Cancun could be the most easily accessible Caribbean destination - there are direct flights to Cancun from most US cities. Cancun immediately brings to mind spring break, crazy kids and endless budget hotels. However, this part of Mexico has some of the best beaches with white, soft sand - if you know where to look.
There is plenty of information out there about Cancun. Most of the sites overlook a dirty little secret - Cancun was severely damaged by hurricane Wilma in 2005. The area was hammered by hurricane-force winds for over 36h, and sustained over $3B worth of damage. The hurricane has proven to be disastrous to the Cancun beaches, and a blessing-in-disguise for Cancun hotels. The beaches were effectively washed away during hurricane, and had to be restored with dredged sand at a cost of $80M+. As a result, most of the east-facing beaches on Cancun Island have very coarse sand, with chunks of coral and rocks, and can get quite dusty. If you would like to spend time on the beach with nice soft sand, stay on the north facing beaches at the tip of the Island. The hotels in Cancun fared better, and benefitted in the long term from the destruction. The hurricane effectively forced the operators to rebuild at roughly the same time, so Cancun hotels are all in very good shape. Thus the hotels avoided slow decline typical of aging resort areas (such as Mazatlan or Acapulco).
Traveling to Cancun
Airport (code:CUN) is one of the largest and busiest airports in Caribbean. All major airlines have direct flights to Cancun, with flight time under 3 hours from most major US cities.
Transportation within Cancun area
- The best mode of transport within Cancun is either airport shuttle or taxis.
- Do not hail taxi cabs on the street - kidnapping is a real possibility. Use only hotel-called taxis.
- If you find yourself away and in need of a taxi, walk to the nearest hotel and ask concierge to get you taxi.
- Book airport shuttle ahead of time, the typical cost is about $40. If you wait to book until arrival, the cost of transportation to Cancun hotel zone will be $60-80.
- Budget option is using bus within hotel zone, the fare is about 10 Pesos ($1).
- Stay on the north facing beaches of Cancun Island, or down south on Riviera Maya
- Credit cards are accepted everywhere
- English is spoken everywhere.
- US Dollars are accepted everywhere.
Do not expect great diving in Cancun itself. There are few diving spots near the tip of Cancun Island, however for the best diving go to Cozumel.
Best time to visit is the end of March through middle of May. Wet season starts in May, with frequent afternoon storms. Hurricanes are a real possibility starting in August, be aware. Last major one to hit Cancun was Wilma in 2005.