So you’ve got your eyes set on paradise. You’ve got your flight sorted into Cancun International Airport, you’ve got your hotel in Cancun or your all-inclusive Riviera Maya resort penciled down, and you’re looking forward to traveling to Cancun. This destination is one of the best in the world, with endless places to see and lots of things to do. When you travel to Cancun you’ll enjoy sun, sea, sand and endless fun. Before traveling to Cancun, here are some things to bear in mind and great tips for a hassle-free vacation.
1. Have your Documents in Order Before Traveling to Cancun
The first thing to watch out for is your passport, and specifically, its validity. If you’re a US citizen you won’t need a visa, but your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from your entry date. When you arrive in destination and you pass through immigration, you’ll receive a white tourist entry form. DO NOT LOSE THIS FORM.
You will need it when you check in for departure. While it can be replaced, it comes with a cost in money (around 30 USD), time (15 – 30 minutes) and plain added stress. The general recommendation is to keep it folded in your passport.
2. Prepare for the Cancun Airport Experience
Something else to bear in mind is your airline’s luggage policy. This really does vary with each one — some will even charge you to bring a carry-on. Fines for overstepping the restrictions can be really hefty. Don’t forget to check the policy with your airline before traveling to Cancun to avoid problems at check in time.
A final airport-and-arrival tip is to avoid the time-share sharks on arriving at Cancun International Airport. Just head straight on to your private transportation, and save your time and money! The information they give is just as easily received at your hotel.
3. Know the Dollar-Peso Exchange Rate
The next thing to think about before traveling to Cancun is the exchange rate. At time of writing, the rate is currently 19 pesos MXN to the dollar, but it varies from place to place. Generally, the airport is more expensive, and it can be well worth your while shopping around for the best rate. Over the past year the rate has varied from 17.5 pesos to 20.5 pesos to the dollar. The average is about 19 pesos for every dollar. It is definitely worth paying in pesos, as the in-shop dollar exchange rate is generally eye-wateringly terrible.
4. Know that Cancun is Very Safe
The fourth subject is slightly taboo, but needs mention all the same; safety in Cancun. Is Cancun safe? The answer is very much YES, with the normal proviso of common sense. The city can generally be split into two areas: the Hotel Zone and the downtown area. The hotel zone rarely sees much crime outside drunken buffoonery, and there is always a reassuring police presence. The downtown area comes with the provisos of all major cities; all the tourist sites are in good areas though. You’re safer in Cancun than a number of major US cities.
5. Choose the Right Cancun Hotel for your Needs
The next topic is about what type of hotel to pick. A lot of people are unsure whether to pick an all-inclusive resort or a regular hotel in downtown. The answer really depends on the reason for your visit to Cancun. If you are here for a dream honeymoon or beach vacation, then the obvious pick is an all-inclusive hotel. The only choice would be where, between the Cancun hotel zone, the Riviera Maya, or Playa del Carmen. Likewise, if you’re traveling to Cancun for a quick business trip, then a regular hotel in downtown is best for you.
Cancun is known for its parties and for Spring Break, but it also offers excellent facilities for families, couples and singles. There are popular hotels for every type of stay, so it’s worth researching online to find the right one for you.
If you’re looking to explore the region more, then the decision is more difficult. An all-inclusive hotel is not necessarily the best choice if you’re going to be outside the resort all day. The all-inclusive program does have its benefits even so, as it really does take all the hassle out of eating, drinking, and daily food budgets.
6. Know Which Great Sights to See in Cancun
Talking about exploring the region, there is so much to see here. In terms of local culture, you’ll have to head outside the Cancun Hotel Zone. If you book your tours online, you can generally get better rates. Don’t hesitate to look outside the box either; you’ll find hidden gems like cenotes and underground rivers in the area.
Just as a final tip, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to get out of your hotel and explore the area. Isla Mujeres is a stunning place for a day out, for example; the views on the crossing are breathtaking, and the beaches even more so. Head to paradise-like Playa Norte, snorkel at the underwater museum, and hire a golf cart to shoot around the island.
7. Keep the Purified Water and Sunscreen Near You
Whichever hotel you pick, don’t drink from the tap. Stick to bottled water, and make sure you have some cold in the refrigerator. You can pick up cheap bottled water from any supermarket or local store, with prices generally better in downtown.
Another general tip is to bring waterproof, biodegradable sunscreen. Thanks to the wind coming off the sea sometimes you don’t realize how strong the sun is. It’s also a good idea to bring aloe vera for the spots you missed!
Now You’re Set Before Traveling to Cancun!
In summary, Cancun is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, with countless things to see and do. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can really get the most from your time here. Take the right precautions and enjoy a truly unforgettable vacation on Mexico’s Caribbean coast!