Once known as an outrageous party destination favoured by America’s Spring Breakers and young partiers, Cancun has since had a glamorous makeover, making it a luxury destination that now attracts a more sophisticated breed of sunseeker.
The number one foreign vacation destination in the Americas, Cancun is home to some of the most breath-takingly pristine, white sand beaches in the world, lapped by turquoise waters and lined with coconut trees. But it’s not just its natural beauty (some of which is man-made, by the way) that makes it such an appealing sunshine destination for wealthy travellers from across the globe.
It has distinguished itself from the competition thanks to its range of opulent luxury resorts, each offering five-star service, and with a plethora of trendy boutiques and shops, plus a range of quality eateries serving up mouth-watering high-end local and international cuisine. With a seemingly endless number of impressive Mayan sights and entertainment options to choose from, it’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with this spectacular travel destination.
Mexico is currently on the amber list, which means that travel from the UK is possible with some restrictions – but there are hopes that it might be added to the green list over the coming months. So, if you haven’t been yet, then we’ve rounded up ten reasons why you should get booking.
Cancun is located less than an hour’s flight from most major U.S airports, making it quick and easy to access from almost anywhere in the States. It’s little wonder then, that it attracts such a flurry of American visitors each year.
Cancun is an exotic tropical beach destination on the Yucatan Peninsula, at the peaceful southern tip of Mexico. However, it is as close to the United States as it is to the Caribbean, and Cancun Airport is less than half an hour from most Cancun hotels, making a getaway to Cancun so convenient for American visitors that many visitors fly down just for the weekend. Nevertheless, it certainly isn’t limited to U.S visitors, and travel from the UK and Europe is getting easier, too. Although a long haul flight is required to get from A to B, many airlines now fly direct and offer First and Business Class options on board, making for a relaxing and enjoyable journey from start to finish.
One of the best natural beaches in the world
Cancun is a geographical treasure; a 14-mile-long crescent-shaped peninsula jutting into the Mexican Caribbean. Home to a vast coral reef that just so happens to be the second longest in the world – runner up only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – parallels Cancun half a mile into the water. It breaks the waves that have rolled gently over Cancun’s beach for eons, softening its white sands and making for excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities just offshore.
The Caribbean trade winds ensure clear skies almost year round, and a perpetually gentle breeze. Add a constant water temperature exceeding 80º and a Tiffany-box hue, and you officially have a surfside paradise. Cancun hotels honour their privileged oceanfront locations by keeping the sands clean and inviting. A social atmosphere enlivens certain stretches of beach, so visitors can choose to get involved or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the view.
Travellers wishing to explore Cancun’s blue expanse of sea are spoilt for choice when it comes to water activities, including swimming, surfing, snorkelling and reef diving, water skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing expeditions and more. If you’re feeling brave, Cancun’s latest aquatic craze is swimming with sharks the size of NBA courts. In short, this sunny Mexican destination is an ocean lover’s paradise.
But Cancun is more than just a beach – albeit a particularly show-stopping one. The destination encompasses the northern part of the Riviera Maya region, and also in its orbit are two nearby islands; the tranquil Isla Mujeres and the even more tranquil Isla Holbox, which has no streets – only paths in the sand. The latter is about as rustic as things can get, and is breath-takingly pristine and beautiful, with both must-visits during your stay in Cancun.
Cancun is a 24-hour playground of surf, sand and city life, and whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here – at almost any time of the day or night.
Cancun luxury accommodations
Today’s Cancun is a mix of midscale, exclusive and elite hotels, ranging from the small and intimate to vast and sprawling. Some Cancun hotels are American-owned, while others are Spanish or Mexican-owned, and you’ll find a mixture of all-inclusive, a la carte, adults-only and family-focused options to choose from. With this in mind, it couldn’t be easier to find the perfect Cancun hotel according to your tastes and needs, and we’ve listed some of our top picks below.
The best luxury Cancun hotels
The game changer for luxury hotels in Mexico, the NIZUC comprises a dazzling modern design hotel on a semi-private island, with elegant restaurants, a spa you’ll never want to leave, and some incredible opportunities for people-watching.
Le Blanc Spa Resort
A glamorous, modern, all-inclusive, adults-only hotel with an intimate, club-like atmosphere. Le Blanc features a knockout spa, with a beautiful beach and three pools. The dining options are superb, too, and include Japanese and Franco-Mexican fusion.
Live Aqua Cancun
With the fragrant scent of aromatherapy in the air, this chic and minimalistic hotel offers bright rooms filled with natural light, plus a high-end fitness centre and blue-light spa, with some of the best Mexican food served in Cancun available from one of its on-site restaurants.
Secrets The Vine Cancun
Set on a picture-perfect beach in the middle of the Hotel Zone, Secrets attracts a sophisticated clientele with its beautiful rooms and range of decadent facilities, including various pools, a wonderfully social lobby and a New York-quality sushi bar.
Nestled in an incredible beachfront location that is considered the best spot in town, Fiesta Americana is just a stone’s throw from Cancun’s club scene, and offers up an excellent spa and a great kids’ club if you’re thinking of bringing the family.
Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita
An adults-only, all-inclusive luxury boutique resort with 90 richly appointed oceanfront suites, Zoetry Paraison features a spa and thalassotherapy pool, various fine dining options, and even has its own collection of tropical birds.
