the Mexican government decided to transform a strip of sand inhabited
by about a hundred Mayan fishermen into a major tourist resort,
Cancún was a peaceful, isolated paradise. as they went about there
usual business, the local fishermen surely had little idea that
scores of bureaucrats were studying all sorts of computer compiled
data indicating, beyond the shadow of doubt, that Cancún had
the potential to attract more tourists season after season than
anywhere else in Mexico.
a little over 20 years, Cancún mushroomed into a town of 30,000
inhabitants, with about a hundred hotels able to accommodate a total
of two million tourists year-round in some 19,000 rooms, as well
as hundreds of restaurants and shops.
It all began in the 1960s, when Mexico
became aware of its own tourist potential. in 1967, Cancún was officially
chosen as the site on which to develop the infrastructure for a
mega-project, thanks to its long, white-sand beach, subtropical
climate, turquoise Caribbean waters and the proximity to the region's
other tourist spots.
was begun on roads, aqueducts and hotels in 1974, but the place
remained relatively unknown until the mid-1980s, when a whirlwind
of activity hit the area: hotels sprouted up like mushrooms and
Cancún became a tourist resort par excellence. The city's development
might soon reach its peak.
Cancún has been designed to please
its major clientele, American tourists, who account for 60% of all
visitors to the city. It's just like home for them here, with the
same big restaurants and hotel chains, the same supermarkets, the
same music in the discotheques. Everything is tailor made to suit
there tastes. Furthermore, English often prevails over Spanish in
conversation. This divests place of much of its exotic charm, but
obviously appeals to many people: Cancún is one of the most popular
Mexican destinations for foreign tourists.
is made up of Cuidad Cancún (Cancún City) and the Zona Hotelera
(hotel zone). It is one of the only cities in the world where residents
and tourists are so clearly separated. The 22.5-kilometre-long hotel
zone is covered with gigantic, international-class hotels. These
stand side by side between the sea and a wide road.
Most residents of Cancún City work
in the local hotels, bars and restaurants, and most where were born
elsewhere; only the children and adolescents are Cancúns natives.
is a convenient gateway for travelers wishing to explore the Mayan
ruins at Chichén Itza and Tulúm, and to immerse themselves in the
traditional Yucatec lifestyle, which can be traced directly back
to the ancient Maya. A large choice of flights is available to these
visitors, who are sure to flee Cancún as soon as possible in search
of more authenticity.
| Isla Mujeres | Cozumel
| Tulúm | Riviera