Cancun continues being the No. 1 leading destination with regard to USA travel in other countries, with the help of affordable airfares from the States, 14 miles of beachfronts, and carnival-style nightlife which transforms the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for university students each and every single Spring Break. But in the event that you expect this former Mayan trading city is simply a careless boozefest on the beach, you haven’t experienced the true Cancun. 3 must-see spots for first-timers in Cancun: Sun, Sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The beaches of Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines offer the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a joyous party beach with calm, tranquil oceans and bungalow restaurants/bars under the palms; Playa Delfines is simply an escapist beach with white sand for travelers wishing to get away from the herds (and maybe get a few waves). Excursion 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 an uniquely mythic look (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). However, for a much 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 compared to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would be a shame to leave Cancun without having a look of the most wild, extreme nightclub the party city has to offer. Coco Bongo is a temple of excess to ludicrous proportions– a huge 1,800-person club along with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star impersonators, a rainbow blitz of roving spotlights, and hundreds of partiers moving to DJ-spun favorites on virtually any platform these people can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This small island off the coast of Cancun is definitely a quiet getaway from the chaos of the mainland. The palm-shaded coasts are ideal for laying out in the sun right after an intimate meal at one of the island’s bistros, and the azure water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rainforest of the Yucatan peninsula produces a distinct experience for visitors trying to find adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes that one can access via rappelling into caves. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya have plenty of offshore dive sites. However assuming that your tank skills are up to par, one of the best spots to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, developed by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor, which, true to its name, is an underwater museum of sculptures arranged at the bottom of the ocean. Brand new to scuba? No problem. Scuba Cancun can set you up with a starter’s diving session and afterwards a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: Runningbrook Farms via Foter.com / CC BY-NC