Holidays in the Caribbean Four Essential Cancún Neighborhoods
Get to know the city, one barrio at a time
With its beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine and rich culture, Cancún is a fantastic year-round travel destination that appeals to every type of traveler. Its breathtaking nature, friendly locals and trendy dining scene has also made it popular as a honeymoon spot. Start your trip by heading to the Hotel Area, only a 15-minute drive from the airport. Then, drop off your luggage at the beautiful five-star Iberostar Selection Cancún resort and get ready to explore everything the city has to offer, one neighborhood at a time.
Cancún’s Hotel Area is a beach lover’s paradise, with its fine white sands and turquoise waters. If you like your beaches on the quiet side, go to the north part of the area to enjoy the calm waters of Playa Caracol or Playa Langosta. If watersports are your thing, Playa Ballenas or Playa Chac Mool, on the Caribbean side, are just the ticket. Check out the MUSA Underwater Museum, which has over 500 underwater sculptures. Then, when night falls, get the party started at Coco Bongo, whose nightly acrobatic shows that will blow you away.
Discover a part of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage in the area of El Rey (“The King”). This Mayan archaeological site was named after a statue that was found there that resembled a king, now exhibited at Cancún’s Mayan Museum, just a three-minute drive away. Entrance to the museum includes access to the Mayan ruins of San Miguelito. Afterwards, relax or catch some waves at one of the best beaches in Cancún, Playa Delfines and take a selfie at its colorful “Cancún” sign to capture the moment.
Golfers will be delighted to find the world-class resort course Iberostar Selection Cancún Golf Club, only a few minutes away from the El Rey ruins by car. With lush greenery, exotic wildlife and beautiful views of the Nichupté Lagoon, this 18-hole golf course is an idyllic place to practice your favorite sport. The golf course was designed by superstar Japanese golfer Isao Aoki, who was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.
Once your belly is full and you’re ready to continue exploring downtown Cancún, walk to the flea market Mercado 28, a great place to buy a handcrafted souvenir to take home, selling Mexican candy, clothes, toys, accessories and more. Then, walk down the beautiful walkway of Malecón Tajamar and take in the views of Nichupté Lagoon from another perspective. Your next stop should be Parque Las Palapas, a landmark of the city with weekly events, food carts and a large stage.
After thoroughly exploring Cancún, it’s time to take a ferry to the island of Isla Mujeres to end your trip on a relaxing note. Lounge at the seaside Café del Mar or T&T Tropical Paradise, enjoy Mexican fusion cuisine at Lola Valentina or traditional food at La Lomita before visiting Mercado Municipal—the local market—to enjoy tasty and authentic mexican fare.
Once you’ve refueled, explore the wonderful beaches of Isla Mujeres. The main beach, Playa Norte is a popular choice, while Playa Garrafón is excellent for snorkeling. Isla Mujeres Turtle Farm is a sanctuary for this endangered species, offering daily tours of its aquarium in both English and Spanish. To the south of the island, the viewpoint of Punta Sur includes a lighthouse, outdoor sculptures and the ruins of a Mayan temple.