There is a lot to know about Cancun besides the city’s incredible beaches and vibrant nightlife. Maya ruins, whale sharks, baby sea turtles and a giant Mexican flag are just some of Cancun’s little known facts.
Cancun is the number one tourist destination for Americans traveling abroad. Cheap flights from the States, many of them direct, miles and miles of white sand beaches, numerous cultural activities and adventure tours, as well as Cancun’s world-famous hospitality continue to attract millions of visitors each year.
But much is unknown about this young tourist destination. For example, did you know that Cancun has existed as anything other than a small fishing village for less time than Hawaii has been a U.S. state?
So to help you out with the next time you get stumped on a trivia question about Cancun, Amstar proudly presents…
5 things you didn’t know about Cancun…
#5 From a small fishing village to a top international tourist destination
The birth of Cancun in its actual form came about through a government project led by then-President Gustavo Ordaz, who requested funds from the Bank of Mexico in order to boost the country’s economy through tourism. As a result, the government invited a small group of prominent architects and engineers to present their visionary proposals for this new destination. When development officially began in 1970, Cancun only had three residents. Today, the Caribbean gem has a population of almost one million inhabitants.
#4 You can visit Maya ruins right in Cancun’s Hotel Zone
The ancient Maya, so famous for their major cities, elaborate architecture and amazing scientific feats, were spread out through the southern part of what is now Mexico as well as a large part of Central America. In other words, the Maya also inhabited what is now Cancun. And although not in the proportions of Chichen Itza, Tulum or Coba, impressive Maya ruins can still be found and visited right in the heart of Cancun’s Hotel Zone:
· El Rey, known by some as the playground of the ancient Maya during the Post classic period (1250-1630 A.D.), is located just a short walking distance from the Hilton Club (Blvd. Kukulcán, 19 km)
· San Miguelito (1250-1550 A.D.) boasts several pyramid-shaped temples. It can be visited on a well-worth educational journey to Cancun’s new and impressive Maya Museum
· Yamil Lu’ um, a site that consists of two small temples that were probably used as watchtowers and lighthouses around 500 or 700 years ago, is located next to the Sheraton Cancun Resort & Towers on the highest point of the almost totally flat Cancun
#3 There is a very big flag flying in the Hotel Zone
This impressive and very big Mexican flag flying in Cancun’s Hotel Zone is made of the same material as parachutes. It measures 4,628.48 square feet and weighs a hefty 507 pounds! In fact, 40 soldiers were required to raise the flag up the 344 foot flag pole. The flag was inaugurated in 1998 by then president Ernesto Zedillo.
#2 Turtles, turtles and more turtles
Each year around late May, thousands of migrating sea turtles begin arriving to this jewel of the Caribbean. Their mission? To return to their place of origin in order to lay their nest of eggs in the white sandy beaches along the coastline of Cancun. In conjunction with the environmental protection agencies, protected areas are set up all along the Hotel Zone, and the local hotels take care of and protect their nests in closed areas at the beach. If you’re in Cancun from late May to around September or October, make sure you participate in these protection efforts and experience the emotion when the baby turtles make their journey to the Caribbean Sea.
#1 Do you know where to find the second largest reef in the world?
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System a.k.a the Great Maya Reef, is the second largest reef system in the world, only surpassed by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Extending out over 700 miles from the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down through Belize, the Great Maya Reef also graces the coasts of Guatelama and Honduras. The reef is home to an incredibly diverse array of marine species, many of which are considered to be endangered species. It is also here off the coastal waters of Cancun, close to Contoy Island, where the biggest fish on the planet—the whale shark—congregates in larger numbers than anywhere else on Earth.
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