Cancun is the No. 1 main spot with AMERICAN travel to foreign countries, with the help of cheap air travels from the States, 14 miles of beachfronts, 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 expect this former Mayan trading city is simply a sloppy boozefest on the beach, you haven’t experienced the true Cancun. 3 must-see spots for first-timers in Cancun: Sun, Fine sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The coasts of Playa Tortugas along with Playa Delfines offer the full-spectrum of the Cancun beach scene: Playa Tortugas is a joyous 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 get away from the masses (and possibly get 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 early history as a Mayan trading port and provide the urban layout an uniquely mythic appearance (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But for a much more immersive adventure, take a day trip drive down Riviera Maya to the beach front ruins of Tulum and the jungle temples of Coba (they’re much less crowded and even closer in comparison to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would be a shame to leave Cancun without having a look of the most wild, extravagant nightclub the party city has to offer. Coco Bongo is a temple of extravagance to ridiculous proportions– a huge 1,800-person nightclub along with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star impersonators, a rainbow blitz of roving spotlights, and hundreds of partiers dancing to DJ-spun favorites on any platform these people can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This little 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 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 creates an unique experience for tourists looking for adventure in the form of sunken cenotes– subterranean rivers and lakes in which one may access by rappelling into caverns. Underwater Museum of Art Sure, Cancun and the Riviera Maya offer a number of offshore dive sites. But in the event that your tank skills are up to par, some of the best areas 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 exhibited at the bottom of the sea. New to diving? Don’t worry. Scuba Cancun can set you up with a starter’s scuba diving course then a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: kevin dooley via Hotelbee.net / CC BY