What Cancun is known for are its white-sand beaches and azure Caribbean waters. Cancún is the number one most visited city in Latin America and the fifth most visited destination in the Americas overall, behind four United States cities. One of the most interesting facts about Cancun is that it is also ranked number 35 of the 100 most visited cities in the world. Originally known as the most popular Spring Break destination, Cancun now offers endless lodging, dining, shopping and activities for all budgets and all ages. Learn all about Cancun below.
Cancun Mexico Facts
Although it is a world-famous city, many may not know much information about Cancun, Mexico, and its history, population, infrastructure, and culture. Here are some things to know about Cancun that we think you’ll find fun and interesting…
Fact #1: Cancun will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year
One of the most important facts about Cancun is that it is a very young city that didn’t develop organically but was a tourism project created by the Mexican government, who researched Mexico’s coastline and decided that Cancun would be the perfect vacation destination, thanks to its location in the Caribbean, its balmy tropical weather and turquoise blue ocean waters. When the government “discovered” the island of Cancun, which is connected to the mainland by two small bridges on each end, only three people lived there, caretakers of a coconut plantation. Some maps called the area “Kankun” which means “pot of snakes” or “nest of snakes” in the Mayan language, which was eventually adapted to “Cancún”.
Fact #2: There are only about 65 hotels in the Cancun Hotel Zone
Cancun’s Hotel Zone is shaped like a number 7 and is 22.5 km or 14 miles long. It is an island, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and Nichupte Lagoon on the other. It is connected to the mainland by two small bridges at each end. There were originally three hotels, Playa Blanca, Bojorquez, and Cancún Caribe, which were funded by the Mexican government in 1974. There are currently some sixty-five hotels are which are sometimes purchased and change names or are torn down in order for a new one to be built, but there will never be more hotels in the Hotel Zone, at least not more than a few, because, for the most part, there isn’t any space left!
Fact #3: Cancun is located on the Yucatan Peninsula, which is made of limestone
The Yucatan Peninsula is located on the eastern end of Mexico and is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. The peninsula is basically a porous limestone platform, which has caused the formation of thousands of unique and mysterious flooded cenotes (natural sinkholes), caves and underground rivers. The water that fills these natural phenomena is fresh, not saltwater. Cenotes were very important to the ancient Mayan civilization and were thought to be portals to the underworld. The Yucatan Peninsula is also home to the Chicxulub Crater, an impact crater that was the result of a large (7 to 50 miles wide) asteroid or comet colliding with Earth some 66 million years ago. It is believed that the impact caused havoc on Earth, including climate change, tsunamis, and volcano eruptions, and was eventually responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs.
Fact #4: The Cancun airport is the second busiest airport in Mexico
Cancun International Airport was officially opened in 1974, but the first facility that welcomed flights was located in downtown Cancun. The terminal was a palapa and the runway was what is now Kabah Avenue. There is a replica of the original control tower, which is made of wood, located in the traffic circle where Luis Donaldo Colosio, Bomampak, Tulum and Kabah Avenues meet. The Cancun airport serves the entire coast and much of the peninsula, including Playa del Carmen, the Riviera Maya, Tulum and beyond. It is now comprised of 4 terminals, with a 5th on the way, and served over 34,000,000 passengers in 2019! The bridge to the airport that crosses Luis Donaldo Colosio Avenue has a very interesting history. It is said that while being built, the bridge collapsed twice. Locals informed the builders that the reason was that they had not asked the “Aluxes” for permission to construct the bridge. Aluxes are tiny beings that are said to live in the jungle and be quite mischievous if their needs and requests are not met. The builders called in a chaman and built a small “house”, a pyramid, for the Aluxes under the bridge, which is still there. After this, the bridge was built with no further problems.
Fact #5: There are Mayan ruins in the Cancun Hotel Zone
You probably thought you had to take at least a 2-hour bus trip to see Mayan ruins in Cancun. Another one of our Cancun fun facts is that there are Mayan ruins right in the Cancun Hotel Zone. The largest site is called El Rey and is located at km 17, right across the streets from Playa Delfines aka El Mirador. You only need about an hour or so to explore these over 1000-year-old ruins which are now inhabited by an impressive number of iguanas. Another archaeological site in the Hotel Zone is San Miguelito, which is located in the Museo Maya de Cancun (Cancun Mayan Museum) at km 16.5. The original Mayan name of these ruins is not known. They were discovered on that previously mentioned coconut ranch called San Miguelito and named after it. It is a pleasant site to explore because there are many trees that provide shade. The Yamil Lu’um ruins site is located right on the beach, at the highest point in the relatively flat Hotel Zone. It is free to visit and is a great place to take vacation photos. There is no direct access from the street, so access the beach where the fire station (bomberos) is at km 13, then walk north (left) up the beach about a ¼ of a mile (1/2 km).
5 Quick Bonus Facts About Cancun
Quick Bonus Fact #1: Cancun does not turn the clock forward or back and is on GMT -6 hours or EST in the winter and GMT -7 hours or CST daylight savings time in the summer.
Quick Bonus Fact #2: Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean begins June 1st and ends November 30th, and most hurricanes occur August through October. Cancun has only been hit by two major hurricanes: Gilbert on September 15, 1988, and Wilma on October 21, 2005, 17 years apart.
Quick Bonus Fact #3: January is the coolest month and July is the hottest month.
Quick Bonus Fact #4: Cancun beaches are made up of crushed coral, which doesn’t get hot and won’t burn your feet.
Quick Bonus Fact #5: The easternmost point of Mexico is located just off the coast of Cancun on the island of Isla Mujeres. This is where the first rays of sun touch Mexican soil each morning.
Tours in Cancun Facts
After all these fun facts, there might be one more thing you might be wondering, is Cancun fun? Well of course it is! Aquaworld offers activities that will take your vacation to the next level and help you to enjoy Cancun to the fullest.
Jungle Tour – Did you know Aquaworld was the FIRST company to offer the Jungle Tour in Cancun? We’re talking about over 35 years ago and of course, everybody followed the trend. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, am I right? Another interesting fact is that the yellow speed boats used on the Jungle Tour are actually made in Aquaworld.
SkyRider – Sure, one interesting fact about Aquaworld’s iconic parasailing adventure is that it has an innovative seat rather than just uncomfortable harnesses, but here’s the true interesting fact about the Skyrider: the only other place where this mechanism has been seen is in Disney and Aquaworld owns the rights. Not too shabby, huh?
Flowrider – Constantly innovating to offer their customers the best water fun experiences, Aquaworld was the first marina to open to the public the Flowrider in Cancun and was host to the 2017 Flowrider championships.
Snorkel at Nizuc – One super fun fact about this gorgeous reef is that it is one of the galleries of the famous Underwater Museum of Art, the largest submarine sculptures installation that also serves as an artificial reef. Bonus fun fact: Aquaworld was instrumental in the creation of this attraction, providing the boats and manpower to submerge the sculptures. We’re all for conservation!
Super bonus fun fact: these activities are 2 x 1 for a limited time!
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