A holiday comprising a Cancun flight and hotel guarantees a warm Mexican welcome and Caribbean sunshine. This purpose-built resort city on the Yucatan peninsula in the east of Mexico combines modern features with miles of stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters and a party nightlife like no other. Package holidays in Cancun also offer the chance to explore a bit of Mexican culture, with some of Central America's best Mayan ruins close by. The city's size ensures that there are hotels catering to various markets, with something specifically for young party crowds, young families, or retirees.
Getting to Cancun – the practicalities
Cancún International Airport (CUN) is just a few miles south of the hotel zone, so once your flight to Cancun arrives, the transfer time will likely be short. Whereas there are no direct flights from Dublin to Cancun, there are easy, regular connections from airports in the UK and North America. Cork flights will also require a connection to get to Cancun, usually through London Gatwick or Manchester, although connecting in New York is also a possibility. Flight time to Cancun is around nine hours, and Mexico is six hours behind the UK and Ireland.
English is widely spoken in Cancun, and you'll need to pack Mexican pesos in your suitcase. US dollars are also widely accepted in many restaurants, bars and shops, as are credit cards. The main hotel zone is three miles to the east of the city centre, on a long and narrow 14-mile strip of land bordered by golden beaches and turquoise seas.
What's the best time of the year to visit Cancun?
Cancun city breaks are popular year round. One of the most popular times to visit is from December through April, when temperatures average 25°C. With only two rain days on average in February, you're pretty much guaranteed a sunny winter escape. Weekends in Cancun are more likely to be wet between August and October, but still very warm. Music fans may want to visit Cancun in May, when the city plays hosts to a large international jazz festival. Carnival celebrations in February or March are when you can see the streets fill with partygoers, dancers and a parade of floats. Perhaps Mexico's most famous festival is the Day of the Dead on November 1st, a religious festival to remember relatives.
What sort of holiday to expect with a Cancun flight and hotel
As a purpose-built holiday destination, Cancun has evolved to cater to many different markets. If all you want from your holiday is to lie around the pool with a margarita in one hand and a good book in the other, then Cancun is the ideal holiday destination. Families enjoy the hotel facilities and having other attractions nearby, and children of all ages won't be short of playmates nor things to do. On the beach, choose between sunbathing, paddling and swimming. For the more adventurous, Cancun weekends also offer a range of watersports.
Cancun's top attractions
There's so much to do in Cancun that you may be hard pressed to squeeze it all in. Some of the most popular Cancun attractions are:
The Cancun coast's 13 miles of beach, with crystal-clear waters for swimming and all manner of watersports, including windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
The Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza, where you can find out about the history of this peninsula.
Xcaret Park, which offers swimming, snorkelling and traditional entertainment after dark. Head there for a relaxing day floating through underground caverns or just relaxing in a hammock under the palm trees.
Off-road jungle safaris in a 4x4 with an experienced guide, where you can see the local wildlife or swim in one of the most unusual locations you'll ever experience.
La Isla Shopping Village, which offers a mix of both international and local stores.
Wet'n Wild Water Park, where you can spend a perfect family day out enjoying a mix of thrill slides for older children and splash areas for the younger ones.
Take a boat trip to Isla Mujeres, a small island off the Cancun coast where you'll find a turtle sanctuary, good snorkelling opportunities and a more laidback vibe than on the mainland.
What should you eat while in Cancun?
Even if your package holidays in Cancun are all inclusive, you may want to venture outside the hotel for a Mexican cuisine adventure. Seafood is a popular choice, with local prawns and fish featuring on the menus of many Cancun eateries. If meat's more your thing, seek out a Brazilian churrascaria, where you can feast on all types of freshly cooked, skewered meat carved at your table. As city breaks in Cancun are popular with international travellers, you won't have to look far to find pizza, burgers, Chinese food or any other type of cuisine you can think of. Wash it all down with a glass of local tequila or a delicious daiquiri.
Bring back some souvenirs to remind you of your Cancun holiday
Cancun offers a wide range of holiday shopping options. Head to the modern, upscale shops at La Isla Shopping Village or Plaza Caracol to browse the range of international brands and upmarket handicrafts from across Mexico. Mercado 28 in downtown Cancun is where you'll want to head for a flea market experience, with dozens of vendors competing to sell you everything from mugs to T-shirts. Brightly coloured woven rugs and blankets are popular souvenirs, as are painted ceramic skulls and other items associated with Mexico's famous Day of the Dead festival. Be prepared to haggle and secure yourself the best prices for souvenirs of your Cancun break in the Caribbean sunshine.