Cool Cancun Hotels & Hip Historic SitesSamia El-Balawi
Cancun – one of Mexico’s most popular holiday destinations is yours to explore with attractions that go far beyond the city limits with plenty of historical sites in the surrounding region to capture your attention. HotelTravel.com has the lowdown on the coolest spots to explore while leading you to a selection of Cancun hotels in the city centre, along its popular ‘Hotel Zone’, and on the island of Isla Mujeres, with many of these hotels boasting tempting discounts.
The city centre offers the frugal traveller a choice in accommodation, such as at the Ambience Suites for 3 star standards, while Be Smart Cancun Hotel provides 4 star services and has an outdoor swimming pool and spa. Hotel Zone is home to a host of big name resorts, like the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun for a themed option, or try the Ritz Carlton Hotel Cancun for a touch of luxury. Over on Isla Mujeres, Privilege Aluxes Isla Mujeres is a modern hotel on Playa Norte (North Beach) along the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
It’s true to say that most people go to Cancun for the tropical beaches but you must realise that you are in a place of such rich history that missing out on it would be sacrilege. Take for example Chichen Itza – an ancient pre-Columbian city built by the Mayans that can be found approximately 185 kilometres west of Cancun. Once the capital of the ancient Mayan civilisation, it was established in 514 AD. A guided tour of this fascinating site takes in the Sacred Cenote (sacred well); the Ball Court where many a game was played by the Mayan male population; and El Caracol, an observatory where ancient astrological studies took place.
About an hour-and-a-half’s drive south of Cancun are the ruins of another Mayan site – the walled city of Tulum perched high atop the cliffs along this part of the Yucatán Peninsula. Xel-Ha is also situated nearby, another archaeological place of interest where you can swim in the canals, caves and crystal-clear lagoons that the Mayans themselves used to bathe in. Go snorkelling among the corals and see brightly coloured fish and other marine life, such as sting rays, native to these warm waters. You can also swim with dolphins, go kayaking and snuba – the increasingly popular method of diving with air supplied from a long hose, freeing you of the burden of an air tank used in scuba diving.