Cancún EventsIn addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, this destination hosts a number of outstanding festivals, events and fun things to do that may coincide with your trip.
The Day of the Kings (Feast of the Epiphany, or El Día de Los Reyes) on Jan. 6 is a day of gift-giving. Local restaurants serve a King's Cake (Rosca de Reyes) that contains a small plastic Jesus doll (El Niño) inside. The person receiving the piece with the doll acts as a host on Candlemas (La Candeleria), the season's final Christmas celebration held the first week in February, when a meal of tamales and hot chocolate is served in homes and restaurants.
Carnaval, a fiesta in the spirit of Mardi Gras, is held the week preceding Ash Wednesday. Residents dress up in elaborate costumes, floats parade down the streets of Ciudad Cancún, and there are street parties featuring dancing, fireworks and regional foods and beverages. It's one of the many fun things to do with friends in Cancún.
On Mar. 21 the Vernal Equinox (Inicio Primavera) is observed at Chichén Itzá. When the late afternoon sun shines on El Castillo, a shadow remarkably reminiscent of a slithering serpent appears on the side of the pyramid. Thousands of people attend this event. Contact your local AAA travel advisor for help with planning your vacation packages.
As in all of Mexico, Independence Day (Patria de la Independencia) festivities take place Sept. 15-16 and include fireworks, a parade (on the 16th) and traditional food. Father Miguel Hidalgo's famous speech Grito de Dolores is re-enacted as people gather at midnight to shout out “Viva México!” It's a fun event to add to your family vacation.
The Eve of All Souls' Day, Oct. 31, is observed throughout the Yucatán by adorning headstones with wreaths of marigolds and placing candles and offerings of food and tequila at gravesites. Day of the Dead graveside and church ceremonies take place amid a party-like atmosphere Nov. 1 and 2, with bakeries doing big business turning out various skull-shaped pastries.
Interested in things to do around the holidays? Christmas celebrations begin 9 days prior to Dec. 25 and feature posadas (processions) of families and friends who take part in pastorelas (plays) portraying Jesus' birth, along with street fairs, piñata smashing and other festivities. One highlight of the season is the display of nativity scenes.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
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To contact the local police, dial 911.
Most major local hotels have their own in-house or on-call doctor. A list of physicians can also be obtained from the U.S. Consular Agency, in the Torre la Europea building, Boulevard Kukulcán Km marker 13; phone (999) 316-7168 in Mexico or (844) 528-6611 in the U.S. Local clinics do not accept U.S. health insurance, often charge fees well above U.S. rates and have been known to charge for services not rendered. The Red Cross (Cruz Roja) is in Ciudad Cancún on Avenida Yaxchilán, between avenidas Xcaret and Labná. It is open 24 hours; phone (998) 884-1616. In an emergency, dial 911 and request an English-speaking operator.
The Miami Herald and USA Today are available in the bigger local hotels.
Cancún Tips magazine has easy-to-read maps and information about local restaurants, shopping, entertainment and other things to do in Cancún. Pick up free tourist-oriented brochures at the airport, hotel lobbies, shopping centers and sidewalk booths.
Casas de cambio (currency exchange houses) and banks are along Avenida Tulum in downtown Ciudad Cancún. Most banks are open Mon.-Fri. 9-5; currency exchange normally is confined to the morning hours. Currency exchange houses also are at the airport and in the Hotel Zone shopping areas around Cancún Point.
Crime directed at tourists is not prevalent, but do use common sense. Keep jewelry and other valuables in the hotel safe, or don't bring them at all. Guard against petty theft or purse-snatching incidents in crowded public places or when using public transportation. If leaving a vehicle in Hotel Zone shopping areas, don't invite a break-in by leaving valuables in plain view.