Cancun is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico. And for good reason! Whether you’re into sun and sand or exploring ancient Mayan ruins, there really is something for everyone. Here are a few things you should know before you go to the to the Yucatan Peninsula hotspot.
Is Cancun safe?
While the U.S. State Department did expand their travel watch list for Mexico this year, Cancun is as safe to travel to as any other major U.S. city or Caribbean resort town. Mexico’s most popular resort city takes the safety of its people and guests seriously. You will find a larger police presence in Cancun than in other parts of Mexico.
You should always follow basic safety precautions while traveling: be aware of your surroundings, stay with the group, don't leave your drink unattended, and beware of local petty criminals looking to pull a fast one on tourists. If it feels like a scam, it probably is. As long as you use common sense while venturing around Cancun, you should be just fine!
When is the best time to visit Cancun?
The best time to visit Cancun all depends on what you're looking for. If you are looking to join the party, the most popular time to visit Cancun is from January to April. Things start to get even more lively as the spring breakers invade Cancun during March and April.
The best time for sightseeing is at the start and end of best weather. January to March is the peak time in Cancun which means tourist attractions will be packed. Traveling during December or April will give you ideal conditions for exploring the the Mexican jungles and ancient ruins without having to fight the crowds.
If swimming with wild life is what you’re after, the best time to travel is during July and August. Whale sharks and sea turtles are active during this time when the water is at its warmest during these months.
If you're looking to save some money, the cheapest time to visit Cancun is from August to September. But a word of caution: August to September is also during hurricane season, so plan accordingly.
Can you drink the water in Cancun?
You've most likely heard it before but it's worth repeating: be cautious when it comes to drinking the water. Most high-end resorts and restaurants purify their water. But when in doubt, it's not a bad idea to use bottled water for drinking and even brushing your teeth. Luckily, bottled water is inexpensive and can be found just about everywhere.
Should I get Pasos or does Cancun accept US dollars?
The majority of tourist venues like hotels, bars, and restaurants will accept either. However, it’s worth exchanging your dollars to Pesos. That way, you won't have to convert currencies in your head and will avoid being scammed when using a credit card. You can find currency exchange facilities located all around Cancun. But do yourself a favor and only convert a little bit of cash at a time. Since you can only spend this money in Mexico, you don't want to get more than you need.
Whether it's in Pesos or dollars, it's wise to have some cash with you because not everywhere will accept credit cards.
What should I pack for Cancun?
A great trip starts with smart packing decisions. So when packing for Cancun, you'll want to make sure to include the following:
Packing sunscreen for a beach vacation should be a no-brainer. Sure, you could buy some when you get there. But it will be pretty expensive thanks to the mark up. Tossing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses in your bag is also a good idea.
Between the tap water and the spicy food, it's not a bad idea to pack some medicine to help settle an upset stomach.
Wireless or battery-powered charger
You won't find too many outlets out on the beach. A battery-powered charger means you won’t miss out on any Instagram-able moments.
If you need to pack any prescription medications, make sure you pack the original prescription along with it. Mexican custom agents may require it as proof.
The right clothes and shoes
It’s going to be hot. Fill your suitcase with comfortable summer clothes made of breathable like linen and cotton. Don’t forget your bathing suit, sandals, and comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing.
What should I know about arriving at the Cancun Airport?
Mexico has specific rules about what you can bring into the country, particularly when it comes to electronics. When it comes to things like laptops and iPads, it’s a good idea to not bring more than one. Take a look at our list of guidelines or visit the Mexican Customs websites for more specific information.
When you arrive in Cancun, there will be many people vying for your attention. Taxi drivers will offer you rides. Salespeople will offer you timeshare presentations. Booking your transportation from the airport in advance will save money and allow you to breeze on by with a simple “no gracias.”
What's the best way to get around Cancun?
One of the cheapest, easiest, and safest ways to get around Cancun’s Hotel Zone is public transportation. The bus will take you just about anywhere you want to go for in central Cancun for roughly 8.5 pesos or $1. With a bus stop at every corner, it’s one of the more convenient and affordable ways to get around.
Taxis are another way to get around Cancun. But a word to the wise: negotiate the price up front. Taxis in Cancun aren’t regulated and cabbies have been known to overcharge unsuspecting tourists.
Renting a car is a great way to take advantage of some of the sites outside of central Cancun. You will save yourself both time and money by making arrangements online ahead of time.
What’s there to do in Cancun (besides lay on the beach drinking margaritas)?
Cancun has a reputation of being all about beaches and parties. But there’s more to Cancun than swim up bars and sun bathing. Some of Mexico’s most sacred ancient sites are just a few hours away from central Cancun. Chichén Itzá is Mexico’s most famous and popular archaeological site. Recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it’s easy to see why!
Temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo, is one of the most recognizable and breathtaking structures in all of Mexico. The temple and step pyramids are two hours away by car, three if you take the bus. There is also the ruined city of Ek Balam, one of the Yucátan’s largest Mayan sites. Because Ek Balam is more newly discovered, it’s much less crowded than some other ancient sites. And unlike other ancient ruin sites, tourists are allowed to climb on the actual ruins at Ek Balam!
Take a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. This picturesque island is ideal for snorkeling with whale sharks and dolphins or relaxing along the peaceful stretches of shore.
Will my cell phone work in Cancun?
Nothing can ruin the afterglow of a great trip like coming home to surprise international roaming charges. It's always a good idea to call your cell phone provider before leaving the States. You will want to be sure that you won't be billed for roaming or have to pay international rates on minutes used while away. If you decide to buy calling cards, only buy cards from reputable phone companies like TelMex or LadaTel.
Where can I get some authentic Mexican food in Cancun?
La Destileria is one of Cancun’s most famous restaurants, known for its tequila tastings and vegetarian dishes. La Habichuela Sunset serves a mix of traditional Mexican or Mayan dishes with such exotic specialities like Relleno Negro (a classic Mayan dish of turkey and meatballs in a roasted chili sauce). They also offer one of the most romantic dinners with its Mayan architectural design and views of the Nichupte Lagoon.
And while you’re looking for authentic Mexican food, why not try something new? There’s no time like the present to try local specialties like sopa de lima (lime soup) and pescado tikin-xic (fish cooked with annatto paste and baked in banana leaves).
I’m Sold! What’s the Best Way to Book my Trip to Cancun?
You can research and compare a number of travel websites to find the best deals. You can sift through a number of travel blogs to figure out how to put together the perfect itenary. Or you can visit Cancun.com where we’ve gathered the best deals, insights, tips, and tricks to help you plan the best trip ever!