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Cancun Los Cabos Playa del Carmen




Plaza Caracol:
Blvd. Kukulcan km. 8.5 Hotel zone.
Cancún, Q. Roo 77500
(98) 83-09-05
Mon-Sun 9 am-10 pm
Indoor Mall. Handicap Access
With 200 shops this is the largest and most modern of the resort shopping areas.
This two story mall of marbled floors and pleasant plant-filled atriums was designed by internationally renowned architects. Plaza Caracol features shops, boutiques, restaurants and galleries.

Cancún Museum:
Cancún Convention Center, Blvd Kukulcán Km 9
(98)83-0305
Tues to Sun, 9 - 7
Admission charged. children under 11 free Sundays free
Cancún's museum is located on the ground floor of the city's convention center. It traces the Maya culture with an impressive collection of 1,000 to 1,500-year-old artifacts. There are a number of impressive carvings and frescoes, along with ancient artifacts that have been unearthed at nearby sites throughout Quintana Roo. A visit to the National Institute of Anthropology and History can add another dimension to exploration of the Mayan ruins and is a fascinating introduction to the ancient culture. Guided tours in English, French, German, and Spanish are available.

National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH):
Located on Calle 43 and Paseo Montejo, Mérida
Tel: (99) 23-05-57.
Tues - Sat 8 - 8, Sundays, 8 - 2.
Admission charged. Free on Sundays.
Originally a residence for the governor, this mansion was transformed into a museum in 1977. The Museo de Anthropologiá e Historia showcases the Mayan culture and history with exhibits of artifacts found from ruins on the peninsula. Here you can see ancient conch shells, stones, feathers, jade objects and jewelry used in Mayan rituals. Another display case explains the various customs of tattooing and head binding along with the myths associated with them.

Museum of the Maya Culture (Museo de la Cultura Maya):
Héroes and Calle Mahatma Gandhi, Chetumal
(983) 26-838
Tues-Thurs, 9 - 7 ; Sat 9 -8 ; Sun 9 - 2
Admission charged.
Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo, is home to the impressive Museum of Mayan Culture. This is a sophisticated, interactive museum that explains the complex world of the Maya. Various exhibits outline their social classes, politics and customs along with the medicinal and domestic uses of plants.

Isla Mujeres:
The island is five miles long and half a mile wide, and only six miles from Cancún. There are three excellent beaches. Playa de los Cocos in the north end, is the most popular with calm waters, silky sand and all water sports. Playa Lancheros, located at the southern end, is very secluded, featuring live sea turtle pens and a separate area for swiming. Playa Garrafon is a national underwater park that is a favorite for snorkeling. Banderas, Cuervones and Manchones are reefs for experienced divers.

Cozumel Island:
68 kilometers south of Cancún, Cozumel has excellent hotels and resorts, beautiful beaches with water sports of all kind, world-famous snorkeling and diving and a National Archaelogical Park with Botanical Gardens.

Ruinas del Rey:
Paseo Kukulkán Km 17
This archaeological dig, though small, is notable for the unusual architecture of two main plazas bounded by two streets. The majority of Maya cities had one plaza and few streets. This site may have been a royal burial ground.

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve:
Over a million acres nature reserve, made up of about one-third wetlands, one-third tropical forest and one-third marine systems, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The reserve maintains ecological diversity while it provides the native population with agricultural and ecological opportunities to make a living. Friends of Sian Ka'an is a non-profit group that operates biologist-escorted tours from Cancún that help the biosphere concept support itself via low-impact tourism.

Xcaret:
About 45 miles south. Travel to the park takes about an hour. Buses depart daily from the XCaret terminal at 9 and 10am. Once a peaceful cove, it has been transformed into a waterside park with an ecological theme. There is a choice of tour packages. Visitors are greeted at a modern concrete pyramid which houses a museum and restaurant. It also has a scenic outlook point. Paths lead from there to the beaches, the cove, and the dolphin swimming area. Other paths lead to the lagoon and the underground river that is one of the park's greatest attractions. Some of the visitors will be invited to swim and snorkel with the dolphins. There is a wild bird sanctuary with 36 different species and a botanical garden with a wide variety of native plants, including flowers in bloom. At night there is a festive air that begins with a light and sound tour in the caves. This is followed by the recreation of a Mayan ceremony and a folk ballet presented in the amphitheater.

