How to plan your first trip to Cancun Mexico?

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Publisher: Elena Fedorova photography
In Cancun

Are you looking for information about a trip to Cancun Mexico? Then you clicked the correct link, keep reading and you will find in this article all you need to know about Cancun vacations.

Content:

  • Cancun interesting facts.
  • How to plan a trip to Cancun Mexico?
  • Best time of the year to travel to Cancun Mexico.
  • Is it safe to go to Cancun?
  • Cancun solo female travel.
  • Places to visit in Cancun.
  • Family trip to Cancun.
  • Best beaches in Cancun.
  • Cancun airport and transport.
  • Book a trip to Cancun.

But first, let me tell you some interesting facts about the history of Cancun.

about author of article about Cancun

Cancun was founded 50 years ago in 1970, so it’s a relatively young town compared to the overall existence of Mexico and Mexican culture. The name Cancun is of Mayan origin and according to historians a possible translation is a “Place of a Snake”. For many centuries pristine beaches, jungles, mangroves, were covering this land. In 1968 Mexican government recognized the potential of this region and initiated its development into a world-famous resort. One of the first hotels built in Cancun were Hyatt, Cancun Caribe and Blue Bay which is now known as Temptation resort.

trip to cancun drone photo

Top view at the Hotel Zone next to Hyatt Ziva and Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach

Nowadays Cancun is divided into two zones: Hotel Zone and Downtown. As you can guess the Hotel Zone is where most of the 5-star resorts, luxury condominiums, villas, fancy restaurants are located. Downtown is the area where you want to live if you think of staying in Cancun for a while. To make it simple, for your trip to Cancun Mexico the best option is to look for a resort in a Hotel Zone. And if you intend to stay in Cancun for at least half a year then better look to rent a condo or apartment in the downtown. This doesn’t mean that there are no hotels in the downtown, on the contrary if you open any booking website, including AirBandB, you will see many nice little hotels and private houses situated in the downtown area that are available for a rent. The only disadvantage of staying downtown is that you will need to use a transport to get to the beach. But if you feel comfortable traveling around Cancun using public transport, a bus or a taxi, then don’t get discouraged by the distance.

cancun map hotel zone downtown

How to plan a trip to Cancun Mexico?

Once you are determined that you want to visit this sunny city in the Mexican Caribbean, the next step is to plan your trip to Cancun Mexico. And here are several tips that can help you to facilitate this process:

  • Do your own research about the all-inclusive resorts and hotels in Cancun, use TripAdvisor to read the reviews, but trust yourself when making a decision. After all this will be your first trip to Cancun Mexico, so you better stay at a resort that you like. Compare prices at different booking websites, and don’t forget to check the hotel’s official web, because sometimes they offer good discounts when you book directly with them.
  • Think about whether you need transportation from the airport or a hotel that offers this service.
  • Make a list of “Places to visit in Cancun” beforehand, so when you are already in Cancun you know exactly what you want to visit. This will save you a lot of time that you can spend relaxing at the beach.
  • Moving around Cancun will you use a public transport, taxi or you will rent a car?
  • If you plan on using a public transport or taxi make sure you have some cash and better to use Mexican pesos, this way you will pay a fair price.
  • Take a look at the weather forecast, but don’t get sad if you see high chances of rain during your upcoming visit. Weather in tropical areas changes very often, so even if it shows rain today, there are high chances that it will be sunny when you are in Cancun. Believe me when I say this, because I have lived in Cancun for more than 7 years already and I have seen how weather can quickly change.
  • Have you thought of how you can make this trip memorable? How about doing a professional beach lifestyle photo session in Cancun?

photosessions in cancun trip

contact me in cancun

Best time of the year to travel to Cancun Mexico.

When you think about going on vacations to a tropical area where the sun is shining all day long, hundreds of palm trees are stretched along the shore with a blue Caribbean Sea on a background you probably ask yourself when is the best time to travel there? And this is a relevant question, especially if it’s your first trip to a tropical destination, such as Cancun. And the best time of the year to travel to Cancun Mexico is from December – May. That’s when the weather is stable with mild sun, light sea breeze and minimum rainy days. In summer it gets very hot during the day, this time of the year is for the real sun lovers, who stay under the sun no matter how strong it is. September and October are the months with lots of rainy days. Sometimes it can rain for 2-3 consecutive days and the humidity level rises up immediately. Let’s be fair, trees and plants also need water, the same way as we, humans. So, the rainy season is necessary and thus imminent. But after the rain comes the sun and tropical lifestyle is back to normal in the mid of November.

Whenever you feel a need to recharge your life battery and receive “Vitamin Sea” travel to Cancun Mexico where warm water of the Caribbean Sea and benevolent sun will make you feel good right on a day of your arrival.

trip to cancun photos

Top view at the Hotel Zone 9-6 km.

Is it safe to go to Cancun?

