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Cancun is still the No. 1 leading desired destination for U.S. travel abroad, due to low-priced air travels from the States, 14 miles of coasts, and carnival-style night life that transforms the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for college students every Spring Break. But in case you think this former Mayan trading city is only a sloppy boozefest on the beach front, you have not experienced the true Cancun. 3 must-see attractions intended for first-timers in Cancun: Sun, Fine sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The coasts of Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines deliver the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a fun party beach with calm, tranquil oceans together with bungalow restaurants/bars beneath the palms; Playa Delfines is truly an escapist beach with white sand for vacationers wishing to get away from the herds (and perhaps grab a few waves). Excursion to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray help remind visitors of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and give the urban layout an uniquely mythic look and feel (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). However, for a much more immersive adventure, have a day trip drive down Riviera Maya to the beach front ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re much less crowded and even closer than Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would certainly be a pity to leave Cancun without a gander of the most wild, extreme nightclub the party city has to offer. Coco Bongo is a temple of extravagance to ludicrous proportions– a massive 1,800-person nightclub along with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star imitators, a rainbow blitz of wandering spotlights, and hundreds of partiers moving to DJ-spun favorites on any platform these people are able to climb up onto. Isla Mujeres This small island off the coast of Cancun is definitely a quiet retreat from the madness of the mainland. The palm-shaded coasts are excellent for laying out in the sun right after an intimate lunch break at one of the island’s restaurants, and the blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rain forest of the Yucatan peninsula achieves an unique experience for travelers searching for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes that one may access via rappelling into caves. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya contain a number of offshore dive sites. But in the event that your tank skills are up to par, some of the best spots to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, designed by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor, which, true to its name, is an underwater museum of sculptures arranged at the bottom of the ocean. New to scuba? No problem. Scuba Cancun can easily set you up with a starter’s scuba diving course and after that a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: Nick Kenrick. via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA