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Cancún SightseeingOne fun—and free—sightseeing activity is to go hotel hopping. The Hotel Zone is chock-full of architecturally striking resorts, and even if you're staying at one it's worth checking out some of the others (consider it research for your next vacation). The public “Hoteles” buses that travel the length of Boulevard Kukulcán are the best way to get from one property to another, as they stop frequently and will let you off right at the hotel entrance (keep in mind, however, that you must pay bus fare each time you reboard).

Many resorts are state-of-the-art examples of imaginative design, with lavish public areas and swimming pool complexes looking out onto the Caribbean's aquamarine waters. It doesn't cost anything to tour a property, and you can take your pick of restaurants and lounges to indulge in a leisurely lunch or a relaxing pit stop. However, many all-inclusive resorts, such as the Beach Palace Cancún and Hotel RIU Cancún, do not allow non-guests to walk around their public areas.

Which ones should you see? The Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa has a spacious, high-ceilinged lobby that radiates understated luxury—marble floors, giant flower arrangements and fine art displayed in recessed wall nooks, with cozy sitting areas scattered about. The Paradisus Cancún Resort is one of the largest properties in the Hotel Zone, with the guest rooms housed in five soaring, pyramid-shaped buildings. The public areas here are jungle-like, festooned with hanging plants, dripping with water and incorporating decorative elements—including oversized statues, frescos and calendars—that reflect Mayan motifs and culture. “Expansive” best describes the Iberostar Cancún, a dramatic pyramidal building with an enormous lobby and a series of interconnected pools that end up looking out on a spectacular stretch of beach.

Cancún is not a cruise ship destination, but that doesn't mean you can't take a cruise. Boats ply Nichupté Lagoon and the waters around Cancún Island, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres. Prices range from about $50-$70 (U.S.) per person, including beverages and entertainment. It's one of the fun things to do with friends and is a great option for group travel. Boat operators and itineraries change, so check with your hotel or a local travel agency to see what's available.

Aquaworld Marina, at Km 15.2 on the lagoon side of Boulevard Kukulcán, offers an Isla Mujeres day trip that includes ferry transportation to the island, a visit to a beach club, a buffet lunch and time for shopping; phone (998) 848-8326 for more information and to make travel reservations.

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Travel Information

City Population

661,176

Elevation

7 meters (23 feet)

Police (emergency)

To contact the local police, dial 911.

Hospitals

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.

Newspapers

The Miami Herald and USA Today are available in the bigger local hotels.

Publications

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.

Currency Exchange

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.

Staying Safe

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.

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