Living The Life In Cancun
The first time I visited Cancun I hired a small AirBnB just back from the beach in Playa del Carmen. It had its own private pool and was perfectly located so I could explore the sites like Chichen Itza and the Tulum ruins. I loved how it felt like its own little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Playa.
The second time I went into full party mode at Moon Palace, one of the most famous hotels in Cancun. What can I say, it was decadent on every level. Saying that, I did still get out the hotel to explore some more of Cancun and the Yucatan so it is possible to get out of the hotels if you want to.
Anyway, when it comes to where to stay in Cancun, I feel like I know what Im talking about because Ive been there and done it myself.
To make your life a little easier, these are some of the best hotels in Cancun for you. I feel like if you stay in one of these places then youre in for the holiday of a lifetime!
You cant beat a beautiful sunset in Mexico
Is A Passport Required For Travel To Cancun
Yes. Visitors to Cancun need a valid passport to enter the country. This policy covers people from North America and tourists from other countries.
Passport cards, which are less costly than passport books and may be used to enter Mexico, Canada, and other Caribbean nations, are an option for US citizens.
Downtown Cancun Vs Hotel Zone
The part of Cancun that doesnt fall under the Hotel Zone is known as Downtown Cancun or El Centro.
Seasoned tourists and budget travelers opt for hotels in Downtown Cancun.
Both the Cancun Hotel Zone and Downtown Cancun have their own advantages.
While the Hotel Zone has beautiful beaches close by, massive nightclubs, fine dining restaurants, etc., the Downtown area provides a holiday thats closer to Cancun and Mexicans.
The only disadvantage of Downtown Cancun is the distance you must travel to reach the numerous attractions, beaches, nightclubs, etc.
However, this distance isnt much for a bus can take you to the Hotel Zone in 20 minutes.
If you are looking for the finest hotel in Downtown Cancun look no further than Krystal Urban Cancun Centro.
Other popular hotels are Xbalamque, Hotel Ibis Cancun Centro, City Express Cancun, La Quinta Inn & Suites Cancun, and City Express Junior Cancun.
|Most popular tours in Cancun|
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The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun
Typical Starting/Peak Prices: $99/$242
Best for: Families, business travelers, Marriott loyalists
On-site amenities: Wi-Fi, 2 restaurants, bar, store, gym, 4 pools, spa, private beach area, tennis courts, kid’s club, FlowRider surf experience
Pros: The Westin enjoys a quiet, family-friendly vibe with lots of activities for all ages.
Cons: This hotel is far from the nightlife options at the Hotel Zone’s northern end, and the decor in most rooms is a bit tired and in need of an update.
Nestled between the Nichupte Lagoon and the Caribbean at the southern tip of the Hotel Zone, this 370-room four-star resort is particularly popular with families thanks to its sleepy location and sedate atmosphere. If you’re looking for throbbing poolside music or a raucous bar or beach scene, stay elsewhere.
Rooms could use a design refresh, but they are perfectly comfortable and plenty spacious, with entry-level Lagoon View King rooms measuring 455 square feet. You’ll pay more for those with sea views or with balconies.
The Studios and two- and three-bedroom Villa suites have a far better design scheme with modern, colorful furnishings, kitchenettes, washer/dryers, and balconies that overlook the lagoon or sea.
There’s plenty for families to do from hanging waves at the FlowRider surf experience to tennis and beach volleyball, and a kid’s club with activities like iguana feeding. Many classes are free for all age groups, from learning Spanish to dancing, and mixing cocktails like a pro.
Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Cancun
The beaches, the clubs, the food and the sun Cancun is an absolutely exquisite destination. Whether youre looking to explore its rich Mayan history, dance the night away or lounge on the beach, youve come to the right place!
TL DR, heres a recap of our post. Isla Mujeres is our favourite neighbourhood in Cancun. Not only does it have an amazing seaside location, but its surrounded by great restaurants and fantastic attractions.
Our recommendation for the best hotel, Hotel La Joya Isla Mujeres, is also just a short ferry ride from Cancuns best bars and clubs.
Our pick for the best budget accommodation is the Fiesta Party Hostel Cancun. By partiers, for partiers, this hotel caters to night owls, party animals, and fun seeking vagabonds.
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below! Buen Viaje!
And dont forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. Theyre easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once youve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and youre on your way!
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Hotel Zone The Best Area To Stay In Cancun
This neighbourhood has been purposely built for tourism and therefore all your needs are catered for and this is why most visitors choose to stay here with it being an exceptionally safe area of the city. The Hotel Zone has excellent links with Cancun International Airport, which is Mexicos second busiest airport and is only a few miles up the road but there are shuttle buses going to and fro all the time. There are also buses and taxis that link up the neighbourhood with parts all over the city, so it is particularly easy to get around.
