There are lots of excellent hotels in the 20 Km long line of sand that gave notoriety to Cancun. But I was told that, in same sections of it, the sea could become treacherous.
Krystal hotel had the advantage of being in one of the safest areas of the beach, and being safe, keeping the waves that make all the difference between pool and sea. Great!
The lower part of the 7 has many, many great beaches. I love the white, powdery sand, and the clear, turquoise, blue warm water! I haven't really seen any bad beaches there! The norther and southern hotel zone beaches are both great. You can have a great time snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, snorkeling and dinner cruises, or taking trips to Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. The shopping is great, I think Isla Mujeres has the best prices, away from the hotel zone. Chitzenitza can't be beat- the history is fascinating. And, the night clubs are fun, to take a break, and enjoy a drink after a long day at the beach!The Cancun beaches in Cancun at Girasol, and Villas Marlin are great - white sand and lovely blue water. We have more snorkeling areas to suggest at www.beachcondocancun.dom/thingstodo.asp
Fondest memory: I love boogie boarding, or snorkeling in the warm, clear water. Snorkeling is great in Cozumel or Isla Mujeres, and I hear there are places in Cancun that are good as well. There is something very relaxing being underwater, seeing the beautiful fish, and it being so quiet and peaceful. The feeling of just floating, and being weightless is a really neat feeling, also.
The Zona Hotelera is where the resorts and most hotels are located. It is an island, with the open sea on one side an inlet on the other. Although very thin (there is one road down the Zona Hotelera, and almost no side roads!), it stretches over 15kms.
The Zona Hotelera is as touristy as a place can get. It makes very few concessions to the mexican way of life. Huge hotels, expensive designer shops, souvenirs and nightclubs are its reason d'étre.
The hotel zone is where the beaches are. And they are indeed beautiful. The sand is very white and never gets hot--even in the heat of the day. Choose your hotel by deciding what you want to do. For example, if you want to swim in the ocean, make sure your hotel has a nice beach where the water is not too rough. Those closer to the point have rougher water. The point is where the action is as far as restaurants and shopping. So if you're more interested in those things, choose one on the point. The buses cover the entire length. Soem hotels are all inclusive, but we chose not to do this because we wanted to be out and about a lot. We were told not to drink the water and we didn't. We all still had a mild stomach discomfort for about three weeks after returning from the first trip. After the second trip, the discomfort was milder and did not last as long.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Cancun is the sheer beauty of the place. There were always blue skies and sunshine, beautiful clear blue water and beautiful hotels. I also remember the day trips, Chichen Itza and Isla Mujeres, which were new experiences and great fun. The tour guides were wonderful. They were very friendly and witty. If you are a drinker, the cat to Isla Mujeres supplied all you wanted. The people in Cancun know you are a tourist spending your money there and they will try very hard to please you.
Favorite thing: This is, according to me, a building that houses a few shops and a restaurant that will open till 2005 (called "ty-coz" or something like that)... I really liked it because it has a touch of typically Mexican colonial architecture, which isn't very common in Cancun!! I know it sounds ridiculous but the big and magnificent hotels you can find here usually have every kind of style except for Mexican. So I was glad to find a building that does look like Mexican, and which reminds you that you're in MEXICO!!!!
A word on Cancun... The trend over the last 10 years at this destination has been an overwhelming number of all inclusive packages being offered by Hotels in the Hotel Zone.
While these offers are very attractive, I would recommend two things:
...understand that the resorts in the Hotel Zone are NOT located in a dangerous area. Many people are quick to categorize Cancun as a place located in a culturally rich and economically poor area of Mexico. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Indeed the vast majority of development along the Hotel Zone has been completed since 1990. Having said that, there are many who buy into an all inclusive and remain couped up in their hotel/resort for the duration of their stay, when the majority of the exicitement, nightlife, restaurants and other attractions are just minutes down the boulevard by bus or cab.
Don't be afraid to take a bus. They are cheap, safe and plentiful. I prefer a cab, but if this is your first trip, be sure to check with your concierge regarding reasonable cab fare rates to your destination.
Restaurants are much cheaper in town (Cancun Centro) and a bit more "authentic".
But then again, if you're looking for authentic Mexican culture, odds are you're not going to find it in this area of Mexico.
...if you do insist on going AI, do some research. There are many hotels that have attractive deals, but many still that don't deliver on their promises.
Fondest memory: uhhh...huh huh. huh.
Stay on the beach. When you stay in a hotel on the lagoon you may have access to the beach but you will have to rent chairs. Other hotels will not let you use their chairs especially if crowded. Some hotels like RIU will not even let you walk on the sand where the hotel is.
Stay in the hotel zone so that you have a nice view. Downtown is not dangerous just not pretty.
It is best to stay near the Plaza Forum of the Sea / Plaza Caracol and El Embarcadero areas. Here shopping and nightlife is within walking distance. El Embarcadero is closer to downtown. In both you will still need a bus or taxi to take you to the locations
Fondest memory: http://www.internetcancun.net/cancunmap.htm
If you need help in selecting a hotel, this is a great map of the hotel zone
The Cancun hotel zone is shaped like a 7, hotels with addresses on Kukulcan from km 0 to km 8 are at the top of the 7 closer to downtown Cancun and the ferries to Isla Mujeres, hotels from km 8 to km 20 are on the bottom part of the 7 are closer to the airport and the Riveria Maya activities.
Hotels from km 8 to km 10 are on the bend of the 7, this is where many of the tourist oriented shops and restaurants are.
Zona hotelera or the hotel zone lies about 10 km from the downtown area. The best way to get around is by bus, as distances can be a bit long. This is were most of the hotels and generally most of the life is. It is a long and narrow reef stretched along the mainland. On one side you have the beach facing the caribbean sea and on the other side is the lagoon.
North in the zone is the "party zone" where most of the action is. Here you can find many malls, restaurants, bars and discos.
Cancun is in central standard time zone or GMT -6 from the United States.
Cancun is 110 volts/60 cycles. Some hotels that might be older or downtown may need an extension cord.
If your bringing a lot of medicine with you keep your pills in the original containers and have a doctors priscription with you. Some people don't bother with it and that will be your call on that. What they are worried about is you setting up shop there and dodging paying taxes and of course bringing illegal drugs in. You can find some drugs that you would normally need a priscription for over the counter but you will have to ask for them. I'm not sure what you can get just ask and see if you can get it.
Illegal Drugs and Alcohol
Don't do illegal drugs, period! The legal age for drinking in Mexico is 18. And they have gotten strict on it now and are carding at the intrences to clubs now. You can bring back 1 liter of alcohol and as much duty free as you can carry from the airport. But you have to remember that what state are you arriving in. You have to know their laws as to how much you can bring back. And you must be 21 to bring any alcohol back, regardless.
Glasses and Contacts
If you are wearing contacts take them out BEFORE you go into the water because it is salt water and it will burn your eyes so bad and you won't be able to see the whole time your down there. If your going into the water leave your glasses in the room same for sunglasses don't wear them going into the ocean/gulf. The waves come in strong and will knock you down sometimes and you will lose your glasses. I don't advise wearing your expensive glasses on the beach either because they have a bad habit of growing legs and walking away. Same for your wallet, purse, bags, and watches. Beware!
Fondest memory: I miss my friends who live there.
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