Cancun Luxury Travel Guide

Cancun has it all, & so close: great hotels, dining, clubs, spas, golf & more

10 Reasons to Visit Cancun, Mexico's Captivating, Close-by Vacation Magnet


Once known as a raucous go-to for spring-breakers and young partiers, Cancun has transformed itself. It is now a luxury travel destination designed for beach-loving sophisticates. (And, yes, Cancun's great clubs endure.)

Here are 10 reasons to plan to discover a Cancun vacation. Visit and come home with your own reasons to return.

01 of 11

Cancun's Closeness & Convenience

Cancun's amazing beach
Cancun's perfect Caribbean beach ©Nick D/Flickr Creative Commons

Cancun Is Less than a Few Hour Aways from Most of the U.S.

Cancun is an exotic tropical beach in the Yucatan Peninsula on the sleepy southern end of Mexico. Yet it is as close to the U.S. as the Caribbean.

Numerous airlines operate nonstops to Cancun. And Cancun International Airport is under a half-hour from most Cancun hotels. A Cancun getaway is so convenient, many visitors fly in for just the weekend.

02 of 11

Cancun's Blissful Beaches

Cancun's perfect Caribbean beach
Surfside paradise © Cancun Travel

Cancun Is One of the World's Great Natural Beaches

Cancun is a geographical treasure: a 14-mile-long, crescent-shaped peninsula that juts out into the Mexican Caribbean. A vast coral reef, the world's second-longest, parallels Cancun a half-mile into the water. It breaks the waves that have rolled softly onto Cancun's beach for eons, smoothing its white sands.

Caribbean tradewinds assure clear skies and a perpetual, gentle breeze. And nature has provided a natural fringe of palm trees. Add a constant water temperature exceeding 80º and a hue like a Tiffany box, and you have a surfside paradise.

Cancun hotels honor their beachfront gifts, keeping the sands clean and inviting. A social vibe enlivens certain stretches of the beach, so visitors can choose whether to schmooze or to snooze.

Travelers who want to explore Cancun's liquid blue expanse have their pick of waterborne activities: swimming, surfing, snorkeling and scuba-diving the reef, jet-skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing expeditions, Cancun's latest aquatic craze: swimming with shale sharks the size of NBA courts.. Cancun is a wet and wild world.

03 of 11

Cancun's Intriguing Variety

Isla Mujeres near Cancun Mexico
Isla Mujeres © Cancun Travel

Yet Cancun Is More than a Beach

Cancun is a long sliver of seashore…yet a lot more. The destination known as Cancun takes in the northern part of the Riviera Maya region. Also in Cancun's orbit are two nearby islands: the tranquil Isla Mujeres and the even quieter Isla Holbox, which has no streets, just pathways in the sand.

When the sun sets on Cancun's beaches, the moon comes up on its vibrant nightlife. Cancun is a 24-hour playground of surf, sand, and city life.

04 of 11

Cancun's Haute Hotels

TripAdvisor's #1 hotel in Cancun, Le Blanc Spa Resort
© Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancun

Lodging in Luxury in Cancun

Today's Cancun is a mix of midscale, upscale, and elite hotels, from intimate to vast. Some Cancun hotels are American-owned; some are Spanish or Mexican-owned. Some hotels are all-inclusive, some a la carte; some are adults-only, and some are family-focused.

Which all means: you can find your perfect hotel in Cancun. These are the best:
• NIZUC, the game-changer for luxury hotels in Mexico: a dazzling, modern design hotel on a semi-private island, with elegant dining; a never-wanna-leave spa; and incredible people-watching
• Le Blanc Spa Resort, a glamorous, modern, all-inclusive hotel for tasteful adults, with an intimate, clubby feeling; a knockout spa; a beautiful beach and three pools; and splendid restaurants, including Japanese and French-Mexican fusion
• Live Aqua Cancun, with an aromatherapy fragrance in the air; uncluttered, view-tiful, sunny rooms; a high-end gym and blue-lit spa; and some of the best Mexican food served in Cancun
• Secrets The Vine Cancun, on a perfect beach mid-Zona Hotelera, with a sophisto clientele, view-tiful rooms, a wonderfully social lobby and an NYC-quality sushi bar
Fiesta Americana, has an incredible location: it's set on the beach that locals consider the best, but is just down the street from Cancun's club strip; plus it has a great spa and amazing kids' club|•
• Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, a luscious all-inclusive, adults-only boutique resort with 90 richly decorated, all-oceanfront suites; a thalassotherapy spa and pool; excellent restaurants; and a menagerie of tropical birds
• The elegant Ritz-Carlton Cancun, beloved by families, dapper couples, and home chefs who savor its tasty cooking classes

Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11

Cancun's Delicious Dining

Cancun celebrity chef Cristian Morales
Chef Cristian Morales of Cucina de Autor © Karen Tina Harrison

Cancun Is a Recipe for Distinctive Dining

Cancun has become a dining destination. Its delicious ingredients: Cancun's popularity and prosperity; Mexico's bumper crop of gifted young chefs; the wonderful flavors of Mexican cuisine; and the local cornucopia of fresh-caught Caribbean seafood and exotic local produce.

