IMG_20141217_164249

IMG_20141217_164249
IMG_20141217_164249

Cancun continues to be the No. 1 top getaway when it comes to U.S. travel in foreign countries, thanks to affordable air travels from the States, 14 miles of coastlines, and carnival-style nightlife that transforms the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula in to a 24-hour party scene for college students each and every Spring Break. But if you presume this former Mayan trading city is simply a careless boozefest on the beach, you have not experienced the true Cancun. 3 must-see attractions for first-timers in Cancun: Sun, Sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The beaches of Playa Tortugas along with Playa Delfines provide the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a joyous party beach with calm, tranquil oceans including bungalow restaurants/bars beneath the palms; Playa Delfines is without a doubt an escapist beach with white sand for travelers wanting to avoid the masses (and possibly catch a few waves). Excursion to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray help remind people of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and give the urban layout a distinctly mythic appearance (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But for a much more immersive adventure, take a day trip drive into Riviera Maya to the beach front ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re far less crowded and even closer than Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would certainly be a shame to leave Cancun without having a look of the most explosive, amazing nightclub the party city has to offer. 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 roving spotlights, and thousands of partiers moving to DJ-spun hits on any kind of platform they can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This small isle off the coast of Cancun is certainly a peaceful getaway from the madness of the mainland. The palm-shaded oceanfronts are perfect for laying out under the sun shortly after an intimate lunch at one of the island’s eateries, and the blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rainforest of the Yucatan peninsula produces an unique experience for tourists looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes that you can access by rappelling into caverns. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya provide a number of offshore dive sites. However in case your tank skills are up to par, some of the best locations to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, built by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor, which, true to its name, is an underwater museum of sculptures arranged at the bottom of the sea. Brand-new to scuba? No problem. Scuba Cancun can set you up with a newcomer’s diving session then a museum dive for $80.

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Photo credit: martin_kalfatovic via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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