Luxury Travel Blog

First impressions of Cancun Mexico

Before coming to Cancun Mexico I had read somewhere that people either love it or hate, there is no in between.

The most talked about reason for not liking Cancun is how Americanized it is. Some people may argue that they go to Cancun to get a taste of Mexico. And while that is possible, it’s also fair to say you could feel like you have just taken a vacation to a destination in the United States.

All that said, I LOVED Cancun as soon as we arrived!


Cancun Mexico Building


The ‘Americanized’ side of it did not bother me at all. Maybe its because I love the States or maybe it was because I had some familiar names around me that I felt quite comfortable on my first visit to Mexico.

Some of you may know, I am an avid beach lover – which was the main reason we came to Cancun; to see one of the worlds top beaches. (side note – We want to visit all of the top 10 beaches as voted by Trip Advisor)

To say the beaches here are beautiful is really quite an understatement. By now, in our 12 months of travels, we have been to hundreds of beaches. But I have to say the Cancun beaches are some of the best we have seen to date!


Cancun Beach Mexico


The water is the most stunning shade of blue I think I’ve seen of the ocean! And the sand – soft and white. To finish it off, palm trees are scattered throughout giving you some well needed shade after a couple of hours in the warmth of the sun.

But Cancun isn’t JUST about the beach – Well, okay that’s a huge part but there is more that that!

I am a girl who loved to shop. That’s past tense because now that I am a nomad I do not need to shop anymore (says Michael – I mean, what’s wrong with having a cute pair of pumps and matching purse in my backpack??). However, a girl can still ‘window shop’! And there are plenty of great places to do just that!. In fact, there are shopping plazas to suit all budgets.


Mexico Cancun Shopping


There is a large market area, Flamingo Plaza, where you can score a souvenir at a bargain (as long as you don’t mind someone asking you to come into their shop every 5 seconds!); There is a plaza for the mid range shopper – La Isla; And if you a few spare $100 bills to throw around, there is Luxury Avenue with all the high end brands (not even the pre nomad me could afford to shop there!)

There is only one thing better than shopping in my eyes and that’s FOOD! Yes, it is very Americanized here so there is the ‘Johnny Rockets’ and the ‘Starbucks’ and the ‘Outback’ (yes, that’s an American chain!) but there are also some very cool Mexican eateries! The food is a treat for the eyes and belly!


Cancun Mexico Food Plate


Another thing I love about Cancun is that it’s really easy to get around! Public transport is great in the hotel zone and downtown area. There are buses that go past the hotels every few minutes that will take you into central Cancun for 85 pecos (or $1 US).

There are loads of things to do in Cancun besides swim, eat and shop but we haven’t got to any of that yet! We are here for a month and I expect we will have enough to do to keep us busy every single day!

So, my first impression of Cancun? It’s fantastic! Need to know more? Keep your eyes peeled right here for posts on all the activities we will be doing! A couple of weeks reading our posts and checking out all of our photos, it may feel like you were in Cancun yourself!


Have you been to Cancun?  If so, what did you love/hate about it? Any recommendations for the rest of our time here?



  1. Hannah /

    We love the easy use of public transportation in Cancun, thats all we used when we were there. In the Plaza Isla there is a really good restaurant called Thai and reserve the private huts that are over the water AMAZING! Glad you are having a great time! Are you heading further south? We were just in Tulum Feb 8-18 and loved it! Lots of really good CHEAP street food! And amazing beaches! Check out our posts for details!

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hey Hannah 🙂

      We actually saw that restaurant and as Thai is our favorite cuisine we were going to eat there. But at $28 USD for a plate of Pad Thai we decided it was a little exi!

      We love that shopping plaza though. Have been there a few times already!

      We are definitely going to explore the south for sure. Ive got some places in mind after reading your posts! Can’t wait to check it all out some time next week.

      Thanks for popping by again Hannah, have a great weekend!

  2. I always associate Cancun with Spring Break. I’ve clearly watched far too much MTV!! We missed Mexico when visiting Central America and wish we had the time to visit while we were in the area. Looking forward to more posts from your visit.

    P.s Love those plates. So vibrant!!
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  3. Awesome to see a positive post on Cancun. I’m really looking forward to getting to Mexico at some point!
    Kate recently posted…How to Find an Inexpensive Apartment in New YorkMy Profile

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hi Kate!

      I know what you mean. I have read so many posts dissing Cancun and Mexico in general – I don’t get it. Its so beautiful here, I love it! Id come back in a heart beat.

      When we told people we were going to be going to Mexico everyone was like “Be safe” and variations of that. It actually got us a little scared cause SO many people were saying it! But not once have we felt unsafe here.

      Mexico is so beautiful and the people are friendly and helpful! I don’t know what these other people are talking about!

      I am sure you will have a great time when you make it here 🙂

  4. Erin Bender (Travel With Bender) /

    We werent as impressed with Cancun as you. It was quite a shock for us haha. I’m glad there is more then what we just saw

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hi Erin!

      Yes, I recently read your post on your first impressions. I wish you had the chance to stay a little longer and not in the downtown area. I think your view would have been vastly different! Cancun amazed me! I went in thinking the worst but I absolutely loved it. I wrote this post on my 2nd day there. I am about to write another for my final thoughts but to say the least, I was so glad we didnt listen to all the negative BS because Cancun was amazing.

      I hope you get to go there again, give it another chance cause 24 hours isnt enough. If you do go back, stay in the hotel zone away from downtown. And visit Isla Mujeres which is amazingly beautiful!

      Of course, everyone likes different things so maybe you wont like it a 2nd time around but I think its worth giving it another shot if you can… Stay for a few more days this time, dont bother with downtown and maybe youll be writing a post about how much you love Cancun 😉

      Thanks for visiting Erin!

  5. I’ve been contemplating a trip to Cancun next year. I have tons of friends who have been but wasn’t sure I really wanted to go. But this makes me a bit more curious especially to hear how awesome the beaches are.
    Marsha recently posted…Surviving Overseas FlightsMy Profile

  6. We were pleasantly surprised by Cancun as well, and traveled there purely because we needed a vacation and the price was right. One of our favorite meals was a Cocobichula at La Habichuela in downtown Cancun. Also had some fun adventures at Mercado 28 and spent a day golf carting around Isla Mujeres. Glad you enjoyed Cancun so much!
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  7. I am agreed with you about your thoughts related with beaches in Cancun. Beaches in Cancun are really awesome. I am from Asia and visited various beach tourist cities in Asia such as Goa, Bangkok, Phuket etc. I think Cancun is really an ideal city to enjoy unspoiled beauty of beaches.

  8. I’ve been in Cancun for over a month, rounding out a six month trek through Central America. I love it, but I do not live or visit the tourist areas so my opinion may be bias. I live in a residential neighborhood, eat local food from a food truck down the street and shop at a local grocery store. It definitely has American influence, but it is in North America and an inexpensive vacation spot for Americans. You can find whatever it is you’re looking for in Cancun. Vacation, culture, shopping, beach, it’s all here, you’ve just gotta find it.

  9. After reading your post we can’t wait to visit Cancun. Last time in Mexico we didn’t have enough time, but in October we’ll be back in the Yucatan for some more exploring! Cancun is on our list 🙂 Hope we love it as much as you do 🙂
    (Loved everything we saw of Mexico last time, therefor we’re going back now. Can’t get the country out of our mind).

  10. We went to Cancun in 2011 and loved it. Only there for 4 days but it’s gorgeous, friendly people and holy crap the food is great. I was surprised at how much of a concrete jungle it is though, but at least they kept the beaches pretty clean.
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