Cancun Has a Short But Colorful History

It’s hard to imagine, but there are still many people who haven’t experienced what a fantastic resort-town Cancun is. Part of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the newly cosmopolitan haven is rich in cultural influence and ripe with tropical adventure.

But before Cancun became a tourist town and before the Spanish occupation, according to Mexican history, the Yucatan Peninsula was inhabited and dominated by Mayan civilizations until most of the local sites were abandoned in the 15th century. For centuries, this region was mostly wetlands, mangroves, jungles, and virgin beaches.

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And it wasn’t until 1968 when the Mexican government recognized the potential of this strip of land between Nichupte Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea, to grow it into a popular tourist destination. Development began immediately, establishing a connection between Cancun island and the mainland.

The construction of many hotels and tourist establishments would extend across 90 miles along the turquoise-blue Caribbean coastline, through Playa del Carmen, towards Tulum, and beyond. The wider region included lush tropical rainforests, cenotes, underground cave systems, white sand beaches, and archaeological sites of ancient Mayan ruins.

Today, downtown (Centro) Cancun lies to the west, and the hotel zone or tourist area to the east. Cancun Centro is the part of the city where most residents live and consists of the normal institutions of daily life, such as banks, schools, churches, hospitals, markets, restaurants, foreign consulates, and homes.

This is also a great starting point to partake in the slew of Cancun tours on offer today. Whether you want to experience some of the best snorkeling in Cancun, swim with whale sharks, experience some of the finest Chichen Itza tours, let your hair down, try every margarita available under the sun, or just party your vacation away.

Featured Tours in Cancun