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Cancun Vacations Are More Than Just Beaches And Nightlife

Jun 20, 2008
Cancun conjures up images of beautiful beaches and endless nightlife, which it has in abundance, but the savvy traveler will discover there is more to it than just fun in the sun and late nights painting the town. Make no mistake about it,

Cancun vacations spoil you with some of the worlds most beautiful beaches, crystal clear turquoise blue water, water sports galore, and a wide variety of shopping, restaurants, bars, and clubs. But take a closer look, and you will find no shortage of culture, history, and natural wonders.

There are so many things to do while in Cancun. Cancun 101 dictates hitting the beach early and often, because really, why would you not? Sun yourself on white sand beaches, play in the pristine water, scuba dive or snorkel in one of the worlds most effervescent patches of ocean, sail, sea kayak, jet ski you will be hard pressed to run out of things to do.

Cancun beaches are generally divided into north and east. Northern beaches, located north of the hotel zone, are protected from large waves by Isla Mujeres eight miles offshore, making it ideal for families and those wanting to practice water sports in relatively calm water. Eastern beaches are in the hotel zone, open to the Caribbean, and experience winds and currents that sometimes create very wavy conditions.

Some of the most enticing northern beaches, all of which are very clean and open to the public, include:

Playa Las Perlas, a wonderful beach for all types of beach and water activities. From here, you can shuttle off to Isla Mujeres and enjoy the many nearby restaurants and bars. Playa Linda offers dive tours and a submarine yes, submarine shuttle that takes you to Isla Mujeres.

Playa Langosta is the ticket for water sports lovers, as it offers diving and snorkeling tours and great swimming. In addition, many restaurants and bars run adjacent to the beach.

Playa Tortugas is another great beach for water sports and also offers diving and snorkeling tours and a shuttle to Isla Mujeres.

Playa Caracol, although crowded at times, is a great family beach. Children love the shallow flat sandy seabed where they can play in the water and build sand castles.

A few of the more popular eastern beaches along the hotel zone are: Playa Ballenas, great for water sports or just laying in the sun. San Miguelito features actual Mayan ruins, so you can experience a slice of local history as you enjoy the sun. Punta Nizuc, close to several exclusive hotels and resorts.

Just across the Behia de Mujeres from Cancun, Isla Mujeres has become an increasingly popular tourist destination. Hop a ferry from the mainland to explore this once sleepy fishing island, now chock full of quaint restaurants, shops, and exquisite beaches. As you stroll through Isla Mujeres streets, music surrounds you, providing a locally flavored soundtrack for your exploration. Not surprisingly, restaurants on the island specialize in both seafood and Mexican cuisine.

Isla Mujeres magnificent white-sand beaches feature many of the same water sports found on the mainland snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, kayaking but in a more relaxed setting. You can even swim with dolphins and docile sharks a great story to take back to the mainland with you.

The islands three main beaches are: Playa Caribbean, Isla Mujeres most popular beach, is within walking distance of downtown. Complete with a restaurant bar and beach club, golf cart rentals and snorkeling tours are also available.

Playa Lanceros, on Isla Mujeres south side, lets you swim with cat sharks and enjoy local seafood, such as ceviche and tikin shik fish.
Garrafon Park, on Isla Mujeres southernmost tip, features beautiful reefs, magnificent cliffs, and an ancient Mayan temple.

35 minutes south of Cancun airport, this off the beaten path ecological park is often overlooked by visitors but beloved by those who take the time to discover it. Pristine and unspoiled, Reserva Natural Tres Rios is much the same as it was centuries ago when Spanish Conquistadors first arrived in Mexico.

Situated in low subtropical jungle on the Riviera Maya, you can explore this nature reserve by foot, horseback, or bicycle, either on your own or by guided tour.

More than 100 exotic animals make their home here, as well as countless varieties of flora. Kayak, canoe, or jet ski through the reserves mangrove swamps. Snorkel off the coast and take in the wide array of tropical fish and ever changing coral reefs. You can even overnight here group camping is available.
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