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Dr. Crit Minster

 

Party, party, party! There is no escaping Cancún’s international image as one of the good-time capitals of the planet. College students on Spring Break flock to this gorgeous, sunny city on the Yucatán Caribbean, where they can get more tequila and beer for their buck and the clubs and discos go all night.

 

Cancún will always be known as a world-class destination for drinking and partying. The largest and most boisterous clubs are on Kukulcán Boulevard: check out The Hard Rock Café, Coco Bongo, Daddy’O and La Boom for no holds bars dancing, drinking, wet t-shirt contests, theme parties and more.

 

Lately, however, Cancún has made the effort to distance itself from its Spring Break image. To bolster its new family-friendly image, it has added water parks, museums, shows (the clothes-on kind) and more. Parque Nizuc is a water park for families, featuring slides, wave pools and even sharks. Kids and parents can swim with a porpoise at Dolphin Discovery. If you’re a shopper, head to the downtown and Avenida Tulúm, where handicrafts from all over Mexico are for sale in a variety of shops. If hand-painted masks and ceramics aren’t your thing, check out the slick super-malls in the hotel zone.

 

Of course, Cancún is famous for beaches. The geography of the city—it’s built on a sandy peninsula—means that there are miles of gorgeous white sand beaches. The beaches in the northern area of town are better for swimming: the water is rougher on the eastern side. If Cancún’s beaches—and all the parasailing, jet skis and other water sports that come with them—aren’t enough for you, head to Cozumel, an island paradise right off the coast. It’s known for beaches and SCUBA diving.

 

Once you’ve had your fill of sun and surf, you’ll find that one of the best things about Cancún is how close it is to other attractions in the Yucatán. If you want to see some Mayan ruins, Chichén Itzá, Cobá and Tulum are all within easy day-trip range (and there are no shortages of taxi drivers, tour operators, and other assorted “helpers” who’d be happy to take you there). If you want to see ruins without leaving the city, check out the ruins and reconstructed village of El Rey, right in town.

 

There are several theme parks within easy reach of Cancún. Xcaret is a Mayan version of Disneyland. Located in Playa del Carmen, it features a guided underwater walk, pools, snorkeling, live shows and the chance to swim with dolphins. In Cancún, Aqua World features snorkeling, SCUBA Diving, jet skis and even a submarine ride.

 

Cancún doesn’t keep statistics on how many visitors come for the tequila and stay for the dolphins, but the fact remains: Cancún is no longer just your father’s party town.



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