Other features include:
A butterfly habitat
An aquarium with tanks from different depths on the reef
Dolphin shows and swimming with dolphins
Jaguars and cougars
Several live shows throughout the day and evening
Underground river that you can float down
Botanical gardens
Riding stables
Recreation of Mayan village

Xel-Ha:
A natural aquarium where you can swim with the fish. Also between Tulum and Cancún This was a sacred city of the Maya, and one of the most important on the Mayan trade route. It is an ecological marvel in that water from the sea mixes with natural fresh water springs, forming a group of coves and lagoons. The result is a natural aquarium in which the swimmer can snorkel and dive while surrounded by tropical fish.

National Institute of Anthropology and History:
Quintana Roo, Paseo Kukulcán Km 9
98/830305
Museum located on the ground floor of the city's convention center, features a collection of 1,000 to 1,500-year-old artifacts showcasing the Maya culture.

Avenida Tulum: Many restaurants and shops are located along this avenue. Life-size reproductions of ancient Mexican art are displayed on the median, including the Aztec calendar stone and the Atlantids of Tula among others.

Mayan Ruins:

Chichen Itza
This huge complex of magnificent Mayan ruins is one of the most extensive in Mexico. It dates back to 600 AD and the Mayan civilization. It features in the center the majestic pyramid of Kulkulkan, with its accompanying buildings. The ancient Maya used the observatory at Chichen Itza to track the stars and to calculate agricultural seasons.

Coba
"Coba" means "water stirred by wind," a name derived from the beatiful lakes nearby. It is one of the largest Mayan cities in existence. The Nohoch Mul is 138 feet tall.

Tulum
Tulum is the only walled city near the ocean that the Mayans ever constructed. It was built between 1200 and 1500 A.D. and is an easy day-trip away. The unique aspect of Tulum is its seaside location. As there is no place to eat at Tulum itself, many visitors pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. There is a long uncrowded stretch of land to the right of the main temple. Because a trip to Tulum takes only about half a day, travelers booking tours to the site may want to select one that goes in the morning to Tulum and offers afternoon snorkeling in Xel-Ha.

Undersea Boat Tour:
You can get a great look at the reefs and marine life on a tour on an undersea boat tour. The tour leaves from Isla Paraiso, which is also a spot for all-day snorkeling, with a get a discounted fare for both.

Cozumel Island:
Cozumel has the distinction of being the largest island in Mexico as well as the largest cruise ship port. It has an exciting combination of casual sophistication and magnificence. Located two hours south of Cancún, Cozumel is a flat island with an interior covered by dense jungle, and marshy lagoons. On the western side are white sandy beaches with calm waters where you can snorkel, sail, windsurf or scuba dive. There is horseback riding on the beach. Eastern side beaches are deserted stretches of sand with dramatic rock formations and powerful surfs - a favorite place to surf or boogie board. The Mayans built a temple on Cozumel to their moon goddess, Ixchel, to ensure fertility for their women.

Isla Holbox:
There is no better place to get away from it all than on Isla Holbox. This small island 16 mi long rests at the tip of Quintana Roo, just north of Cancún and offers a kind of romance and tranquility. The small village has no paved roads and the residents get around on electric golf carts. On the gulf side of the island are long stretches of sand, where the birds gather to bask in the sun. It's a beachcomber's paradise - the sands are strewn with hundreds of seashells. Afternoon breezes from the Gulf of Mexico ensure that the island remains cool. the checkpoint station, turn north to Kantunilkin road.

The Colonial Cities:
A trip to one of the nearby colonial cities is an adventure into the past. Many of the cities in this area are an exotic blend of the Spanish and Maya cultures giving them an distinct character and charm.

Valladolid:
Valladolid is a city founded in 1543 by the Spanish Conqueror Francisco de Montejo. It is a picturesque village with many 19th century buildings and churches. Its main sights are the large cathedral found off the main square and the marvelous ex-Franciscan convent and church of Saint Bernardino of Siena (founded in 1552).

