Interesting & Fun Facts About Cancun, Mexico

Our family has been living in the Riviera Maya for the past 15 years, and we still learn something new and fun every day. We’ve compiled this list of all the most interesting & fun facts about Cancun, Mexico, and things to know before visiting the area. If you have any questions or want to learn more about the area, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be more than happy to help you discover what lies beyond this little piece of paradise.

Is Cancun Safe?

General safety is always a good thing to know before traveling, and it is one of the first things everyone wonders about the Riviera Maya. Although the media may be telling a different story, there have been no incidents near the tourist areas of Cancun. The most recent shootings occurred in clubs very far from the general tourist spots and Hotel Zone. Since there is really only one highway (which has very heavy security throughout the whole area), Cancun is very safe!

What does Cancun mean?

Before the city became known as “Cancun,” it was called “Ekab,” meaning “Black Earth.” Interestingly, Cancun is actually also a Mayan word that means “nest of serpents.”

What is Cancun known for?

The turquoise waters, rich Mayan culture, and luxury hotels bring us back to the Riviera Maya year after year. Not only is the weather 99% of the time perfect, but the tours and activities offered in the region will always keep you busy.

Photo Spot: Langosta Beach
Photo Spot: Langosta Beach | Taken By Local Lens, Jesse

What is Mexico’s Tourism Revenue?

This interesting fact about Cancun still blows our minds. Cancun alone generates 1/3 of Mexico’s tourism revenue. Millions of people travel to Cancun each year to enjoy the amazing city. The country’s total tourism revenue was $22.51 billion USD in 2018.

When is Hurricane Season in Cancun?

The rainy season is from May to October and the dry season is from November to April. Cancun’s average annual temperature is 80 degrees and there are over 240 sunny days.

Photo Spot: Playa Delfines | Taken By Local Lens, Gareth

Most Popular Tourist Attractions

There are tons of fun activities and things to do in Cancun, but the most popular attractions are:

Chichen Itza

Large Mayan archaeological site and one of the most notable and recognized landmarks on the Yucatán. The site itself was originally the main hub of Mayan civilization and has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Great Maya Barrier Reef

Scuba divers flock to Cancun, and the surrounding area, for the opportunity to dive the Great Maya Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest coral reef in the world. Only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is larger.

Isla Mujeres

This sleepy but vibrant little island has become quite popular in the past few years. A great thing to know is that it is only a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, so it makes for a great day trip!

There are 3 Districts

Cancun is divided into three districts: Downtown Cancun, the Ecological Reserve, and the Hotel Zone. Downtown Cancun is a great place to learn about the locals and a less expensive place to shop with several flea markets. The Ecological Reserve is home to Mexico’s largest genuine ecosystem – and there are many tours that explore the area. Cancun’s Hotel Zone is a popular tourist area with shopping and beaches.

Second Busiest Airport

The interesting fact that Cancun’s international airport is the second busiest airport is just proof of its impact on Mexico’s tourism. It also has the most international traffic in all of Latin America. Make sure to mark your luggage appropriately in case of a mix-up!

White Crushed Coral Sand

Cancun’s white sand is made from crushed coral and is cool to the touch, so you don’t need your sandals while walking on the beach. Remember to always bring a beach bag to store towels, sandals, and water just in case.

Photo Spot: Isla Mujeres | Taken By Local Lens, Alesha

Facts about Cancun Food

There is a strong Mayan influence in the whole Yucatan peninsula, so the most traditional and popular dishes you’ll see in the area are Cochinita Pibil (a marinated pork dish), Marquesitas (crispy Mexican crepes), and banana leaf tamales.

Photo Spot: Isla Mujeres | Taken By Local Lens, Alesha

How old is Cancun?

Fun fact: When Cancun was first developing in 1970, there were only three residents living there. Now there are over half a million people who call Cancun home. Can you imagine waking up to that beach every day?

Is it really Americanized?

Cancun is infamous for being “Americanized”, but it is really just another face of Mexico. Don’t let people tell you that it is “not the real Mexico”, because it’s just as real as any other part of the country. Mexico is a proud and very diverse country, which is what makes it a must-visit on our list.

Tons of Festivals and Conferences

Cancun has many festivals throughout the year such as the Cancun Jazz Festival, Equinox celebrations, film festivals, and more. Check out which festivals are happening during your travel time to enjoy this unique aspect of Cancun. I’ve been to the Cancun Cinco de Mayo party and it is definitely worth checking out.

Photo Spot: Playa Chac Mool | Taken By Local Lens, David

The Most Photographed Spot in Cancun

Sick of the Hotel Zone crowds? Playa Delfines is an amazing spot to spend the afternoon, but make sure to bring your own drinks and snacks since there isn’t too much available. This is the best beach to catch the breathtaking sunsets, and the colorful Cancun sign is also here, which makes it a great spot for beach photoshoots as well.

This Cancun landmark is the most photographed spot in town, and you shouldn’t leave without getting this iconic photo. Most Cancun photoshoots happen at this beach here since many hotels do not allow local photographers onsite. Check out our list of the top 5 Cancun photographers to hire to capture your precious vacation memories, and use our discount code to get $10 off your Cancun photoshoot:

Promo Code: CANCUN10

The 1.3 Billion Gallons of Sand Fact

Another fun fact: Between 2009 and 2010, Cancun underwent a major beach restoration project that added 7 miles of coast between 40-70 yards wide. This project cost about $70 million dollars. 1.3 billion gallons (6.1 cubic meters) of sand were added, which means there is plenty of beach for you and your friends to relax on!

Photo Spot: Cancun Sign, Playa Delfines | Taken By Local Lens, Daniel

Turtle Season in Cancun

There are around 140 hotels with over 24,000 hotel rooms and over 350 restaurants in Cancun – so there is always a place for you to stay. Every May, thousands of turtles return to lay eggs in the heart of the Hotel Zone. Thankfully, hotels have stepped in to help protect them. If you are in town during this month, ask around and you’ll be able to participate in one of the baby turtle releases!

Blue Flag Certification

Out of these 9 beaches, 3 of them (Las Perlas, Chac Mool, and Playa Delfines) have the Blue Flag Certification for the quality of the water.

Cave Fact: Longest Underwater Systems

Three of the world’s longest underwater cave systems are located in the Riviera Maya. Ox Bel Ha is 146.7 kilometers, Nohock Na Choch is 61 kilometers, and Dos Ojos is 57.7 kilometers.

Photo Spot: Langosta Beach | Taken By Local Lens, Jesse

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