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Cancun Assist

Your tourist guide for vacations in Cancun Mexico. Advice and tips on tours, trips, activities, nightclubs, and culture... all from the folks that live here. Check Discount Hotels here

Cancun is totally different - there are pyramids and archaeological sites, world class beaches, shopping meccas, an excellent transporation system, internet cafes, friendly people, and all for a fraction of what you would pay in the Caribbean Islands. Take a few days in your hotel room to relax, but DO get out and see things.

As a tourist give me the highlights?

  • Night Life: Cancun's wild clubs cater to the 20 and early 30 year olds at the party zone at km6. Hard Rock Cafe, The City, Senor Frogs, Coco Bongo, Bulldog Cafe, Dady Rock, etc. These clubs are huge with laser shows, pounding music, and each can hold 2,000 to 4,000 people. But Cancun is not just for clubbing.
  • Chichen Itza - perhaps the 8th wonder of the world. It is like the pyramids of Egypt and only a day trip from Cancun. Europeans say we don't have history in North America? Send 'em the pix!!
  • The beach between km 7 and km 22 in the Hotel Zone is #1 in the world. Truly white sand and crystal clear water.
  • Isla Mujeres. Take the catamaran trip to this wonderful island just 5 miles off the coast of Cancun. Good shopping, friendly people and great sundowns!
  • Do the Jungle Tour on a speedboat. Book well in advance, they are sold out all the time.
  • Take the ATV tour in Puerto Morelos to the cenotes (underground and above ground water holes). This tour will put you in awe. I can't describe enough the feeling that you will get... sort of like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.
  • Take a trip to the city and buy all your souvenirs in Market 28. A bus to Walmart is a good idea and then a taxi for USD $1.40 will get you to Market 28. Stock up on stuff at Walmart, ie: cigs, liquor, sodas, chips, and all those forbidden things. Look for any bus in the hotel zone that says "Walmart" and take it. You can easily return to the hotel zone from Walmart on any R1 or R2 bus.
  • Tips are critical to the locals. Many work for free or for $3 a day and depend totally upon your good nature. A tip will get you fabulous service. Don't wait until you check out to reward people... do it up front.

Forget everything you saw in the movies about Mexico

There are no tequila drinking bandidos hiding behind a cactus. Cancun is a fairly modern city with most of the amenities you would find in Europe or Canada/USA. You can even walk around safely at night - even in the city. Naturally you must take the standard precautions, ie: stay away from the dimly lit areas, don't flash a lot of jewelery or cash, etc. If you want to know about the interesting traditions (ie: sign language) click here

 

What's the standard rip offs?

  • Taxis in the hotel zone... Take the bus! 60 cents vs. 8 bucks (some people get burned for $40 for a trip that should be $8 but on the bus would be 60 cents.... argggg).
  • Buy all touristy stuff at Market 28 and Walmart and NOT in the hotel zone.
  • Airport duty free is more expensive than we pay at Walmart.
  • Watch your bill in any place in the Hotel Zone. Sometimes they include a 10 or 15% tip already and you might tip them yet again. They do this because Europeans are used to having the tip included in the bill - so don't blame them. On the other hand... it is quite nice if they get a double tip from and unsuspecting gringo!
  • Time Share people are out in force. They are in disguise even in hotel employee uniforms (usually the front desk/concierge or your travel rep making $ on the side - rarely the bartender or other staffers). Be cautious of overly helpful people wanting you to attend a special presentation etc. The ideal "victim" is an American/Canadian couple between 30 and 60 and they ask stupid questions like "do you have a major credit card?" THAT qualifies you as a sucker and if you attend the high pressure sales meeting they get $200 dollars just to get you to the presentation. If you see a tour that is very cheap on the street you can be certain that it is accompanied by a time share presentation.
  • Bring biodegradable suntan lotion if you are going to a reef or swimming with dolphins. They will refuse your normal sunblock lotion and you will be stuck buying theirs at the going rate.
A Drive through the Hotel Zone on 22 March 2005
(click any picture to see full screen)

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Brants 2 for 1 Meal and Discount Tour Card (Vital that you get one!!)

