Mexico – Chichén Itzá; "La Iglesia" in the Las Monjas complex

Mexico - Chichén Itzá; "La Iglesia" in the Las Monjas complex
Mexico – Chichén Itzá; "La Iglesia" in the Las Monjas complex

Cancun remains the No. 1 leading getaway with UNITED STATE vacation abroad, due to cheap 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 college students pretty much every Spring Break. But in the event that you presume this former Mayan trading city is simply a careless 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 supply 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 an escapist beach with white sand for travelers wanting to escape the crowds (and perhaps 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 provide the urban layout a distinctly mythic look and feel (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). However, for a much more immersive experience, take a day trip drive into 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 certainly be a pity to leave Cancun without having a gander of the most wild, extreme nightclub the party city has to feature. Coco Bongo is a temple of extravagance to ridiculous proportions– a huge 1,800-person nightclub with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star imitators, a rainbow blitz of wandering spotlights, and hundreds of partiers moving to DJ-spun favorites on any kind of platform they can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This tiny island off the coast of Cancun is definitely a quiet escape from the craziness of the mainland. The palm-shaded coastlines are perfect for laying out under the sun’s rays following an intimate lunch break at one of the island’s eateries, and the glowing blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rainforest of the Yucatan peninsula achieves a distinct experience for tourists looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes that one can gain access to via rappelling into caves. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya offer a lot of offshore dive sites. But assuming that your tank skills are up to par, one 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 sea. Brand-new to diving? Not a problem. Scuba Cancun can easily set anyone up with a newbie’s diving course and then a museum dive for $80.

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Photo credit: Traveller-Reini via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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