A dune and small islands linked by a highway, this is Cancun,
a real paradise in the American Way of life.
There are hundreds of hotels and palaces to enjoy.
Each hotel is a waterfront property with giant salt and fresh
water swimming pools. Lagoons are to be found on one side and the green,
blue and purple horizon of the most beautiful ocean in the world is a must to see.
The sand is made of reef dust that has accumulated over the centuries.
Cancun is the largest tourist place in Mexico and the largest in the world because of its exponential growth
in residential and hotel development. Mexican President Etcheverria
laid the foundation stone in 1969, at a time when there was only a fishing
village with 117 inhabitants who made a living from shark fishing (The sharks
there are harmless).
There were almost six millions tourists in 2008, and this number increases every year! For obvious reasons, Year 2009
started well but numbers have seen a decrease in April 2009. However, since year 2011, the number of tourists increase again.
With water skiing, diving, sport fishing, tennis and above all,
golf : Cancun is a paradise of luxurious offerings. From Cancun,
you can visit the whole coast as well as the Pre-Hispanic inland
of the state of Quintana Roo.
This trading city with its long paseo could make you believe that
you are in Nice, Miami or Acapulco : in Cancun you can find just about everything from everywhere in the world.
For the record, this tourist destination has been known worldwide
since the famous "Summit of Cancun" in 1982 and also
because of the many cyclones which have devastated the coast during
the past several dozen years. But, all year long, and especially
in summer, it is the paradise of sunscreen oils. The temperature
has an average fluctuating from 26°C to 35°C (78 to 95°F).
Cancun Cancun is divided into three parts : the sad and unsightly suburb with
many of the workers living from the tourism, the old city,
and the island of Cancun, a large sandy stripe between the ocean
and the lagoons. The 22 kilometer long Kukulcán Boulevard,
between the continent and the Island, services the hotel complexes.
More than six hundred businesses, restaurants and cafés
surround the main boulevards, such as Caracol and Kukulcán.
After six years or work, the Cancun Maya Museum has finally opened its doors (november 2012). Redesigned by the architect Alberto García Lascurain, this institution appears to be the newest space devoted to the Mayan civilisation, one of the most formidable Mesoamerican cultures. The Museum enables you plunge into the sophisticated ad mysterious cosmogony of this thousand year old culture. With three exhibition rooms (2 for permanent exhibitions and 1 for temporary exhibitions), the space extends over a 1,350m2 and houses a heritage of 3,500 pieces that have come from various archaeological sites within Quintana Roo, El Meco, El Rey, Xelhá, Xcaret and Tulum. In these rooms, 350 archaeological pieces are presented, some of which were discovered during recent archaeological excavations and some others which have already been on exhibition in various other institutions, such as the Yucatán Regional Museum ‘Palacio Cantón’ and the Cancun archaeological museum which was closed in 2005 following hurricane Wilma. Thanks to its geographical location, the museum should become one of the most visited museums in all of Mexico and therefore should see a boom within the tourist industry for not only the region but the country too. This museum offers an impressive cultural display for millions of tourists who come to visit Cancun. Situated within a zone packed with hotels and near to the coast, it creates a pleasant surprise and enables the admiration of numerous aspects of Mexican culture. In one of the rooms, the history of the state of Quintana Roo is retraced due to a chronological sequence and present for the first time the contextual reproduction in which the skeletal remains of the ‘Mujer de las Palmas’ a female skeleton aged 14,000 years was found in a cave near to Tulum and focuses on the Pre-Hispanic period with original pieces from sites such as Tulum, Dzibanché, Kohunlich, Xcaret, Xelhá and San Miguelito, of which the majority has never been on public display.
In another room, the Museum has designated the display space to the exhibition of the various regions that are a part of this culture. Here you will find the unveiling of objects originating from Mayan civilisation such as architecture, art, cosmovision and daily life as well as Palenque (Chiapas) objects, Chichén Itzá architectural elements and a collection of engravings from Comalcalco (Tabasco). As a part of its opening ceremony, one of the exhibition rooms presents the ‘Faces of God: green stone Mayan mosaics’ recently exposed in the Parisian Picture Gallery under the title of ‘Mayan jade masks’.
On the coast, many aquatic clubs offer activities such as surf,
diving, parasailing and wonderful themed cruises, excursions in
the islands, transparent-floor boat rides, dinner-cruises, etc.
Mass Tourism and Luxury Tourism !
Extract of an interview with José Bayon, director of the
city infrastructure :
The « flaunted wealth » : it is the first Cancun that
you discover coming from the airport. A 22 kilometer long four
way boulevard, 26,000 hotel rooms which hide the ocean, swimming
pools and golf courses, luxurious stores and green lawns : this
is an artificial zone, built on a thin sandy stripe between the
ocean and the lagoons. 95% original mangroves, which was a protection
against hurricanes, disappeared.
The second Cancun is a city with 700,000 inhabitants, which developed over a twenty-five year period. It broke another record in Mexico : this
is the strongest demographic growth, nowadays about 5%. According
to every property developer, the prodigious expansion of this
fishing village (100 inhabitants in 1970) is the undeniable proof
of tourism as an economic engine.
