|Cancun's tourism industry underwent an
impetuous growth during the 1980's, when its transformation, made possible
by enthusiastic foreign investors, turned rapid and surprising. Large
hotels offering all types of services and facilites sprung up all over
town, together with large doses of luxury and exclusivity. The same
principle applied to shopping centres, which - needless to say - include
the best boutiques, jewellers, restaurants and thousands of items on sale
in their displays. These elements gave the island a higher status, when it
was already considered a paradise of sun and sea: with the colour of its
waters, the fine sand and the exhuberant vegetation in its mangroves and
ecological reserves, which protect Cancun's native species.
The town can be divided into three main areas: the Hotel area, the Town
and the Ecological Reserve, which contains incredible lakes and mangrove
The Hotel Area contains all the top-class luxury hotels, the so-called Gran Turismo accomodation, five stars and some four stars. These magnificent buildings include various architectural styles: from the classical-style columns in Hotel Krystal, to the modern pyramid-shaped Hotel Meliá Beach and Spa Resort. Hotels and shopping centres are both distributed along the Boulevard Kuculkán, the main avenue which crosses the island length-wise, measuring around 21 kilometres. This district is undoubtedly the one which generates the most income for Cancun, and where the economic impact is considerably more noticeable than in the rest of the State. The trendiest and most popular discos, the restaurants serving the best in international haute cuisine, and the largest entertainment venues are all located in this area.
The Town of Cancun is a change of scenery, albeit not a drastic one. Life here turns more picturesque, folkloric and a little more down to earth. The calmness of life in the province and the simplicity of some of the shops provide a stark contrast with the million-dollar hotel chains. In the town, or Pueblo, accomodation is cheaper. You will find anything from four star hotels to inns and rooms to rent for a few pesos. In this district you will find restaurants serving typical local food and snacks, which are a real opportunity for you to taste some genuine home-made Mexican dishes.
The shops are not fancy, and one can easily find quality items at lower prices than those being sold in the hotel area. Theatres and cinemas tend to be located in the Pueblo's main streets.
Lastly, we can't forget the third area in Cancun, in which Nature is still Queen. The ecological reserve (Sian Ka'an) occupies hundreds of kilometres, making it the largest in Mexico. It is a real ecosystem, home to many species of plants and animals. The government and non-profit-making organisations do their best to try and maintain this area intact, in order to keep it as a refuge for species, many of them facing the danger of extinction.
East, West, North and South, one can see archaeological sites. The buildings reveal the settlement of the Mayas in these lands, and every rock reveals traces of the historical and cultural legacy which these inhabitants left from the post-classic period.
In Cancun elegance merges with an array possibilities for entertainment in the Hotel Area, the tradition and quiet of the Pueblo, the natural beauty of the ecological reserve, the coral reef and the history of its peoples. What else could you possibly ask for?