It’s your first time in Cancun. You were expecting drunken spring breakers and drug gang violence, but what you find instead is warm welcoming Mexican people, white sand beaches, the turquoise blue Caribbean and the manicured lawns of luxury resorts. In other words, a world-class vacation destination.
You’ve chosen the casual elegance of The Royal Cancun, one of the best rated and most popular resorts in the Hotel Zone. This all-suite, all-inclusive, adult-only resort (minimum age 16) is located on one of Cancun’s best beaches and all, yes all of the rooms have an ocean view. For something extra special, book a Royal Master Swim-Up Suite, which is located on the beach level and includes amenities like Royal Service® and Royal Housekeeping®, unlimited domestic and international telephone calls and a suite-designated Royal Beach Cabana®, just to name a few. You won’t get bored with The Royal’s many bar and restaurant choices, and as their guest you have access to all of the other Real Resorts in Cancun.
The Royal is one of Cancun's most popular resorts — Photo courtesy of Real Resorts Facebook
A few days into your week at The Royal, take a tour to Xcaret, an archaeological park located near Playa del Carmen. A day at Xcaret is filled with Mexican and Mayan history, culture, food, nature and music. Witness an ancient Mayan ball game, swim in an underground river, see local wildlife like jaguars, monkeys, sea turtles and butterflies, and visit a charming Mexican cemetery. Make sure you stay for the unforgettable Xcaret Espectacular night show. These are only a few of the magical experiences Xcaret has to offer.
Are you interested in the real Mexico and how locals (Cancunenses) live? On Friday afternoon, take the R1 bus to downtown Cancun and get off at the Palacio Municipal. Cross Tulum Avenue, enter pedestrian street Tulipanes and walk a block until you hit Parque las Palapas (Palapas Park), the main park in downtown Cancun. Try some local food (the empanadas on the end of the food stalls closest to the park are the best), see how local families spend their free time and maybe catch a free show on the Palapas stage.
Xcaret offers Mexican and Mayan history, culture, food, nature and music — Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse
Just a few miles off the coast of Cancun, a small tropical island paradise called Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) sits in the azure Caribbean Sea. A couple of days before you head back to real life, hop on an Ultramar ferry at El Embarcadero (the port located at km 4 of the Hotel Zone) and head to Isla Mujeres. When you disembark, cross the street and rent a golf cart from Gomar for your whirlwind tour around the island.
Good places to stop include Tortugranja (a turtle conservation farm), the lookout spot just after the Garrafon Park entrance (this is the best place to take photos on the entire island), Punta Sur, and the malecon downtown which faces the open Caribbean Sea. Afterwards, head to a beach club on North Beach for a relaxing afternoon in paradise.
Isla Mujeres is just a short ferry ride from Cancun — Photo courtesy of Isla Mujeres Facebook
Don’t miss one spectacular night on the town at Cancun’s most famous nightclub, Coco Bongo. This huge disco has a capacity for up to 1800 partygoers who are regularly showered with confetti and balloons. Live shows take place throughout the night so you’ll be thoroughly entertained while you dance and drink the night away.
Coco Bongo provides an unforgettable night on the town — Photo courtesy of Coco Bongo Facebook
Cancun has so much more to offer, but for a first-timer, you're off to a good start.