Your Guide to Cancun, Mexico

JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa

Travelers to Cancun may have to elbow their way past gaggles of spring breakers and vacationing revelers to find seclusion, particularly in the crowded Hotel Zone. But once they make the effort to do so, they're rewarded with miles of soft, white sands lapped by the Caribbean's cascading turquoise waves. Book a stay at one of the region's well-appointed hotels, and enjoy the region's activities and culture, including snorkeling reefs and exploring ancient Mayan ruins.

WHERE TO STAY

JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa

Ocean Suites at the Nizuc Resort and Spa in Cancun, Mexico

Nizuc Resort and Spa

The JW Marriott Cancun leaves a refined mark in Cancun's crowded hotel zone. The luxury, beachfront property offers elegant amenities throughout its 448 rooms, such as pillowtop mattresses and turndown service. When guests aren't swimming in the freeform, oceanview pool or unwinding with a treatment at the Mayan-inspired spa, they can lounge on their guestroom's balcony or terrace. When hunger strikes, you can dine at one of 4 restaurants, including Southwestern-influenced Sedona Grill.

NIZUC Resort and Spa

Guests of the sprawling, 29-acre NIZUC Resort and Spa enjoy one of Cancun's most striking oceanfront settings which lies adjacent to the Mesoamerican Reef -- ideal for snorkelers and divers. The property's 274 villas and suites feature high-end amenities, like L'Occitane bath products and Nespresso coffee makers. Guests of the Garden Pool Villas even enjoy private infinity pools with waterfalls. Take a dip in the adult or family pools, relax with a spa treatment, or book activities that include cooking classes and yacht excursions.

Live Aqua Cancun

The all-inclusive, adults-only Live Aqua Cancun resort allows guests to choose from a variety of accommodations. The Viento Suites feature 2 balconies with views of the Caribbean, as well as an aromatherapy menu, handmade soaps and a whirlpool bath. The Aqua Suites include aromatherapy jacuzzi tubs, and the Presidential Suite offers 4,000 square feet of space. Dine in one of 7 restaurants, or sip cocktails at one of 4 bars. To further unwind, book a milk bath or Swedish massage at the spa.

WHERE TO EAT

Mikado

Dinner meets art at Mikado, a Japanese-style sushi restaurant with teppanyaki tables where chefs slice, dice, and cook your meal in dramatic fashion. Flames will leap into the air as your chefs dishes out rib eye steak, swordfish and lobster tail. Sushi fans should try the temaki cone filled with shrimp, salmon, tuna, cucumber and avocado. Wash the goodness down with an apple or raspberry sake martini.

Mikado Restaurant in Cancun, Mexico

Corey Weiner / Mikado

Ramona

Tucked into a dramatic and unforgettable waterfront setting, Ramona uses local ingredients and spices to whip up creative takes on traditional Mexican cuisine. Adventurous eaters will savor white snails with green tomatoes, cucumber, coriander and corn kernels served with lager beer foam. Must-try entrees include sea bass with sweet potato puree, green mole emulsion, and herbs from the restaurant garden. If you've saved room for dessert, churros filled with chocolate and dulce de leche are worth the splurge.

Dish at Ramona restaurant in Cancun, Mexico

Ramona

La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita has been dishing up Italian dishes to Cancun's visitors since 1983, and remains one of downtown Cancun's most popular restaurants. Dinner specials change daily to feature fresh and seasonal ingredients. Still, beloved menu staples include homemade pastas and pizza, and a snapper topped with shrimp and mushrooms, enclosed in puff pastry, and served with lobster sauce.

La Dolce Vita Pizza

La Dolce Vita

WHAT TO DO

Isla Mujeres

Hop a ferry from Cancun's Terminal Martima Puerto Juarez for a 15-minute trip to Isla Mujeres, located 8 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula. It's tough to resist the island's charms, from quirky shopping streets where shops sell a mix of tourist tchotchkes and artisan crafts. Visitors can stroll through El Centro's shops and restaurants or take a dip in the turquoise waters surrounding the island. Rent gear from snorkel and diving outfitters and explore Isla Mujeres' underwater world of colorful fish, sea turtles and corals.

El Rey Ruins

Visitors to Cancun won't have to travel far afield to experience the grandeur of Mayan ruins. Conveniently located in the city's Hotel Zone, El Rey Ruins was inhabited from approximately 1250 to 1630. Visitors can explore ancient plazas and the crumbling structures that comprised the town, including platforms and buildings. While the ruins draw plenty of visitors, just as popular are the many iguanas who now call the El Rey Ruins home.

Chichen Itza

Once the capital city of the Mayan civilization, today Chichen Itza stands as one of Mexico's most popular tourist attractions. Today more than a million visitors explore the 116-acre site each year, visiting iconic structures like the towering Kukulcan Pyramid, known as El Castillo, as well as the enormous Temple of the Warriors. Travelers can easily book day trips and guided tours to the ruins through their hotel's concierge.

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