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Cancun is still the No. 1 top vacation spot with regard to U.S.A vacation overseas, thanks to low-priced airfares from the States, 14 miles of coastlines, and carnival-style nightlife which changes the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula in to a 24-hour party scene for college students every Spring Break. But if you expect this former Mayan trading city is simply a sloppy boozefest on the beach front, you have not experienced the true 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 and Playa Delfines offer the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a fun party beach with calm, tranquil water including bungalow restaurants/bars under the palms; Playa Delfines is without a doubt an escapist beach with white sand for vacationers aiming to get away from the herds (and perhaps catch a couple of waves). Excursion to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray remind people of the city’s ancient history as a Mayan trading port and give the urban layout a distinctly mythic look and feel (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). However, for a more immersive adventure, take a day trip drive down Riviera Maya to the beach front ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re far less crowded and even closer in comparison to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would be a pity to leave Cancun without a gander of the most wild, extreme club the party city has to give. Coco Bongo is a temple of extravagance to ludicrous proportions– a huge 1,800-person nightclub along with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star imitators, a rainbow blitz of roving spotlights, and thousands of partiers dancing to DJ-spun hits on any platform these guys are able to climb up onto. Isla Mujeres This little island off the coast of Cancun is certainly a peaceful escape from the chaos of the mainland. The palm-shaded beaches are superb for laying out in the sun right after an intimate lunch at one of the island’s dining establishments, 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 visitors looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes that you can access via rappelling into caves. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya feature lots of offshore dive sites. But in the event that your tank skills are up to par, one of the best areas to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, developed by English artist Jason de Caires Taylor, which, true to its name, is an underwater museum of sculptures displayed at the bottom of the ocean. New to scuba diving? No problem. Scuba Cancun can set you up with a starter’s scuba diving course 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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