Cancun Vacation Tips

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What should I know before I go to Cancun?

What Happens in Cancun Stays in Cancun

Cancun is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Each year, over 4 million tourists visit Cancun hotels, beaches, and tourist destinations. It's important to remember these three things to help maximize the fun of your Cancun vacation:

1. Most natives in Cancun, outside of your hotel, do not speak English well, but can still help you out if you speak slowly and clearly using basic words.

2. Under NO circumstances should you drink the water. You are taking a serious health risk if you drink anything but bottled water. Even if your Cancun resort has a purified water system, stick with the bottled variety.

3. If you are traveling by cab, as you probably will, be sure to negotiate the fare in advance. Otherwise, a quick trip into Downtown will end up costing you 2-3 times the normal rate.

   
Will my Cancun hotel accept US dollars?

The Dollar is Still King, Even in the Caribbean

While Mexico's native currency is the Peso, most places you go (including your Cancun hotel) accept the US dollar as currency. However, like most Caribbean countries, accepting the US Dollar without a currency conversion will mean you will be on the short-end of the exchange stick, sometimes as much as 25% in Cancun business' favor.

It's best to exchange your currency for the Peso, ensuring you get the most purchasing value out of your money. Consider hitting a Cancun bank or 'Casa de Cambio' and be sure to check the exchange rates. Your exchange rate will change daily and also vary from place to place, with some of the worst deals coming from your Cancun hotel.

   
Where are the best Cancun hotels on the beaches located?

Making Your Cancun Hotel Choice

The best way to gauge Cancun hotels is by where they are and what they offer. A trip to Cancun means sun and fun with lots of beaches and water activities, so making sure your hotel is on the finest beaches and has a lot of amenities is critical to your Cancun vacation planning.

There is actually an area designated the 'Cancun Hotel Zone'. Choosing a hotel in this area is a sure-fire way to ensure a good trip. With literally 100+ hotels to choose from, your selection will come down to two things:

• What you want to do?
• How much you want to pay?

For example, Krystal is one of the finest hotels on the Cancun beach. Not only do they offer some of the finest amenities in their 325 room luxury building on the beach, but also practically every water activity you can think of. However, their price is steep for some folks (at $155 per night with most features coming ala-carte). Booking rooms here will be pushing a day's cost to well above $350 per person.

*Usually, if you are looking to hit that sweet-spot of decent price and tons-to-do, Cancun resort destinations are a viable option.

   
When is Spring Break and how can I avoid it?

Cancun: Spring Break

Cancun is a huge destination for college-aged spring breakers so, if you are after something a bit more low key, you will want to either book a more expensive hotel, or avoid the season carefully.

Most Cancun Spring Break Packages begin around February 19 and end around March 26. During these 6 weeks there is an enormous influx of party hard college kids who flood the beach, bars, and clubs and have as much fun as humanly possible.

Now, if you have a lot of money to spend, you will probably be able to avoid most of the brouhaha however, if you are looking for a discount Cancun vacation, beware of the dates of Spring Break or you may be awakened by a kegger in the room above and your kids may be run out of the pool by belly flopping frat boys!

   
What is included in a Cancun resort stay?

When They Say All-Inclusive, Do They REALLY Mean All-Inclusive?

Remember that the words "Cancun Resort" and "All-Inclusive" are not always the same. A resort means that you get special amenities that are not included with normal hotels stays. These include things like spa treatments, golf courses, and water sport equipment.

A resort may or may not be all-inclusive. Check the fine-print on your Cancun resort and you may find that the prices for the things to do will outweigh your budget. While the price of an all-inclusive may seem high, factor in all of your costs you would normally spend (in some cases, including tipping) and you'll see how quickly the cost benefit switches over to the all-inclusive side.

   
How soon in advance should I book my Cancun vacation?

Save money by Booking Waaaaay in Advance

Like in the US, booking tickets and hotels in advance will get you the best value on your Cancun vacation. By planning your Cancun hotels and destinations months ahead of time, you can save up to 40% of your total.

When setting your Cancun agenda, check out all the discount travel websites. Most places are much more comfortable selling out their destination's availability in advance, and will offer you incentives including rate cuts, taxi vouchers, and more if you lock your reservation in. It makes your trip cheaper, and makes the hotel occupancy rates go up so they can charge all those last-minute travelers the extra money.

   
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Susan Sayour