Cancun continues being the No. 1 major destination when it comes to AMERICAN travel to foreign countries, thanks to cheap airfares from the States, 14 miles of shorelines, and carnival-style nightlife that changes the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for university students every Spring Break. But in case you presume this former Mayan trading city is only a careless boozefest on the beach, you haven’t experienced the real Cancun. 3 must-see attractions for first-timers in Cancun: Sunshine, Sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The coasts of Playa Tortugas along with Playa Delfines provide the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a festive party beach with calm, tranquil oceans along with bungalow restaurants/bars below the palms; Playa Delfines is simply an escapist beach with white sand for tourists wanting to avoid the masses (and perhaps grab a few waves). Day Trip to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray remind vacationers of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and give the urban layout a distinctly mythic appearance (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But for a more immersive adventure, have a day trip drive into Riviera Maya to the beach front ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re significantly less crowded and closer in comparison to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would definitely be a shame to leave Cancun without having a look of the most wild, extravagant club the party city has to give. Coco Bongo is a temple of extravagance to outrageous proportions– a massive 1,800-person nightclub with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star imitators, a rainbow blitz of wandering spotlights, and thousands of partiers moving to DJ-spun favorites on any kind of platform they are able to climb up onto. Isla Mujeres This small island off the coast of Cancun is definitely a quiet escape from the madness of the mainland. The palm-shaded beaches are great for laying out under the sun’s rays following an intimate lunch break at one of the island’s dining establishments, and the blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rainforest of the Yucatan peninsula builds a distinct experience for vacationers trying to find adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes which you can access by rappelling into caves. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya have a lot of offshore dive sites. But in case your tank skills are up to par, one 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 exhibited at the bottom of the ocean. Brand-new to scuba? Not a problem. Scuba Cancun can set anyone up with a newbie’s scuba diving session and after that a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: Nick Kenrick. via Hotelbee.net / CC BY-NC-SA