The Hotel Zone is where the soul and heart of Cancun tourism happens and is where you will find miles and miles of postcard beaches, which are lined with some of the most luxurious hotels in the country. The beaches all along this stretch offer beautiful sand and sparkling turquoise waters that provide excellent swimming with the best ones facing the island of Mujeres as it is easier to swim with less rips and currents. The beaches are lined with a brilliant selection of cafes and shops, where you can buy beach equipment, food, jewellery, clothing and many other products.
Canopy By Hilton Cancn La Isla
Price: $$$ Average Reviews: 4.6/5
Canopy by Hilton is a high end, urban contemporary resort in a prime location. While many resorts on Cancuns Hotel Zone are isolated from local attractions, Canopy is in the heart of all the action, nestled between the busy Kukulcan Boulevard and the white sand beaches of the Caribbean. Right outside the resort is some of the best shopping and restaurants in the area. Additionally, the resort has a coffee shop, restaurant, nightclub, and DJ as well as several other alluring features.
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Hotel Zone: Home To Many Top Hotels In Cancun
Most tourists opt to stay at one of the beachfront properties in the Hotel Zone. The Zona Hotelera, as its locally called, is located on the narrow strip of land thats shaped like the number 7, and its separated from the mainland and downtown Cancun via the Nichupte Lagoon.
The lagoon itself is a fascinating mangrove ecosystem, which you can explore via boat-based . Expect exciting encounters with various birds and animals if you opt for this adventure, which provides a nice contrast to the Hotel Zones exciting atmosphere.
The Hotel Zone is famous for being party central, particularly when the spring break crowd arrives. Vibrant nightclubs like Mandala, La Vaquita, Senor Frog, and the famous Coco Bongo offer everything from glow parties to incredible shows complete with acrobats.
Its home to many of the best places to stay in Cancun too, from all-inclusive family-centric resorts to adult-only spaces. Located right in the middle of all this goodness is Selina Cancun Laguna. Set around a kilometer away from Coco Bongo and around 1.9 miles from La Isla shopping mall, Selina Cancun Laguna makes an excellent choice if you want to access all the key areas around Hotel Zone before retreating to a quiet haven at night. This competitively priced facility offers all caliber of accommodation from studio apartments for 2 people to 10-bed community rooms that cater for large groups.
Sls Cancun Hotel & Spa
Typical Starting/Peak Prices: $264/$508
Best for: Couples, small groups
On-site amenities: Wi-Fi, beach club, bars, spa, outdoor infinity pool, gym, restaurant, free bike rental, use of paddleboards and kayaks, complimentary car shuttle in a three-mile radius
Pros: For a swanky stay big on swish, high-end interiors and a boutique vibe, this hotel is your best bet. There are also an array of amenities on-site and within walking distance.
Cons: While the beach is private, it’s not as attractive as other parts of Cancun. To get to all the restaurants and nightlife in the Hotel Zone, you’ll need a car or taxi.
Set in a sleek high-rise in the tony gated beachfront community of Puerto Cancun about a 15-minute drive from downtown and the Hotel Zone this swanky boutique hotel sets itself apart from the typical Cancun offerings.
First, there’s the design: marvelously sophisticated interiors by Piero Lissoni exude urban-chic, with high-end Italian furnishings and bright contemporary art dotting the open-plan lobby.
Then there’s the array of fancy amenities, including 800 feet of private beach, a beach club with a bar and private cabins, a luxurious spa, and nearby, an 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course and an upscale shopping mall with restaurants and a 16-screen movie theater.
If you’re staying three nights or more, the hotel will provide two complimentary antigen rapid tests in a closed facility, with transportation included.
COVID-19 procedures are available here.
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Downtown Where To Stay In Cancun On A Budget
If you want to know where to stay in Cancun on a budget, downtown Cancun, or Centro, is a great option. Being 20 minutes from the beach means there are loads of budget-friendly accommodations to choose from. Downtown Cancun also has a distinctly more authentic feel than the Americanized resorts of the hotel zone. Not only are the hotels less expensive, but its easier to find cheap delicious street food that Mexico is famous for. Even if you dont choose a hotel here, plan to spend one evening strolling the streets of downtown Cancun.
Best Areas To Stay In Cancun Mexico
The original town of Cancun was a sleepy place by the Caribbean. The coastline was ripe for development once Cancuns potential was identified. The result has been modern hotels being built along the beach.
The contrast between the original town and recent developments is very marked.
Best Areas to stay in Cancun map
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The Best Hotels On The Riviera Maya For Barefoot Luxury
If you like the idea of a small property right on the beach then Encantada Tulum is a for you. There are just eight rooms and youre set directly against a pristine stretch of white sand. The large terraces have incredible sea views and inside the decor is simple and chic with plenty of wood.
The Papaya Playa Project is a collection of 73 sustainable boho-chic rooms and cabanas on a secluded stretch of white sandy beach. The decor is hip and Mayan, while the beach club is hip and Mexican.
Nomade Tulum is a 38 room hotel in a stunning, beachfront spot. The accommodation is in a range of rustic tents, villas and suites and theres a retreat feel to the place and a great vegetarian restaurant.
