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Cancún is a coastal city in the popular vacation destination called The Mexican Caribbean, more officially known as the state of Quintana Roo, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
There are two possibles meanings of Cancun, according to the Mayan language, the first translation is "nest of snakes or pot." The second version is "place of the gold snake".
Cancún International Airport (CUN) is Mexico's second busiest airport and is about 10km (6 mi) from south end of the hotel strip (Zona Hotelera) and 16km (9 mi) southwest of downtown.
One of Cancun's best features is its transport links, as most major air carriers in North, Central, and South America, have services to Cancun.
The main bus station is at Calle Pino, SM23, MZ56, Lt 1 y 2 which is at the 10 o'clock position of the roundabout at Av Tulum & Av Uxmal in downtown (el centro). The following bus companies operate buses to/from here.
Cancun is very easy to navigate. To the South is the airport, to the North is the city and in between on the stretch of land between the sea and the Nichupte lagoon are all the hotels, beaches and bars, referred to as the hotel zone or Zona Hotelera. Downtown is where most residents live and it stretches in on the mainland behind the lagoon.
It can be interesting catching a bus - they stop when you don't want them! It is better to pay in pesos, not dollars.
Bus is the preferred way of getting around. Buses are cheap and come frequently. Most bus drivers are very courteous and will stop for you even if you are not waiting at a bus stop.
Be very careful if you choose to drive in Cancun. The police seem to pull tourists over at the drop of a hat during spring break. When you pick up a rental, check that all the lights work. Also when you are pulled over for a light violation, do not be surprised if the police holds out an open palmed hand, while holding your driver’s license hostage in the other.
What to see
The Interactive Aquarium Of Cancun, Right in the middle of the hotel zone, this small but modern aquarium lets you get up close and personal with aquatic life. You can pet rays, nurse sharks, touch starfish, etc. There is also a chance to swim with dolphins in a large pool.
Water and sand, Cancun is possibly best known for its beautiful turquoise waters and powdery white beaches.
Isla Contoy, is about 30km (19 mi) north of Isla Mujeres and apart from its natural beauty it is considered to be the most important nesting place for sea birds in the Mexican Caribbean with more than 150 different species.
Tours in Cancun. Cancun is the most visited destination in Mexico due to the variety of activities available for all kind of travelers. From amazing beaches to perform watersports to archaeological sites and the crazy nightlife, visitors from around the world find Cancun to be one of the best traveling experiences. Cancun has something for everyone.
What to do
There are several activities you can do in Cancun and the rest of the Riviera Maya. You can either buy them from the provider or through an agency. Most of the agencies offer extra value at the same price. Here is a list of the most popular activities in Cancun:
Ocean and beaches, For the more advanced swimmers, the edge of the open ocean can make for a challenging and fun swimming experience.
Spending the day on the beaches of Cancun is not only an opportunity to relax, but to shop as well. Many of the native people of Cancun make a living by selling different items to the tourists on the beach. There are a variety of items to be purchased from these vendors, items such as sarongs, jewellery, sea shells and more.
Museo Maya de Cancun, It’s the largest structure built by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. The building itself is a modern piece of architecture and really quite nice to walk around in. There is a nice view of the surrounding areas from the top level.
Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Mayan civilization. This archaeological site is world famous, because of the Kukulkan pyramid and designated by UNESCO as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”.
Parque de las Palapas, This square in downtown is considered a classic place to meet for most of the residents, thus it is the real heart of the city of Cancun. There is a main stage perfectly visible where the shows are easily enjoyed.
MUSA Museo Subacuatico de Arte, In 2009 this monumental underwater contemporary museum of art was formed in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc. The Museum aims to demonstrate the interaction between art and environmental science and form part of a complex reef structure for marine life to colonize and inhabit whilst increasing biomass on a grand scale.
Football, New in Cancun with the First Division team "Potros de Hierro (Iron Colts) of Cancun". The Atlante team, now based in Cancun, has a brand new stadium downtown.
Markets, Bring your haggling skills and get ready for a vast shopping experience in any of the city markets. Great buys can be found, so stick to your price resolve.
Cooking, The Little Mexican Cooking School, teaches tourists, in one day fun and educational classes, authentic Mexican cooking techniques and regional cuisine.
Scuba diving Diving lessons and professional certified dive instructors in the best dive spots in Cancun, Cenote dives, Cozumel dives.
The Lobster Dinner Cruise. Take a trip out on the calm lagoon on a beautiful boat with friends you have not met yet. The staff allow you to take part in the fun or settle back and watch the sunset.
Jeep Adventures. Experience some of the most beautiful parts of Cancun in a self drive jeep safari. Tour prices usually include an experienced guide, and the chance to swim or snorkel in underground caves, explore Mayan ruins and visit a jungle reserve.
Swim with sharks
Cancun and the surrounding area offers amazing possibilities to get out of the touristy areas and get close to nature. You find caves, underwater rivers, pristine jungle, botanical garden, national parks all close to the city. You also have world class diving, but if you are not certified you can also snorkel on the second largest barrier reef in the world, or with Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, Sea Turtles or with huge groups of Sailfish. The Yucatan peninsula is packed with natural wonders, you just need to know where to look.