Izamal:
Izamal, also known as Cuidad Amarillo (the yellow city), is a perfect example of a typical Spanish colonial town. All the buildings, by order of a town law, have been painted an earthy yellow. In the center of town is the enormous 16th century Monastery of St. Anthony de Padua, built from the stones of a giant Maya pyramid devoted to Itzamná, father of the Maya gods. Inside are 75 yellow arches in a gigantic atrium that houses frescoes of saints and a statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. Many miracles have been attributed to this statue and every year there is a pilgrimage in her honor. To reach Izamal from Cancún, take Highway 180, west for 3.5 hours approximately 273 km (169 mi). Watch for the sign that reads, Izamal, and turn north.

Mérida:
Mérida is the beautiful capital of the Yucatán state and is the cultural and intellectual center of this region. Known in its heyday as the Paris of the Yucátan, where the barons of the henequen trade built their mansions, Mérida is a city that has a blend of French, Moorish and Spanish architecture. A visit here will teach you about the history and culture of the Yucatán. Since it's a much larger city than Cancún it has more to offer in the way of museums, restaurants, shops, theaters, universities, schools and historical buildings.

Casa de Montejo:
Built in 1542; Renaissance style Cathedral, home to the second largest crucifix in the world.

Cruises:

Caribbean Funday Cruise
9:30 am - 4:00 pm.
Goes to Isla Mujeres

Tropical Cruiser
Goes to Isla Mujeres and El Garrafon Beach.

Treasure Island Cruise
Leaves at 8:00 am, for swiming, snorkeling or shopping. It includes lunch.

Sunshine Cruise
Goes to Isla Mujeres through the lagoon, for snorkeling and swimming in the company of giant sea turtles. Tour includes a buffet lunch.

Theater and Dance:

Ballet Folklorico de Cancún
Cancún Convention Center
Blvd Kukulcán Km 9
(9) 883-0199
Cocktails start at 6:30, dinner at 7:00 pm and the show at 8 PM
Telephone for ticket reservations and prices.
Cancún's famous dance troupe performs nightly at the Convention Center. This popular revue showcases regional dance and music from across Mexico. The dancers, wearing traditional costumes, perform authentic dances accompanied by live musicians. It's a colorful show, and is very lively and entertaining. A Mexican buffet dinner is served before the show.

Teatro Cancún
Blvd Kukulcán, Km 4
(9) 849- 4848
Enjoy the chants and dances of México along with the dances and drum beats of the Caribbean at Teatro Cancún. This is an high-energy show full of movement and music performed by some of Cancún's most talented dancers and musicians. No reservations are required.

Casa de Cultura (House of Culture)
Prolongación Av. Yaxchilán, Sm 21
(9) 884-8364
Admission fees are nominal
Cancún's community center for culture is located downtown and offers a variety of weekly cultural events such as music concerts, dance rituals, plays and poetry readings. An on-site museum displays works of local artists. The exhibits change each month.

Museo Arqueologico
PreColombian history & Culture of Mexico
Open Tues-Sat, 10am-1pm & 4-6pm
Ave. Sixto Osuna #76
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico 82110
Tel: (69) 85-3502

Shopping:
The Yucatán is famous for its beautiful handicrafts created by artisans in nearby villages. The open-air markets in Cancún are excellent places to find these crafts.

Hammocks
The hammock is the Yucatán's most famous export and after you have had a nap in one of them you will know why they are considered the finest in the world. They make a cool, comfortable and portable bed. Local Maya sleep in hammocks, and many find our beds quite uncomfortable. Hammocks come in a variety of sizes and colors: singular (singles sleeps one; matrimonial is big enough for two people, while familia fits the whole family.

Panama Hats
Panama hats made on the peninsula are famous for their light weight and strength. They are made from the jipijapa palm and are considered to be among the finest hats in the world because of their tight weave and flexibility. A good Panama can be rolled up and stuffed into a pocket without breaking or creasing. Most the Panama hats are woven by residents in the village of Becál working in caves beneath their homes where the humidity keeps the reeds flexible. Prices vary according to the quality of the reed and amount of time taken to weave the hat. Prices for really good Panama hats start at $65.

Skirts, dresses, skirts in the Indigenous style
Huipils are the beautiful cotton dresses worn by the local Maya women. They are embroidered along the square neck and bottom hem with colorful designs and flowers. Often a lace-finished petticoat is worn which peeks out below the huipil. Each woman puts her own village design on the dress as well as her own special pattern. Today many of the dresses are machine embroidered but hand-embroidered dresses can still be found at higher prices. For men there is the classic guayabera, long or short-sleeved dress shirts made from cotton or silk in white and pastel colors.

