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If you’re after the full feel-good experience, Cancun’s Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) is the place for you.
Spilling onto a stretch of gorgeous white-sand beach, this strip of swanky hotels, luxury all-inclusive Cancun resorts, fancy restaurants, shopping malls and nightclubs has ‘whale of a time’ written all over it.
Here, four-star Cancun hotels are commonplace, so you’ll need a significant budget to stay in these parts, but it’s worth it to be in the thick of things.
More than just a party hotspot, the Hotel Zone has plenty going on for kids, making it great place to look for family resorts in Cancun as well as some of the best five-star hotels in Cancun.
Looking for a hotel in Cancun near the best after-dark parties? Our Cancun nightlife page tells you everything you need to know
Less manicured but far more authentic than the Hotel Zone, Downtown Cancun is a taste of the real Mexico.
Here, you’ll find a range of three-star Cancun hotels, which are small in scale but big on local character, as well as some of the cheaper four-star resorts. In fact, if you’re looking for a cheap hotel in Cancun, there’s nowhere better.
Locals mix with tourists at neighbourhood taco joints, hidden plazas come alive after dark with live music, and street stalls dish out all kinds of irresistible snacks. It trumps the Hotel Zone on Mexican flavour a thousand times over.
Just half an hour from Cancun on the ferry, Isla de Mujeres is high on castaway feeling.
The pace is deliciously slow, the atmosphere laid-back and every kind of traveller is welcome, from backpackers to young families with babies in tow.
There are no cars, just a gaggle of golf carts up for rent, while the beaches are simply to die for.
Home to a colourful mix of hostels, boutique hotels, luxury apartments and a great selection of Cancun’s all-inclusive family resorts, there’s something here to suit every kind of budget.
Just an hour down Highway 307 from Cancun, Playa del Carmen is eternally popular.
Playa del Carmen somehow manages to mix Mexican flavour with the feeling of a boutique resort and a buzzing bar scene at the same time.
Sophisticated restaurants sit alongside rowdy shot bars, exclusive beach resorts nudge up against nightclubs and the upper crust rub shoulders with the up-and-coming.
With a little bit of everything, it’s bound to tick holiday boxes.
Two hours from Cancun, Tulum is a postcard-perfect paradise.
The huge powdery beach is peppered with rustling palm trees, the sea is an impossibly brilliant shade of blue and a crumbling set of Mayan ruins stand on the cliff overlooking the sand.
You’ll find a few of Cancun’s luxury resorts scattered along the sand, all of them high on Caribbean romance.
If you’re on a shoestring, stay in Tulum Pueblo, the bohemian town centre just a few kilometres from the beach. Here, you’ll find cheap hotels, inexpensive eats and bargain bikes for rent to get you to the sands.