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Cancun continues to be the No. 1 prime location when it comes to AMERICAN vacation in foreign countries, with the help of inexpensive airfares from the States, 14 miles of coasts, and carnival-style night life which changes the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for college students pretty much every Spring Break. But if you believe this former Mayan trading city is merely a sloppy boozefest on the beach, you have not experienced the real Cancun. 3 must-see attractions for first-timers in Cancun: Sun, Fine sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The coasts of Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines deliver the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is an upbeat party beach with calm, tranquil water and bungalow restaurants/bars under the palms; Playa Delfines is without a doubt an escapist beach with white sand for vacationers planning to avoid the crowds (and possibly grab a couple of waves). Day Trip to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray remind tourists of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and provide the urban layout an uniquely mythic look and feel (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But for a much 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 much less crowded and closer compared to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would be a shame to leave Cancun without a gander of the most explosive, lavish club the party city has to offer. Coco Bongo is a temple of excess to unbelievable proportions– a massive 1,800-person club with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star imitators, a rainbow blitz of wandering spotlights, and thousands of partiers moving to DJ-spun favorites on any platform these guys can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This little isle off the coast of Cancun is a peaceful escape from the craziness of the mainland. The palm-shaded coastlines are excellent for laying out under the sun shortly 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 which you may access by rappelling into caverns. 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 best areas to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, built 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. Brand new to scuba diving? No problem. Scuba Cancun can set you up with a newcomer’s diving course and afterwards a museum dive for $80.

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

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