Dining in CancúnHotel Zone restaurants offer uniformly reliable quality and predictable expense. Many all-inclusive properties go to great lengths to keep their guests on the premises, and some may charge for meals whether they are eaten or not. The more expensive hotels also tend to emphasize a fine-dining experience. Don't expect much in the way of regional cookery; U.S. fast-food and chain restaurant franchises, as well as Mexican chains like Sr. Frog's, are the norm.
Ciudad Cancún is a different story. Avenida Tulum is lined with local restaurants, and most have outdoor tables. Look for places where locals congregate if you want authentically prepared Yucatecan dishes like sopa de lima—soup with a chicken broth base, vegetables and a tangy dose of fresh lime juice—or poc-chuc, spicy marinated pork grilled with onions.
One local favorite—and a place where you can sample home-style cooking for a fraction of the cost of the Hotel Zone restaurants—is Checándole, downtown at Av. Xpuhil #27 (near Mercado 28). It serves tacos, steak tampiqueña, enchiladas with mole sauce and other Mexican standards, along with fresh fruit juices. From the Hotel Zone, a Ruta 6 bus will get you there.
For a reasonably priced Mexican-style breakfast try one of Cancún's coffee shops. At Vips, a popular chain with branches all over the country, you can order standards like huevos motuleños—two fried eggs, peas and diced ham atop a crispy tortilla covered in tomato sauce, with pureed black beans and slices of fried banana on the side. This, plus toast, orange juice and good cafe americano, will fill you up for about $10. The Hotel Zone Vips is next to the Cancún Center.
Restaurants in the large hotels use purified water for cooking and for washing produce; inquire about this health procedure specifically at places to eat on the mainland. In general, avoid ice cubes in drinks unless you know purified water has been used, and stay away from uncooked fruits and vegetables. See the Lodgings & Restaurants section for AAA Diamond designated nearby restaurants.
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.