Cancun continues being the No. 1 leading vacation spot for U.S. traveling in other countries, thanks to low-cost flights from the States, 14 miles of beachfronts, and carnival-style night life that changes the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for college students every Spring Break. But in the event that you presume this former Mayan trading city is only 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 along with Playa Delfines deliver the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is an upbeat party beach with calm, tranquil oceans along with bungalow restaurants/bars beneath the palms; Playa Delfines is an escapist beach with white sand for vacationers planning to get away from the crowds (and maybe catch a couple of waves). Day Trip to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray help remind travelers of the city’s ancient 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 experience, get 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 closer than Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would definitely be a shame to leave Cancun without having a peek of the most explosive, lavish club the party city has to offer. Coco Bongo is a temple of excess to ridiculous proportions– a huge 1,800-person club along with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star imitators, a rainbow blitz of wandering spotlights, and thousands of partiers dancing to DJ-spun favorites on any platform they can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This small isle off the coast of Cancun is definitely a quiet retreat from the madness of the mainland. The palm-shaded oceanfronts are excellent for laying out in the sun shortly 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 an one-of-a-kind experience for travelers looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes which one can gain access to by rappelling into caverns. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya have plenty of offshore dive sites. But if 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 arranged at the bottom of the sea. New to scuba diving? Not a problem. Scuba Cancun are able to set you up with a beginner’s diving course and afterwards a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: D-Stanley via Hotelbee.net / CC BY