The Yucatan Peninsula, on whose
coast Cancun is situated, first caught the world's attention in the mid
1800's, thanks to explorers describing the Peninsula's lush jungle and fascinating
Mayan ruins. Until 1970, tthe Cancun strip of Caribbean coastline was largely
undeveloped. Enter Fonatur and today Cancun is the number one tourist destination
of the entire country.
What happened? International
resorts quickly staked a claim within an ideal location - the beauty of
an untrammeled Caribbean paradise. A small town, Cancun City, was created
to house a work force for both service and construction jobs.
In this first development decade,
there seemed little to differentiate one deluxe or first class property
from another - all lining up neatly along the 14 mile stretch of beach.
The most appealing sight was still the white sand and clear turquoise of
the water. But mediocrity is a thing of the past as nearly 2 million guests
a year will attest. Competing resorts, vying to become the unique attraction,
began to outdo each other with their colossal, amenity-filled and sometimes
Cancun's 14 mile stretch of
beach is, by law, completely open to the public. An irresistible pastime
is "hotel hopping" - visiting one hotel after another, sampling soaring
lobbies, enticing meals, and cool drinks. Shopping is on the mega-level
as well, especially for Mall devotees. The international display of crafts,
jewelry, international boutiques and entertainments are, however, quite
mesmerizing. So is the concentration and sheer energy of Cancun's nightlife.
For a change of pace, almost every hotel offers a travel agency that will
arrange tours to the nearby Mayan archeological cites of Chichen Itza, Tulum
and Coba. By the way, bring a full wallet.