In the early 1950s, Cancun was a nearly insignificant Island just off the western coast of Mexicos Yucatan peninsula. In the mid 1950s, the Mexican government decided to develop a tourist resort in Cancun, originally financed with $27 million USD (United States Dollars). Development of Cancun started in 1970 and grew rapidly in the 1980s.
The citys general population has grown rapidly over the past thirty years, reaching nearly 750,000 by the early 2000s. The majority of permanent residents of Cancun are Mexican, mostly from Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Although the majority of permanent residents are Mexican, a growing population from other Mid and South American people are beginning to live there, as well as many European nationals.
Within the city of Cancun, there are around 140 hotels with 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. Around 4 million tourists visit the city annually. Around March and April, spring break for many college students, Cancun quite regularly experiences a flood of students, the majority of whom are from the United States. Drinking alcohol is usually the main reason for college students to visit Cancun, since the legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, whereas the legal drinking age in the United States is 21.
During the remaining ten months of the year, the types of tourists visiting Cancun are much more diverse and include many families and couples. Cancun also welcomes a lot of repeat vacationers annually, as there are many timeshare resorts including the Palace Resorts, several Wyndham properties and a few properties managed by Hilton.
The temperature in Cancun is generally warm and humid, with temperatures typically ranging from 26C to 36C (78.8F to 96.8F).
The main language spoken in Cancun is Spanish, however English is widely spoken, mainly in the tourist areas. A few Mayan dialects are also spoken in the area, mainly between native peoples.
Cancun is home to several small archaeological sites . A few hours from Cancun lies the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, a major tourist attraction in the Yucatan Peninsula. Tulum, Coba, Copan, Uxmal are also fairly close to Cancun.
The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso. Most hotels have a currency exchange desk, but you will get the best rates at banks and exchange houses. Exchange houses are open longer and provide faster service. Banks will give cash advances in pesos, for a fee, if you have a major credit card. Most restaurants, bars and shops accept major credit cards. You may want to notify your credit card company in advance to be sure you are set up to access your card outside the country. ATM machines are available and most bank cards with Cirrus or Visa/MasterCard status can be used; check with your bank before you leave to be sure. Keep in mind the machines will dispense Mexican Pesos, not U.S. Dollars.
United States Citizens - Travel Requirements
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires that by 1 January, 2008, travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada have a passport or other secure, accepted document to enter or re-enter the United States.
For more information regarding New Travel Requirements visit: http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html