Cancun has a reputation. A reputation for a 365 day a year party, a thriving night life and strong cocktails. Cancun, due to its close proximity to the US and its reputation of being the premier coastal destination in Mexico, receives a large majority of young American “spring breakers”, who can finally open their throats to alcohol in a legal sense, dodging the 21 year old legal limit held back in America. You can imagine the chaos. Just like Magaluf to Brits, Cancun is a haven for debauchery and other types of mischief.
But Cancun offers alot more than just tequila shots and disco lights. For a start it is had the world’s second longest coral reef on its shores, golden beaches, a number of golf courses, unlimited amount of markets to barter in, and sophisticated seafood restaurants. Beaches that are most popular and recommended are: Playa Defines and Playa Chac Mool, both which are broad and tidy, filled with sweeping golden shores and turquoise crystal waters.
But if you want to head out of the main tourist zone, filled with all inclusive hotels and plunge swimming pools, you can do. To the real Mexico. Heading to the city centre, you leave behind resorts and dollar bills, embracing pesos and taco joints. The city is clean and spacious, destroying any stereotype you might have conjured up of life in Mexico. Head to Museo Maya de Cancun, where there are interesting exhibitions on local aspects of anthropology and history in relation to Cancun and Mexico. Or, wanting to explore the real heart of the city, head to Parque de las Palapas; where live music, a local artisan market, and an open air food court is held, which serves all kinds of tasty concoctions bursting with flavour and spices, exemplary examples of Mexican cuisine.
If wanting to delve more into the history of Mexico, just a day trip away from Cancun, are the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Ita, as well as the national park of Isla Conto where hundreds of national birds ruffle their colourful and pristine feathers.
Unlike your expectations, I did not come here to party and consume jagerbombs. In fact, when visiting I was way too young to even think about alcohol, let alone drink it. I came here on a family holiday as a child and so my perception of the place is blurred. Staying in a resort, I met ruddy faced Americans who sat drinking bourbon by the bar all day and had incredible drawls of an accent. We spent days avoiding the colossal waves and the searing sun under an umbrella on one of its magnificent beaches. And we spent afternoons feeding humongous hideous stray iguana’s our lunch, meaning they returned every day- much to my mother’s anguish.
For any European or Asian holidaymaker, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Cancun for its beaches as there are so many other places with less tourists on your doorstep, however if wanting to explore Mexico, head to a more authentic location.