Should you visit Cancun? In 2020, ten million people answered that question with a resounding “yes!” making Cancun the second-most-visited destination on the planet.
Cancun’s success that year was due in part to its openness during the Covid pandemic and its convenience to the United States at a time when Americans didn’t want to (or weren’t allowed to) travel farther afield.
But it was also due to Cancun’s stunning natural beauty, its fantastic weather, and a tourist infrastructure built to make it a convenient and seamless destination.
- Cancun offers sparkling beaches, luxury resorts, a thumping party scene, and short flights from most places in the U.S.
- If you can pull yourself away from the nightclubs and swim-up bars, it also offers a chance to see some stunning natural beauty.
- And, Cancún is an easy jumping-off point to see some of the most spectacular ancient ruins in the world.
So should you visit Cancun? That’s a question only you can answer, but if you like sun, beaches, nature, diving, eating, shopping, partying, history, or culture, you’ll find something to love!
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Frequently Asked Questions about Cancun
Can you travel to Cancun during the Covid pandemic?
The answer to this is an unqualified yes. Mexico has had far fewer Covid travel restrictions than most other countries and international travel is essentially unrestricted. You won’t need proof of vaccination and you won’t need a negative test.
So getting in is easy. But, Mexico does impose restrictions domestically on all people (Mexicans and visitors) based on the Covid situation in each state. There is a traffic light system in which states are rated as red, orange, yellow, or green. As of the end of January 2022, Cancun is in an orange zone, which means that occupancy is restricted in some indoor spaces. And, masks are technically required in public places, though enforcement varies.
Of course, it’s always smart to get travel insurance before embarking on a journey; this is even more true during the pandemic.
What’s the best time to visit Cancun?
In terms of weather, the best time of year is between December and April, which conveniently coincides with winter weather in the United States. Prices do rise somewhat during the Christmas-New Year holiday period and during Spring Break.
The hurricane season falls between June and November, and the rainy season is from August to November.
OK, so what’s the cheapest time to visit Cancun?
August is the cheapest month to fly to Cancun. But see above regarding the weather—although even in the rainy season, there are usually dry periods each day. But the weather is generally more overcast.
How much does a week in Cancun cost?
According to this estimate, a week in Cancun is about $1,000 for someone traveling alone, about $2,000 for a couple, and about $3,500 for a family of four. Of course, these are averages, and the cost will depend on your style of travel more than anything. There are hotel rooms that cost $35 a night, and hotel rooms that cost $750 a night. Obviously, the total price is going to depend on your choices.
Is Cancun safe?
Cancun is generally safe provided you remain in the Zona Hotelera or Downtown Cancun. Crime has been on the rise during the Covid pandemic, and some recent high-profile shootings in tourist areas of Quintana Roo (the state that Cancun is in) have been unsettling. But, as of February 2022, Quintana Roo remains one of the safer parts of Mexico, as determined by the U.S. State Department (though the State Department currently advises against any travel to Mexico at all—but due to Covid, not crime).
That said, the security situation can change rapidly, so it always makes sense to update your research immediately before traveling.
What are the best Cancun cenotes?
There are no cenotes in Cancun proper, but there are a number close enough to visit as part of a trip to Cancun. Some of these include Cenote Dos Ojos in Tulum, Cenote Azul in Playa del Carmen, and Cenote Jardin del Eden, also in Playa del Carmen. See our full post on Cancun cenotes.
Cancun exists because it won a beauty contest. In the late 1960’s, the Mexican government conducted a nationwide survey (computer models and all!) to determine the best place to build a new beach resort—based on both the suitability of the location and the development needs of the area.
The survey settled on a nine-mile long deserted island off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. The Mexican government bought the whole island, and the idea of Cancun was born.
The city was built in two parts: the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone or tourist zone) that was specifically designed not to have permanent residents or ordinary city services (like banks, schools, etc.). Downtown Cancun was built to house the people who would make the tourist zone work. The project also included a new international airport and roads.
The plan, needless to say, has been a tremendous success. From nothing but sand in 1970, Cancun has grown to have more than 30,000 hotel rooms. By itself, it produces more than a third of Mexico’s tourist revenue.
Today, Cancun is the second-most-visited tourist destination in the world, with more than 10 million visitors in 2020. Someone owes those computer models a pat on the back.
Cancun has two parts. There’s the Isla Cancun, which is a nine-mile long barrier island shaped like the number 7. It’s here that you’ll find the Zona Hotelera, with those 30,000 hotel rooms and (it sometimes seems) at least that many people selling carpets, hammocks, and margaritas. Across the bridge, there’s downtown Cancun, a normal city with permanent residents, schools, hospitals, Walmarts, and Costco.
Most tourists spend almost all of their time on the island, rarely venturing into the city proper except to pass through as they arrive and depart. This is probably a mistake. Ciudad Cancun is a dynamic and interesting Mexican city, and even if you came for nothing but sand and sea, it’s worth an afternoon to look around, and have some outstanding food a great prices.
Boulevard Kukulcan joins these two worlds, starting near the center of downtown Cancun at Kilometer 1 and extending to the southern tip of Cancun Island, at Kilometer 25. (Locations on the island are often given by their kilometer marker on Boulevard Kukulcan—the simplicity of having essentially only one road!)
Kilometer Nine – just where the “7” turns the corner, is the epicenter of North American spring break and the densest portion of the Hotel Zone. Further south, the Hotel Zone gets slightly quieter and less dense.