Cancun Neighborhoods


Map of Mexico and Mexican cities near Cancun.

Cancun is one of the top international destinations for Americans to visit, no question. But when you are flying into Cancun, are you looking for a hotel IN Cancun or are you thinking something different. With Cancun being the original hot spot, so often we use Cancun interchangeably with it’s surrounding areas, which is fair, given that it is the airport you are flying into. However, the congestion of the Hotel Zone is far different than the quant location in Costa Mujeres or the convenience of Riviera Maya. This article will go over the different neighborhoods in the Cancun area and what makes those areas special in their own right.

Costa Mujeres and Isla Mujeres

Costa Mujeres is a quite slice of paradise on the mainland located 30 minutes north of Cancun. Although there are a number of hotels on the coast, you will find it slightly secluded compared to other areas in Cancun. This is fantastic for those who want to slow down and enjoy the gorgeous white sand beach.

For those who love to golf, there is a wonderful golf course, Playa Mujeres Golf Club, where you can make a tee time and soak in some sun.

Besides staying at the resorts, you can take a catamaran to snorkel, swim with whale sharks or visit Isla Mujeres, the 4-mile long island off the shores of Costa Mujeres.

There are a few great hotels on Isla Mujeres but you are also welcomed to take a day trip to the island if you aren’t staying on the island. While you are there, you can rent a golf cart to zip around and visit the Turtle Farm, view the rock formations at Garrafon National Reef Park or check out the underwater sculpture garden.

Note: If you know that you like to stay active and you know that you want to book some excursion further south of Cancun, I would suggest staying at a resort in that area. That is not to say that you can’t do other excursions while you stay in Costa Mujeres, it just mean you will have to wake up earlier and have a longer commute, which can take a lot out of your day, especially if you have kiddos with you.

Cancun Zone

It wasn’t until about 1970s did anyone notice Cancun with it’s first hotel opening in 1971. Now the cost is lined with resorts and has since made a name for itself with Spring Breakers. The transformation from an empty beach to rows of resorts, night clubs, and high-end shopping centers has created an energy of fun within the hustle and bustle.

The variety of resorts in the Hotel Zone allows something for everyone. They range from budget-friendly to 5-stars. These resorts are primarily family friendly with few Adult-Only properties.

The hotel zone is close to the airport and easy to get to with so many options to stay. The 15-mile long sandbar gives you plenty of beach to walk when you are looking to explore and it is easy to go jet skiing, parasailing or book a dive or snorkel excursion. Fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. The thriving night life and the energy of a city makes Cancun a great spot for those that like to party.

Note: With so many people in one area, the beaches can get crowded.


Riviera Maya

Having stayed in all the different regions in the Cancun area, Riviera Maya is where I like to throw up my feet. After Cancun took off, Riviera Maya provided an outlet for those that love Mexico but was looking for less population and more space where you feel like you are miles away from civilization. In fact, many honeymooners come to Riviera Maya as there are more Adults-Only options and activities for young couples.

Riviera Maya is south of Cancun and spans 80 miles along the Mexican Caribbean coastline. Riviera Maya encompasses a number of towns that you might have heard of such as Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Morelos and Puerto Aventuras. These towns are a lot smaller than Cancun which means you you can intermingle with the culture and not be surrounded by so many tourists.

What I enjoy the most about Riviera Maya is the adventure beyond the resort. The region is rich in archeological sites and is home to more than 2,500 cenotes (caves/sinkholes). You can go on a jungle tour, check out the ruins in Tulum, or wonder around Xcaret and it’s many parks. With so many activities just in the backyard, you don’t have those super early pick-ups or those long transfer rides.

Note: Tulum just opened up its own airport!!


The island of Cozumel is located just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen and is home to the SECOND largest coral reef in the world!! This is the most ideal spot for people who love to scuba dive or snorkel with so many different fish and so many depths for the fish to call home.

There are a few ways to experience Cozumel. You can fly directly to the island and enjoy one of the beautiful resorts. A second method is to go fly into Cancun or Tulum and take a ferry over for a day trip or for your entire stay. The third method, a very popular one, is to arrive via a cruise ship. Cozumel is the most popular cruise port in Mexico as so many people love the relaxed feel, white sand beaches and the delicious food.

Getting around Cozumel is easy and very safe. The island is relatively small with a coastal highway that circles the island. A rental car can get you to the natural parks, mangroves, jungle or the main town, San Miguel. There are Mayan sites on the island as it use to be populated by the Mayan people. The remnants of their once thriving civilization can still be seen at the ruins of San Gervasio.



The next time you are thinking about a trip to Mexico, make sure to call travel agent Jamie Lovejoy.


Related Posts
Lovejoy travel agency at Xcaret in Mexico