Cancun, Mexico-A Unique and Complete Guide

Cancun is a unique experience where you are met with the breathtakingly blue waters of the Caribbean splashing along white sandy beaches. Your eyes will be filled with the natural beauty of Cancun, and what’s more, you can live in this stunning destination.

A resource like the COMPLETE Mexico Relocation guide can fast-track your move to Cancun.

Keep reading to learn more about Cancun, Mexico.

Location

Cancun is a city along the shores that meet the Caribbean Sea. It’s on the Yucatan Peninsula, located in the southeastern part of Mexico, and connects out into the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea to the south of it. And the equally tepid waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the north of it.

Cancun is located in Quintana Roo. And the population is more than 930,000 people. 

Cancun becomes even more bustling when more than five million tourists visit annually, mostly from the United States and Europe. The city has seen steady growth over the past several decades as it has become more of a destination for Mexicans and foreigners.

Due to the tourism industry, English is commonly spoken in Cancun in addition to Spanish (with some people even speaking the Mayan language, too!). Therefore it’s easy to find English-speaking people in shops and restaurants. More importantly, there are also hospitals and other healthcare facilities that have English-speaking professionals and staff. 

If you were to move to Cancun and find yourself needing medical care, you’d easily be able to find it. 

When moving to any country where people speak a different language from your native language, trying to learn at least a bit of the local language is a good idea to make your life easier and help acclimate to your new home.

Little by little, you can learn Spanish in Mexico as you see and hear the same words and phrases repeated daily.

Weather in Cancun

Given Cancun’s location along the Caribbean Sea, it’s probably easy to deduce that there’s warm weather there. During the day, the temperatures remain in the 80s for most of the year, and during the night, the lows can range from the high 60s to the high 70s. 

Technically, the rainy season runs from around August until November, but full days filled with rain and gloom are quite rare. Living in Cancun may be for you if you want consistently warm weather and sunshine.

Best Time To Visit Cancun? 

The best time of year to visit Cancun is from December through April. 

During these months, the weather is a mild balance of warmth without being too hot. This is perfect timing, too, because if you live in North America, December through April can be chilly and sometimes snowy, with short days and poor road conditions. 

A lot of “snowbirds” come to Cancun around this time. The warm weather is easy on the bones and joints, and the abundance of the sun is good for anyone’s mood. Instead of counting down the days until the thermometer in your car reads above 60 degrees, you can spend your time soaking up the sun year-round in Cancun.

How to Get To Cancun? 

Most people fly into  Cancun International Airport, the second busiest airport in Mexico.

This international airport has useful services like currency exchange booths and duty-free shops. 

Another perk of the airport is that many airlines frequently offer direct flights from major cities in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Depending on your current location, getting to Cancun could be as easy as packing your bags, jumping on a direct flight, and landing in the warm paradise.

Getting Around in Cancun

Once you’ve arrived in Cancun, there are several options for getting around. The Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) is where, you guessed it, many hotels are located, so it’s very walkable, and some shuttles run very simple routes in the area. 

Outside this area, you can get around by car. Having a car will be more convenient than waiting for public transportation or figuring out how to get a taxi. The good news is that it’s fairly easy for tourists to rent cars, especially if you’re from the United States or Canada. Driver’s licenses from both countries are recognized in Mexico as long as they’re valid and not expired.

There are several options for renting a car once you arrive in Cancun. The first is to rent a car at the airport, which is pretty straightforward. Just know that rental car offices have scheduled hours that they are open. Be sure to check that your flight will be arriving in Cancun when the rental offices are open.

Another option is to rent a car at your hotel. Since you’ll probably be scoping out neighborhoods and places to live when you first arrive in Cancun, you may want to stay at a hotel until you find your forever home. Some hotels have partnerships with car rental services, so you get a deal on the car rental because you’re doing a lot of business with one location. You can shop online to see where you can find the best deals for car rentals before you arrive in Cancun.

Some additional fees will be included with rentals, such as an insurance policy. These are often mandatory but provide insurance in case of an accident. In general, renting a car in Cancun is pretty easy and makes life much more convenient as you navigate the city.

Alternative ways to get around Cancun

There are also ride-share services like Uber, Didi, and Indriver. And there are taxis everywhere in Cancun  Cancun also has buses that run throughout the city. Buses, as with most places, are the cheapest option for transportation.

A bus ride in Cancun is approximately $10.50 MXN, or about 50 cents USD. 

Locals living on the outskirts of town use Colectivos- which are community vans that are privately owned and make frequent stops throughout town. Their final destination is usually displayed on the front.

colectivo

Many people living in Cancun also get around by walking or bike. Since Cancun is technically a city, some areas are dense with restaurants and stores. If you live in a dense urban area, it will be much easier for you to walk everywhere.

If you’d like to explore the rest of the country, check out the FREE Living in Mexico Guide.

