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More Than Spring Break in Canc"n
By Jennifer Smith
For years vacationers have been drawn to the beautiful scenery that Canc"n has to offer. There is, after all, a reason why the Mexican government chose this coastal city to be its tourist flagship. Blue waters, white sands, and plenty of room for development meant that Canc"n was the perfect place to draw in visitors.
Image and Reality
Canc"n's popularity with American travelers - meaning English is widely spoken and popular chain stores and restaurants can be found there - and relatively low costs has helped it to become a haven for spring breakers, and has become better known as a party spot than the escape it was designed to be. Still, many vacationers looking for a resort location that is perfect for honeymoons or other peaceful getaways also consider Canc"n.
How can honeymooners mix with the out-all-night lifestyle Canc"n is becoming so well-known for? The simple answer is that Canc"n has come to be the name used for the entire Caribbean coast of Mexico's Yucat"n peninsula. The Yucat"n peninsula contains the state of Quintana Roo, where Canc"n resides. In fact, so do fascinating Mayan ruins and wide stretches of nearly untouched beaches. Canc"n isn't the only place travelers may choose to visit in the Mexican Caribbean.
Plenty of Places to Go
Cozumel is an island off the coast that is home to a small city and an airport, but there you'll find plenty of world-class snorkeling and diving on the world's second largest reef. Mayans held this island as the sacred home of the fertility goddess Ixchel, and now it houses ruins for visitors to explore. Isla Mujeres is another popular island just miles away from Canc"n in the Caribbean Sea; you'll find the ruins of many Spanish galleons sunk just off its coast.
The ruins at Tulum are some of the most famous in Mexico. Here travelers can see a holy Mayan city and visit "The Castle." This fortress is built on a bluff overlooking the ocean, offering spectacular sights for visitors willing to take the trip. Unlike the hustle and bustle of Canc"n, this area is a haven for backpackers and ecologically-oriented travelers.
Those looking for something upscale and secluded, on the other hand, may want to consider the area known as the Mayan Riviera. It's called by several variations of this name, such as the Riviera Maya, and stretches along the coast from Canc"n to Tulum. Areas like Playa del Carmen are a part of this beautiful coastline. Often rental villas with private slices of beach line the shores here instead of sprawling hotel and resort complexes. Some areas of the Mayan Riviera, such as Xel Ha and Akumal, are also known for their eco-tourism opportunities.
So, while it's easy to see why students may enjoy the wilder side in the city of Canc"n, it's not difficult to understand how travelers can find the perfect honeymoon escape and family travel in the area as well. Mexico's Caribbean coast has much more to offer than just Canc"n, though the city has become a figurehead for their tourism.
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