Photo: El Castillo Chichen Itza

There are really two Cancuns; downtown Cancun on the mainland which is mainly residential and business, and the Zona Hotelera on the island. The two are joined by bridges at the north and the south of the island.


In between the island, which is shaped like the number seven, and the mainland is Laguna Nichupte. This lagoon is a reminder of how this area used to be before it was decided to develop it into a resort.

Until fairly recently this area was ignored by the rest of Mexico as it was too difficult to reach. For centuries the easiest method to get there was by sea. As it was so uninviting it was seen as the ultimate punishment for prisoners during the 1800s.

During the 1960s the Mexican government was looking for an area to custom build a holiday resort and Cancun was born. The first two hotels opened in 1974. Cancun has become so popular that there isn’t any building land left on the island and the resorts are now spreading along the Yucatan coast.



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