José Bayon said :
« Cancun, which nobody believed in at the beginning, was
a model for tourist resorts during years. Today, we recognize
that we made mistake on the environment».
Avoid the Zone of Cancun. You will find, on the Riviera Maya,
wonderful wild places, but for how much
Mayan religion is a geographically and historically versatile
phenomenon whose history is not done yet. Mayan people
believed in the recurrence of the cycles of creation and
destruction. The rituals and ceremonies were strictly
linked to these multiples terrestrial and celestial cycles.
The Mayan priest had to interpret these cycles and prophesy
the past and future times.
A short video of a Mayan ritual show is offered in one of
the hotels in Cancun.
If you are looking for organized tours in small groups, contact
Adventures at firstname.lastname@example.org
or log on to www.cancundivingadventures.com.
Boat tours through the mangrove or jeep tours to the Mayan ruins
or diving tours in the "cenotes" or offshore, which
is what they started with !
Map of the city of Cancun :
Map of the state :
Quintana Roo state extends over a surface of 50 843 km2 (18,303
sq miles) and has 1 136,000 inhabitants (2007). There were 2,432,000
tourists in Cancun,
447,000 in Cozumel,
2,649,000 in the Riviera
Maya and 119,500 in Isla Mujeres in 2007.
Cancun and the Riviera
Nice six minute video about the Caribbean Coast and Chichén
Isla Holbox and Isla Mujeres
They were the TWO pearls of the Mexican Caribbean coast.
Located at the very north of the Quintana Roo state, where the waters
of the Gulf and the Caribbean Sea merge, this island is more than
30 km (19 miles) long and 2 km (1.2 mile) wide. It is separated
from the continent by the Yalahau Lagoon. Since a dozen years, the
Island is part of the ecological reserve Yum Balam. The island is
accessible only to the two wheelers and golf carts. You will enjoy
going to this still unspoiled island that offers 35 kilometers (22
miles) of beaches, with waters nice but less "emerald"
than on the East Coast of Quintana Roo. The fishermen can take you
to the bird island,a natural reserve with 400,000 pink flamingos,
ducks, pelicans, etc. or to the Island of Passion, islet with a
nice beach. Half day ride in a lancha costs MXN$300.
Tours for swimming with the whale sharks eare from June to September.
Log on to the website :
- It is very impressive.
To access the island, there are six daily buses from Cancun
(4:30AM, 6AM, 7:50AM, 12:30, 1:30PM, 2:15PM, MXN$65) and many ferries
or private boats from Chiquilá. There are departures about
every 2 hours. The trip lasts about 20 minutes and costs MXN$45.
There is no bank or ATM in Isla Holbox or Chiquilá.
Located 20 minutes from Puerto Juárez by boat, 3 km (2miles)
north from Cancun
this small island (8 km (5 miles) long by 4 km (2.5miles) wide)
unfortunately lost its charm. Favor the northern beach Playa Norte
or the western ones Playa Paraiso and Playa Lancheros.
Considered during the Mayan era as a sacred place, Isla Mujeres was a religious center devoted to the goddess Ixchel, the mother of the gods, goddess of the moon and fertility.
are a few narrow and busy beaches. The western ones are busier than the
eastern ones which are wilder. The island stays pleasant and you
will be attracted by the beauty of turquoise waters. The village
is located in the northern part of the island. It is really quiet
when the hordes of the tourists arriving in the morning go back
to Cancun. You
can rent bikes, scooters or golf carts. When you reach the Mayan
ruins at the very south, you have a fantastic view of the Caribbean
Sea and Cancun.
Take the ferry from Puerto Juárez, ferry dock located 15
min by bus from downtown Cancun.
Take the bus #13 along Tulum Avenue or at any road sign showing
Ferry, 877 06 78. There are many ferries (every 30 min) which run every
day from 5:30AM and 11:59PM, from Puerto to Isla Mujeres and from
6AM to 0:30AM on the way back for MXN$35 one way, with the cheapest
company "La Tintorera".
There is also a car ferry service from Punta Sam, 9 km (6miles)
north from Cancun
(MXN$185 per car plus MXN$15 per passenger).
There is 5 km (3miles) between Cancun
and Isla Mujeres.
What to do in Isla Mujeres ? Day tours are offered to the ornithological
reserve of Isla Contoy. Contact the fishermen Cooperative, avenue
Medina, facing the avenue Madero. There is also the Aquatic Park
Dolphin Discovery for swimming with the dolphins (between USD$65
and USD$188 depending of yr choice of activity) :
- Toll Free Mexico : 01-800-727-5391
- Direct Line : +52 (998) 193-3360
. See also the different diving clubs. The forums
about this region of Mexico are full of good advice.
Another detour not to be missed is the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks (Cueva de los Tiburones Durmientes), which can be found to the East of the island at a depth of 20m underwater. Here you will be able to see the resting sharks up close.
Map of the island :
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