Likes & Dislikes


If you do not want to stay in an all-inclusive hotel and/or not interested in nightlife, do not choose Cancun.


Cancun is a very ‘divisive’ place that can in no way be called a typical Mexican vacation spot: it is neither beautiful nor exciting.

At the same time, it's easy to imagine that a couple may want to sip cocktails in the sun on a nice beach, with the aerobics class the most energetic part of the day. For me, this is absolutely acceptable for travelers who have been doing extremely demanding work all year and don't want more.

 However, Cancun can also be a brilliant starting place to spend the first few days and beat the jet lag that comes with it. Around the central Ado bus terminal in the city center, you can ‘warm up’ for later culinary pleasures with brilliant street food. Of course, you can escape immediately on the first collectivo (a cheap minibus and a great option in some areas) that passes by. For example, Isla Mujeres is ideal for this purpose: it is close, we can immediately throw our mermaid or whale bodies into the turquoise water and/or post cool photos on Facebook and Instagram, sufficiently annoying our colleagues and envious people stuck at home.

Isla Mujeres is easily accessible (by ferry or boat, and a taxi or collectivo from the port will bring you back to the city center for pennies).

It's small, you can go to the beach, and here too they sell many of the same non-authentic gift items as everywhere else.” (Aniko, 2021)






From the airport to the Hotel Zone it takes 30-40 minutes by taxi. Rates are around 60 USD. You may have to bargain before boarding.

Distances are long even within the Hotel Zone, so you often need to take a bus or a taxi


Taking a taxi is not dangerous but not trouble-free. Some taxi drivers have bad manners and often try to cheat with the rates.

Finding a free taxi is very easy. They are at almost every corner, in front of the larger hotels.
The official rates are displayed in the hotels and at the taxi ranks. Nevertheless, we recommend you to make the driver clear that you how much the official rate is, and you don't want to enter into a haggling.  

Official rate is this:  basic fee is $35.00 (about 1,80 USD), the kilometer price is $32.50 (about 1,6 USD). Before taking a taxi, you may calculate the planned distance on your iPhone.

The average taxi fare within the Hotel Zone is 60–90 pesos/per ride (6-9 USD), not per person. This is the most expensive rate in all of Mexico.  

The average taxi fare from the Hotel Zone to Downtown is about 180 pesos (18 USD), travel time about 20 minutes from the beach are from the Hotel Zone. The entrance of the Hotel Zone is only a few kilometers from the downtown (or Centro).  

Regrettably, Uber existing semi-illegally in Cancun. There are very few Uber drivers. You may contact them, but they are not reliable, come late or cancel at the last minute. (July 2020)

There is Cabify, which offers a bit more sophisticated services than ordinary taxis, but not as good as Uber (where it is legal in Mexico). Cabify is cheaper than the taxis, which seem to have a mafia backing to enforce high rates. The mafia does not allow Cabify to take transport within the Hotel Zone. Taxi drivers are notorious for violence against drivers of companies like Uber and Didi.


Downtown is 20 minutes by public bus from the Hotel Zone. The bus ticket costs 8,50 pesos (less than 1 USD). Getting from the Hotel Zone to Centro, the bus is ridiculously cheap, and the technical, hygienic conditions are decent. Buses run at high frequency. Of course, in the COVID-era, much depend on whether the bus is crowded or not.

Car rental

Consider downloading Navmiii GPS Mexico, an app that could be your GPS without requiring a wifi connection.

Gasoline (1 liter): 20.06 MXN  (about one USD)  

Cancún - airport - arrival - Krista photo December 2020

Cancún - ADO airport bus - Krista photo


Nudists can find at least two hotels for their textile-free vacation:

In Temptation Resort, nudity is optional, not mandatory. The hotel can only accommodate couples.  
Clothing is optional in the Desire Pearl, but neither is this one a swinger club hotel.  Nevertheless, some women guests felt embarrassed about voyeurism that focused on the naked female body.   
For most of the year, the resort is for straight couples only, but there are certain months when two women can attend together and no occasions when two men can.


