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Cancún | © Mariamichelle/Pixabay
Cancún | © Mariamichelle/Pixabay
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24 Hours in Cancún: Where to Eat, Sleep and Shop

Picture of Mónica Ramírez López
Updated: 27 May 2017
If you’re in Mexico, make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Cancún. Even if it’s only for one day, there are many things to do and see: swimming at the beach, visiting the pyramids, seeing exotic animals, watching the sun set over the lagoon and of course, partying in the bar zone. Our guide shows you how to make the most of 24 hours in this Mexican destination, covering 15km, through a single avenue, and taking only one bus – check it out.

Drop off your luggage

We know, we know – as soon as you’re out of the airport, all you want to do is to hit the beach! That’s everybody’s dream, and probably the reason why many tourists even change into their swimming suit directly in the airport’s bathrooms (not a bad idea if you only have 24 hours).

Before you begin though, you need a place to stay for the night – but where? It depends on what you’re looking for. Bearing in mind you’ll only be spending one night, try a hostel or a small hotel. If you’re interested in the former, try The Hipstel Youth, close to the heart of the tourist zone and with two stores close by to buy what you need. Moloch is also nice, and only 20 minutes from the main avenue and close to the bus station, while in downtown, Kukulcan Hostel & Friends is also close to the bus station and in the middle of two main avenues. If you prefer a hotel, however, then LQ Hotel by La Quinta Cancún has the comfort you need and a good location.

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Hit the beach

Fortunately, the layout of Cancún lends itself in favor of tourists: everything you should experience is in Kukulcan Avenue. First though, address the main reason that brought you here and go directly to Playa Delfines to swim and get some sun. There are street vendors here selling authentic Mexican food in case you get hungry: try the kibis (small wheat balls stuffed with ground beef) or the fresh fish wrapped in banana leaf. Sunbathe, swim and chill out.

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Take in history and culture

After soaking up some rays at the beach, soak up some culture – take a bus, and in few minutes you’ll find yourself in one of the last Mayan vestiges: the archeological zone San Miguelito, a small but very important site since it was a meteorological and astrological observation point, as well as a place for commerce and worship. Take pictures of the structures and the iguanas that live within them, followed by a quick visit to the Mayan Museum, just a couple of steps away.

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Enjoy a spot of lunch

Recharge your batteries at the colorful Market 28, where you can have typical Mexican food for lunch in one of its restaurants. Try traditional dishes in El Cejas, taste fajitas in Checándole or a stuffed calamari in Atotonilco, while listening to the beat of the marimba – all offer great-tasting food at an economical price.

Hit the shops

Freshen up with a quick shower at your accommodation of choice, and get ready to continue the journey with a shopping visit. You have two options in Kukulcan Avenue: one is Isla Shopping Village, where the waters of Nichupté Lagoon cross the mall in the form of little canals alongside the boutiques and exclusive stores along the halls. At dinnertime, eat in one of the restaurants on the shore of the lagoon to enjoy the view and watch the sunset. The other option is Plaza Forum, where after shopping you can also have dinner with a nice view on the terrace.

Absorb the night life

Still on the same avenue, take a bus and go to the bar area, where just walking along the streets lets you feel the atmosphere and gets you in the mood to party. Grab cocktails in La Vaquita – the fashion place of the moment – and Cocobongo, number one in the top ten of night entertainment. Clubs are open until 2am, which gives you enough time to come back to rest and wake up in time for your flight.

Party at night
Party at night | © Niekverlaan / Pixabay