If there’s anywhere in Mexico I completely suggest against visiting, it’s Cancún. Quintana Roo itself is a hotbed for US tourists and here’s why it’s overrated. There’s absolutely nothing outside of the fancy hotels in the city and it looks very run down. There’s no Uber, so you have to rely on colectivos, buses and taxis which you have to negotiate the price. There’s no authenticity and everything feels like it’s five times the price than in Mexico City.
I went to Cancún with 2 of my friends as we had 2 weeks off during our semester because of Semana Santa and we flew in from Mexico City on a Viva Aerobus flight which cost £30. It was one of the best flights I had been on because there was a dog sitting on my row. Once we arrived, we got the bus over to Cancún and found our Airbnb. It was a 20 minute walk from the city centre and 5 minutes away from a beach. The beach itself was alright, but not amazing and later on we went to get something to eat.
The city centre of Cancún feels like a parody of Mexico as there are places selling overpriced souvenirs and restaurants which served inauthentic Mexican food like fajitas you’d make yourself. The city is very lively in the evening and it felt relatively safe.
We went to Isla Mujeres which is actually worth visiting in contrast to Cancún, when we went on a tour on a catamaran there was an open bar and once we arrived we were greeted with blue water and white sand. The overall vibe was good and I played beach volleyball with some Mexican tourists despite being terrible at it. Furthermore, we went a second time because we wanted to relax on the beach and we took a ferry to get there. Because of the crowds, it took ages to get on the ferry both ways.
We also spent a day, taking the bus from Cancún to Playa del Carmen and I have to say that Playa del Carmen is awful. It has no authenticity and for some reason I could see loads of dodgy pharmacies selling steroids and other drugs. Definitely a place to avoid as there is nothing special there. Moreover, we took a ferry to go to Cozumel which is an island off the coast of Playa del Carmen. It’s a nice island, however if you want to find a nice beach, you have to get a taxi and you can find a nice spot without anyone else around.
So, do I recommend Cancún? Absolutely not, the nightlife is way too pricey, it’s impractical to get around and there’s nothing that makes it feel unique, it feels very similar to Bali.
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