Cancun On a Budget
The winter months are the peak season, while the summer and fall, during hurricane season, are the low months. Hurricanes are a real threat in the area and you should plan accordingly. The city has a tropical wet and dry climate. There is minimal temperature variation throughout the year but there are distinct rainy seasons. The city remains warm throughout the year and the average temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest temperatures are between May and September.
SightsObviously, most people visit Cancun for its beaches. They are relaxing and beautiful and where you will likely spend most of your time. If you want to get away from the water for a while though, there are a handful of sights. In the hotel zone you can visit the Interactive Aquarium. This is a small but decent aquarium with rays, sharks, dolphins, and many fish. Isla Contoy is about 30km north of Isla Mujeres and it is an important nesting place for sea birds as well as a beautiful place to visit.
Museums in the area include Museo Maya de Cancun and MUSA Museo Subacuatico de Arte. Both are interesting to visit.
There are also many Mayan ruins nearby that you can visit as a day trip from Cancun.
NeighborhoodsThe hotel district in Cancun is filled with all inclusive resorts and little more. It makes for a relaxing vacation, but you'll see little of the real Mexico. If you want a glimpse of a true Mexican city you can head to downtown Cancun, where the locals live. Here you'll find a number of interesting restaurants and a more authentic Mexican vibe. Shopping areas include Plaza Las Americas, Plaza la Isla, and Plaza Outlet.
There are also beaches along the coast about an hour or two south of Cancun. These beaches are less crowded but equally as beautiful. It's easy to find accommodation and there are scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities. Prices are cheaper as well.
ActivitiesToday there are many options for adventurers, vacationers, or foodies alike in Cancun. Swim with the dolphins, snorkel, go scuba diving, or simply lounge on the beach. Head to La Isla if you want to do some shopping. The Moon Spa and Golf Club is the best place to play golf in the area. Cruise ships keep Cancun popular, so you won't find the beaches isolated, but it can still be a relaxing vacation. Nightlife is always active in Cancun. If you want to escape the tourist crowds and see where the locals hang out, head over to Yaxchilan Avenue for an evening of club hopping.
Food and DiningAs a tourist destination, there are many restaurants where you can enjoy a meal in Cancun. Many are geared specifically to tourists, so prices reflect this. Seafood is readily available almost anywhere and it's it's usually fresh and good. There are also several sports bars, Italian restaurants, and chain restaurants for those who want a taste of home.
The nightlife scene in Cancun is matched by no other. There are countless drinking places in the Hotel Zone. If you want to live it up, make sure you check out this guide to the best drinks in Mexico before you order your next round. Senor Frog's has made a name for itself throughout the Caribbean, particularly with cruise ship passengers - it's fun but can be touristy. You'll find a variety of clubs along Yaxhilan Avenue in downtown Cancun with good crowds most days of the week, especially weekends. If you want a taste of where the locals hang out, then this is where you should go.
TransportationGetting around Cancun is relatively easy. Most people use the bus system which is cheap and generally reliable. Buses are frequent and most bus drivers are helpful and informative. Buses run up and down Blvd Kukulcan, which is the city's main thoroughfare. Although the buses run regularly, they can get crowded and the ride may be uncomfortable. When your stop is approaching, push the button on top of the hand rail. If you get confused about your destination the drivers are usually helpful and most speak some English.
Alternatively you could take a taxi. Taxis are abundant but much more expensive, particularly in the hotel districts where prices are dramatically inflated. In the downtown area prices are usually fixed to about MXN$20 a ride. Make sure you understand the price before you get into the car.