Restaurant prices are about 30-40% lower in the city than in the Hotel Zone.

If you are not in an all-inclusive resort, you should try to have street food in the market of the Downtown: chorizo, other kinds of fried sausages, green chili with divine Coronita beer.

If you stay in an apartment, consider installing the mobile phone app Rappi if you want to order food.

Tipping is prevalent in Cancún. You are expected to leave a minimum of 10% (min) of the amount in tips to waiters, bellboys in the hotel. Even the gas station attendants look for a tip.

Cancún - Centro - La Parilla, a traditional Mexican restaurant - Krista's photo (January 2021)

Cancún - Centro - eateries - Krista's photo


It would help if you had cash in Cancun as many restaurants and gift shops don’t accept credit cards. But don't change money at the airport, because the exchange rates are not favorable for you. You are better off changing money in one of the many exchange kiosks in Cancún.

In the Hotel Zone, there is a concentrated area of shopping malls, called Shopping Mile. Prices here are higher than in the urban part (Centro) of Cancún. In the Hotel Zone, the price level is adjusted to the splurging US vacationers, who typically stay 7-10 days and spend relatively much money beyond the all-inclusive provision.

The most exclusive shops, boutiques, are in Luxury Avenue (nomen est omen).

Don't buy everything at the listed price. Haggling is a common practice, especially at places like street fairs, food stands, and beach huts. Offer about 40% lower, and mostly you'll end up reaching a 20% discount. Paying in cash can help you get a better rate. 

Avoid booking tours with representatives who stop you on the street.

In the supermarkets, beside the counters, persons stand and help you to pack the items in the bags. They (mostly pensioners or students) expect you to give some little tips (we suggest: 5-10 pesos). 

Cancún - city - hand-seller waves lobster to drivers - photo by Andris


Hotel Zone:

The 25 km (15,5 mi) long boulevard, the Paseo Kukulcan, is the peninsula's backbone. There is an amazing amount of facilities along the way for shopping and entertainment. There are many discos to choose from, and there are also quite a few malls.

The nightclubs, bars form an almost contiguous neighborhood, so it’s easy to take a party tour. One of the most famous discos is Coco Bongo. Some hotels offer bar crawl tours escorted by animators, and the groups mostly visit this Coco Bongo, too.

In Downtown (Centro):

Many bars have an apparent ancillary activity: whorehouse.  

Public safety

The Hotel Zone is safe, but at night walk carefully on the Avenida Yaxchilan (entertainment avenue) if you are alone, or just two of you. Some tricky crooks are trying to cheat vacationers, but at least not to rob you.    

In the bars and restaurants, pickpockets are getting busy.

The crowded streets of the Downtown are safe.

Don't swim in the lagoon of Cancun unless you'd like to feed crocodiles with your flesh. Compared to this, the fact that the water in the lagoon is dirty is a secondary problem.

Cancún - Playa Delfines - red flag - from the beach tower lifeguard keeps a watchful eye on offenders - Krista photo


COVID update December 2020: Wearing a mask obligatory in public places, but about 70% of the vacationers don't obey.

Don't drink the tap water.

We highly recommend you using a 50+ SPF suncream for your first exposures.

Avoid that.

Bring mosquito repellent. Better to be on the safe side and avoid Dengue fever.


About the beaches:

Some beach sections are partly private and belong to hotels and resorts, still, they can not send you away if you want to go swimming there. But there are beaches which are totally free to everyone, like Playa Delfines, Playa Chac-Mool or Playa Marlin.

On the beach, the rental of a sunbed is about 7-8 USD, but that includes two drinks as well. You can rent a parasol, but you might be asked to leave a deposit amount (about 20 USD).

If you are not a guest of a beachside hotel, resort, then it is worth for you noting that in many beach parts of the Hotel Zone, the hotel buildings were built tightly together, with no free passageways left in between them. The staff, the security guards stop trespassers who, coming from the beach, are trying to cross the property (lobby, garden, pool area, etc.) to reach the main road (Boulevard Kukulcan). The problem is that small legal passages, alleys are few, and you may need to walk up to one and a half kilometers (a mile) to find one.  