This overwhelmingly popular discount card has been around for several years in Cancun. It's a great bargain for 15 bucks. I cannot understand why anyone would visit Cancun and NOT buy the card.

Save up to 30% in most cases on popular tours like Chichen Itza, Tulum, the Jungle Tour, fishing trips, catamarans... all the best ones. The Card will pay for itself the very first time you use it. You get 2 for 1 discounts on meals at many popular restaurants, and also cut rate cover charges at the big night clubs.

In know Brant personally. He's a Canadian guy married to a Mexican wife and has been around Cancun for many years. He runs an honest tour business and sells the EXACT same tours that your hotel offers - but at a discount. The same tour bus, the identical everything. You will be getting on the same bus with the other people from your hotel but you will have paid far less.

Does the tour desk in your hotel want you to know this? No way! They are well aware of Brant and will say anything to persuade you to cancel. If you buy a tour from your hotel agent you are paying too much.

Brant has English speaking staff that you can call from 7am to 11pm daily if you have ANY problem at all... the tour desk in your hotel is only open a few hours a day. Brant has a network of cell phones, agents, and computer systems connected directly to the tour operators. You can even book tours with Brant and check out prices before you arrive in Cancun. To get the special "bonus price" you need to book your tour on the Internet. Usually there is no down payment and you can cancel 24 hours before the tour. You can phone his office but you may or may not get the bonus price.

Bottom line? Get the card.. check out his site. Trust me.. you will thank me for the tip on this or you can flame me on my bulletin board on this site.

Click here to get the Card and book discount tours.


Food

All the places in the Hotel Zone are safe to eat at but don't drink the tap water anywhere. In downtown Cancun don't eat at small restaurants or from street vendors unless you have lived here for a while. Stick to the better known places in the city like La Parilla, La Taberna, VIP's, or Rolandis all of which are excellent.

All the places in the Hotel Zone are safe to eat at.

Whazzup with Cancun Assist?

Cancun Assist is a web site that is a hobby. I'm a retired Canadian military guy goofing off here in the land of palm trees. My goal is to meet new and interesting people. If this web site helps you in some way, chalk up a cold beer that you owe me. I've met so many interesting people in the last 8 years I've lived here.

The "Hotel Zone" is where the touristas hang out. It's about a 30 minute drive from the airport. I'd say there are 70 major hotels lined up like in Las Vegas along a single strip of highway. In between the hotels are night clubs, bars, malls, party centers, Cancun busses run up and down the "strip" every 30 seconds.

There IS a city named Cancun too but unfortunately many will never see it. That's where your hotel staff (and the members of this web site) live.

Money Exchange

U.S. Dollars in cash gets you a good exchange rate here. The worst thing you can do is bring actual bank-notes from Canada, the UK, or Euros and try to convert them. The exchange rate is bad!

Once you are here, use a debit card. Cancun ATM machines generally take all foreign cards and issue you with pesos at the exchange rate your bank uses. There are ATM machines everywhere. Make sure you have your PIN number and check the expiry date on the card. Ask your bank how to phone them from Mexico if you have a problem.

Keep funds locked up in your hotel safe and only carry around day cash with you. It is generally very safe in Cancun but it is wise not to go out on the town with a pile of cash and all your credit cards.

Scotts Tip: If you are in downtown Cancun take some $50 US bills with you and buy something at Walmart - they have an excellent exchange rate - however, they don't take 100's. If there are several people in your group have each person buy something small and get those $50 bills exchanged. You will easily get 10% more at Walmart than in your hotel and you can stock up on things that are expensive in the Hotel Zone too.

Cancun Weather?

Basically, it is HOT every day of the year though in Jan/Feb the nights can be cool (65F). We get a ton of sunshine here all year.. relentless July might be the best description. Rainy season is a question people always ask... it means that if it is going to rain it will do it for an hour and then pass.

We've got a page specifically devoted to Cancun Weather here

 
 
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