Cancun is still the No. 1 main holiday destination when it comes to U.S. vacation overseas, thanks to low-priced flights from the States, 14 miles of beaches, and carnival-style night life that 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 believe this former Mayan trading city is just a careless boozefest on the beach, you haven’t experienced the real Cancun. 3 must-see destinations intended for first-timers in Cancun: Sunshine, Fine sand, and Waves at Playa Tortugas and Playa Delfines The coasts 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 including bungalow restaurants/bars beneath the palms; Playa Delfines is an escapist beach with white sand for vacationers looking to get away from the masses (and perhaps catch a few waves). Excursion to the Mayan Ruins Integrated into the downtown area, the plaza ruins of El Ray remind tourists of the city’s early history as a Mayan trading port and provide the urban layout an uniquely mythic look (and a kitschy cache to bankroll tourist dollars). But 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 even closer compared to Chichen Itza). Coco Bongo It would undoubtedly be a shame to leave Cancun without having a peek of the most wild, extreme club the party city has to feature. Coco Bongo is a temple of extravagance to outrageous proportions– a massive 1,800-person nightclub along with nightly trapeze acts, rock-star impersonators, a rainbow blitz of wandering spotlights, and hundreds of partiers moving to DJ-spun favorites on any platform these people can climb onto. Isla Mujeres This little isle off the coast of Cancun is certainly a quiet retreat from the chaos of the mainland. The palm-shaded beaches are superb for laying out in the sun shortly after an intimate lunch at one of the island’s dining establishments, and the glowing blue water seems made for an afternoon swim. Dipping Into the Cenotes The rainforest of the Yucatan peninsula puts together a distinct experience for vacationers trying to find 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 contain lots of offshore dive sites. However in case your tank skills are up to par, one of the coolest spots 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 arranged at the bottom of the sea. New to diving? Don’t worry. Scuba Cancun can easily set anyone up with a starter’s diving session and then a museum dive for $80.
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Photo credit: Waywuwei via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA