Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Cancun is still the No. 1 top location regarding U.S. travel to foreign countries, due to low-cost air travels from the States, 14 miles of coasts, and carnival-style nightlife that changes the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for university students each and every Spring Break. But in case you expect this former Mayan trading city is merely a sloppy boozefest on the beach, you haven’t experienced the real Cancun. 3 must-see destinations for first-timers in Cancun: Sun, Sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The coastlines of Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines deliver the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a joyous party beach with calm, tranquil water and bungalow restaurants/bars below the palms; Playa Delfines is an escapist beach with white sand for tourists wanting to avoid the herds (and possibly catch a couple of waves). Excursion to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray help remind people of the city’s ancient history as a Mayan trading port and give the urban layout an uniquely mythic look (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). However, for a more immersive experience, get a day trip drive into Riviera Maya to the beachfront ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re significantly less crowded and even closer than Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would certainly be a shame to leave Cancun without a gander of the most explosive, extravagant club the party city has to give. Coco Bongo is a temple of extravagance to outrageous 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 can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This small isle off the coast of Cancun is definitely a quiet getaway from the chaos of the mainland. The palm-shaded coastlines are excellent for laying out under the sun’s rays right after an intimate lunch break at one of the island’s bistros, and the blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rainforest of the Yucatan peninsula creates a distinct experience for tourists searching for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes in which one can access via rappelling into caverns. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya contain plenty of offshore dive sites. But in case your tank skills are up to par, some of the coolest locations 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 laid out at the bottom of the ocean. New to diving? No problem. Scuba Cancun are able to set you up with a starter’s diving lesson and after that a museum dive for $80.

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Photo credit: Tim Buss via Foter.com / CC BY

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