Cancun (map) is the World’s favorite Caribbean vacation – a beguiling, international playground that romps in the sun all day, then revels by neon all night. A Cancun vacation is where millions from around the globe gather to celebrate nature, lose a few brain cells, make new friends, and take home new perspectives and lasting memories.

Gina Perfectly located one hour and change from Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Dallas, and many other southern cities; you can travel at a moment’s notice with a “all-inclusive” Cancun package and be enjoying the beautiful beaches and exciting nightlife without breaking a sweat.

Choose from some of the world’s grandest Cancun hotels, savor both traditional and international Cancun restaurants, the rockin’ Cancun nightclubs, hundreds of things to do, cheapest Cancun car rentals, and unforgettable Cancun tours.

Wander along 15 miles of earth’s purest and whitest (powdered coral) beaches. Unlike quartz sand, Cancun beaches feel cool to your feet no matter what the temperature. Get acquainted with the avant-garde Mayan Riviera of chic Playa del Carmen and explore ancient mysteries of Mayan ruins of the Yucatan, such as Tulum and Chichen Itza.

cancunSwim with dolphins, deep-sea fish, flats fish, scuba dive, Cancun golf, parasail, or skydive.

Tour the breathtaking ecological parks of Xcaret and Xel-Ha. Hike deep into the jungle on guided tours to Mexico’s highest pyramid at Coba, or airboat the magnificent Sian Ka’an biosphere.

Start your vacation with a few of our handy Cancun FAQs then browse some of the hundreds of Coolguide’s Cancun pictures (tell grandma to hold onto her knickers!). Ok, that’s the sales pitch! The same one you’ll find on hundreds of other sites. Now for the flip side…

Cancun was founded and built from the ground up in the early 1970s strictly for “fleecing” tourists. As a brand new city, you will not find anyone over the age of 30 that was actually born there. Imagine Las Vegas but without any type of regulation.

From the moment you step off the plane in your Hawaiian shirt and Madras shorts, you’re just a Gringo with “Chump” written on your forehead and “Sucker” on your back. Everyone from the customs agent to the cab drivers to the hotel maids will have their hands in your pocket. In fact, some bartenders won’t serve you until you tip them first. Yeah, “all-inclusive” means no-tipping, but see how many “free drinks” or clean towels that get you.

Do not believe people in the airport information booths who say they are not selling timeshares. They are! These timeshare operators will offer you everything from cheap car rentals to free tours, all in exchange for you attending breakfast and a 90-minute “presentation”. These presentations, which usually last three hours or more may end with you stuck between floors in an elevator with an in-your-face pitch that would intimidate a used car salesman.

And that’s just your arrival. Wait until you’re ready to leave. That’s when the “arm-twisting” really begins! The idea that you may be leaving with ANY dollars in your pocket is an insult to Mexican hospitality. You’re told that your two small carry-on bags are “over-limit” and you must pay a “fine” of, oh…say, $50-75US. … And, you now find out there’s a “Departure Tax” of, oh…say, $50-100US. You can refuse to pay, and they WILL give you your ticket… As your plane soars away without you! Most vacationers, tired and ready for home just pay. I’ll bet your “friendly” travel-planner never mentions that added expense.

Anyone who mentions “credit card” should be immediately suspect. They might say something like, “We don’t need it; it’s just to show you’re not Mexican”. Scammers want your credit card number and your signature on anything – a ticket stub, free car rental agreement, thank you note – anything. Getting fraudulent charges off your card will be next to impossible.

The Mexican bureaucracy is slow, inefficient, idiotic and totally corrupt. If you happen to find yourself standing before a government official (municipal or federal), you will most likely be met with a blank stare and a pronouncement that your problem can only be solved by someone who is not there and who won’t be back today, next week, or next month. Realize nothing will happen until you pull out your wallet.

Mexicans don’t trust their government, especially the police. They expect little help from public officials and usually get less than that. Murders and kidnappings in Mexico are almost never solved and when they are the police are often the perpetrators. For this reason, most crime in Mexico goes unreported. Mexico is rated as more dangerous than Iraq. Remember that you are dealing with organized crime at every level of government.

If you find yourself in any type of dispute or legal matter during your Cancun vacation go immediately to the U.S. Consulate.

Girls, stay in the Hotel Zone especially at night and stay with your friends. Drugs can be slipped into your drinks and taking an unlicensed cab is asking for trouble. Whether shopping or clubbing, stay with the crowds. No city in the world, including Cancun, should be walked alone at night.

In Mexico, you will never see a crosswalk signal and the idea that cars might stop for pedestrians is unheard of. Pedestrians do not have the right of way in Mexico.

Always agree on the fare with the taxi driver before you get into the cab. (You will be over-charged in any event.) Cab drivers do not expect to be tipped. Parked cabs at hotels always charge more, so if you want to save a few pesos, flag down a cab curbside.

Most places accept American bills, but not American coins. Exchange your money at a bank. It will cost you more to change your money at a hotel or business. Convert only a small amount of cash at a time and don’t carry large amounts on you while on Cancun vacation.

Traveler Checks are safe and most Cancun businesses accept them.

Not everyone accepts credit cards. If you bring your credit card, make sure you have identity theft protection and use the card only for emergencies.

Call your cell phone provider before leaving home to make certain your phone will work during your Cancun vacation and that you will not be billed for roaming or international rates.

…And, uh, Don’t Drink the Water