travel to cancun

So, you’re planning a trip to Cancun soon, and you’re not sure what to expect. Cancun, Mexico, is a beautiful destination with lots to do, fantastic food, and friendly people. But, it can never hurt to do some research before you go somewhere new. Here are the 7 things every traveler should know before visiting Cancun. These tips will help you better plan out your trip and feel prepared, excited, and relaxed about the exciting vacation you have coming up!

1. Cancun is tourist-friendly and safe

First thing’s first, we need to clarify that Cancun is very safe. While this may not be necessarily true for all parts of Mexico, Cancun is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. Approximately 15 million people visit Cancun every year, and this area heavily depends on tourists for its economy. So, the most popular areas remain safe, allowing visitors to have a good experience and hopefully return in the future. 

Of course, like in most countries, there is some street crime in Cancun. You should avoid back alleys and unknown areas, strolling around at night, and carrying too much cash. 

Pro Tip: When crossing the road, be extremely cautious as pedestrians don’t have the right of way in Mexico. 

An aerial view of hotels and beaches in Cancun, Mexico.

2. A lot of people speak English … but learn some Spanish phrases

Since Cancun is so heavily dependent on tourism, you’ll find that many locals know English. Not only will every single resort or hotel worker speak English, but you’ll also find that to be the case if you wander away from your hotel. 

Still, it’s always polite and considerate to pick up a few phrases before traveling somewhere. This will help you if you encounter someone who doesn’t speak English. And, it’ll help you bond with locals, as it shows you put some effort into trying to learn the language. 

Try switching out “hello” and “thank you” for “hola” and “gracias.” And, pick up a few other phrases before you go too!

A light up sign that says "Hola."

3. You can pay in pesos or US dollars … but pesos are better

You can walk into just about any business and find that they’ll accept both US dollars and pesos. In fact, most restaurants will bring you a bill that has the totals listed both in pesos and dollars. It’s probably best to get a mix of both but lean more heavily towards the pesos. When you pay in dollars, you’ll likely pay a little more for the convenience of using dollars. 

A hand holding a wallet and pulling out an United States one dollar bill.

4. Watch out for the undertow

A vacation to Cancun will mean lots of time in the water. Cancun has some of the most stunning beaches in the world. However, you should know that the tide can be mighty and you must pay attention to the undertow. Luckily, Mexico has a flag system that helps beachgoers understand the water’s level of danger. A yellow flag means use caution, a red flag means the water is dangerous, and black means don’t swim. When the water is yellow, consider sticking close to the shoreline. 

The waters of Cancun, Mexico

5. Don’t drink the tap water

One tip that you should keep in mind your entire trip is not to drink tap water. Stick to purified or bottled water everywhere you go. Luckily, most resorts and hotels provide complimentary bottled water for guests. Even when brushing your teeth, make sure to use bottled water. Otherwise, you may be in for a stomachache!

Pro Tip: Make sure to ask if the ice in your drink is made with purified water too!

 

A picture of a sink with water dripping out of the tap.

6. Arrange airport transfers ahead of time

One of the most popular scams in Cancun is taxi rides. A lot of drivers hang out at the airport, hoping to grab unsuspecting tourists and charge them three or four times the standard rate for a ride to their hotel. Taxi cabs in Mexico don’t have meters, so you won’t be able to track your rate and should agree to the price beforehand, but many tourists don’t know this. 

You can save yourself a lot of time and money by taking advantage of an airport transfer through your resort. Almost every resort or hotel offers airport transfers, often for less than $20 per person, or can suggest a reputable company to use. These airport transfer buses are affordable, air-conditioned, and comfortable, so there’s no downside! 

A large shuttle bus

7. Consider leaving the resort to go exploring

If you’re staying at a resort, you’ll probably have everything you need — all your food, a gym, entertainment, beaches, pools, and a spa. But, we highly encourage you to leave your resort and explore some of what Cancun offers. This will let you see some of Mexico’s more authentic, cultural side and the natural, beautiful landscape. 

Consider booking some excursions to:

  • Spend a day on a catamaran on the water
  • Visit a cenote
  • Explore the Mayan ruins 
  • ATV tours
The Mayan Ruins close to Cancun, Mexico

And now that you know these seven tips, you should be all set for your visit to Cancun! Remember to relax and have fun, Cancun is an easy place to travel to and the locals are always willing to help you out!