I’ve heard this question many times, from my friends and clients, and my answer is always the same. Yes, yes and yes! It is safe to go to Cancun Mexico. I understand that the mass media is consistently saying the opposite, so this question is imminent especially if this will be a first trip to Cancun. But is it still possible to trust mass media, especially after what we lived through in 2020?! If you still do, I guess my article will not convince you, because I am not a mass media, I am just a photographer who has lived in Cancun for more than seven years. So, when I say: “Yes, it is safe to go to Cancun!” This statement is based on my own experience. I love to travel around Mexico and I do it every time I have a vacation. I have visited many places around Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula, I have been to Acapulco, Huatulco and Mexico City on my own. So in general it is safe to travel in Mexico if you just follow some basic rules of common sense and don’t look for unnecessary adventures.

yes it is safe to go to cancun

The question of safety is deeply related to any trip to Cancun and Mexico in general, but before stressing too much about this, may I ask you: “Is it 100% safe in your city?” My passion for traveling started 8 years ago, I can’t say that I’ve visited many countries, but enough to conclude that there are no completely safe cities in this world. And I write this affirmatively after speaking to locals in Spain, Italy, Greece and even Finland. I believe that the only way to have a real picture of what it is like to live in this or that country is talking to locals, real people who obviously know more true facts about the city than any mass media ever will. I can’t encompass all the aspects of safety in Cancun and Mexico in this article, but if your main goal is to have nice beach vacations, to swim and sunbathe, go sightseeing, eat Mexican food and enjoy local hospitality then it is safe to go to Cancun.

Cancun solo female travel.

Are you planning a solo female travel to Cancun? That’s a wonderful idea! I did it back in 2013 and that turned out to be one of the best experiences in my life. That year in autumn I arrived in Cancun with one suitcase, one backpack and a one-way airplane ticket. My big dream to change my life and try something new guided me all the way to this sunny city on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. If you ask me was I afraid? I will say: “No, never”. How long did it take me to make this happen? – “Around 8 months, that I spent learning all that I could find on the Internet about Cancun, preparing my finances for such a long cross Atlantic journey, and visualizing my solo female travel” There is nothing to be nervous about, because this city is filled with friendly and cheerful vibes and welcomes every open-minded person who is looking for sea, beach and sun. After completing my own “Cancun solo female travel” I realized that it doesn’t differ a lot from any other solo female trip that I did in my life. Destination might change, but the principle governing a trip is always the same. And that is trust yourself and common sense, plan and search for the info before a voyage, be adventurous, explore and wonder, but don’t look for unnecessary adventures, be respectful, talk to locals, after all we are all humans and if you are unfamiliar with the language online translator can help. If this is your first solo female travel to Cancun, get ready to encompass all the kaleidoscope of emotions this city offers. You will definitely want to come back!

solo female travel cancun

The world is yours to explore.

solo female trip mexico

“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.” ―B.Brown

female solo photos cancun

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ―C. Chanel

Places to visit in Cancun.

What places to visit in Cancun is one of the first questions that you ask yourself while planning your vacation. The more days you stay in Cancun the bigger the variety of places you can visit. Even within the city there are many things to do and here is a list of activities and places to visit in Cancun:

  • El Rey ruins
  • Snorkeling tours
  • Laguna Nichupte tour
  • Catamaran tour
  • Mercado 28. Popular place to buy souvenirs
  • Museum “Museo del Maya” located at the Hotel Zone
  • Shopping mall La Isla with many good restaurants.
  • Visit Torre Escenica and take a look at Cancun from the top.
  • Bungee jumping
  • Have fun on Flyboard
  • Visit one of nightclubs in Hotel Zone
museum what to see in cancun

Museo Maya de Cancun

el rey ruins cancun visit

El Rey ruins in Cancun Hotel Zone

cancun night clubs hotel zone

Hotel Zone at night.

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Bungee jumping in the Hotel Zone.

lagoone nichupte cancun

View at Lagoon Nichupte from Playa Langosta

For active travelers who use every opportunity to see new places, and know how to enjoy the road these are some of the places that you can consider visiting while staying in Cancun. This will require traveling 1-3 hours.

  • Explore Isla Mujeres island
  • Visit one of the cenotes
  • One day trip to Playa del Carmen, Tulum
  • Take a tour to Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Merida
  • Swim with whale sharks from May to September
  • Enjoy a day tour to Isla Contoy
  • MUSA underwater museum
  • Swim with turtles in Akumal
  • Enjoy Isla Holbox
whale sharks photos mexico cancun

Swim with whale sharks

visit isla holbox near cancun

Isla Holbox

swim with turtles in akumal

Akumal bay where you can swim with turltes

visit tulum cancun

Main beach in Tulum – Playa Paraiso

Family trip to Cancun.

Organizing a family trip to Cancun is no different from organizing a honeymoon vacation, you have to follow the same steps: look for the best hotel-book it-arrive-enjoy and come back home. With a little difference you will probably have more clothes in your luggage, it will take you extra time to help your kids get ready for a trip, and this time no adult only hotel, but rather family all-inclusive resort.

