| Bulletin Board
| Spotlight Destination
Cancun is one of the reasons why millions of people travel to Mexico each year. With its tropical-like weather, majestic beaches, and luxury resorts, Cancun is one of the most popular international destination resorts.
Cancun, made up of two distinct areas, is located on Mexicos Eastern Coast. Mainland Cancun, also known as Cancun City and El Centro, is the commercial center of Cancun. This area houses the colorful markets, quaint shops, malls, restaurants, a few lower budget hotels and the residential area of Cancun.
The Zona Hotelera, a peninsula shaped like the number 7, is 22km (14 mi.) long. The Caribbean Sea and Laguna Nichupte encompass this beautiful dazzling island that is composed of Cancuns most spectacular hotels and resorts. Cancun is actually closer to Miami than it is to Mexico City.
Cancun, meaning, "Golden Snake" in the Mayan Language, was inhabited by the Mayans around AD 200. Here they remained until the 14th or 15th century. Behind them, they left Mayan ruins that were discovered in the mid-19th century, but not studied until the late 1950s. Cancun was, until the 1960s, a small fishing village of around 120 people. In 1967 the Mexican government began a study to find the perfect location for an international Caribbean resort. The computer chose the small village of Cancun. When construction began in the 1970s, it seemed the only inhabitants of Cancuns miles of beaches were birds and iguanas. Now, luxury resorts and miles of tourists are Cancuns main inhabitants.
From May to September, the tourist season, temperatures average in the 90s with lows around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter months in Cancun are a little cooler but its still warm with temperatures in the low 80s. Cancun sees an average of 340 days of sunshine with rain coming in short, sharp bursts. June to October is the hurricane season, but those are mainly just blustery winds.
Cancun has over 25,000 hotel rooms. Although there are not very many budget priced hotels, the few remaining are located downtown Cancun away from the water, but close to the markets and shops. The Zona Hotelera boasts modern mega-resorts, at mega prices. Be prepared to shell out the dough to stay in one of the glittery, showy resorts located here. Rates for hotel rooms in the downtown area range from $38 - $140 US dollars. In the Zona Hotelera rates range from $100 - $1,300 US dollars.
Cancun is dominated by U.S. based restaurant franchises such as the Hard Rock Cafe Planet Hollywood, Tony Romas and more. In addition, Cancun offers one-of-a-kind restaurants, 5 star gourmet restaurants, and cafes. For a budget meal, grab a bite at one of the markets.
Cancun offers a lavish array of entertainment. From romantic piano bars, sports and gambling bars, to just good old fashion drinking bars. Nightclubs in Cancun are expensive but worth the expense at least once. There are many discos and nightclubs that dont close until the sun rises. If the disco and club scenes are not your style, there are ballets, festivals, and folklore dance shows to watch.
With all its shops, markets, malls, and stores, shopping in Cancun is becoming a popular activity. Handcrafted articles are more expensive and not as widely available in Cancun simply because they are not produced here. Check the open-air markets for handcrafted articles, and try your hand at bargaining prices. The Plaza Kukulkan, a mall with over 300 stores, offers everything from jewelry, designer clothes, fine crystal, music stores, to restaurants, a theater, bowling alley and an arcade. You could spend the entire day in this large mall and still not see it all. Most stores now remain open during the siesta hours, 1 - 4 oclock.
With over 1,200 restaurants, finding a place to eat that appeals to you may be the hardest task youll undertake in Cancun. Though seafood dishes are the most popular, you can also sample Arabic, Yucatecan, Chinese, Cajun, Polynesian, Italian and French fare. All hotels in the Zona area have at least one formal restaurant.
Banks: Cancun banks are generally open 9 ?5, Monday to Friday and many now have ATM machines. Money exchange desks are open 9 ?1:30. Most hotels and establishments accept credit cards and U.S dollars.
Internet Service: C@ncunnet is located in a booth on the second floor of Plaza Kukulkan. In downtown Cancun, Sybcom offers internet access, located in the Plaza Alconde.
Transportation: Most car rental agencies have an outlet at the airport, as well as offices along the Zona Hotelera. Its cheaper to arrange a rental car before your vacation to avoid transportation fees. Taxis are available to drive you to and from the airport. Rates differ from zone to zone, so its best to keep track of where you are and where you are headed. Buses are a cheap and reliable way to travel Cancun. Buses from the Zona Hotelera do not travel downtown, so you will need to catch a connecting bus at Avendia Tulum.
Isla Mujeres: Only six miles from Cancun, a twenty-minute ferry ride away, this island has three beautiful beaches, an underwater park for snorkeling, and reefs for experienced scuba divers.
Xel-Ha: Located about 70 miles south of Cancun, Xel-Ha is the worlds largest natural aquarium composed of lagoons, inlets, caves and sinkholes.
Tulum: A city the Mayans built between 1200 and 1500 AD. What makes it makes it most impressive is that it was the only site built by the ocean.
Tres Rios: An Eco/adventure park located just 25 minutes south of Cancun. This nature park offers tourist 150 acres of lush, natural beauty. The entrance fee includes a canoe trip, bike usage, and the use of snorkeling and kayaking equipment.
|WHERE TO GO:
Avenida Tulum: This main street houses many restaurants and shops, it
also boasts a huge seashell sculpture, a sight to see when lit up at night-
The Ruinas del Rey: (Ruins of the King). These small ruins have been
made part of the Caesar Park Beach & Golf Resort. Skeletons found there
indicate this may be a royal burial site.
National Institute of Anthropology and History: This museum houses
a collection of Mayan artifacts depicting the history and culture of the
Yamil Luum: Meaning "Hilly Land" is one of Cancuns smallest ruins,
made up of two structures. One probably being a lighthouse, the other a
temple. A small sign at the Hotel Sheraton will direct you to this site.
