The AIRGOFX Guide to Holidays in Cancun, Mexico
This week, The AIRGOFX series on international holiday destinations explores the exquisite city of Cancun, Mexico. Located on the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Cancun best is known for its nightlife, inclusive resorts, and its miles of gorgeous beaches.
And although it's a popular destination for college students on spring break, both Cancun and its surrounding areas also have a diverse array of charming or adventurous locales for British travelers of all ages. A quick read of our Guide to Holidays in Cancun will explain why. Here are five great attractions in Cancun and its vicinity.
Cancun Culture and Night Life
The culture in Cancun is much more diverse than you might think, with attractions that range from beaches and museums to archaeological gems and incredible nightlife. We suggest that during the day you visit Cancun's more tranquil attractions, but when evening comes, you'll have your choice of spectacular nightclubs, music, and culinary delights.
There's more to Cancun than resort culture and beautiful beaches, but these attractions, along with the city's dynamic nightlife, draw millions of visitors a year with ample reason. Don't be shy about exploring which venues are most appealing to you.
Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park
Located on the Quintana Roo Caribbean shoreline, Xcaret Park is a uniquely themed amusement park and a remarkable attraction. Ecotourism delights abound here, as the park features a butterfly pavillion, an aviary, a coral reef aquarium, and even a manatee lagoon.
You can also participate in water activities such as speedboat rides, swimming with dolphins or sharks (!), close up encounters with stingrays, and scuba diving. Lastly, Xcaret Park also features a variety of cultural shows, including dancing and singing events, as well as equine events and folk art showcases.
Sistema Dos Ojos
If you're feeling particularly adventurous while on your trip to Cancun, we suggest a day trip to the Sistema Dos Ojos just north of Tulum in Quintana Roo. Rendered in English as the "Two Eyes", Dos Ojos is flooded cave system on the Caribbean coast that wasn't discovered until 1987. One of the longest cave systems in the world, Dos Ojos has over 300 miles of passageways to explore and is known for its unique underground ecosystems.
Dos Ojos is a popular site for snorkeling and scuba diving, but do be aware that some of the dives do require a open water certificate for safety purposes. The caves, or "cenotes" as they're called in Spanish, are geologically remarkable as well, especially the two caverns from which the Dos Ojos system derives its name. These two caves connect the two main parts of the system and seem like two eyes staring further underground.
The simplest way to reach Dos Ojos is to take a 35 minute ferry ride from Cozumel, which is itself a beautiful, undeveloped island and a popular site for scuba diving. Within the Dos Ojos system, certified visitors typically dive in guided groups of four or more people. Depending on what you wish to experience during your Cancun holiday, perhaps Dos Ojos should be at the top of your list of places to visit.
The Ancient Mayan City of Coba
Also located in Quintana Roo, the fascinating city of Coba most certainly merits a visit as well. Coba is a truly fascinating city, site of a magnificent set of Mayan ruins and home to the largest climbable pyramid on the entire Yucatan Peninsula. The city's name means 'waters stirred by the wind' and seems entirely appropriate to visitors who view the two gorgeous lagoons that surround it.
To explore the ruins at Coba, visitors can rent bicycles or go on foot, with the walk taking about 2 .5 hours to complete. Both paths go along shaded walkways which were the original 'white roads' of the city and allow visitors to explore 3 of the thousands of settlements thought to have existed during the Mayan period.
Simply put, Coba is a site that shouldn't be missed. This is especially true if you desire a break from all the modern excitement you're bound to experience in the Cancun night life!
Cancun Wax Museum
Back to the city itself, we suggest a few hours' visit to the Cancun Wax Museum located in the La Isla Plaza Shopping Village. Here, visitors can view over over two dozen intriguing and campy exhibits, with remarkable figures that range from Mother Theresa and Charlie Chaplin to American pop stars and Mexican folk heroes.
The Cancun Wax Museum is a tremendous amount of fun and interesting diversion as well. We do suggest, however, that you arrange for tickets in advance, as the Wax Museum is a very popular attraction. And while you're in the area, you can sample some of the best shopping and dining options in the entire city.