Best Hotels In Cancun For Families:
Those seeking a family-friendly vacation will have plenty of options in Cancun. Some of the best can be found in the Hotel Zone and in Isla Mujeres. These will come with world-class amenities, easy access to local attractions with some also offering kids clubs.
Both these areas, along with Playa Mujeres, have calm waters great for beach days with the young ones. With many restaurants nearby and access to gear rental shops, youll have everything you need within arms reach. For a quieter family vacation, you may want to consider Puerto Morelos. The seaside town has a relaxing atmosphere and is close to many family-friendly outdoor adventures.
Grand Palladium is an all-inclusive resort that has a strong focus on families. The spacious suites are well suited to large groups. Just back from Playa Mujeres, there is a kids club, water park, outdoor pool, and fitness center. Theres also a playground just for kids.
Mid-Range: Hyatt Ziva Cancun:
With spectacular beachfront views, Hyatt Ziva Cancun is a fantastic mid-range option. Guests will have private balconies, swimming pools, and a gym while being steps from a beach paradise. The beachfront resort offers many activities, including snorkeling, sailing, a luxury spa complex, and theater shows.
Budget: Selina Cancun Laguna:
VRBO: 3 bedroom Villa:
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Best Airbnb In Downtown El Centro: Stunning Luxury Flat
You probably wont belive that this stunning flat belongs in the affordable home category, but it definitely does. Super bright and modern, this flat is brandnew and in a top downtown location. Designed in a very urban and slightly minimalistic style, its the perfect place for young and hip travellers that have to watch their budget. The flat accommodates 3 people at a time, so if you bring your friends and split the bill at the end, its even cheaper than it already is!
Top Neighborhood For Location
Stay in the heart of Cancun, the Hotel Zone, a nearly 14-mile stretch of world-class resorts, white-sand beaches, nightclubs, restaurants and shopping centers. All of the resorts and hotels in the Hotel Zone are within walking distance of the Caribbean waters. Hotels around kilometer 20 have the best access to Cancun’s favorite beach, Playa Delfines, and the most swimmable beaches are found between kilometers 4 and 9. Everything from Michelin-starred cuisine to family-run taco stands line the main streets here. Evenings come alive in vibrant nightclubs and bars, serving up margaritas and the latest dance music. From the Hotel Zone, it’s easy to arrange watersports and jungle adventures, including swimming in underground cenotes, birdwatching on Isla Contoy and snorkeling in the calm waters of Nichupte Lagoon.
Recommended hotels in Zona Hotelera
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Best Areas To Stay In Cancun Plus Things To Do
Where to stay in Cancun? What kind of hotel deals will I find? These are among the first questions to cross most travelers minds. You should know that this amazing destination is divided into two main areas, each with its unique feel and a variety of attractions. Learning about the citys main neighborhoods can help you find the best places to stay in Cancun based on what each area has to offer, your interests, and your budget, of course.
Where To Stay In El Centro
- Adhara Hacienda Cancun Tucked away in Cancuns residential area, Adhara Hacienda Cancun is known to offer its guests the utmost peace and quiet while never being too far away from the popular attractions in the city. An outdoor swimming pool, a world-class fitness center, and an on-site diner serving the best local and international delicacies are some of the perks on offer. You can spend your holiday relaxing in the comfort of your cozy room or take the free shuttle to the beach to soak up some sun.
- Nomads Hotel Hostel Set in the heart of Cancuns bustling downtown area, this funky and energetic hostel offers some of the best budget-friendly accommodation options in the area. With a playful rooftop pool and a massive bar, a common hangout area to meet other like-minded travelers, and an enthusiastic party vibe to lift your spirits, Nomads Hotel Hostel is a great play to stay. Whats more, the hotel hostel has both dorms with bunk beds as well as private rooms.
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El Centro Where To Stay In Cancun On Budget
If you decide on Cancun, but still want the authentic feel of Mexico, you will still experience this if you stay in El Centro. It is home to the locals, more of whom are directly employed in tourism than anything else.
There are plenty of restaurants serving local Mexican cuisine as they have for years. It is a place with plenty of variety with artisan crafts and clothing that will remind tourists of their holiday. Plenty of bars are found in El Centro as well.
Budget travelers are most likely to find suitable accommodation in El Centro rather than modern hotels and resorts elsewhere. Backpackers tend to travel for the experience rather than sea and sand so El Centro would be their preference anyway, irrespective of the cost.
There are buses and taxis to take anyone using El Centro as a base to the nearest beaches.
Stay in El Centro if you want a real feel of Mexico, you enjoy local cuisine when you travel, you are a single traveler or on a budget, you like to hangout with local in the park Parque las Palapas, your shopping will be primarily local crafts and clothing, you are not concerned about being away from the beach.
Best places to stay in Cancun downtown:
Best luxury hotel: Kabah Boutique Hotel This hotel has an on-site restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a bar, a 24-hour front desk, airport transfers, a shared lounge, and free WiFi throughout the property. it also provides a continental or American breakfast.