The stunning beach at Tulum, near Cancun, Mayan Riviera,

Compare the best Cancun flights

Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is one of the busiest resort towns of its kind in the world. It does not just offer holidays for those looking for the buzz and bustle of big towns as it also has splendid beaches, abundant wildlife and a rich and engaging sense of culture and history.

Why go?

A fantastic climate, long sandy stretches, and history and culture by the bucket-load see visitors coming back to Cancun year after year. Find out why you should go...

For those arriving on Cancun flights seeking a more exclusive holiday experience, the Playacar resort in Playa del Carmen is ideal. It has many private beaches and charming villas to stay in, as well as an impressive golf course for visitors' use. One of the biggest draws of Cancun for visitors is the 14-mile stretch of white sandy beach, which was what first brought tourists to the region in the 1970s. Cancun further benefits from the warm blue waters of the Caribbean, which lap at its shores and are perfect for swimming and many other water sports. At the northern end of the resort the sea is calmer and better suited to casual bathers and families. The sea is a bit rougher at the southern end. And it's not just the beach that attracts visitors as the city comes to life at night and has a great party atmosphere.

Outside Cancun there are plenty of other towns and destinations that are well worth a visit. Playa del Carmen, which was until recently a small fishing town, is now renowned for its scuba-diving opportunities, made all the more attractive by the vast diversity of marine life that can be spotted beneath the waves. Another great diving location nearby is Xcalak, with its remarkably unspoiled beach and proximity to the world's second-largest barrier reef. Nature lovers will be further enticed by Xcaret, which is a specially designated eco-area based around an archaeological site of the ancient Mayan civilisation.

Another place worth exploring is the Isla Mujeres, which roughly translated from Spanish means 'Island of Women'. It has its own airport but transport on the island is largely limited to small taxis, golf buggies and mopeds, reflecting the fairly relaxed atmosphere. The skyline of Cancun can be seen from the Isla Mujeres, which is particularly impressive at night, but the real focus here is on natural beauty and the key attractions include the Garrafon Natural Park and the sea turtle breeding centre.

Anyone interested in history will find that the site of the ruins of a Mayan city at Chichen Itza is remarkable. Visitors looking for more excitement in the form of kiteboarding or whale-shark viewing will not find a better spot than Isla Holbox.

How to get there

Travelling to this fascinating region is easy as flights arrive at Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is an important travel hub for the area.

Flights to Cancun from the UK take between nine and 10 hours but you will arrive at the very centre of this vibrant holiday destination. Most of the direct non-stop flights are provided by the charter holiday companies such as Thomson and Thomas Cook. They fly from a variety of UK airports including London Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also operate non-stop scheduled services from Gatwick airport.

Additionally you can fly via various US gateways on flights from Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Belfast. These flights take around 15 hours. There are also flights via Amsterdam and some German airports.

Complete a flights search to find the full range of opportunities, although bear in mind that flights are not daily and so being flexible will give you a greater set of results.

Getting to and from the airport

Once your plane touches down, you will want to get to your accommodation quickly and easily. Here are your options.

Cancun International Airport is located around 25 minutes from Cancun city and around 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen. You will be able to find local buses and taxis at the airport to transport you to your accommodation. Alternatively, if you want to get around on your own steam you may wish to consider car hire.

Where to stay ?

Your Mexican adventure starts as soon as your plane lands. But where should you stay?

Many of the resorts in Cancun offer all-inclusive accommodation, giving you more freedom with your holiday budget. However, there are various other types of accommodation as well, so think carefully about the type of holiday you want.

The resort of Cancun is split into two parts and you can either opt to stay in the hotel zone, or in Downtown Cancun.
The latter will allow you to visit traditional markets and stores, sample authentic dishes and enjoy shows at the Bull Ring. There are also malls, nightclubs, theatres and restaurants. Parque Las Palapas is the main square and a popular spot where you will find food stalls, entertainment and arts and crafts stalls.

You may, however, prefer to stay in the hotel zone and travel into Downtown Cancun if you fancy a day or two away from the beach. This runs along a 17-mile stretch and here you will find every type of hotel with the beach and all amenities on your doorstep.