Cancun is the No. 1 main location with USA vacation abroad, thanks to inexpensive airline tickets from the States, 14 miles of beaches, and carnival-style nightlife that transforms the Z-shaped islet off the Yucatan Peninsula into a 24-hour party scene for university students pretty much every Spring Break. But if you consider this former Mayan trading city is only a careless boozefest on the beach front, you have not experienced the real Cancun. 3 must-see destinations for first-timers in Cancun: Sun, Fine sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The shores of Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines provide the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a joyous party beach with calm, tranquil oceans together with bungalow restaurants/bars under the palms; Playa Delfines is an escapist beach with white sand for tourists looking to get away from the masses (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 people of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and give the urban layout an uniquely mythic look and feel (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But for a much more immersive experience, have a day trip drive down 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 a glimpse of the most explosive, extreme club the party city has to offer. Coco Bongo is a temple of excess to outrageous proportions– a huge 1,800-person club with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star imitators, a rainbow blitz of wandering spotlights, and hundreds of partiers dancing to DJ-spun favorites on any platform these people are able to climb up onto. Isla Mujeres This little isle off the coast of Cancun is a peaceful retreat from the madness of the mainland. The palm-shaded beaches are ideal for laying out under the sun’s rays following an intimate meal at one of the island’s eateries, and the blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rainforest of the Yucatan peninsula achieves an unique experience for visitors looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes which one can access via rappelling into caves. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya offer plenty of offshore dive sites. However in case your tank skills are up to par, some of the best spots to scuba dive is the Underwater Museum of Art, created by English artist Jason de Caires Taylor, which, true to its name, is an underwater museum of sculptures displayed at the bottom of the sea. Brand new to scuba diving? Not a problem. Scuba Cancun can easily set anyone up with a newbie’s scuba diving course and then a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: Reskiebak via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND