu Lupita features three pools, four restaurants, a night club, a lavish spa, a club for kids, and 24-hour access to food and beverages. Just a mile from Playa del Carmen, this resort is 31 miles from the Cancun International Airport. 

As low as $1060 ($41) both midweek and weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1290 ($50) both midweek and weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020



The city of Cancun offers unmatched dining experiences with beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupté Lagoon. The food is a culinary tour of international flavors with specialized restaurants and authentic regional cuisines. There are many restaurants that have earned a 5 Diamond rating from AAA or are rated by the Michelin Guide. While there is plenty to gush about when it comes to elegant dining in Cancun, there is also an abundance of casual dining experiences that are equally delicious.


Cancun is bursting at the seams with fun activities and experiences. Looking for a relaxing afternoon? Indulge in one of the city’s many spa and wellness services. Is adventure more your style? Cancun is full of natural attractions such as the mangroves, the jungle and cenotes where countless adventure and ecotourism activities can be enjoyed by the whole family. Here are a few of our options for fun and entertainment:

·         Entertainment – Cancun offers a diverse range of entertainment and nightlife, including nightclubs and singular bars with excellent light shows, acrobats and some the world’s best DJs. A few of the city’s best nightclubs include Coco Bongo, Dady’O, The City and Mandala. For something more relaxed and familiar, try a dinner show on a pirate ship, an authentic Mexican party onboard a trajinera in Xoximilco, or the excellent show JOYÁ by Cirque du Soleil.

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