Many of Cancun's resorts are all-inclusive, with a variety of on-premises dining that the guest has already paid for. But for a stay of several nights or more, a visit to a happening Cancun restaurant (or another hotel's eatery) can be exciting and eye-opening.
• Here on Luxury Travel, Cancun's restaurant revelations

06 of 11

Cancun's Urban Pulse

Shopping at Ultrafemme in Cancun
Ultrafemme, for all things Señora © Cancun Travel

Cancun Offers City Life to Complement Its Beach

Cancun is more than sand, surf, and sensational hotels. It is also a vibrant metropolis with a real downtown, actual sidewalks, and all the lures of a stylish resort town. Cancun visitors will find:
• Ample taxis to whisk you anywhere, at any hour
• Restaurants, cafés, malls, movie theaters (with American films)
• Terrific shopping at several venus: La Isla Shopping Village, which resembles a Venetian island; Kukulcan Palace and Luxury Avenue, right in the Hotel Zone; Plaza Caracol, with over 200 stores and fun eateries; Plaza Las Americas with international shops like Zara and C&A plus Ultrafemme, a Cancun-born oasis for all things feminine
• Numerous crafts and souvenir markets featuring well-priced, handmade Mexican goods: leather accessories like cuff bracelets; silver jewelry from Taxco; colorful Talavera ceramics and Saltillo striped blankets

07 of 11

Cancun's Over-the-Top Outdoors

Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun Underwater Museum © Cancun Travel

Sea, Sand, & Sun Equals Peerless Vacation Fun

Cancun made its name as a vacation haunt for the young and the restless. Its clientele is now decidedly more upscale. But they still like to be on the move. Cancun's many active diversions include:
• Thrilling snorkeling and scuba diving off Punta Cancun, where several branches of the Great Mayan Reef converge
• Luxury Travel's (harrowing, first-hand) story about swimming with Cancun's humongous whale sharks
• The unbelievable Underwater Museum, with over 400 sculptures by artist Jason deCaires Taylor; you can gawk at them while diving, snorkeling, or via a glass-bottomed boat tour
• Cancun's exceptional golf tempts aficionados with 18-hole championship courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Several more courses are under construction. All feature Cancun's unique backdrop of azure waters against vivid greens with real sandtraps

08 of 11

Cancun's Thrilling Nightlife

Cancun's nightlife is famous
Hard Rock Café Cancun © Wikimedia Commons

Night Owls Have Their Fun When Cancun's Day Is Done 

Cancun made its name as a party-hearty capital. While Cancun has gone way upscale, its nightlife is still among the very best nocturnal scenes in Mexico.

Cancun's glamorous clubs attract globe-roving jetsetters and their world-famous deejays. And Cancun's more intimate lounges are ultra-sophisticated perches for lovebirds – or solo guests seeking mates.
• Cancun's live music and dance clubs lfurnish complete entertainment. Bulldog Cancun, for one, offers a total experience: great food and drink, various bands, bikini contests and male dancers, and more|• Performance-centered music clubs feature an eclectic menu of sounds, from girl-and-guitar to reggae to salsa to Cuban piano. Roots Jazz Club is a longtime go-to for live jazz and blues accompanied by light bites and a margarita menu
• And if Cancun makes you dance, you can club-hop and dance all night at exciting, high-tech clubs like Sweet and Mandala

Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11

Cancun's Festival Fun

Day of the Dead in Mexico, November 1st
Day of the Dead © Cancun Travel

Cancun's Festival Calendar Is Nonstop

Cancun has become a year-round international destination for festivals of all kinds. Amongst them:
• The immediately famous Cancun-Riviera Maya Food & Wine Festival, held over several days each March or April, has become a global lure for foodies and for celebrity chefs like Spain's Ferran Adria. France's Daniel Boulud, and the U.S.'s Ingrid Hoffman and Aaron Sanchez
• The Cancun Jazz Festival, held over the U.S.'s Memorial Day in late May, gathers top jazz cats from world over
• Day of the Dead, Mexico's answer to Halloween, invites Cancun visitors to shake their booties and rattle their bones in this joyous cultural tradition, every November 1st and 2nd

10 of 11

Cancun's Sensational Spas

Spa treatment in Cancun
Le Blanc Spa Resort © CancunTravel

Cancun Has More than Spas…Cancun Has Great Spas

The Cancun lifestyle celebrates the body beautiful and worships wellness. Spas take full advantage of Cancun's glorious Caribbean setting, offering beachfront services that combine indigenous ingredients with Mayan traditions like the temescal sweat experience. Some of Cancun's most alluring spas:

• The spa at Le Blanc Spa Resort, where "serenity" transcends the spa cliché, and becomes an enveloping presence
Live Aqua Cancun's water-everywhere spa, open well into the evening, is a place where Cancun's beautiful people recharge before a late Cancun night
• Gem Spa at Fiesta American Grand Coral Beach Resort is so seductively beautiful, nearly every night a private party is held amidst its sapphire pools and platinum drapes

11 of 11

Get Info & Get to Cancun!

Cancun golf at Moon Palace Golf Resort
Moon Palace Golf Resort © Cancun Travel

Find Out More About Cancun & Start Planning Your Getaway

• Cancun's website
• On Facebook
• On Twitter (@CancunCVB)
• Cancun's most amazing restaurants

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