Who would know more about Cancun than someone who has lived there? T.W. Anderson, the author of the Cancun Series of articles is a world traveler who decided, after a lengthy stay of a few years in Europe, to return to North America. However, instead of his native USA, he opted to experience the cultural and diverse life of Mexico instead.
The obvious reason to choose Cancun is for the tropical climate but there is also the welcoming friendliness of the residents there. Throw into the mix all the incoming tourists hopping off planes from all over the globe to seek sun and beaches...its a venue for an adventurous expat to set down roots for a while and not get bored. His articles offer in insider's view.
The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear the name "Cancun" is Spring Break. Which in turn brings to mind images of drunken frat kids spinning wildly out of control on the beach, wet T-shirt contests, wild orgies and drug-induced incidents that go straight to YouTube. And while it's certainly true that the tourist strip of the city known as the Hotel Zone caters to that type of crowd, there's much more than meets the eye in this tropical destination.
The city is split into two separate sections. The Hotel Zone is loaded with more all-inclusive resorts than Las Vegas, Nevada, and if you are looking for a weekend-for-two with all-you-can-eat-buffets, pristine beaches, turquoise waters, infinity pools and spa therapy, there's plenty to go around. But, there's also the almost unknown part of Cancun on the mainland, the residential areas where the vast majority of workers in the Hotel Zone live, and where the real Mexico exists...more
Tipping in Cancun is also part of the culture in Mexico. The people are very generous, despite making what many Westerners consider a very low amount of money; they will often offer to buy you a beer or the like even if it means spending a portion of their daily paycheck. The will also offer to feed you, even though they barely have enough to feed themselves.
Once you get to know the people who are the real Mexicans, you see far more than what is portrayed on the Western news where all they talk about is the drug cartels in the northern part of the country and the taxi drivers who try and scam everyone out of extra money (which happens in every city around the world). ...more
Tourist trap. Enough said. However, if you are looking for a place to buy hand-crafted goods, knick-knacks and tourist goodies for your friends and families, this is the only place in Cancun to consider. The prices are high if you pay face value, but if you know how to negotiate you can always walk away with a good deal.
Personally, I would recommend avoiding the restaurants in the area unless you are absolutely starving, simply because they charge triple or quadruple the rates you will find if you walk two streets over outside the perimeter of the market. Tourist trap, remember? These people make a living off of tourists who are worn out from their exploration of the market, too much so to walk down one of the side streets and find a little local tienda serving the same food for a fraction of the price...more
Taxis in Cancun: While public transportation is the best option when traveling around the heart of Cancun, sometimes you need to get somewhere in a hurry, such as when it's raining. Or you might need the luggage space for a heavy grocery run or when heading out to the airport, or as already mentioned, just to avoid the rain. In either case, taxis are readily available throughout the city, but there are right ways and wrong ways to use them...and get ripped off if you aren't careful.
Taxis in Cancun are affordable, and they can be found anywhere, anytime. Unless it is the dead of night on a backwater alleyway, you can generally find one within 30 seconds of needing one. Simply hail them from the side of the street with a wave of your hand. Most drivers will honk lightly and flash their lights at you if they see you standing on the side of the street and they are empty, or you just wave one down when you need it...more
A common saying in Mexico is that here it is the land of tomorrow, because there is no such thing as "by the clock". If someone tells you they will be there in 15 minutes, they more likely mean an hour or so, and if they tell you 30 minutes it will probably be more like 1-2 hours.
It is an extremely relaxed culture, and you will find most people very laid back, to the point they will often ignore you if you are a typical Westerner who walks in and wants everything handed to them on a silver platter at the drop of a hat with a chip on their shoulder from years of being catered to in societies where "the customer is always right".
Consequently, you'll also have to get used to the fact that the customer is not always in the right, and you will have to unlearn many of the ingrained habits you have picked up in hour home country. Cancun is a place about relaxation, slow living, and taking things one at a time when they come at you...more
When it comes to Mexican food or classical eats in Cancun, you can opt for street food, the typical comida rapida, a menu del dia type of place, or you can spring for the Yucatan specials where the fares are high but the food is unique. After a few years in the city, the following are three solid options representing the best of each type...more
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