Woven items
Because of the different kinds of palms in the area, woven baskets and mats are plentiful. Many villages weave them with their own designs and patterns creating baskets that are both beautiful and practical. Throughout the craft markets you can find woven plant holders, clothes hampers, wastepaper bins, food storage and handbags in all shapes and sizes. Prices are quite reasonable.

Leather goods and jewelry
Other handcrafted items include leather goods, silver jewelry and the talavera ceramics known for their distinctive style. Anything made from tortoiseshell is contraband and will be confiscated, since the endangered turtle is a protected species. Also be careful in purchasing items made from black coral. You must purchase it from a recognized dealer who will supply you with a certificate to take with it through customs.

Mazatlan
The traditional market in Mazatlan is found at Ocampo & Juarez is a marvelous shopping area. From open air mercados to boutiques or shopping malls, the assortment is varied, and the price is right. The Zona Dorada is the main shopping area of Mazatlan, but that is only the beginning. Keep sorting through the stalls and tables, looking for a buried treasure.

Though the region is not known for any particular handicraft tradition, shops have an wide selection of items from throughout the country.

Centro de Artesanias
Offers a wide selection of fine handicrafts in more than 20 shops. You can see artisans at work.

Mercado Jose Mario Pino Suarez
or Centro Comercial El Mercado
is one of the premier shopping centers. It offers fine silver, leather goods, pottery, clothing, food stalls and some of the best vanilla in Mexico.

Downtown shopping is a mix of shops and open-air markets. Bartering is expected in the markets but prices are fixed in the stores.

Ki Huic Av. Tulum 17, between the Bancomer and Bital banks Daily 9 -10 PM (9) 884-3347) This is the oldest and largest craft market in Cancún with over 100 vendors.

Mercado Veinteocho (Market 28)
Avenida Yaxchilán and Sunyaxchen
This popular market is filled with shops selling souvenir items. There are also a number of excellent restaurants in this market.

Plaza Bonita
Adjoins Market 28
A charming market area with many excellent shops and boutiques.

Fama
Along Avenida Tulum between Avs. Cobá and Uxmal.
A department store that sellsEnglish books and magazines along with sports gear, toiletries, liquor, and handicrafts.

Ultrafemme
A popular downtown store selling duty-free perfume, cosmetics, and jewelry. It also has branches in the Hotel Zone and the major shopping malls.

Plaza las Americas
Av. Tulum, Sm 4 and 9.
Tel: (9) 887-5893
On the southern edge of the city, is the only indoor shopping plaza downtown. It has over 50 stores, three restaurants, eight movie theaters, a video arcade, fast food outlets, and three large department stores.

American mega stores including Wal-Mart, Costco, Office Depot, and Blockbuster are scattered throughout the downtown area.

Mexican supermarkets
Include Comercial Méxicana, Chedraui, and San Francisco de Asís.

Hotel Zone
The malls that line Blvd. Kukulcán are what have made shopping in the Hotel Zone so famous.

Kukulcán Plaza
Blvd. Kukulcán.
Tel: (9) 885-2304
has over 130 shops, 12 restaurants, a bar, a liquor store, a bank, a three-screen cinema, bowling lanes, and a video arcade.

Flamingo Plaza
Blvd. Kukulcán,
Tel: (9) 883-2945
Is a small mall with designer emporiums, duty-free shops, an exchange booth, and sportswear shops.

Forum-by-the-Sea
Blvd. Kukulcán
Tel: (9) 883-4425
Is a huge entertainment/shopping plaza with three levels of cinemas, brand-name stores, and restaurants such as the Rain Forest Café.

Plaza Caracol
Blvd. Kukulcán,
Tel: (9) 883-2961
The largest and most contemporary of the malls is with over 200 shops and boutiques, including two pharmacies, art galleries, a currency exchange, and folk art and jewelry shops, as well as cafés and restaurants.

Plaza Mayafair
Blvd. Kukulcán,
Tel: (9) 883-0862
Next-door to Plaza Caracol is this large open-air plaza filled with 30 shops, restaurants, and bars.

