Cancun Destination Guide

Overview

Once little more than a fishing village, the tourist resort of Cancun has grown exponentially since the mid-1970s to become a world leader for tourists seeking tropical sun, white sand and blue sea. The whole length of the narrow island is dotted with large, smart, modern, international-style hotels. The overall character is heavily American; with American English spoken by virtually everyone and US dollars accepted almost as readily as pesos, the resort is often likened to Florida.

Ideal For

Families
Couples
Beach
Luxury All Inclusive

Destination Guide

Daytime: lazing on the beach or around the pool; myriad water sports including sailing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, parasailing, canoeing, snorkelling, banana rides and scuba diving (with courses for beginners); swimming with dolphins; water parks; boat trips to Isla Mujeres, providing alternative locations for the usual beach and water activities; glass-bottom boat and semi-submersible trips give non swimmers a chance to explore the deep; shopping; golf; horse riding; all-terrain vehicles. Most hotels offer activity programmes, gyms, tennis courts etc.
Nightlife: sunset cruises, cultural shows and hotel entertainment programmes; numerous bars, discos and clubs pulsate into the early hours and beyond.

Beach Guide

Top of the range, with long swathes of soft, white, coral sand lapped by clear, blue water. The sea off the north-facing coast, protected by the Isla Mujeres, is considerably calmer and better suited to water sports than the sea off the longer, more exposed, east-facing coast, where undertows are not uncommon; most hotels operate a flag system to warn of dangerous conditions. Lagoon-facing hotels usually have sandy terraces or boardwalks.

Tour of the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza (long day), or the less popular, less demanding ruins at Tulum and Coba. Numerous eco-parks along the coast south of the resort, ranging from the theme-park-style Xcaret to the simple Tres Rios, with its undeveloped forest, rivers and beaches; some eco-parks have dolphin-swim programmes. Diving trips, often to Isla Cozumel, where the sites are considerably better than the resort’s own reefs. Organised packages to Isla Mujeres, often including dolphin swims. Boat trips into the lagoon.

Numerous shopping plazas scattered throughout the tourist resort, ranging from modest, local shopping parades to large, modern centres with international, brand-name shops. The main commercial tourist area, around the convention centre, also has a market for local handicrafts. At a cental point along the strip, the largest shopping complex, called La Isla, justs out into the lagoon. The downtown area has more shopping centres and markets. Prices are not particularly cheap unless the quality is poor, so people seeking the work of local artisans at bargain prices will be disappointed. Jewellery, glass and onyx are popular offerings, and cheap souvenir T-shirts are so common they seem to multiply before your eyes.

Country Info for Mexico

Renowned for spicy food, tequila, sombreros and sun drenched beaches, Mexico is a large country with a great amount to offer a wide variety of visitors.

The resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean coast have numerous excellent accommodation options, great beaches and are near to the picturesque Mayan ruins of Tulum with Mayan pyramids perched above beaches and turquoise waters. Cancun is accessible by direct flights from the UK.

The more adventurous may wish to visit the bustle of vast Mexico City, or Palenque where ancient Maya temples rise through the jungle. Puerto Escondido on the Pacific Coast offers a more secluded beach break, with great surfing, fishing, wildlife and quaint markets.

General Info

Location: Central America

Capital City: Mexico City

Population: 112.33 million

Area: 1,972,550 square km, 761,602 square miles.

Language(s): Spanish

Dialling Code: 52

Electricity: 110V AC 60Hz

Emergency: Police: 060/080. Fire: 5768-3544. Ambulance: 5557-5758

Driving: Driving is on the right. National licence or International Driving Permit required

Business/Social Hints: Business is usually conducted in Spanish. Many executives speak English. On social occasions be punctual and dress as for business meetings unless otherwise indicated. The minimum drinking age is 18 years
Opening Hours

Hotel Classification

Until 1993 Mexico had an official government-controlled system of classification ranging from 1 star up to 5 star plus a top de luxe rating of GT (Gran Turismo). Most higher-category hotels still use the old star system although generally quality and service are those expected of a lower-rated hotel, ie a 5-star hotel is equivalent to a normal 4 star; Gran Turismo is equivalent to 5 star. In addition, the American Automobile Association (AAA) operates a voluntary scheme in Mexico similar to that used by our own AA/RAC. This awards diamonds on a scale from 1 up to 5. AAA gradings are very strict and are usually equivalent to the next highest category (so a 3-diamond hotel is probably equivalent to a normal 4 star). Where properties have no star or diamond rating, our usual arbitrary categories of £ up to £££££ are given based on rack rates, facilities and perceived quality which equate to the commonly used 1- to 5-star system. These categories serve only to compare relative standards within any given area.

The following details relate to holders of adult normal passports (requirements for children may be different). If any other type of passport or travel document is held, entry requirements may differ and should be checked with the relevant embassy or consulate.
Passports

Required by all.

Passport Validity: Passports must be valid for six months on arrival.
Visas

The UK residents DO NOT require a visa:

Entry requirements may change from time to time and should be checked with the Mexican Embassy or Consulate.
Air Transit

Not required if connecting to a third country within 24 hours, and not leaving the airside transit area.
Special Notes

Immigration authorities may require proof of onward/return tickets and sufficient funds for length of stay.

Reciprocal health: None.

Compulsory vaccinations: None.

Recommended immunisations: Hepatitis A, Typhoid.

In addition: Tetanus & Rabies.

Risks: Malaria – Precautions are essential in some parts. Risk is due almost exclusively to the benign form throughout the year.

Dengue Fever – contracted through mosquito bites.

High Altitude – Acute Mountain Sickness is potentially life-threatening and precautions should be taken when in areas of high altitude.

Source: fitfortravel.nhs.uk

GENERAL INFO FOR ALL TRAVELLERS: Details listed can occasionally change at very short notice and it’s recommended that all travellers seek advice from their Practice Nurse, GP or Travel Clinic when planning a visit to Mexico. It should be noted that some vaccinations and treatments may require one or more visits and should be planned well in advance of travel.

Primary courses and boosters should always be up to date as recommended for life in the UK. This should include vaccines given to special groups due to complications or risk exposure such as Hepatitis B for health care workers, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines for the elderly etc.