Members join TripAdvisor all the time and this page could answer a lot of questions that new members may have about Cancun. This post intends to invite suggestions that newcomers might need and answer possible questions they may have! By no means is the information provided indefinitely accurate, but merely opinions to help everyone out!

Using the forum:

On the left side of the forum are hotels which are listed for the Cancun area. These hotels have basic information about the facilities and also provide ads for regular updated rates. The rankings for these hotels are made from a culmination of different reviews from a variety of places that the TA Admin pull together to form the rating. Part of the rating is also based on the review – this review is made by members of TA who have visited the resort and want to share their experience. Looking at the hotel websites is also a good way for finding out more about your resort.

Reviews range dramatically from detailed pages to 1 or 2 liners! However, each review is subjective to each individual and should be taken with a certain level of scepticism as, “One Man’s castle is another Man’s prison” – this definitely applies to the reviews.

There is the option to send other members a private message if you want to be specific about a topic or ask in more detail about a personal experience. It is expected that you treat each member with the same respect you would want to be treated. TA caters for people from around the world – good point to remember!

In order to gain an understanding of what to expect from the area, there is also a section on the right hand side that is titled “Things To Do” – this is a particularly helpful section of what there is to offer for your location, from restaurants, to tours, etc.

USEFUL HINT: On the forum page there is a search text box which allows you to search previous topics within the Cancun forum – this is very useful!

Currency:

This is a very debatable topic and as TA members come from all over the world – you will receive conflicting advice. One piece of advice I found particularly useful is, why would you want to take any other currency, than what the locals use?

Pesos are the Mexican currency and an average rate is anything between 18.5 – 19 pesos to the dollar or the pound (other currencies will vary). Some hotels do have facilities to change currencies, and there is also a bank which can change currency. Credit cards are accepted, but there has been some debate about “pre-paid” travellers’ money cards. As always, be vigilant to fraud with credit cards – anywhere you go. In particular pay attention that your charges are always correct on the bill and check to see if your CC number is not displayed in full, or that a service charge has already been added to your bill.

Weather:

Rainfall in Cancun varies over the course of the year from 47 mm to 174 mm per month.

On average most rain falls during the months of June (174mm) and October (171mm) – this is commonly known as “hurricane season." Hurricanes do hit the Cancun area, so make sure to check the forecast ahead of time. This is does not, however, mean that a hurricane will hit during this time. 

March and December are usually the driest months. (Rainfall in March 47mm and in December 59mm).

Daily average temperatures in Cancun range from 23.4°C to 29.3°C.

Peak temperatures usually occur in June (average 29.3°C) and July (average 29.2°C).

Average temperatures decline in January to 23.4°C and in December to 24.4°C

Some good weather sites are:

http://www.cancunweathertoday.com/

http://www.weather.com/weather/today/...

However, as always – these reports are not always accurate – as is the case everywhere – sometimes it is best to ask someone who is currently in Cancun via the forum, they will have a more accurate opinion of the weather.

Immunisations /Vaccinations:

Again – this is a very debatable topic. The best guidance to anyone from any country is to contact your GP and get advice from them. There are no essential vaccinations needed, but they are all “recommended” therefore it is at your own discretion whether or not you choose to have them.

What is generally recommended is:

 -         Typhoid

-         Hepatitis A

-         Tetanus

Some GP’s will also recommend a hepatitis B injection – but again, depends on your location and your GP’s advice. Your tetanus will depend on when the last time you received one was dated.

Hepatitis A is recommended for people who eat out a lot, regardless of where they are travelling to – as Hep A is usually transferred from unhygienic food preparation. Malaria is only required if you intend to travel towards the heavy jungle areas, or away from the main Cancun/Yucatan Peninsula – e.g. Mexico City.

However – this is general advice – so make sure you contact your GP for further advice. Most vaccinations are required 4 weeks or more before your trip.

Food & Stomach/Sanitation Issues:

People can be affected with “stomach” issues regardless of where they travel, as can some are never affected. Cancun has apparently been fitted with a water filtration system – which means that the water is purified before it can be used. This is apparently in place throughout the hotel zone.Most of the major hotels in Cancun have purified water.