Cancun hotel Zone reminds of a number 7, this means that the sea at the hotels located from 1-9 km is calmer, practically with no waves, because of its geographical position. It is a good option if you have little kids and you prefer swimming in the sea than in the pool.  Whereas the sea at resorts situated from 9-24 km have constant waves and sometimes strong current. Although I must admit from the artistic and photography point of view these beaches look more beautiful, especially the color of the water. So, take this fact into consideration when choosing a resort for your long-awaited family trip to Cancun.

Here is a list of the best all-inclusive family resorts in Cancun:

  •  Paradisus
  •  RiU
  •  Seadust
  •  Nizuc resort and SPA (no waves, because it’s located in the bay)
  •  Emporio
  •  Iberostar
  •  Grand Fiesta Americana
  •  Panama Jack
  •  Crown Plaza
  •  Grand Park Royal

hotel family trip to cancun mexico

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Best beaches in Cancun.

Visiting a beach is one of the main reasons why you started planning a trip to Cancun. Sunny, tropical weather allows you to enjoy beach time in this town any day of the year. And this makes Cancun so attractive for tourists from all over the world, especially during winter months. That is the time of the year when your vacation in Cancun can easily turn into a beach escape. Imagine waking up with a beautiful sunrise, lying on the soft sand during the day while listening to the sound of waves and seagulls, admiring sunsets, this natural therapy can help to recharge your life battery for a long time. And when one day during a vacation you will feel a desire to explore the best beaches in Cancun here is a list that will help you:

  • Playa Delfines
  • Playa Marlin
  • Playa Gaviota Azul
  • Playa Chac Mool
  • Playa Langosta
  • Playa Caracol

best beaches in cancun map

cancun beach delfines drone view

Top view Playa Delfines

cancun beach delfines

Beach Playa Delfines

playa chac mool cancun

Playa Chac Mool

playa caracol cancun

Playa Caracol

playa gaviota azul cancun

Playa Gaviota Azul

Playa Langosta photo drone

Playa Langosta

flying dress photoshoot

Cancun airport and transport.

Cancun International Airport is the second busiest in the country after Mexico City. It has 4 Terminals all of which are in use. Most of domestic flights (Vivaaerobus, Volaris, InterJet ect.) arrive at Terminal 2, as well as some international like TIU, Blue, Panorama, Avianca, Air Transat, Aeroméxico, Edelweiss Air, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Turkish Airlines y WestJet.

Such flights as: American Airlines, Delta, Iberia, Air Europa, British Airways, Alaska, JetBlue, KLM, AirCanada, AirBerlin, United Airlines, ect. arrive at Terminal 3.

AeroMexico, Condor, AirFrance, Lufthansa, AirTran, Frontier, WestJet, SouthWest operate in Terminal 4.

How to get from the airport to Cancun? You have 4 options:

  • private transfer
  • ADO bus
  • taxi
  • group shuttle service

Once you exit the terminal you will see many representatives of various taxi companies actively trying to sell you transportation service. There is no official fixed price, so the best way to find a fair transfer service is to ask some sellers thus comparing the price. Whenever I travel I use ADO buses, they are super comfortable and run every 30 min. You can book a ticket online on the website ado.com.mx or buy it directly at the ADO sales counter that can be found at the exit in every Terminal.

Group shuttle service is usually fulfilled in a minivan and the max capacity is 6-10 people. The price is more modest compared to the private transfer or taxi and varies from 100-300 pesos per person depending on your destination.

In Cancun Hotel Zone you can move around using a rented car, taxi, or local buses with numbers Ruta-1 or Ruta 2. These buses run every 2 minutes and the price per ticket is 12 pesos (less than a dollar). If you need to go somewhere within the Hotel Zone, then you can use whatever bus comes first, because they have the same route. Only in the downtown area they run in different directions, but it shouldn’t worry you if you need to use it only to go from the resort to a club, shopping mall or restaurant in the Hotel Zone.

public buses cancun ruta

Public buses Ruta 1 and Ruta 2 in the Hotel Zone

Book a trip to Cancun.

So, now that you know a little more about this sunny Caribbean city in Mexico are you ready to book a trip to Cancun? There are several ways you can do it:

  • First of all, you need to decide about the exact dates of your trip to Cancun and book your flight.
  • If you plan to stay at an all-inclusive resort, continue your booking by typing in Google “Trip to Cancun all-inclusive packages” and choose one of the websites (booking.comhotels.comexpedia.com) that offers these types of packages.
  • In case you want to simplify a booking process look for “Travel packages Cancun Mexico” in Google. These kinds of packages usually include all your need for your trip: airplane tickets, reservation at the resort and transportation from the airport and back.

Once you book a trip to Cancun get ready to have one of the best vacations ever!

Comment below if you have questions regarding your upcoming trip to Cancun!

Greeting, photographer in Cancun Elena Fedorova!

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