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Cancun Calling: The Ultimate Spring Break Destination

Heading to this iconic Spring Break location? Here’s how you can explore beyond the comfort of Cancun’s warm, sandy beaches and crazy nightclubs!


By Clare Ong


Graphic By Ellie Mccarron

The stretch of hotels, beaches, and nightclubs at the edge of Western Mexico is a tried and true Spring Break destination for college students. 


However, in my six days there, I discovered that Cancun has so much more to offer. Here’s everything to know before you go. 


Safety & Money


You may feel nervous about leaving the comfort of the Hotel Zone—a literal strip of hotels and activities separated from the central city—however, booking tours with hotel pick-up and drop-off will allow you for safer outings.


Bring just enough cash for the day and keep the rest locked in your hotel safe or suitcase. Try to pay in pesos, as restaurants, merchants, and taxi drivers will use an exchange rate that earns them more! 


Transportation


The Hotel Zone Bus is the best way to get around Cancun. The R1 and R2 buses, which come every two to five minutes, are the main bus lines that run both directions along the Hotel Zone. 

You can pay cash upon entry for a ticket, which costs 12 pesos/person ($60 USD). Buses run 24 hours a day, making it possible to take the bus back to your hotel after a night out!


Ubers are much cheaper than taxis. While acts of aggression are unlikely, proceed with caution if taking an Uber and choose pick-up and drop-off locations away from hoards of taxis. 


Taxis are the most expensive option. Most do not have a meter and will often overcharge tourists, especially if you try to pay in USD. If you transport from the airport to the Hotel Zone, prearrange a car service and do not take rides from anyone with a sign.


Activities


Chichen Itza – Chichen Itza, located in Yucatan, is a UNESCO World Heritage site only two and a half hours from Cancun. While you’re there, walk among Mayan ruins and bask in the architectural phenomenon of the Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo). This $69 tour includes three sights, transportation to and from the Hotel Zone, lunch, and entry tickets to a cenote.


Cenotes (Sinkholes) – Swimming in a cenote is like swimming in a giant, naturally occurring fishbowl: you jump into Gatorade-blue water surrounded by limestone cave walls. Above you, a giant opening from the collapsed cave ceiling allows sunlight to illuminate the water. 


Island Hopping – Isla Mujeres, the closest island to Cancun, offers calm beaches, snorkeling, and colorful streets. On the $28 Ultramar ferry, you can reach Isla Mujeres from the Hotel Zone within 30 minutes.


Cozumel – Though almost three hours away from Cancun, it is definitely worth the trip if you’re an avid scuba diver. This tour company offers round-trip transportation from Cancun and a seamless two-tank dive. 


Flora and Fauna Protection Area Isla Holbox – Perfect for nature lovers. The quiet and less tourist-concentrated island offers a sanctuary to birds, the chance to see bioluminescence and a place to swim with whale sharks! 


Snorkeling/Diving  – There is more to Cancun than its well-known underwater statue museum, MUSA. With just $68, you can snorkel with sea turtles in two underwater museums, a shipwreck, and a cenote. For the best chance to see marine life, leave the Cancun area and head to Cozumel or Holbox.


Beach Clubs & Nightlife – Hit up Coco Bongo—Cancun’s most famous and theatrical club; Mandala—a beach club and an all-out nightclub; The City for DJs and dancing; or La Vaquita for a crazy night.


To Conclude


If you’re looking for a well-rounded experience in Cancun, leave the Hotel Zone! Go explore what beautiful Mexico has to offer. Happy traveling! 

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