Drinking bottled water is advisable at all times, and a lot of travelers have reported drinking with ice and not encountering any stomach problems but everyone is different. It is often thought that poor hygiene is often the cause of stomach upsets, but it is wise to consider that it may be the case that the change of diet, rich foods, new spices/flavours can also attribute to stomach upsets. If you are in a place that you would feel uncomfortable drinking the water, also watch out for any freshly washed foods such as lettuce and other fruits. 

People on here have advised to drink pro-biotic drinks and bio yoghurt to help your stomach before you travel. This has been advised about a month before travel, and continued through the trip if possible.

So using your individual judgement is best for this issue, and follow usual practises when abroad.

 

Sea Lice/thimble jellyfish:

Prevalent in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and along both the east and west coasts of the United States during the summer months

Sea lice are actually the microscopic larvae of jellyfish and other ocean stingers which contain the same nematocysts (stinging cells) as mommy and daddy. In many areas of the Gulf and Caribbean the primary culprit causing "sea lice" infestations is the larvae of the thimble jellyfish. These larvae, sometimes half a millimeter in length or smaller, can become trapped between the bathing suit and skin or in crevices like the armpit and compressed, causing the stinging cells to fire.

Sea lice "season" generally runs from April through August although they may appear at any time of year.

There are some products such as “Sea Safe” which are effective in preventing such stings.

The following is a good website for information:

http://www.buysafesea.com/sea_lice.php  

Airport & Customs:

The airport is apparently swarming with time share representatives who will try and grab you to listen to the presentations. Again, most people advise you to not make eye contact and politely refuse the presentations. However, some people find incentives such as free trips, restaurant vouchers, etc. as an incentive to go – so again this is personal preference, but is worth knowing that they are there in abundance.

Customs involves a “traffic light” system, in which all passengers go through security, but a button is triggered to a supposedly random lighting system. Basically if the button causes a green light you go straight through – if you get a red light you are “randomly” searched.

Some travellers have never encountered a red light, and some are hit every time. This is nothing to be concerned about, and is merely luck of the draw.

From past reports customs are very keen to search many cases – therefore you may want to put potentially “embarrassing” items in your hand luggage or in something non-descript as everything will be rummaged through and will be visible to the remaining queue.

Case locks again are a debatable topic. Most travellers’ advise to buy industry standard locks – but this “standard” will vary from country to country, but the most common brand is a TSA recommended lock. However, if you put a regular lock on your case it has been reported that they may be cut off – so again, use your own discretion on this one.

Cancun Maps:

There are many maps available on the web of Cancun which gives great information from all the hotels on the hotel front or “7” shaped strip of the land.

There is a regular TA member who also has an online business which sells maps. Again, this is personal preference, but the website is:

www.mapchick.com

It may be worthwhile enquiring if anyone on TA would want to exchange their maps? Again please be careful with personal details etc.

Calling Home :

There are now many choices when it comes to calling home, no matter what country you come from to visit Cancun.

The least expensive is to bring a laptop and use the WiFi at your hotel or cybercafe to use Skype or one of the many other sites that use VOIP to make calls using the Internet. These usually require an existing account and cost less than 5 cents per minute to use.

The most expensive is to use the phone in your hotel room, which can cost up to $5USD per minute.

Using your cell phone from home in 'roaming' mode while in Mexico is an option if your phone works in the US and Canada (Europe and Asia use different frequencies than North America). This option costs upwards of $1 per minute.

Calling cards are not recommended in Cancun because of the condition and locations of payphones as well as the complex dialing patterns that they require.

Finally, although cell phones can be rented for use in any part of the world, Cancun is unique in that it has two cell phone rental companies dedicated to low cost / high quality service in Cancun - cancuncalet.com and mexitel.net, with the former being postpaid (charged to your credit card) and the latter being prepaid (pay as you go). Calls to your country of choice can be made from anywhere in Cancun for as low as 11 pesos ($1USD) per phone call and phones can be delivered to your place of residence before you leave, or delivered to you upon arrival in the Hotel Zone.

