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Cancun remains the No. 1 prime vacation spot regarding AMERICAN traveling abroad, with the help of low-cost airlines from the States, 14 miles of beachfronts, and carnival-style night life which transforms the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for university students every Spring Break. But in the event that you assume this former Mayan trading city is only a sloppy boozefest on the beach, you haven’t experienced the real Cancun. 3 must-see destinations intended for first-timers in Cancun: Sunshine, Sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The shores of Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines supply the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is an upbeat party beach with calm, tranquil water and bungalow restaurants/bars underneath the palms; Playa Delfines is an escapist beach with white sand for tourists wishing to avoid the crowds (and perhaps get a couple of waves). Day Trip to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray remind vacationers of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and give the urban layout an uniquely mythic look (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But for a much more immersive adventure, have a day trip drive into Riviera Maya to the beachfront ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re much less crowded and even closer compared to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would be a pity to leave Cancun without a gander of the most wild, lavish nightclub the party city has to feature. Coco Bongo is a temple of excess to ludicrous proportions– a gigantic 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 hits on virtually any platform they are able to climb up onto. Isla Mujeres This tiny island off the coast of Cancun is certainly a peaceful retreat from the craziness of the mainland. The palm-shaded beaches are ideal for laying out in the sun after an intimate meal at one of the island’s restaurants, and the azure water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rain forest of the Yucatan peninsula sets up an unique experience for tourists looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes in which you can gain access to via rappelling into caverns. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya provide lots of offshore dive sites. However in case your tank skills are up to par, one of the best locations 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 diving? No problem. Scuba Cancun can easily set anyone up with a newbie’s diving session then a museum dive for $80.

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Photo credit: lengliz_mourad via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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