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Cancun continues to be the No. 1 leading location with regard to U.S. travel abroad, thanks to cheap flights 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 pretty much every Spring Break. But in case you assume this former Mayan trading city is simply a sloppy boozefest on the beach front, you haven’t experienced the real Cancun. 3 must-see 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 supply the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a festive party beach with calm, tranquil oceans including bungalow restaurants/bars underneath the palms; Playa Delfines is without a doubt an escapist beach with white sand for travelers planning to get away from the crowds (and maybe get a few waves). Excursion to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray help remind vacationers of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and provide the urban layout a distinctly mythic look and feel (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). However, for a more immersive adventure, have a day trip drive down Riviera Maya to the beach front ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re much less crowded and closer compared to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would certainly be a pity to leave Cancun without a look of the most wild, extreme club the party city has to give. Coco Bongo is a temple of excess to unbelievable 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 dancing to DJ-spun hits on virtually any platform they can climb up onto. Isla Mujeres This tiny island off the coast of Cancun is definitely a quiet getaway from the craziness of the mainland. The palm-shaded beaches are fantastic for laying out in the sun’s rays shortly after an intimate lunch break at one of the island’s restaurants, and the glowing blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rain forest of the Yucatan peninsula builds an unique experience for tourists looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes in which one may access via rappelling into caverns. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya contain a lot of offshore dive sites. However assuming that your tank skills are up to par, some of the best locations to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, constructed 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. New to diving? Not a problem. Scuba Cancun can easily set you up with a beginner’s scuba diving lesson and after that a museum dive for $80.

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

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