If your idea of vacation fun starts with sand, sun, sea, and nonstop action, then you’ll love Cancun. It wasn’t always that way. In the 1970s Cancun was just a long sandspit and a small fishing village. The Mexican government, however, had a different future in mind for those white-sand beaches and that turquoise water, and now the resort island is dotted with about 100 hotels that can handle some to 2 million visitors a year. Much of the Cancun experience has been crafted to reflect popular American tastes. If you want to party till dawn, it’s no problema.
You can also shop till you drop, or play tennis or golf, perhaps at the seaside Pok-Ta-Pok championship course, which Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed 25 years ago. And there are water sports in abundance, from windsurfing (Playa Linda, near the Nichupté bridge, is the favorite spot), to diving, sailing, Jet Skiing, parasailing, and, in spring and summer, fishing for marlin and tuna.
Day trips open the door to a whole world of sightseeing possibilities: Laid-back Isla Mujeres is only a 20-minute ferry ride away, and the diving mecca of Cozumel, 40 miles south of Cancun, can be reached via a short flight or ferry hop. And the nearby Yucatán mainland, with its magnificent Mayan temples at Chichen Itza and Tulum, is also an easy day trip.