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A Journey Into Paradise

Cancun: The Caribbean's Most Glamourous Resort Town

13 September, 2012

According to a recent article in Caribbean Travel + Life magazine,as Mexico's ever-popular vacation destination,Cancun is more than just a fabulous resort town. Beneath this impressive modern veneer,visitors will find a taste of old Mexico,including the lush jungle,vibrant culture and scrumptious local fare that has made the Yucatan famous.

A popular vacation destination for more than 40 years,Cancun is located in Mexico's northern Yucatan and has grown in recent years from its early reputation as a place for college kids to party,becoming a sought after international destination that is equal parts cosmopolitan resort town and charming local village. Today,visitors will find the beaches here have been refurbished at a cost of more than $71 million US,making it easy to see how this gem of a city accounts for nearly one third of Mexico's annual tourist revenue.

Where to Stay

Whether you are looking for a refined resort experience or a rustic Mexican getaway,Cancun can deliver. More than 145 glitzy high-rise hotels and resorts line the beaches of Cancun real estate,boasting nearly 30,000 guest rooms that regularly play host to convention attendees,couples,singles and families. 

For a spa-like atmosphere,locations like the Royal Cancun,the Le Blanc Spa Resort and Live Aqua Cancun feature world-class accommodations and a long list of luxury amenities. From butler service,ocean-view rooms,posh beachfront cabanas,impressive spas and complimentary tours,these destinations are sure to help even the most weary traveler unwind.

If a more rustic experience is what you desire,check out Cancun's popular "green" hotel,the El Rey del Caribe,or the Maya-themed Hotel Xbalamque,located in the heart of a vibrant local scene. Both are situated in downtown (Centro) Cancun and offer between 30 and 65 guest rooms,respectively. For the eco-conscious,the El Rey del Caribe is sure to delight,with composting toilets,a lush,jungle-themed courtyard,recycling and composting in all rooms,solar water heaters and low-flow showers. By contrast,the Hotel Xbalamque features walking distance to popular downtown hotspots,a fabulous lobby bar and real Mexican style in the rooms,including dark wood,brightly-hued color schemes and traditional tile and pebble accents.

Where to Eat

Since Cancun is home to more than 500 diverse restaurants,it can be a challenge for visitors to decide where to eat. From fine dining to rustic cantinas and everything in between,there is sure to be something for everyone. 

If fine dining is what you desire,John Gray's Downtown,the Ritz-Carlton Cancun and Elefanta,Puerto Madero and others surely deliver. John Gray's is a unique combination of French bistro and industrial modern cuisine,with an eclectic menu boasting a variety of private-label wines,and they also have a location in popular Playa del Carmen. Progressive elegance can be found at the Ritz-Carlton with its two five-diamond rated restaurants,where guests are served each course in a different dining room,and dessert in a magnificent cabana by the sea. Elefanta offers traditional Indian fare,with dining that takes place in palapas,which resemble tree houses and overlook the Nichupte Lagoon.  Puerto Madero,an unbelievable Argentinian grill and steakhouse,dazzles with spectacular service,perfect cocktails,mouthwatering seafood and fresh caught fish and of course,amazingly aged steaks.  

For those with a more rustic palate,Cancun's El Rincon cantina may be the perfect place to experience the local culture. Situated downtown beneath the busy bullring,the taverna is small,poorly lit and one of the only places that serves a traditional Spanish menu. If a real taste of Mexico is what you crave,check out Labna's lunch buffet,which offers more than a dozen local favorites and desserts. Located just down the street is the chic,intimate La Habichuela,which is Labna's sister restaurant and offers a variety of local and Caribbean fare.

Where to Play

One of the main reasons visitors come to Cancun is to relax and unwind. The beaches and ocean offer a wide variety of outdoor water sports,while the Herradura Tequila Museum and the Interactive Aquarium offer interesting indoor alternatives. In addition,the CocoBongo is the city's most famed nightclub,where a combination of impressive nightly performances are sure to delight. 

Also of note,Selvatica is located just a short drive from the hotel zone and offers a number of adventures designed just for outdoor enthusiasts,including dune buggy excursions,zipline tours,cenote swims and horseback rides along the beach. Also,consider checking out Cancun's new Underwater Museum,where a number of sculptures have been submerged to create a snorkeler's paradise and artificial reef.