Making international calls over the telephone (using any method mentioned above except calling cards) is easy - just dial the 3-digit country code (001 for the US or Canada) followed by the standard phone number (usually 10 digits for larger countries, starting with the city or area code  XXX-YYY-ZZZZ)

Clubs and Nightlife:

Cancun hosts some wonderful restaurants and bars and clubs. Again these can be found in the “Things to Do” section. Most popularly known are: Coco Bongos, Daddy O’s, Senor Frogs, Hard Rock Café, Margaritaville, Pat O’Briens, and The City. Again doing a general search in the forum will bring up different previous threads regarding these clubs.

Everyone has their own preference to restaurants, and a lot of people will eat all inclusive (AI) in their hotels anyway. Some frequently mentioned restaurants are Lorenzillos, Laguna Grill, La Habicheula. Again, a search will produce different reviews of these places, and are based on personal preference.

Malls and Shopping:

Listed in the “Things to do” is a list of where to go shopping. There are a few malls/shopping centres such as La Isla Mall which combine open and canopied complexes. There are also flea markets such as Market 28 – in where it is debatable you can get some bargains, but be prepared to be hassled big time and to haggle as much as you can!

There is also the Wal-Mart in downtown Cancun which can provide you with basic grocery needs.

Transport:

Most posters on here will say that both taxis and buses are safe to use at any time of day or night. Again, apply common sense at all time – don’t travel alone, don’t split from your group, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Buses have been reported to be fast and therefore holding on is necessary! You can travel for 6.5 pesos anywhere you go or if you insist on using dollars, $1 can be used, but don’t expect any change. Buses are thought to be safe at night running very frequently. Again, be vigilant, and there has been a rare occurrence of pick pockets – but again, this can occur anywhere.

Taxis can be expensive for the distance you travel – so always, always negotiate a price before you get in.

For longer distances, most travellers advise getting a bus to downtown and then transferring onto an ADO bus – as these are air conditioned, and better quality vehicles.

Most tours include transport in their packages, but always make sure that you receive a receipt and have confirmation of your purchase. Transport from the airport to your resort again is debatable – a quick search on the forum will supply you with many providers.

Forum Abbreviations:

Most users will use abbreviations on here, some you may know, some you may never have heard, so to enlighten:

JMHO – "Just My Honest/Humble Opinion"

JMO – "Just My Opinion"

Bump – this is used to take a topic to the front page and get attention

DH – reference often to husbands or the other half

OP - Original Poster

Troll - someone who intentionally spoils or makes derogatory comments unnecessarily on a post

 

This is generally the advice most newcomers could need! Hopefully this helps everyone, and also hopefully people will add to this to help improve it and it will be a source of great information to people!  If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask in the Cancun forum!

Here are some other useful links:

Aquaworld Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Day Trips, Private Charters... Everything you need to have fun ! 

DiscoveryMundo.com - Secure Online Travel Agency Located in Cancun (private & vip transportation)

Hostransfer.com - Private Transfer One Way Round Trip and Activities. Airport/HTL includes beer, soda and water bottle.

www.AmstarDmc.com for Quality tours and airport Transfers 

http://www.cancuncheaptransfers.com for quality airport transfers 

www.tours-cancun.com for a free book for Cancun first-timers.

http://www.buysafesea.com/sea_lice.php

http://www.travelyucatan.com/cancun_b...

Resort Cancun. Travel Guide for Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

http://www.wayakbus.com/

http://www.cancuncare.com/

http://cancun.travel/en/#

http://www.store.cancunmap.com/

http://www.gonetomexico.com/

http://www.isla-mujeres.com.mx/englis...

http://www.store.cancunmap.com/

http://www.lagunagrill.com.mx/

http://www.nathnac.org/ds/c_pages/cou...

http://www.dolphindiscovery.com/cancu...

http://www.cancunweathertoday.com/adv...

Cancun Airport Transportations. Private Transportation from the Airport to your Hotel. 

 http://www.allaboutcancun.com  - Travel Guide to Cancun

http://www.ecoturismocancun.com 

http://www.alltournative.com Ecoarchaelogical expeditions, adventure tours Coba, Ek Balam, Tulum 

http://www.dolphinaris.com Swim with Dolphins in Cancun, Cozumel and Riviera Maya 

http://www.store.cancunmap.com

http://www.acluvaq.com.mx/ 

www.usa-transfers.com - Private Airport Transfers and Tours (the most recommended on TripAdvisor)