Latin America Mexico Travel Travel Tips

8 Things to Consider When Visiting Cancun for the First Time

This is a guest post from José, the Content Manager for Olympus Tours. Enjoy!

The city of Cancun in the Mexican Caribbean, is the most important destination in Mexico, and one of the most popular places amongst young Americans to spend the Spring Break, but it is no longer just the place for spring breakers and anyone can enjoy a vacation in the beautiful surroundings of this Mexico’s vibrant city. There are a lot of Tours in Cancun worth trying, as well as a great gastronomic offer and lots of shopping! Cancun is a great destination for everyone. If you’re a first time visitor, here are the top things you should consider when planning a trip of a lifetime!


The beautiful Sea of Cancun and the Nichupte Lagoon

Customs can be chaotic, be patient.

First things first, you might be daunted when you make it to customs. The process is a free-for-all. It’s important not to follow the crowd here – go for the shortest line, as we say – it’s a free-for-all! In any case you should always remember one thing: You’re already there! Keep calm your minutes away from a cocktail on the beach.

What about cash?

Whilst most places accept dollars, it may not always be the best idea for vacationers to pay with them. The exchange rate can often be volatile and you may not get your money’s worth if you pay in USD. So you’re paying for goods over 100 pesos in particular, make sure you pay in the local currency to get the most from your money. It’s better for the local merchants, too. Also, most places accept credit cards.

You need the sunscreen… seriously!

Trust me, you’ll need it! Even if it’s cloudy and you don’t feel like you need to slap it on, make sure you do – this way you’ll avoid the nasty side effects and won’t be stuck at the hotel cowering indoors and nursing your burnt skin for the duration of your stay. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Bus, bus, bus!

The convenience and comparative luxury of a taxi may seem like the obvious choice for vacationers, but any seasoned traveller will tell you that Cancun actually has an incredible bus service – so make sure you make the most of it! You may not expect this – but the bus transportation system is safe and affordable. In the “Hotel Zone” you can travel anywhere for less than a dollar, so this is something you should definitely consider to help you get around for less. If you’re an UBER person, the city has recently welcome this service too. I wouldn’t recommend walking since the distances may be long… remember the sun!

Know when to haggle!

Haggling isn’t something that occurs much in other countries, but in Mexico the rules are a little different. Obviously in some places prices are non-negotiable, but in others you can easily push down the asking price with a little work. We know that haggling can make someone break into a sweat because it’s such an alien concept to a lot of people, but in some places the pay-off is definitely worth it. At Cancun’s famous Mercado 28, haggling is definitely advised to help you get the best price you possibly can for your goods and souvenirs. Just make a fair offer.


A basket seller offering his products on the beach of Cancun

Always stay hydrated

The temperatures can go off the scale, so staying hydrated is vital to keep you healthy while you’re away. Most restaurants supply bottled water, so you can get it easily wherever you go in the city – no excuses! Beer is a great option too, but you can’t be carrying a can everywhere, so water will be fine.

The cuisine is exquisite

Genuine Mexican cuisine may be a little different to what you’ve had at home. Forget about those Tex-Mex fajitas and guacamole… this is the real thing!  Though you may be daunted at first, try as much as you can – you may find an unexpected delight nestled in the menus of Cancun’s excellent restaurants. Real tacos, sopes, enchiladas, mole and many more will soothe your craving for delicious treats.


Real “carnitas” tacos (made of pork meat with onion and celery, salsa and lemon)

Party or chill?  Get the best of both worlds!

Being Mexico’s number one coastal vacation destination, Cancun has some incredible beaches. They’re perfect for tranquil relaxation, for lazing in the sun and indulging in some well needed ‘me time’. But don’t make the mistake of forgetting about the vibrant night life, or thinking that side of things is just for the college kids running amok on spring break.  The night life is frankly legendary and not to be missed for avid party goers of any age. Coco bongo or The City Nightclub are some of the highlights! Amazing shows, lots of booze and great music make an unmissable experience that you’ll be talking about for years to come. I recommend taking a party hopper tour so you make a quick visit to some of the best clubs and then decide where to party till sunrise!

Most of Cancun beaches have been recognized with the Blue Flag certification

Most of Cancun beaches have been recognized with the Blue Flag certification

The tours are incredible

As explained above, the most exciting about Cancun is the variety on offer. You can go on a range of incredible tours in the area – from exhilarating adventures deep sea diving or exploring the Mayan ruins to unforgettable boat trips across the cerulean Caribbean waters. Decide exactly what you want to do before you go, so you don’t miss out any once in a lifetime experiences.

One more thing: the best season to visit Cancun is… anytime! The weather is always great. Spring and Summer are really hot, while in January it cools down a bit, but you shouldn’t worry about bringing a jacket or even socks. We all hate socks here!

The Mayan Archaeological Site of Tulum is 1.5 hours from Cancun but it’s worth visiting

The Mayan Archaeological Site of Tulum is 1.5 hours from Cancun but it’s worth visiting

olympus-toursPepe Yañez, Mexican, music & travel lover enjoying life. The Mexican Caribbean Content Manager at Olympus Tours.



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  • Reply
    November 6, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Great post. For years I’m trying to go to Mexico and there’s always something that doesn’t let it happen. Now I’ll be prepared :).

    • Reply
      April 21, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Hi Maria! I’m so glad it was helpful for you 🙂

  • Reply
    November 16, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    This post is great! My cousin is just about to book a holiday to Cancun with her partner, and I’m hoping to get a few days layover there soon. Is it pretty safe there for solo female travellers?

    • Reply
      April 21, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Hi Claire! So sorry for the delay, I found your comment in the spam box 🙁 If not too late, I’ve known women who have gone to Mexico solo and they were just fine 🙂

  • Reply
    November 28, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    This was super helpful! I’m planning a trip for spring break as a college student – did you stay in the hotel zone? How were the prices of things?! I’m trying to budget! lol

    • Reply
      April 21, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Hi Mariah! Your comment was also in the spam folder, so sorry for the late response 🙁 Did you make it there for spring break?

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