La Isla Shopping Village
Blvd. Kukulcán,
(9) 883-5025
The newest and most exclusive mall is located on the Nichupté Lagoon under a giant canopy. There are a wide variety of upscale boutiques along with a marina, an aquarium, a disco, restaurants, and movie theaters.

Coral Negro (Black Coral)
It's open seven days a week until late evening.
There is only one open-air market in the Hotel Zone. located next to the Convention Center, It has over 50 stalls selling craft items.

Cancún Beaches:
The entire hotel zone is really one long beach. If the beach in front of your hotel is not to your liking, you can walk over to the next hotel's beach and swim there, use their chairs, play volleyball, go parasailing, etc.. The beach is all public property, except around the Club Med. Although the Cancún coast includes both an "ocean side" and a "lagoon side", most of the hotels face the ocean. There is very little beach the lagoon side. Swimming and tanning take place on the ocean side, and jet-skis, kayaks, and other water sports are found on the lagoon side.

Unlike beaches in elsewhere, the beaches in Cancún are made of crushed coral rather than crushed rock. The coral stays cool even on the hottest days; and doesn't burn the feet. The Atlantic surf is high and most of the swimming consists of bobbing in the waves. Depending on the wave and tide conditions, each section of the beach is marked with a color coded flag indicating whether it is safe to swim there.

Parasailing
Parasailing is offered on the beach opposite some of the hotels. There is also parasailing at the Aquaworld marina.

Beach Volleyball
There is a volleyball net in the same area and one near the Casa Maya.

Snorkeling
The best snorkeling area off the beach is the public area near the Westin Regina, in the southern tip of the hotel zone.

Tours:

Chichen Itza
Most visitors to Cancún agree that a tour of the ruins at Chichen Itza is a must. In addition to the beautiful scenery and structures, there are fascinating echo effects in some of the enclosed areas. To streamline the tours, guides from different companies sometimes exchange parts of their groups so that one guide has the English speakers and the other has the Spanish speakers. Expect a detailed explanation of Mayan culture and history. There are also independent guides who show small parties around the vicinity. Afterward, you return to Cancún on one of the regular tour buses.

Xel-Ha
Usually, tours to Tulum also include an afternoon of snorkeling at Xel-Ha. It is a nature preserve with the lagoon as the main attraction. Don't apply any suntan lotion before coming to Xel-Ha as you are not allowed to swim with it on (it's toxic to the coral reef).

Bullfights
Av. Bonampak (past the Pemex Station, near Plaza las Americas)
(9) 884-8372 or (9) 884-8248
every Wednesday at 3:30
Tickets begin at $40
The first bullfight in Mexico was held in 1526 in honor of Hernán Cortés and shortly afterward bullfighting arenas were built throughout the country. While Cancún's bullring is certainly much younger than those found in other cities, it maintains all the traditions of this ancient duel. You can witness the battle between man and beast. One hour before the bullfight, matador, charros (cowboys), a mariachi band, and flamenco dancers entertain you with song and dance until the bulls are ready.

Sports:
There is nonstop action on both land and sea. Choose from a wide variety including jet-ski and parasailing thrills, scuba diving and boating. The main course for golf is Pok-Ta-Pok. With 18 holes facing both sea and lagoon, the club has a practice green, pool, tennis courts and restaurant. The Caesar Park Beach and Golf Resort and Hotel Melia Cancún also feature 18-hole courses.

Diving & Fishing
The waters surrounding Cancún are clear and diverse. You can snorkel right off the beach or scuba dive/snorkel over the "Mayan Reef" . Famous dive spots like Palancar, El Bajito, Manchones and Chitales are all nearby. There is also the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks where divers sometimes claim to have "petted" the sleeping sharks. Isla Mujeres is probably the most scenic place in the area for diving & snorkeling. Deep sea fishing is available throughout Cancún. Marlin, sailfish, tuna and dorado are available during their respective seasons.

Golf
Cancún has 4 18-hole golf courses available for the avid golfer. In Cancún you'll find one at each tip of the island. The other two courses are found to the south on the Mayan Riviera.

Kayaking & Windsurfing
Kayakers & windsurfers will find Cancún's waters perfect for your enjoyment. For calmer waters, try the protected Nichupté Lagoon or the northern end of Cancún Island. Jet skiing, parasailing and regular sailing are also popular in this water paradise.


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