Cancun Photo Gallery - Beach Resorts

The Yucatan peninsula is home to mega resorts and Maya historic monuments. Cancun is a great base to stay comfortably, with beach breaks in between day trips to Maya remnants. The Mexicans decided to move into tourism in the 1960s, and this part of the country had a great combination of accessibility, beaches, and a low population. The first hotel opened in 1974.

While there is very little to sightsee in the city other than malls, the focus is on the self-contained resorts that line along a narrow strip of land facing the sea, rightfully named Zona Hotelera. You just need to enjoy your hotel's piece of the beach and beautiful sea, and wave your wristband to get all the food and booze you like on-site.

Drug violence flared up in 2018 as it moved into the tourist areas. Murdered men stuffed in a car and gunmen arriving in water scooters and shooting on the beach were just some of the stories that surfaced. Shortly before my visit, a bomb went off in a ferry in nearby Playa del Carmen, prompting a US travel bulletin. By year-end, the number of murders shot up to a record high.

Masses of seaweed have washed ashore many coastal areas along the Caribbean. While they support birds and sea life in the ocean, they also emit a stink as they decay, killing coral, fish, and causing discomfort in people. Scientists believe climate change and pollution from agricultural fertilizers are fueling these blooms.

Coin and bank note images from the Banco de Mexico.

Riviera Maya Gallery Main