Cancun is still the No. 1 major destination regarding U.S. travel overseas, with the help of low-priced air travels from the States, 14 miles of beaches, and carnival-style nightlife that changes the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for university students every Spring Break. But if you consider this former Mayan trading city is simply a careless boozefest on the beach, 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 beaches of Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines offer the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a joyful party beach with calm, tranquil oceans along with bungalow restaurants/bars under the palms; Playa Delfines is truly an escapist beach with white sand for tourists seeking to escape the masses (and possibly get a couple of waves). Excursion to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray help remind travelers of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and provide the urban layout a distinctively mythic appearance (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But for a much more immersive adventure, get a day trip drive into Riviera Maya to the beach front ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re significantly less crowded and even closer compared to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would undoubtedly be a shame to leave Cancun without having a glimpse of the most wild, extravagant club the party city has to give. Coco Bongo is a temple of extravagance to ludicrous proportions– a massive 1,800-person nightclub with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star impersonators, a rainbow blitz of wandering spotlights, and hundreds of partiers moving to DJ-spun favorites on any kind of platform these guys can climb up onto. Isla Mujeres This little island off the coast of Cancun is certainly a peaceful retreat from the chaos of the mainland. The palm-shaded coastlines are superb for laying out in the sun following an intimate meal at one of the island’s dining establishments, and the blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rain forest of the Yucatan peninsula sets up an unique experience for vacationers searching for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes which one may gain access to by rappelling into caves. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya feature a lot of offshore dive sites. But in the event that your tank skills are up to par, some of the coolest areas to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, designed by English artist Jason de Caires Taylor, which, true to its name, is an underwater museum of sculptures laid out at the bottom of the ocean. Brand-new to diving? Not a problem. Scuba Cancun can easily set anyone up with a starter’s diving lesson and after that a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: kevin dooley via Hotelbee.net / CC BY