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A Brief History of Cancún

Due to Cancún's ideal mix of elements -- its transparent turquoise sea, powdery white sand, and immense potential for growth -- a group of Mexican government computer analysts targeted the town for tourism development in 1974, transforming it from a deserted beach area to a five-star resort. Since then, Cancún has sustained the devastations of hurricanes and other powerful tropical storms, only to emerge stronger and more irresistible. In the wake of Hurricane Wilma, which tore through the Yucatán peninsula in 2005, wreckage rapidly gave way to exacting renovations, luxurious upgrades, and brand-new destinations. However, the double whammy of the worldwide economic crisis and worries caused by swine flu has not made for an easy time in Cancún in the past couple years. Hotels, restaurants, and tourist services across the board have suffered here, just as they have elsewhere in the region. With a struggling economy and more budget-minded travelers, Cancún's resorts have been moving increasingly to all-inclusive options, which typically include lodging, meals, domestic drinks, and a variety of discounts on activities.

Cancún embodies Caribbean splendor and the exotic joys of Mexico, but even a Western traveler feeling apprehensive about visiting foreign soil will feel completely at ease here. English is spoken and dollars accepted; roads are well paved and lawns manicured. Some travelers are surprised to find that Cancún is more like a U.S. beach resort than a part of Mexico. Indeed, signs of Americanism are rampant. U.S. college students continue to descend in droves during spring break -- which, depending on your perspective, may be reason to rush headlong into the party or stay far, far away during this season. One astonishing statistic suggests that more Americans travel to Cancún than to any other foreign destination in the world. Indeed, almost three million people visit annually -- most of them on their first trip to Mexico.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.