First off, there is a common misconception that traveling to Cancun or the Riviera Maya is unsafe. While some parts of Mexico can be dangerous, The Riviera Maya and the neighboring towns of Cancun, Holbox, and Isla Mujeres aren't nearly as bad as the media makes them out to be. These areas are all in the Mexican State of Quintara Roo.
Simply put, these are tourist spots, which means the locals are eager for your business and are pretty serious about keeping some of the dangerous elements of Mexico out. In the downtown area of Cancun, the city can feel like any other big city around the world, which may be why you choose or don't choose the downtown area for your vacation.
Cancun is considered the "Unofficial" capital of The Riviera Maya. And like most large metropolitan cities, Cancun has all the shopping, nightlife, and a Las Vegas-like vibe. If you are a traveler who wants to stay up all night, sleep the morning off and shop or relax by the pool in the afternoon, the Cancun Hotel Zone is for you! It's also helpful to know this area is only about 20 minutes from Cancun International Airport(CUN). For those who don't want a long ride to your hotel after multiple legs of flights, staying in the Cancun Hotel Zone area is the choice for you!
Beware, though, the Cancun International airport is where most travelers fly when going to Cancun or The Rivera Maya, so pre-arrange transportation whenever possible. All travelers, after baggage claim, are greeted by tour companies trying to lure them in the second they arrive.
Quintana Roo, Mexico, is a breathtaking place just begging for exploration. That said, there are some things you should know to make the most out of your vacation here:
Watch Out for the Heat
While this destination offers truly stunning natural landscapes, the whole region can become overwhelmingly hot and humid from June until October. The summer months may be peak vacation time, but they can also put the unprepared tourist at risk for heat stroke. In heat and summer, mosquitos are also in full swing during this timeframe. Beware of an increased chance of contracting conditions like the Zika Virus, Chikungunya, and Dengue Fever. So, pack some bug repellent when planning a visit to this area during summer.
Rules on Food and Water
The subject of food and water is a hot-button issue for first-time travelers to Cancun and The Riviera Maya. For one, you shouldn't drink tap water in Mexico, as sometimes it will make you sick. Instead, it would be best if you also asked for bottled water in restaurants since they'll likely serve unfiltered tap water by default. All Street food can also be potentially dangerous, as there is no telling whether or not a street vendor properly prepared the food or adequately cleaned their cooking space. In these instances, it helps to have the 'golden cage' of a hotel or resort to escape from time to time.
Feel Safe to Explore
While it helps to use a resort as a home base during your trip, you shouldn't rely on it. Resorts tend to upcharge for all their goods and services and will try to convince you that you need to use their expensive tour guides to explore The Riviera Maya safely. Instead, you pre-plan your excursions with a travel advisor to get a genuine taste of Mexico. The Riviera Maya is not the dangerous, crime-ridden place the news reports. If you take a chance and explore The Riviera Maya on your own, you'll quickly discover all the raw natural beauty this fantastic place offers.
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