Cancun is a coastal city in the tourist destination called The Mexican Caribbean, i.e., the state of Quintana Roo, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It is a popular vacation spot on the Caribbean coast.
Peak season in Cancun tends to run from December to April. Prices in both airfare and hotel increase dramatically during these times, while dropping in the summer and early autumn months. Late June is especially hot, so come prepared or try the off season. Hurricanes can be a major threat in late summer and autumn.
Resting on the northeast corner of the Mexican Caribbean, Cancun itself was built on a site selected as the ideal spot for a new tourist development by the Mexican government. The state of Quintana Roo was still a territory and this area had few inhabitants when Cancun was built. It is comprised of fourteen miles of pristine white beaches shaped like a number "7", home to Mayan archaeological wonders, turquoise seas, a bountiful underwater world, and world-class vacation amenities. It is still considered the gateway to the Mayan World ("El Mundo Maya"). Mayan temples and ritual sites are everywhere, some smothered by lush jungle, others easily accessible. Good tourist attractions.
The Cancun hotel zone is almost entirely built around the tourist industry. It abounds with all-inclusive resort hotels. Stay here only if you don't mind spending your vacation with many other tourists.
Downtown Cancun, especially once you get away from the ADO bus station and nearby hostels and hotels, is a real Mexican city. There are many restaurants, shopping centers, markets and clubs in the downtown area that you can visit during your stay.
Those mostly seeking beaches and scuba diving, or who are a bit adventurous, can easily find rooms on equally beautiful and less crowded beaches along the coast just an hour or two south of Cancun for much less than the cost of major Cancun hotels. Some Spanish language skills may aid in finding better deals. You can rent a car, or take the bus to Puerto Morelos (about 20 minutes) or Tulum (1 hour). Playa del Carmen (45 minutes, MXN$80) is between the two, but caters to the all-inclusive crowd. Taxis are also available.
Those looking for a base of operations who want good or luxury hotels and the advantages of urban life but prefer more local flavor may wish to stay in the Yucatan's main city of Mérida. Many international flights in to Cancun continue on after a stop to Mérida's international airport.