Cancun's Newest Museums, Above Sea Level and Below, Photo: Katrina Woznicki

Swim with the Dolphins!


Say “Cancun”—the jewel of the Yucatan Peninsula—and images of dazzling cerulean waves and white sandy beaches come to mind. It is amazing that only 50 years ago, Cancun was still a sleepy fishing community. Today it’s one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world, with approximately 12 million visitors enjoying its surf and sun every year, and has become synonymous with the term “Spring Break.”

Cancun’s secret to continuously drawing so many people lies in its ability to create new attractions, both above sea level and below, while remaining true to the beach culture that appeals to sun worshipers. While working on a tan, sipping margaritas, and reading on a beach are all fun, Cancun is more than just a pleasure playground. Rich in Mayan history, Mexican tradition, and Caribbean beauty, Cancun offers visitors a chance to see the popular beach town in a whole new light.

What to See

One of Cancun’s latest attractions is the new Maya Museum, which just opened during the final weeks of 2012, right when the Mayan calendar said the world would end. Trusting that the world would get beyond that prediction, Cancun invested nearly $15 million into the new Maya Museum.  The collections now on display took decades to cultivate and the facility took about six years to design and build. The museum includes 350 Mayan artifacts, some said to have never been publicly displayed before, and 14,000-year-old skeletal remains discovered in nearby Tulum.  With three 4,400-square-foot exhibition halls, there are also tools and artifacts once used by the Mayans during daily life, murals, sculpture and a 26-foot-tall Great Pyramid.

Located on Kukulkan Boulevard in Cancun’s Hotel Zone near Royal Resorts, the museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. except on Thursdays (7 a.m. to 10 p.m.). Admission costs about $5 and children under 13 and adults over age 60 are free. Tickets give guests access to the new museum as well as the archaeological site of San Miguelito. You can learn more about the Maya Museum by visiting The Cancun Convention & Visitor Bureau’s website  or the website of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

If you’re looking for a museum experience under water, then Cancun has got that, too. An underwater sculpture park known as the Cancun Underwater Museum  features  400 original, life-sized sculptures by artist, Jason deCaires Taylor. The project began in 2009 and the works of art were installed in the Cancun’s Marine National Park in depths ranging from nine to 20 feet. Snorkelers and divers alike can enjoy viewing figurines watching TV or looking up toward the sun as the fish circle them. Made with pH-neutral clay, the sculptures are eco-friendly and were designed to function symbiotically within the coral reef environment. The Cancun Convention & Visitor Bureau’s website also provides information about the Underwater Museum.

Where to Stay

Cancun offers endless possibilities when it comes to hotels, from budget to luxury, from seaside to garden-view. Since the first string of hotels opened in the 1970s, Cancun has grown exponentially with now an estimated 27,000 hotel rooms along its 17-mile stretch of beaches. We recently stayed at Dreams Cancun  to enjoy a family vacation and a swim with the dolphins , which are kept onsite at the hotel’s private saltwater lagoon. Dreams Cancun proved to be a fantastic choice and provided multiples amenities, including painting pottery on the beach, to keep families relaxed and entertained.

Whatever your interests, whether it’s beaches, ecotourism, or culture, as long as you love the sun, Cancun has something for everything.  There are hotel deals and vacation packages year-round, so browse through your options and get ready to explore Cancun!

Where else can you stay? Well you can complement your flight to Cancun with a stay at Great Parnassus Resort and Spa All Inclusive-Cancun.  CheapOair is currently offering a special on the hotel, it’s available until 2/13 with a travel window of 8/20 to 12/15! Click the link for further details!

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photo: Katrina Woznicki

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