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Cancun Visitors Guide

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Cancun, Mexico Le Meridien Cancun

The largest resort on the Mayan Riviera, Cancun was developed during the 1970s from a small fishing village to the tourist hotspot it is today. The "hotel zone" (zona hotelera), or Isla Cancun, is an island shaped like the number 7, turned on it's side, so that the top of the 7 runs roughly north-south, and the long part of the 7 runs roughly east-west. The Caribbean Sea is on the "outside" of the 7, with a lagoon, Laguna Nichupte, on the "inside".

cancun satellite image

Kukulkan Blvd. runs down the entire length of the island. Punta Cancun is at the point of the 7, and is where the Convention Center is located, along with Plaza Caracol shopping center, and dozens of hotels along the "top" of the 7, including the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach, Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun, the Presidente InterContinental Cancun, and the RIU Palace. This area tends to be quite lively and crowded, with lots of restaurants and "party central" bars and clubs.

If you turn the corner and head west down the long (and somewhat quieter) part of the 7, and is home to dozens of hotels, including our featured hotel, Le Meridien Cancun, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, the Ritz-Carlton Cancun, the The Westin Regina Resort and Spa Cancun, the Marriott Casamagna Cancun Resort, the Gran Solaris Cancun, the Gran Caribe Real Resort, and the Gran Melia Cancun.

The sand on the beach in Cancun is so white that it's not hot on your feet, even in the middle of the day in the middle of August. And yes, the water really is that color! We've heard that the ocean is a bit calmer along the beaches on the top of the 7, however, if the waves are too strong, it's just fine having a few drinks out at the pool. This shot (and the beach shot above are from Le Meridien).

If you drive down Kukulkan Blvd. past the bottom of the 7, you'll be heading towards Cancun International Airport, and it's about an 80 mile drive past Playa Del Carmen to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. Cozumel is about a 40 minute ferry ride from Cancun, and is the place to go if you're into scuba-diving (see Cozumel Hotel Map).

The ruins at Tulum aren't as big, nor as well preserved, as the more more famous Mayan pyramids at Chichen-Itza, but they do have the virtue of being right on the beach, so you can study history and go swimming at the same time! We found it well worth the trip.

Here's a couple of more looks at Tulum.