Cancún isn’t only about world-class beaches and nightlife – spend a little time planning where to stay and you’ll have the keys to authentic local food and culture, too.
Cancún delivers a potent mix of fun and sun – its buzzy Zona Hotelera and idyllic Caribbean beaches attract a hedonistic international crowd. But you can have just as much pleasure in an unfancy-schmancy hotel – and enjoy easy access to local experiences in the bargain.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Located downtown, Hotel Kavia keeps things simple, with 62 spotless rooms of coconut-white bedding, relaxing shaded patios and breeze-cooled rooftop views. Still, this is one of the best places to stay in Cancun. You’re within towel-shaking distance of the local beachgoers’ favorite, sandy Playa Tortugas – and you could take a ferry out to Isla Mujeres. But many guests get nowhere close, dipping between Kavia’s inky-blue pool and nautical-stripe sunbeds. After nightfall, local taco joints beckon, before a late tequila or two.
To enter this awesome glass-and-concrete seafront new build involves pressing the bell to Puerta del Mar’s gated community. Inside it’s a triumph: 232 sleek rooms with wide-angle Caribbean views and monsoon showers. Family fun is the focus, but hold hands: it’s easy to get lost among all the pools and surf machines, the water park, climbing wall and scuba classes. The best Mexican moments are sunset tequila tastings before a spicy dinner at Mi Lucrecia.
Set on a sheltered beach on Cancún’s quieter north shore, the Royal Cancún has panoramic views across to the Isla Mujeres, a serene escape for snorkeling and scuba diving. Each suite sleeps five with furnished balconies for sunbathing or snacking from your own kitchen. Make time for neighboring Torre Escenica, the 260-foot (80m) observation platform and tallest structure in Cancún, for some local history as well as snap-happy views.
Townhouse-style living in the city center means easy access to the best-loved beaches – Tortuga, Langosta and Mujeres – at the tip of the Zona Hotelera. The unfussy, apartment-style rooms are a great jumping-off point to explore the local, maze-like Mercado 28. Haggle over edible treats to enjoy in the garden picnic spot or snap up artisan souvenirs – from silver jewelry to hand-painted skulls – to surprise friends when you get home.
Live like a local at this downtown collection of simply styled villas with cool outside spaces, towering palm trees and deep pink bursts of bougainvillea. Cozy rooms include petite kitchens and pool or garden views. Combine coastal fun with culture – head to nearby El Rey, a small archaeological Mayan temple, followed by the Ventura beachfront theme park, a heady combination of adrenaline-fueled activities and – huge fun for young ones – dolphin encounters.
It’s quality over quantity at this intimate guest house-with-pool on a quiet side street, south of central Cancún. The seven light-filled suites are each named after ancient Mexican civilizations. Breakfast is a distinctly local affair, featuring traditional Mexican sweet bread – ask the owner to help you whip up your own in the guest kitchen. Our top day-trip tip? A spin south along the shores of the Riviera Maya, speckled with ruins and cenotes and cloaked in mysterious jungle.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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