Cancun, Mexico

The dazzling white sand lazily stretches down to kiss the turquoise water. Gentle waves lap continuously upon the beach serenading you. Looking past the breaking waves, you are instantly astounded by the shade of blue that stretches for an eternity in either direction. Walking out into the warm embrace of the water, you can catch glimpses of small tropical fish darting between your legs.

Overlay this stunning scenery with the fiery flavour of a thousand varieties of chilli, the gentle burn of a good tequila and the soft warbling of Spanish love songs and you will begin to glimpse a piece of the tapestry that makes Cancun such a special place.

Stretching for more than 20 km between the airport and downtown is a tiny isthmus of land that is sandwiched between a lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. Along this stretch of land, any matter of indulgence can be had. There are hotels to suit everybody’s tastes and budgets, restaurants that cater for every cuisine around and enough bars to ensure that your nights will never be boring.

The great Mayan civilisation has left a rather lasting impression on the Yucatan peninsula. This can be seen in the faces of the locals, in traditional dishes such as the delicious pollo pibil or guacamole and most certainly in the ruins that surround the area. Two hours from Cancun is the grand city of Chichen Itza, which is one of the most complete Mayan cities around and is dominated by the impressive El Castillo pyramid. Further south, lies the smaller ruins of Tulum that sit perched on top of some cliffs with the most dazzling views of the Caribbean.

Isla Mujeres which lies off of the north coast of Cancun is a must see for a day trip. For a very reasonable price you can rent golf carts or scooters and explore the island at your own pace. You will not be disappointed, especially if you ensure that you take in the lighthouse. It sits perched on the top of a very sheer cliff that juts out into that oh so beautiful crystal blue water.

You will never be at a loss for activities to keep you busy, but it is important to remember to sit and enjoy. You could spend hours, perhaps even days, lounging on the white sand, with a cocktail in your hand, watching the iguanas chasing each other in the dunes and letting the soft sounds of Latin music wash your soul clean of all of your stress.

Written by Joseph Ramsey for The Essential Destination

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