What are the Must Do and See's in Cancun?

Old Jun 16th, 2002, 11:07 PM
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What are the Must Do and See's in Cancun?

If we only have 4 days in Cancun what do you suggest we ( a couple in our mid-20's) must do while there? I must see at least one of the ruins, which one is best? Should I make a point to see more than one if they're spectacular? Is Xel-Ha worth it? I keep reading conflicting information about it, that it's boring and more family oriented. Is Isla Mujeres worth it? It sounds like the only thing to do there is shop and I'm not a big shopper. My boyfriend is giving me one day to go out and do things while we're there, he just wants to relax by the ocean and catch up on a much needed vacation. So if you had limited time, what would you suggest we must see? Thanks for the input!!
Old Jun 17th, 2002, 04:05 AM
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I would suggest that if you are only going to make one day trip, you go to Chichen Itza, one of the top mayan ruins sites. It will take all day, but it is worth it. The other major site for ruins as a day trip from Cancun is Tulum, which has a great setting on the coast, but is nowhere near as impressive. Xel-Ha is nice, but more for relaxing than really sightseeing, and if you go there on your one day trip, you will not really be seeing anyting great. Isla Mujeres is very close to Cancun, so if you get a bit antsy in Cancun one day, you can hop on over there. There is no need to preplan for that. Also, if you wnat a change of scenery one day, you can take a bus to Playa del Carmen - only one hr. from Cancun..it has a great beach and a nice pdestrianized street with a lot of shps/restaurants.
Old Jun 17th, 2002, 10:44 AM
dan woodlief
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Great advice above. With four days, considering it seems to be mostly a relaxing beach trip, I wouldn't try to do too much. I also recommend Chichen-Itza as the best archaelogical site for you (see my travelogue at www.oneeyed.homestead.com). I think Isla Mujeres or Playa del Carmen would make great daytrips. I wouldn't do both with four days. On IM, you can take a scooter tour of the island in just 2-3 hours, and Playa Norte is one of my favorite Yucatan beaches (so you can relax and sightsee on IM). Playa is much more relaxing than Cancun, although it is supposedly much more touristy than when I went in 1998. By bus, it is two hours from downtown Cancun. I have been to Xel-Ha for a whole day. I enjoyed it but would not go there on a short trip (we were in the area for nearly two weeks).
Old Jun 20th, 2002, 09:27 AM
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I agree 100% with the other messages. Go see Chichen-Itza. It's by far the best archealogical site in the area. Just remember that as you go inland and get away from the coast, it gets much more hot and humid. Take water a dress appropriately. If you are only there for four days, I wouldn't plan much else. Just relax and enjoy the beach. I personally love Isla Mujeres. I've been there several times. It is much more laid back than the hotel zone and you can get there in 30 miuntes by ferry. It's nice because you don't have to waste time traveling there. You can get there by ferry in 30 minutes from the North end of the hotel zone. I didn't like Xel-Ha. For the best scuba or snorkeling you have to go to Cozumel. Have fun.
Old Jun 20th, 2002, 08:34 PM
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Isla Mujeres was fun. Rent a golf cart and roam around for the day. Yes, lots of shopping there but the town itself was colorful. Enjoyed Tulum/Xcaret bus trip but Xcaret is definitely a "pre-packaged" experience. Snorkeling there wasn't that great although we DID have fun drifting slowly down the river in Xcaret while watching for fish. Warning: my girlfriend attempted to give blood after our trip & was told she could not for 2 years because we'd been to Tulum..apparently some malaria found there. (But we never saw any mosquitos.)

Best times for us all were sitting on the beach in Cancun, eating a shaved ice and staring at the beautiful white sand and crystal water. Some beach areas are NOT for swimming, only for looking due to waves & riptides.

The city of Cancun itself has nothing of historical interest that we could see. It's all grown up as a town to supply workers for the resort & our chief trip there was to the grocery store. Still, the grocery was fun as you get a chance to see what the locals truly buy.

Don't let the time share sellers grab you & force you to waste a valuable day in one of their sales pitches.

Public buses run regularly along the beach area & are reasonable. You could hop on one of those & get off here & there & explore some of the large, fancy resorts.

Old Jun 21st, 2002, 02:44 AM
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Hi Everyone,
You've been so wonderfully helpful. I am hoping to do Chichen Itza, but I know it's quite far away. I heard it's best to get there before the crowds. I didn't want to spend the entire day there, just a couple of hours. Is a rental car do-able or are the roads too rough? Do you know if it's hard to find following a map? Thanks for the tips on the humidity, I wouldn't have thought to bring water and bug spray. Any other suggestions on that? Also, for Isla Mujeres, can we walk to the ferry if we're staying in the hotel zone? Thanks again, I'm truly grateful.
Old Jun 21st, 2002, 07:48 AM
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Hi Maril,
You did indeed get some really great tips on what to do.
For Chichen Izta, I would recommend either flying in (about $125. pp includes everything and guide) or taking one of the buses. It's cool to see El Castillo from the air as you are flying in. Plus, it takes much less time, so you have more time for visiting the ruins and getting back to Cancun.
The buses are also a better way to go than a rental car as the drivers in Mexico are quite aggressive, and you are expected to pull to the shoulder to allow faster cars to pass.
The buses have beer/soft drinks/water, and are big, fast and very comfortable.
Have fun, and plan to stay longer next time!
Old Jun 21st, 2002, 08:21 AM
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Nancy why are you set against driving in Cancun? We drove and found the roads to be great, there are many signs available, etc. People are very friendly and would even recommend sites near Chichen Itza, such as the Blue Cenote and gave us insttructins.
We never got lost. The airfare would depend on your budget.
Old Jun 21st, 2002, 08:35 AM
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A agree with Ana's post--a rental car would be my choice. The roads are good, you can set your own schedule and see other sights along the way. I don't think you will find Mexican drivers anymore agressive than driver in big U.S. cities.
Old Jun 21st, 2002, 10:46 AM
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Ana y Roberto,
I got the impression from Maril that this is their first time in Mexico, and that they only have four days.
It's much faster via plane to Chichen Izta. I was trying to help them save time.
It can also be very intimidating to drive in a foreign country where you are not used to the signs, the driving customs and the locations of where you are going.
I've been all up and down highway 307 between Cancun and Tankah many times, and I would never suggest for someone to make a trip via a rental car the length of the one to Chichen Itza if they were a first time traveler to the area - especially when there are much easier ways to do it.
Someone who has never driven in Mexico could easily be frightened by the buses going 80 or 90 mph on a two-lane road and taxi drivers aggressively riding two feet from your bumper.
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 11:51 AM
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Can anyone recommend a restaurant or two on Isla Mujeres? I've been to there website and was surprised to see how many there are and the "must see" one according to them doesn't look as nice as many of the others. I realize they're probably referring to food over environment, but I would like to get to second opinions.
Thanks much! Maril
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