Things to see in Cancun

Cancun is often named the leading beach destination in Mexico and Central America. And some of its most notables beaches include:

  • Playa Delfines
  • Playa Maroma
  • Playa Langosta
  • Playa Norte
Playa Delfines Cancun

But if you’re not a beach person, there are plenty of places to shop and enjoy the local sights and sounds. Attractions and activities scattered around Cancun include:

  • La Isla Shopping Village
  • Xoximilco Cancun (a floating fiesta with Mexican food and music)
  • Mayan Museum of Cancun
  • El Rey Archeological Site
  • Torre Escénica (Observation deck)
  • Tres Rios Ecopark
El Rey Archeological Zone

As with most cities, shopping and museums are common. 

Cancun is known for its natural beauty and rich Mayan history, so its sites are unique.

Popular neighborhoods in Cancun

If you are moving to Cancun, you will want to establish yourself in a neighborhood that fits your needs, style, and energy. 

Prices of long-term rentals in Cancun s will vary depending on the location. So you’ll want to consider that as well.  

Much like the rest of Mexico, there is something for everyone, so consider these neighborhoods:

  • Zona Hotelera
  • Puerto Cancún
  • Isla Dorada
  • Lagos del Sol
  • Cancún centro
downtown Cancun

We offer Cancun relocation tours– during which time you could arrange for your guide to take you through each neighborhood so you can get a feel for the area before committing to a rental or buying a property.

Food in Cancun

When you think of Mexico, one of the first things that may come to mind is tacos. But there is more to Mexican gastronomy than just tacos! 

Each region of the country has dishes and snacks that are unique to the area. These foods have been made from local ingredients and centuries of influence from prehispanic to foreigners.

Cancun is no different and boasts an array of dishes filled with flavor and zest.

One such dish is the Sopa de Lima (Lime Soup), which embraces the citrus fruit that grows in the area due to its climate. It consists of a flavorful broth that combines limes, cumin, garlic, sweet chili, and oregano with meat, such as pork or chicken, to soak in and create a refreshing and soothing soup. 

For a sweet follow-up to your zesty soup, you can try the marquesita, a local street food in Cancun. It combines sweet and savory with a crepe-like shell filled with melted cheese and your choice of sweet filling, such as condensed milk or strawberry jam. Similar to a crepe, it comes wrapped in the perfect size to fit into your hand. Unlike a crepe, the spiky and stringy cheese pours out of the marquesita as you enjoy your first few bites.

Of course, other foods you may normally associate with Mexico, such as tamales, tacos al pastor, and churros can also be found in Cancun.

If you want to try a little bit of everything, check out El Parque de las Palapas, is a hangout spot in downtown Cancun where you can get authentic street food and mingle with your new neighbors.

Attractions near Cancun

Sunshine and beaches are all well and good, but as with living in any place, a change of scenery every once in a while is welcomed. Being situated on the Yucatan Peninsula means that the area surrounding Cancun is rich in history and sites to see. 

Getting to these attractions is easy because plenty of buses and shuttles can take you on these day trips. If you’re looking for something more intimate, arranging for a private driver to accompany you on your day trip is common.

One of the major and possibly most historic sites near Cancun is Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient Mayan ruins. In addition to being a heritage site, it was also named one of the 7 New Wonders of the World by UNESCO. 

The city of Cancun is a result of thousands of years of influences from various cultures, but Chichén Itzá is a snapshot of the area when it was still pre-Hispanic America. It is approximately two-and-a-half hours from Cancun and is home to ancient pyramids and temples. That’s right—you don’t need to go to Egypt to see pyramids. If you move to Cancun, they’ll be just a bus ride away.

Another attraction near Cancun would allow you to try a form of transportation you don’t take daily: a ferry! 

 A popular day trip from Cancun is the 30-minute ferry ride to Isla Mujeres. There are a lot of sites packed onto this small island. You can see even more ruins here, art sculptures, a museum, and a turtle sanctuary. Boats frequently leave throughout the day, going to and from the island from around 5:00 am until approximately 9:30 pm.

Visit or Stay in Cancun

The sunny vacation spot that you used to enjoy for a few days or weeks out of the year could be your new home if you retire in Cancun. 

Cancun is more than spring break, and tourists dancing the night away in a nightclub with flashing lights. The city has bustling neighborhoods, shopping centers, stunning beaches, and spectacular day trips.

We make moving to Mexico easy with our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide. An easy-to-follow course that is consistently updated and covers the most important basics of moving to Mexico. We even include a full directory of contacts in Mexico that help make your move a lot easier and offer private Cancun Relocation Tours.

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. David Barnett says

    When I was last in Cancun there was no Uber. Has this changed?

    • Mariana Lange says

      Yeap- there is Uber now
      But we still recommend taking taxis

      • Rogier says

        What are the reasons you recommend taking taxis instead?

        • Mariana Lange says

          I listed them in the article

  2. Dan Doern says

    Hello. Does anyone have any current info about the Tren Maya? How the construction is going, when its expected (realistically) to start service, which stops will open first, etc.
    Gracias

  3. Michael Smith says

    As in many other places, the presence of Uber in Cancun has sparked serious labor conflict. The gist of the issue is that Uber classifies its drivers as “independent contractors” instead of employees, in order to avoid paying full insurance costs, which increases risk for drivers and riders alike.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *