So I decided to take the plunge, against all advice, and head to Cancun. I had visions (nightmares?) of 18 year old celebrating arriving in a country where they can drunk under the age of 21, and chanting USA, USA at the top of their voices so I approached with caution.
I’m not a big fan of strips of hotels along a beachfront, it’s my worst nightmare actually so I did what any self-respecting traveler would do and avoided that area like the plague.
Cancun has 2 souls, one of which has been sold to large, faceless hotel conglomerates. This soul is located in the ‘hotel zone’ in Cancun. And whilst it’s true that’s where the beach is, it also has as much resemblance to real Mexican culture as Taco Bell does to real Mexican food.
The other soul belonging to Cancun is the old town of Cancun, this is still ‘real’ Mexico and where I planned to spend my time there. I found a super cheap little hostel by the name of Hostel Haina, right in downtown. At $12 per dorm, $25 per private, free wifi and free brekky, you really can’t go too wrong! Combine that with the fact that their day trips to Chichen Itza and the like are literally half the price that the large hotels charge means you’re on to a real winner.
The location is great – loads of super cheap restaurants and bars just a 5 minute walk away, and even better the long distance bus station is walking distance too.
To get from the hotel zone to the ‘real’ Cancun, you can get a bus for about $0.30 and it takes about 20 minutes or so, they run super regularly, 24 hours per day – nothing could be simpler.
So there you have it. Cancun offers much more than I ever anticipated, but trust me and avoid the hotel zone if you’re looking to really explore the Mexican culture. Hostel Haina is a great option should you wanna do that. Happy travels!