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Cancún Sports & RecreationWater sports, not surprisingly, top Cancún's list of leisure activities and fun things to do while on vacation.

Fishing is excellent; the open Caribbean, Mujeres Bay, the channel between Cozumel and the mainland, and the waters of Nichupté Lagoon together are home to some 500 species, including all types of game fish. Bonito, dorado and sailfish run from March into July; bluefin tuna from April through June. Barracuda, grouper, mackerel and red snapper can be hooked all year.

Hotel Zone marinas offer a range of vessels and top-of-the-line equipment that are perfect for group travel. Larger boats are 35-40 feet long; single-engine diesel boats average 26-28 feet. Four- and 8-hour charter excursions normally include a captain, first mate, gear, bait and soft drinks. Cost varies and the marinas compete for business, so it pays to shop around; ask at your hotel for recommendations.

Scuba diving and snorkeling are best at the southern end of Cancún Island around Nizuc Point, off Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, and in Nichupté Lagoon. Dive shops along Boulevard Kukulcán rent equipment, give lessons and schedule trips if you're looking for things to do this weekend; some hotels also can arrange dive excursions. Check credentials, and if possible get the inside scoop from a diver familiar with the area. Diving conditions are best from May or June through August.

Scuba Cancún, on the lagoon side of Kukulcán at Km marker 5 (across from Playa Langosta), offers daily snorkeling trips that visit local reefs (on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) and the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. All-day snorkeling excursions to Cozumel depart on Wednesday and Friday; cavern snorkeling trips depart on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Open water certification is required for one- and two-tank dive trips in the waters off Cancún and Cozumel and to destinations along the Riviera Maya coast. Phone (998) 849-7508.

The best place for activities like water skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, swimming and boating is Nichupté Lagoon; ski clubs along Boulevard Kukulcán on the lagoon side rent boats and equipment. Windsurfing propels its participants across the water at exhilarating speeds; the sailboard used by windsurfers is a masted sail attached to a surfboard. Many Hotel Zone swimming pools have the added bonus of the Caribbean as a scenic backdrop.

For those who prefer activities on land there's golf at the Cancún Golf Club at Pok-Ta-Pok, a championship 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. Located on an island between Laguna de Bojórquez and Laguna Nichupté (access is off Boulevard Kukulcán at Km 7.5), it offers fine views of both lagoons and the Caribbean. Shoes, carts and clubs are available for rent, and there is a pro shop. Reservations are advised; phone (998) 883-1230 or (998) 883-1277.

Another championship 18-hole course is at the Iberostar Cancún, off Kukulcán at Km 17; phone (998) 881-8000 for reservations information. Greens fees vary depending on the season and are less for hotel guests.

There are tennis courts at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancún, the Hyatt Zilara Cancún and the Marriott Casamagna Cancún Resort, among others. A jogging and bicycling path—also used for roller blading—parallels the sidewalk along the northern (bay) side of Boulevard Kukulcán, extending as far as Cancún Point; a path also parallels the sidewalk along most of the southern half of the Hotel Zone.

If you're looking for fun places to go to relax—and are willing to pay the price—the spa at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancún All Inclusive Spa Resort , Boulevard Kukulcán Km 9.5, offers hydrotherapy, massage and facial and body treatments, plus lap and plunge pools. An appointment is required; for information phone (998) 881-3200.

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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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