Cancún - Playa Delfines - famous CANCUN big letters sign - a popular place for a picture - Krista photo

Destination in brief

Cancun is in the northeastern corner of the Yucatán Peninsula. Translated from the Mayan language, the name Cancún means snake's nest.

Population (in 2020): 944,000 - The majority of the city's population came here from other parts of the country to get jobs and business opportunities in tourism, the related service industry, catering trade, and construction. 

Cancun is the tourism industry center of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The city itself and the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera) are separate from each other. In the latter, luxury hotels stand side by side on the fine sandy, beautiful beach. Some of the resorts are huge, with more than 500 rooms.

Many people resemble Cancún to Miami. Vacationers are dominantly from the US, and the atmosphere is so American.
The Hotel Zone's nightlife area is full of Americans in their thirties and forties, many of them in elated, intoxicated conditions. 

Hotels and resorts organize the same kind of entertainment programs as usual in Florida: wet t-shirt contest, beer-drinking contest. Luckily there are at least some Mexican versions, too, like the tequila volleyball. 

Cancun is known as a spring break destination for Americans. The high season is from early to mid-March. Party-goers from all over the world travel to Cancun for spring break and indulge in all-inclusive hotels and huge discos.

The city of Cancún with the Centro:

That seems to be a planned city with a clear street structure.


The Hotel Zone is on a 14 km (8,7 mi)-long, very narrow headland, extending into the Caribbean Sera in a semicircle, with both ends connected to the mainland. The headland is still broad on the first kilometers, so you can not see both sides of the sea

Cancún - Playa Delfines - seagulls searching for leftovers - Krista photo

Cancún - Playa Delfines - one of the few beaches in the Hotel Zone not in front of hotels - Krista photo


There is a hurricane season between the end of May and the beginning of November! Heavy rains, tropical storms, and floods are common during these months.

Nights can be rather chilly and rains are common from August through February.


The construction of the Hotel Zone of Cancún has started in 1970. Before a sleepy fishing village existed here,

Acapulco, on the Pacific Coast, was far more popular among the US vacationers, but - since that - the worsened public safety motivated them to frequent the much safer Cancun instead. The success story of Cancún started around 1989.  


In Cancún, some businesses such as nightclubs, bars, strip clubs, and larger restaurants are under the control of cartels (Zetas, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación or Cartel de Sinaloa).  In a particular way, that indirectly benefits tourists. Organized crime has a massive motivation in guaranteeing the safety of foreign visitors, who are for them the cows to be milked. Many owners of bars, shops are forced to pay protection money to one of the cartels.


Most of the visitors of Cancún are from the US and Canada. Among the European and Latin American travelers, Playa del Carmen is more popular than Cancún. The Latin Americans don't like to have a vacation where the Gringos are in the majority (Florida is an exception).   

Cancún is popular among Americans who wish to combine a beach vacation, an all-inclusive resort with intensive nightlife experiences.   

Cancún - Playa Delfines - children - Krista photo

Tourist etiquette

1. In restaurants and shops services are slow. Mexicans are not in a hurry and are not punctual. Don't spoil your vacation by being upset about that. Take your time and enjoy life with a philosophical perception of the local reality.


Cancún Underwater Museum (or MUSA, Underwater Museum of Art)

Cancún - MUSA - r.l. photo


Cancun - city - fishing-themed street art - Krista's photo

City's Centro

Cancún - Centro - Krista's photo

Cancún - city - street art - Krista's photo

Playa Delfines

Cancún - Playa Defines - mesmerizing sea water colors - Krista photo

Cancún - Playa Delfines - fine beach sand - Krista photo

Cancún - Playa Delfines - 80% Mexicans - Krista photo

Cancún - Playa Delfines - red flag day - Krista photo

Cancún - Playe Delfines - waves - Krista photo

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