Every February and March, people flock to Cancun for the US spring break. With a balmy tropical climate, beautiful Caribbean beaches and a reputation for one of the world’s best, month-long parties, it’s not hard to see why.
Here we consider just some of the reasons why you should head for Cancun on Mexico’s Yucatan coast during spring break.
1. Inception Music Festival
Launched in 2013, the Inception Music Festival is a month-long party, featuring 30 days and nights of electronic dance music (EDM) and hip hop performances. Concerts are held every day on the beach at the Oasis Cancun, and the hottest international DJs and artists perform every night at Cancun’s top clubs.
2. Awesome nightlife
Cancun includes over 200 clubs and bars, many known for their huge dance floors, night-long entertainment, light shows and exotic drinks. During spring break, all the clubs compete, offering a range of specials, as well as top DJs and party line-ups. Some of the most popular Cancun clubs are Senor Frogs, Coco Bongo, Christine, Cat’s, Carlos nÕ Charlies, La Boom, Dady’O and Fat Tuesday.
3. Beautiful beaches
Cancun’s biggest drawcard is its magnificent beaches, complete with powdery white sand, palm trees and the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean. On the northern side of Cancun, over 22 kilometres of beach surround the warm waters of Mujeres Bay. Among the most popular beaches on this side are Playa Langosta, Playa Las Perlas and Playa Tortugas.
4. Brilliant watersports
Beaches on Cancun’s eastern side are more open to the wind and feature higher waves than those to the north. This makes them ideal for windsurfing, parasailing and other water sports. Good choices are Chac Mool, Playa Marlin and Gaviota Azul. For a beach that even includes a small Mayan ruin, visit San Miguelito.
5. Horseback riding
With its stunning natural scenery, Cancun is the perfect place for horse riding. Several operators offer horseback riding tours of Cancun, with riding on the beach and excursions into the nearby jungle.
6. An evening with pirates
For pure, unadulterated fun on Cancun’s waters, consider boarding a pirate ship complete with a meal, a show and drinks. Expect swashbuckling pirates with swords, clashing cannons and even fireworks.
7. Cruises to Cozumel
The island of Cozumel is surrounded by stunningly clear waters, making it especially popular with divers. You can cruise from Cancun to Cozumel aboard a ferry that departs hourly from the popular Cancun beach, Playa del Carmen.
8. Mind-blowing coral reefs
To the south of Cancun, the Mayan Barrier Reef – which is the second largest coral reef in the world – offers exceptional snorkeling and scuba diving. You can also snorkel at the Banderas and El Bajito coral reefs to Cancun’s north side, or dive to see the San Miguel and Aristos reefs on the east.
9. Swimming in underwater cenotes
The region surrounding Cancun includes a number of sinkholes, known as cenotes. Several of these make for impressive, underwater swimming holes, where you can bathe in refreshingly cold, crystal-clear water.
10. World-class golf courses
Cancun includes multiple, first-class golf courses, designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jr. and Greg Norman. With the Caribbean Sea in the background, these courses are known for their scenic beauty as well as the unique golfing challenges they pose.
11. Swimming with dolphins
At Cancun’s interactive aquarium, one of the highlights is a pool where you can swim with dolphins. You can also feed sharks from the safety of a cage and marvel at the many colourful sea creatures on display.
12. Traditional Yucatan dishes
Cancun is a truly international resort where you’re just as likely to find deep-dish pizza and sushi as tortillas or refried beans. However, it’s worth making an effort to sample some traditional Yucatan dishes. Buy kibis (mashed wheat and ground pork or beef, seasoned with spearmint, garlic, onion and chili) from sellers on the beaches and try other Yucatan specialties, including sopa de lima, salbutes, papadzules and chochinita pibil, at local restaurants.
13. World-famous Chichen Itza
Just a few hours’ drive from Cancun, Chichen Itza was one of the largest Mayan cities ever constructed. Today it’s a fascinating complex of ancient Mayan ruins, including the central, step pyramid known as El Castillo (or the Temple of Kukulcan) – which includes a total of 365 steps, one for each day of the year. Over 1.2 million people travel to see this World Heritage site every year.
14. Ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum
Also within a few hours’ drive of Cancun are the Mayan ruins at Tulum. These are smaller than the ruins at Chichen Itza but quite spectacular -located atop 12-metre cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
15. Fantastic food
Mexican food has a fantastic worldwide reputation, and if you love the heat of fiery chilli peppers you’ll love the food in Cancan. Enjoy authentic local dishes from Enchiladas and Quesadillas to Tacos and of course chilli.