Plaza Caracol: One of the largest and most modern shopping areas in
Cancun. This mega mall is home to 200 shops and stores.
WHERE TO EAT:
The expensive Club Grill is said to be Cancuns most delicious and
elegant restaurant. Exquisite place settings, comfortable padded
chairs, candle lit tables, romantic music, and a selection of fine
wines and tequilas makes this restaurant a place to remember. A
dress code is in effect and there is a smoking and non-smoking section.
One restaurant noted for its incredible Italian food is La Dolce Vita.
Located on the lagoon, the house specialty is homemade pastas and
sauces mixed with different kinds of seafood. Patrons have a choice
of dining in the air-conditioned dining room or on the open-air terrace.
Live jazz music is played from 7pm until 11:30pm. A tequila bar with 50
different types of tequila, a Mexican kitchen, the Salon Michoacan,
which serves the states cuisine, and the Patio Oaxaca, which features
Oaxacan cuisine, as well as marimba, jarocho music and mariachis
combine all things Mexican in the Restaurant Maria Bonita. Seafood
is abundant in Cancun, and at Lorenzillos diners choose their lobster
from a tank which can be grilled, steamed, and stuffed. Other popular
choices are stuffed shrimp, squid, and several types of fish. For a
change of pace, try one of the several dinner cruise boats, which will
tour the bay while you dine on sumptuous meals. Cancun has its share
of American based franchises, which include the Hard Rock Caf? Tony
Romas, Planet Hollywood and TGI Fridays as well as many fast food
places. Most restaurants serve different Yucantecan dishes, which is
the local dish of the Yucatan Peninsula.
|WHAT TO DO:
There are so many activities to participate in that you will find you need
extra vacation days to try them all. You can swim in the bath-like
temperature water, or swim in one of the many pools at the hotels.
Water sports abound. From windsurfing, parasailing, scuba diving,
snorkeling, to boating, and fishing. Festivals, ballets,and
nightclubs will keep you entertained in the evenings. Shopping
in one of Cancuns mega-malls is becoming a popular activity.
Beaches: The tourists are free to go anywhere, but non-guests may be
made to feel unwelcome at the beaches surrounding the hotels. There are
about a dozen public beaches, free to use, but a small charge may be
required to use the showers. In some undeveloped areas, you may find
empty sand, and the occasional group of nude sunbathers. The powdery
white sand never seems to heat up even on the hottest days.
Sport Fishing: There are some excellent areas for deep sea and sport
fishing. Sailfish, marlin, dorado, wahoo, grouper, and bluefish tuna are the
most abundant. The many lagoons, inlets, and flats offer tarpon, snook,
permit, and hard fighting bonefish. Charters can be arranged through most
hotels, or at the majority of marinas along Laguna Nichupte. Boats are
available for rental; from two seater skiffs to glass bottomed boats, to
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling: Cancun is one of the best places in the
world for scuba diving. Punta Nizuc, on the northern tip of the largest
reef in the Western Hemisphere, is alive with many types of sea life, not
to mention the sunken ships that lend an air of mystery. El Garrafon
National Underwater Park is an excellent spot for snorkeling
Water Activities: Many tour facilities offer jet skiing or wave
runner tours through Cancuns lagoons, shallow reefs and the Caribbean
Sea. Sailboarding and kayaking are also popular activities. Most hotels
offer rental equipment for these sports.
Golf: Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed one of Cancuns premier
18-hole golf clubs,the Pok-Ta-Pok. With a view of the ocean and lagoons,
this course is a pleasure to play upon. A championship 18-hole golf
course is located at the Caesar Park beach & Golf Resort. Guests of
this hotel receive a reduction in green fees. An executive 9-hole golf
course, located at the Hotel Melia Cancun, offers a cheaper green fee
and a spectacular view of the ocean. An 18-hole championship golf course,
designed around the "Ruinas Del Rey", is located at the Hilton Golf &
Other Activities: Horseback riding to Cancuns caves, lagoons,
ruins are a pleasant change from the water activities. ATV
tours and in-line skating are also popular.
|WHERE TO SHOP:
Shopping is an activity all on its own in Cancun. The most popular items
are resort wear and local handicrafts. Most shops have fixed prices,
but bargaining is still expected in the markets. Stores generally close
for the siesta hours, 1pm-4pm. The downtown area is composed mainly of
shops and markets as well as a large department store. At the Mercado
Vienteocho, you will find many of the same gifts and souvenirs items
sold in the Hotel Zone at half the price. The newest mall, Plaza las
Americas is home to 50 shops, eight movie theaters and three large
department stores. The majority of the "mega malls are located in the
Hotel Zone. At the Plaza Kukulkan you will find over 200 shops, a
bowling alley, a 3-screen cinema, several restaurants, a bank and even
a laser tag area. Located In the Flamingo Plaza are designer and
specialty shops, boutiques, and sportswear stores. Boutiques such as
Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Bennetton, Guess, and Bally as well as a Cartier
jewelery are located in the Plaza Caracol. Prices for clothing is
generally lower than in the same stores located in the US. The ultra
trendy and ultra expensive" La Isla Shopping Village is said to be the
most intriguing in Cancun. A series of canals, walkways, and bridges
connect the shops, aquarium, marina, movie theaters, disco, and
restaurants. Some of the shops found here are Swatch, Guess, Bennetton,
H. Stern, and Zara clothing as well as the first Warner Brothers Studio
in Mexico. There are also several duty-free shops, the largest being
| Weekly Feature
|Costa De Oro