A few steps outside the airport doors, you notice something is missing. Under a sun-drenched sky, the thought comes to mind that the chill in your bones is finally gone. With blue skies and warm sand beaches, Cancun is just what the doctor ordered to combat your winter blues.
Quite a few Minnesota doctors gave out the same prescription. Cancun is the top international travel destination for Minnesotan’s escaping the cold. Direct flights from the Twin Cities make Cancun easily accessible and a strong dollar make the vacation highly affordable.
Once in Cancun, you will never want for things to do. Boutiques and bazaars provide world-class shopping. Dining options will please your palate, with everything from 5 star fine dining to tasty street eats. Tennis, golf and many other activities are everywhere, or relax on one of the fine, white sand beaches. All of these possibilities are right outside your door.
Getting to Know Cancun
Most travelers stay in the comfort and safety of the Hotel Zone. Shaped like the number 7, the top of the 7 is the North, with the Middle and the South making up the right-hand side of the 7.
The ‘Zona Hoterlera’, as the locals call it, is a 14 mile-long island filled with shops, opportunities to explore, places to eat and – of course - hotels. There’s so much to do in the Hotel Zone that most tourists never leave the area.
Thanks to geography, The North (The “beginning”) has the softest sand and most pristine beaches. Partially protected from hurricanes by Isla Mujeres and the horn of Punta Cancun, the North is also shielded from the seaweed that tends to collect in the Middle and End Zones. This is the closest portion to Downtown’s restaurants and cultural attractions, and is only a short distance from Cancun’s nightlife. With such proximity to dining, bars, and attractions, the Beginning of the Hotel Zone is ideal for guests who opt not to stay in an all-inclusive.
The Middle is where you will find the action. Uptown Cancun can be found in the Middle, with its famous nightlife. Yet follow the main drag south and you’ll find Cancun’s most popular family attractions close by, including Aquaworld, Museo Maya, and MUSA, the underwater museum, with a nesting spot for local sea turtles! Huge turtles come ashore every night to lay eggs from May through October. Baby turtles hatch and are released to the ocean from July through December. Guests are invited to watch the adult turtles making their nests every night, or to watch as the babies are released later in the season.
The South, referred to as “the End,” begins at the El Rey Ruins and ends at Punta Nizuc. Quieter than the North or Middle, it is still highly accessible to all that Cancun has to offer. Travelers will find the most relaxed beaches with fewer vendors interrupting their tranquil moments. Beach quality is similar to the Middle, with moderate surf, soft white sand (though slightly coarser than that of the North), and lots of sea turtle activity. There is generally better snorkeling in the South Hotel Zone. Most resorts in this area are all-inclusive, as the immediate area only has a handful of restaurants. This is an ideal spot for travelers who want a true getaway.
Where to Stay in the North
- Hyatt Ziva Cancun: On-site microbrewery, 3 cascading infinity pools.
- Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach: 5-star luxury hotel with AAA Five Diamond French dining.
Where to Stay in the Middle
- La Blanc Spa Resort Adults only, smoke-free resort. Ranked in the top 100 World Hotels & Resorts.
- Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun: Family friendly, close to the popular La Isla shopping center.
Where to Stay in the South
- Nizuc Resort and Spa: All-inclusive luxury hotel with panoramic Caribbean views and a secluded beach.
- Sun Palace: Couples-only, all-inclusive. Free access to the Sun Palace's sister hotels (Except Leblanc).
Amenities vary but the recommended hotels offer ocean views, multiple on-site food options, spas and gyms. Rooms options include daily snacks, robes with slippers, etc. Daily activities might include beach or pool volleyball, scavenger hunts, cooking classes, etc. Area activities include snorkeling, paddle boarding, kite surfing, along with cycling and deep-sea fishing, golf – and more. Excursions and day trips to local attractions can be booked at your hotel.
- Day trip to Chichen Itza & Xcaret
- El Meco Mayan Ruins
- Jungle Tours
- Aquaworld, Museo Maya, & Underwater Museum