Cancun is still the No. 1 main vacation spot with U.S. traveling to foreign countries, due to cheap flights from the States, 14 miles of beaches, and carnival-style night life which transforms the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula in to a 24-hour party scene for university students every Spring Break. But in case you consider this former Mayan trading city is merely a sloppy boozefest on the beach front, you haven’t experienced the real Cancun. 3 must-see tourist attractions for first-timers in Cancun: Sunshine, Fine sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The shores of Playa Tortugas along with 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 below the palms; Playa Delfines is truly an escapist beach with white sand for travelers seeking to get away from the crowds (and possibly catch a couple of waves). Day Trip to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray remind visitors of the city’s ancient history as a Mayan trading port and give the urban layout a distinctively mythic look (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But for a much more immersive experience, take a day trip drive into Riviera Maya to the beachfront ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re far less crowded and closer compared to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would be a shame to leave Cancun without a gander of the most wild, extreme club the party city has to offer. Coco Bongo is a temple of excess to unbelievable proportions– a huge 1,800-person nightclub with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star imitators, a rainbow blitz of roving spotlights, and thousands of partiers moving to DJ-spun favorites on virtually any platform they can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This small island off the coast of Cancun is definitely a quiet retreat from the craziness of the mainland. The palm-shaded coasts are ideal for laying out in the sun right after an intimate lunch break at one of the island’s eateries, and the azure water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rain forest of the Yucatan peninsula builds a distinct experience for tourists looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes in which one can access by rappelling into caverns. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya feature a lot of offshore dive sites. But in case your tank skills are up to par, some of the coolest locations to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, constructed by English artist Jason de Caires Taylor, which, true to its name, is an underwater museum of sculptures arranged at the bottom of the ocean. Brand-new to scuba? No problem. Scuba Cancun can easily set you up with a starter’s scuba diving lesson then a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: RussBowling via Foter.com / CC BY