The Ritz-Carlton Cancun
Beloved by families, stylish couples and home chefs who savour its tasty cooking classes, the elegant Ritz-Carlton is a classic choice that never disappoints, and is well equipped with a range of opulent facilities and amenities to suit all needs and tastes.
A recipe for distinctive dining
Cancun has become a gastronomic destination thanks to its delicious range of ingredients – namely, its popularity and prosperity; Mexico’s bumper crop of talented young chefs; the wonderful flavours of Mexican cuisine and the local cornucopia of freshly caught Caribbean seafood and exotic local produce. Many Cancun resorts are all-inclusive, including a variety of local restaurants that the guest has already paid for in advance. But for a stay of several nights or more, a visit to a Cancun restaurant (or another hotel’s restaurant) can be exciting, eye-opening and a welcome break from routine.
A finger on the urban pulse
Cancun is more than sand, surf and sensational hotels; it’s also a vibrant metropolis with a real downtown, real sidewalks and all the attractions of an elegant resort town. Visitors to Cancun will find all the local amenities they could need to make their trip a seamless and enjoyable experience, including extensive Cancun airport transfers services that will take you anywhere, anytime, and a multitude of restaurants, cafes, shopping malls and cinemas showing U.S films.
Not only that, but it is also awash with fabulous shopping opportunities spread across various locations: La Isla Shopping Village, which resembles a Venetian island; Kukulcan Palace and Luxury Avenue, right in the hotel zone; Plaza Caracol, with over 200 fun stores and restaurants; Plaza Las Americas with international stores like Zara and C&A plus Ultrafemme – an oasis born in Cancun for hassle-free shopping. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll find numerous craft and souvenir markets selling handmade Mexican products at good prices – from leather accessories such as bracelets to silver jewellery from Taxco; and colourful Talavera ceramics to striped blankets from Saltillo.
The great outdoors
Sea, sand and sun equals unparalleled vacation fun is what Cancun is all about, and despite the fact that it had previously made a name for itself as a vacation spot for the young and the restless, its clientele are now decidedly more exclusive. Even so, they still like to be on the move, and Cancun’s many active diversions are more than sufficient to keep them entertained.
Some of the best activities for wealthy travellers to indulge in include thrilling snorkelling and diving at Punta Cancun, where several branches of the Great Mayan Reef converge, and swimming with Cancun’s incredible whale sharks during the summer months. The incredible Underwater Museum, with more than 400 sculptures by artist Jason deCaires Taylor is well worth a visit – you can look at them while diving, snorkelling or on a glass-bottom boat tour.
Cancun’s exceptional golf tempts aficionados from across the globe, with its 18-hole championship courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and several more courses are under construction.
Whichever of these activities float your boat, all are set against the breath-taking backdrop of Cancun’s unique picturesque blue waters, with vivid greens that come complete with real sand bunkers.
Cancun’s exciting nightlife
Although Cancun has become a far more exclusive destination than it once was, its nightlife remains one of Mexico’s best night scenes and one of the main draws from international travellers. Its glamorous clubs attract jet-setters and world-famous DJs from across the globe, while its more intimate lounges make for ultra-sophisticated hang-outs for couples or solo guests looking to meet fellow partygoers.
Cancun’s live music and dance clubs provide you with a full spectrum of entertainment options; Bulldog Cancun, for example, offers the complete experience, with excellent food and drink, various bands, bikini contests and male dancers, plus salsa on the Cuban piano. If that sounds a little too raucous for your tastes, then Roots Jazz Club is a long-established venue for live jazz and blues accompanied by light bites and a margarita menu and makes for a lively but more sophisticated night out.
If you’re eager to keep the celebrations going late into the night then you won’t be disappointed; the options to dance the night away at exciting, high-tech clubs like Sweet and Mandala abound.
Fun at the world’s most exclusive festivals in Cancun
Cancun’s festival calendar is non-stop, and as such, the destination has become a year-round international destination for festivals of all kinds.
The famous Cancun-Riviera Maya Food and Wine Festival, held over several days every March or April, has become a worldwide draw for food lovers and celebrity chefs such as Spain’s Ferran Adria. Frenchman Daniel Boulud and Americans Ingrid Hoffman and Aaron Sanchez. Meanwhile, the Cancun Jazz Festival, held during Memorial Day in the United States at the end of May, brings together the best jazz musicians in the world.
Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s answer to Halloween, invites visitors to Cancun to shake their booties and shake their bones in this joyous cultural tradition, every November 1 and 2, and is one of the most iconic festival experiences to enjoy in Mexico, so be sure to add it to your bucket list if you’re yet to experience it.
Luxury transportation in Cancun: Limousines and luxury cars
An exclusive destination like Cancun couldn’t exactly fail to offer the highest quality services to meet the needs and requirements of an affluent clientele, so it will come as little surprise to find that many companies offer luxury transportation. You can book Cancun luxury transportation in the finest of high-end vans and limousines to add an additional dose of opulence to your getaway, whether you’re heading to a business meeting, attending a golf match or simply want to see the sights in style.
It’s possible to book your required service directly with the airport, with Cancun Transfers service available to any destination in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.